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Rogallo wing

Rogallo wing

Overview

The Rogallo wing is a flexible type of airfoil
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

. In 1948, Gertrude Rogallo
Gertrude Rogallo
Gertrude Rogallo was one of the co-inventors of the flexible wing. These wings are now known as Rogallo wings. She and her husband, Francis Rogallo, invented the wing and obtained two US patents on different versions of it in the early 1950s. Rogallo wings are commonly used today in kites, hang...

, and her husband Francis Rogallo
Francis Rogallo
Francis Melvin Rogallo was an American aeronautical engineer inventor born in Sanger, California, U.S.A.; he is credited with the invention of the Rogallo wing, or "flexible wing", a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider...

, a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 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
Project Gemini
Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966....

 and for possible use in other spacecraft landings, but the idea was dropped in 1964 in favor of parachutes.

Rogallo had been interested in the flexible wing since 1945.
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Encyclopedia

The Rogallo wing is a flexible type of airfoil
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

. In 1948, Gertrude Rogallo
Gertrude Rogallo
Gertrude Rogallo was one of the co-inventors of the flexible wing. These wings are now known as Rogallo wings. She and her husband, Francis Rogallo, invented the wing and obtained two US patents on different versions of it in the early 1950s. Rogallo wings are commonly used today in kites, hang...

, and her husband Francis Rogallo
Francis Rogallo
Francis Melvin Rogallo was an American aeronautical engineer inventor born in Sanger, California, U.S.A.; he is credited with the invention of the Rogallo wing, or "flexible wing", a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider...

, a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 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
Project Gemini
Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966....

 and for possible use in other spacecraft landings, but the idea was dropped in 1964 in favor of parachutes.

History


Rogallo had been interested in the flexible wing since 1945. He and his wife built and flew kites as a hobby and, since they could not find official backing for the wing (including at Rogallo's employer NACA
NACA
- Organizations :* National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the forerunner of the U.S. federal agency NASA* National Association for Campus Activities, an organization for programmers of university and college activities...

), carried out experiments in their own time. By the end of 1948 they had two working designs using a flexible wing - a kite (which they called "Flexi-Kite") and a gliding parachute (which they later referred to as a "paraglider"). Rogallo and his wife received a patent on a "V-shaped" flexible wing in March 1951. Selling the Flexi-kite as a toy helped to finance their work and publicize the design.

Construction


A Rogallo wing is composed of two partial conic
Cone (geometry)
A cone is an n-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a base to a point called the apex or vertex. Formally, it is the solid figure formed by the locus of all straight line segments that join the apex to the base...

 surfaces with both cones pointing forward. Slow Rogallo wings have wide, shallow cones. Fast subsonic and supersonic Rogallo wings have long, narrow cones. The Rogallo wing is a simple and inexpensive flying wing with remarkable properties. The wing itself is not a kite; neither is it a glider nor a powered aircraft, until the wing is tethered or arranged in a configuration that glides or is powered. In other words, how it is attached and manipulated determines what type of aircraft it becomes. The Rogallo wing is most often seen in toy kite
Kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s, but has been used to construct spacecraft parachutes, sport parachute
Parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

s, ultralight powered aircraft like the trike and hang gliders
Hang gliding
Hang gliding is an air sport in which a pilot flies a light and unmotorized foot-launchable aircraft called a hang glider ....

. Rogallo had more than one patent concerning his finding; the due-diligence expansion of his invention involved cylindrical formats, multiple lobes, various stiffenings, various nose angles, etc. The Charles Richard
Charles Richard
Charles Richard was a Progressive Conservative party member of the Canadian House of Commons. Born in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Quebec, he was a dental surgeon by career....

 design and use of the Rogallo wing in the Paresev
Paresev
The Paresev was an experimental NASA glider aircraft based upon the kite-parachute studies by NASA engineer Francis Rogallo....

 project resulted in an assemblage that became the stark template for the standard Rogallo hang-glider wing that would blanket the world of the sport in the early 1970s.

Beyond that, the wing is designed to bend and flex in the wind, and so provides favorable dynamics analogous to a spring suspension. Flexibility allows the wing to be less susceptible to turbulence and provides a gentler flying experience than a similarly-sized rigid-winged aircraft. The trailing edge of the wing – which is not stiffened – allows the wing to twist, and provides aerodynamic stability without the need for a tail (empenage).

Rogallo wing hang glider


In 1961-1962 aeronautical engineer Barry Palmer
Barry Hill Palmer
Barry Hill Palmer is an American aeronautical engineer , inventor, builder and pilot of the first hang glider based on the Rogallo wing or flexible wing...

 foot-launched several versions of a framed Rogallo wing hang glider to continue the recreational and sporting spirit of hang gliding. Another player in the continuing evolution of the Rogallo wing hang glider was Australian John Dickenson
John W. Dickenson
John Wallace Dickenson is an Australian inventor, who developed some liquid flow measuring devices and designed the most successful hang glider configuration.- The Ski Wing :...

