Rogallo developed the first successful flexible wing, which gave birth to hang gliding.
Rogallo conceived the thought of making an aircraft wing from a parachute-like flexible structure that would open and maintain its shape by wind pressure.
With his wife Gertrude’s help, he made small models that were tested in a wind tunnel at their home. After extensive experimentation, he designed the first Rogallo wing, for which Gertrude sewed the prototype from material scavenged from the kitchen curtains.
The cloth wing was tested on Aug. 15, 1958, and it worked.
On March 20, 1951, the Rogallos were granted a patent on the design of the Rogallo wing, which has since been used around the world by millions of people.