Francis Rogallo

po_Rogallo-FrancisFrancis Melvin Rogallo (January 27, 1912–September 1, 2009) was an American aeronautical engineer inventor; he is credited with the invention of the Rogallo wing, or “flexible wing”, a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider. His patents ranged over mechanical utility patents and ornamental design patents for wing controls, airfoils, target kite, flexible wing, and advanced configurations for flexible wing vehicles.

The Rogallo wing is a flexible type of airfoil. In 1948, Gertrude Rogallo, and her husband Francis Rogallo, a NASA engineer, invented a self-inflating flexible wing they called the Parawing, also known after them as the “Rogallo Wing” and flexible wing. NASA considered Rogallo’s flexible wing as an alternative recovery system for the Gemini space capsule and for possible use in other spacecraft landings, but the idea was dropped in 1964 in favor of parachutes.