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18 Jun 2022
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The weather could hardly have been better today for the 40th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head. The annual gathering of kites of every description is a celebration of the life of Francis Rogallo, the NASA engineer who designed the wing that led to hang gliders and paragliders.

There was a brisk breeze blowing across Jockey’s Ridge all day today. The few clouds that did show up held off till afternoon. It was a goo thing the breeze was from the north. With that bright sunshine bouncing off the sand, without the a wind, the heat would have been close to intolerable on the dune.

But that NNE breeze created perfect flying conditions. It looked as though Kitty Hawk Kites, who sponsors the event, dug deep into their display kites this year. There were dragons and dinosaurs 30’ and 40’ long floating above the sand dune. Display kits filled the air, and out in the stunt kite demo field, power kites were challenging new flyers.

There was what appears to be a 3-person precision team of quad line kite flyers with their kites dancing across the sky. The movements were crisp, and ran perfectly parallel to each other. Quite an example of skill.

It was a great way to pay tribute to a man who truly was a pioneer in flight. Francis Rogallo’s name is not as well known as other aeronautical engineers who have influenced flight, yet his influence is remarkable. Every time a skydiver jumps from a plane to precisely land at an event—the ability to control that kite is directly a result of the wing design Mr. Rogallo and his wife, Gertrude, created. She did the sewing for the prototype.

A longtime resident of Southern Shores, Francis Rogallo passed away in 2009.

Summer is here and there is so much happening on the Outer Banks, we can’t keep track of everything. Stop by for a visit and stay with us at Brindley Beach Vacations and discover for yourself what life on a sandbar is all about.