, who in 1963 set to build a controllable water skiing
Water skiing
thumb|right|A slalom skier making a turn on a slalom waterski.Waterskiing is a sport where an individual is pulled behind a boat or a cable ski installation on a body of water, skimming the surface.-History:...

 kite/glider. Publicity from the Paresev
Paresev
The Paresev was an experimental NASA glider aircraft based upon the kite-parachute studies by NASA engineer Francis Rogallo....

 tested and flown hang gliders sparked interest in the design among several tinkerers, including John Dickenson.

Dickenson fashioned an airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

 to fit on a Rogallo airfoil
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

. Dickenson's model made use of a single hang point and an A frame: He started with a framed Rogallo wing airfoil with a U-frame (later an A-frame control bar) to it; it was composed of a keel, leading edges, a cross-bar and a fixed control frame. Weight-shift (mass-shift) was also used to control the glider. The flexible wing - called "Ski Wing" - was first flown in public at the Grafton
Grafton, New South Wales
The city of Grafton is the commercial hub of the Clarence River Valley. Established in 1851, Grafton features many historic buildings and tree-lined streets. Located approximately 630 kilometres north of Sydney and 340 km south of Brisbane, Grafton and the Clarence Valley can be reached...

 Jacaranda Festival in September 1963 by Rod Fuller while towed behind a motorboat
Motorboat
A motorboat is a boat which is powered by an engine. Some motorboats are fitted with inboard engines, others have an outboard motor installed on the rear, containing the internal combustion engine, the gearbox and the propeller in one portable unit.An inboard/outboard contains a hybrid of a...

.

The 'Australian Self-Soar Association' states that the first foot-launch of a hang glider in Australia was in 1972 In Torrance, California, Bill Moyes was assisted in a kited foot-launch by Joe Faust at a beach slope in 1971 or 1972. Moyes went on to build a company with his own trade-named Rogallo wing hang gliders that used the trapeze control frame he had seen in Dickenson's and Australian manned flat-kite ski kites. Bill Moyes and Bill Bennett exported new refinements of their own hang gliders throughout the world.

The parawing hang glider was inducted into the Space Foundation
Space Foundation
The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

 Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1995.

Rogallo wing hang glider


Hang gliders have been used with different forms of weight-shift control since Otto Lilienthal
Otto Lilienthal
Otto Lilienthal was a German pioneer of human aviation who became known as the Glider King. He was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful gliding flights. He followed an experimental approach established earlier by Sir George Cayley...

. The most common way to shift the center of gravity was to fly while suspended from the underarms by two parallel bars. Gottlob Espenlaub (1922), George Spratt (1929) and Barry Palmer (1962) used pendulum seats for the pilot. Interaction with the frame provided various means of control of the Rogallo winged hang glider.

Today, most Rogallo wings are also controlled by changing their pitch and roll by means of shifting its center of gravity. This is done by suspending the payload from one or more points beneath the wing and then moving the pendulumed mass of the payload (pilot and things else) mass left or right or forward or aft. Several control methods were studied in NASA for Rogallo wings from 1958 through the 1960s embodied in different versions of the Parawing.

On Rogallo wing hang gliders, John W. Dickenson
John W. Dickenson
John Wallace Dickenson is an Australian inventor, who developed some liquid flow measuring devices and designed the most successful hang glider configuration.- The Ski Wing :...

 used a type of weight-shift control frame composed of a mounted triangular control frame under the wing. The pilot sat on a seat and was sometimes also harnessed about the torso. The pilot was suspended behind the triangular control frame which was used as a hand support to push and pull in order to shift the pilot's weight relative to the mass and attitude of the wing above.

Rogallo kites


Rogallo wing kite
Kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s control pitch with a bridle that sets the wing's angle of attack
Angle of attack
Angle of attack is a term used in fluid dynamics to describe the angle between a reference line on a lifting body and the vector representing the relative motion between the lifting body and the fluid through which it is moving...

. A bridle made of string is usually a loop reaching from the front to the end of the center strut of the A-frame. The user ties knot
Knot
A knot is a method of fastening or securing linear material such as rope by tying or interweaving. It may consist of a length of one or several segments of rope, string, webbing, twine, strap, or even chain interwoven such that the line can bind to itself or to some other object—the "load"...

s (usually a girth hitch) in the bridle to set the angle of attack. Mass-produced rogallo kites use a bridle that's a triangle of plastic film, with one edge heat-sealed to the central strut.

Steerable Rogallo kites usually have a pair of bridles setting a fixed pitch, and use two strings, one on each side of the kite, to change the roll.

Rogallo also developed a series of soft foil designs in the 1960s which have been modified for traction kiting. These are double keel designs with conic wings and a multiple attachment bridle which can be used with either dual line or quad line controls. They have excellent pull, but suffer from a smaller window than more modern traction designs. Normally the #5 and #9 alternatives are used.

Early Rogallo patents



See also


  • Hang glider
  • Hang gliding
    Hang gliding
    Hang gliding is an air sport in which a pilot flies a light and unmotorized foot-launchable aircraft called a hang glider ....

  • History of hang gliding
  • Paragliding
    Paragliding
    Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure...

  • Wing
    Wing
    A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...


External links