Parapente - general Francis Rogallo, Father of Paragliding, dies at 97
16/09/2009(original na :http://www.ojovolador.com/eng/flyingworld/?show=608)
Rogallo, inventor of the flexible wing and considered the Father of Paragliding, passed away on September 1st. He was 97, and had taken his last flight on a hang-glider for his 80th birthday. Millions of people around the world have enjoyed flight as a result of Rogallo’s invention of the Flexible Wing in 1948, which led to a genie’s bottle of flying machines, including hang gliders, paragliders, ultra lights, delta kites, stunt kites, parafoil kites, sport parachutes, and kiteboarding kites.
An engineer with the predecessor of NASA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA), Francis Rogallo patented about 25 items, including wing controls, airfoils and target kites. In 1948, he and his wife, Gertrude, invented the flexible wing at their home. Their dream was to build a wing that would allow inexpensive personal flight. The couple experimented at home using a homemade wind tunnel that was constructed from cardboard and a window fan.
The Rogallo wing is considered one of the simplest airfoils ever created. For years the couple tried ceaselessly to attract both government and industry interest in their flexible wing, and they licensed a manufacturer in Connecticut to sell a kite based on it. When the DuPont Company announced the development of Mylar in 1952, Rogallo immediately saw how superior it would be for his kite, and the five-dollar toy “Flexikite” became one of the first products to use the plastic material. The Rogallos found themselves traveling to kiting events around the Northeast to fly and promote the toy.
It was on October 4, 1957 when the Russian Sputnik began beeping its message from orbit that everything changed, and the space race caught the imagination of the newly formed NASA. The Rogallos gave their patent to the government so that it would be used for public good, and with Francis Rogallo’s help at the wind tunnels, NASA began a series of experiments testing the ‘Parawing’, as NASA renamed the Rogallo wing. The wing was tested at altitudes as high as 200,000 feet and as fast as Mach 3 in order to evaluate it as an alternative recovery system for the Gemini space capsules and spent rocket stages. By 1960 NASA had already made test flights of a framed Parawing powered aircraft called the “flying jeep” or Fleep and a weight shift Parawing glider called Paresev that was both manned and unmanned.
In 1967 NASA stopped projects focused on the Parasev in favor of using round parachutes. NASA was not in the business of applying Rogallo’s family of airfoils to personal aircraft such as hang gliders and powered light aircraft.
The task of modifying what the Paresev team had done with the Rogallo Wing was taken up by independent designers around the world: Barry Palmer in 1961, Richard Miller, Thomas Purcell, and Australians John Dickenson, Bill Moyes and Bill Bennet were among the first to tap into the technology for manned personal-craft glider/kite use, also known as hang gliding. As people became aware of the concept, the development of a multifaceted line of flexible wings was developed including: the hang glider, ultralight aircraft, paragliders and sport parachutes, flexible wing kites or parafoils, delta kites, stunt kites, power kites, kiteboarding kites and snow kites. So far.
Mr. Rogallo has been recognized worldwide for his contributions to sport aviation and is considered the Father of hang gliding and Paragliding around the world. Millions of people have enjoyed flight as a result of Rogallo’s invention of the Flexible Wing. Mr. Rogallo often commented that when he was a young man, people (mostly kids) “only flew kites in March, but now all ages fly kites year round”.
Rogallo retired in 1970 and chose to move near Kitty Hawk, N.C. (USA), where the Wright brothers pioneered powered, manned flight. About once a month, he would drive five miles to Jockey's Ridge State Park, an enormous sand dune where thousands of people have taken hang gliding lessons in Rogallo wing type hang gliders, and fly his red-and-white hang glider. The only time he was ever hurt hang gliding, he later recalled, was when someone else crashed into him. Rogallo took his last hang gliding flight on his 80th birthday.
Slava mu, saj je glavni "krivec" , da lahko vsak leti!