The Annual Rogallo Kite Festival is a two day celebration of kite flying in honor of NASA scientist Francis Rogallo. As inventor of the flexible wing, what better way to honor him than two days of kite flying? The Rogallo Kite Festival takes place at Jockey Ridge State Park in Nags Head and also at Jockey's Ridge Crossing, typically on the first weekend in June. The event is free to the public and welcomes everyone. In honor of Rogallo, Kitty Hawk Kites honors his accomplishments through flight for two days. There will be larger than large kites on display to show off the details to Rogallo's invention. Photo: OuterBanksThisWeek.
Kids will learn to fly various kites, how to make a kite, and many more fun activities for the whole family to participate in. Enjoy a weekend on the Outer Banks learning to fly kites as a family or build a kite together to keep forever.
Francis Rogallo was a man of many ideas, and one of them being the flexible wing. A former Southern Shores resident, Rogallo began this invention using kitchen curtains and designed the wing that led the hang gliding, paragliding, sport parachuting, stunt kite flying and more.
Post WWll Rogallo's wife, Gertrude, assisted him in developing his idea of a flexible ultra light flight. She gathered some materials and her sewing machine and the two of them put together a cross between a boat sail and a parachute. After seeing his vision come together he thought this "flexible wing" idea could be used for boats, aircrafts, and maybe even ground vehicles. No one else saw the vision as he did, so he and his wife patented the idea and began selling it as a kite. Photo: unknown.
Years later, his idea grew from a "kite" to a para glider" and was seen as a more precise way to bring space capsules back to earth versus the traditional parachute. As NASA saw it for its scientific use, Australians saw it for flying behind boats, and Americans saw it for jumping off mountains and soaring through the sky. Today somewhere around 50,000 people glide in the United States and each one of them pays more than $4,000 for their glider. Photo: National Air and Space
Grateful for his success, Rogallo donated his patent rights to the federal government so his knowledge could be shared with as many people and as widely around the world as possible. He decided to retire in the town of Kitty Hawk in spirit of the Wright Brothers and their accomplishments of first flight. At the age of 62, Rogallo decided to take up hang gliding himself on our Outer Banks dunes and took his last flight on his 80th birthday. Franics Rogallo passed away from natural causes in his home in Southern Shoes at the well-lived age of 97. This is a great event to celebrate his accomplishments and joy kite flying has brought to our lives, young and old. Photo: KiteLife.