Kites flying over Jockey’s Ridge at the Rogallo Kite Festival.

Francis Rogallo, the inventor of the Rogallo wing that made hang gliding possible, was an extraordinary man. A genius by any standards, he had a thirst for knowledge and a curiosity that was astonishing.

He was a tall, almost imposing figure with a fierce gaze, yet he was one of the nicest people imaginable.

He spent his entire professional career with NASA and the Rogallo wing was just one of more than 20 patents in his name, all of them aeronautically related.

Because the Rogallo wing is so visible as a hang glider, or a stunt kite, modern parachute, paraglider…he is associated with his most famous invention.

But he also holds the original patent on slotted wing flaps that have made modern high speed flight possible. He dreamed of creating a flying car that would deploy his parawing—that was his name for his invention—and soar into the sky.

Mr. Rogallo lived in Southern Shores, passing away in 2009 when he was well into his 90s.

He also flew his own invention. He celebrated his 80th birthday by flying hang glider at Jockey’s Ridge—much to the dismay of his wife, Gertrude, according to a number of sources.

There is a celebration of flight and Francis Rogallo coming up this weekend, June 10 and 11 at Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head.

The sky at Jockey’s Ridge State Park will be filled with kites of every sort on Saturday and Sunday. There will be kite flying demos and there are always some stunt kites on hand to try out.

The weather is looking great for the event, so it’s worth checking out. Click here and check out our awesome short term rentals in Outer Banks!