Francis Rogallo, the father of hang gliding, dies at 97

September 9, 2009 | Kiteboarding
Francis Rogallo

Francis Rogallo, known as "the father of hang gliding," died on September 1, in Southern Shores, near Kitty Hawk, the birthplace of aviation. He was 97 years old.

Rogallo and his wife Gertrude invented a "flexible wing" flier that was the precursor of personal flying machines like the hang glider, paraglider, ultralight aircraft, and kiteboards.

He graduated from Stanford with a degree in mechanical engineering and aeronautics.

In 1963, NASA awarded Rogallo the highest cash award to date for his generosity in offering the U.S. government the use of his patents.

He was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

On May 11, 1997, the NASA Langley Research Center recognized Rogallo for his many contributions to flight.

Today, members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association are called "Rogallo" members.

Kiteboarding owes Francis Rogallo, the "father of hang gliding," a huge thank you.