Our Lesson with Jockey’s Ridge State Park Super Intendant, Joy Greenwood

Since she began as the Jockey’s Ridge State Park Superintendent in 2017, Joy Greenwood has seen our hang gliders flying nearly every day, but with her position comes a sizable workload, which has stifled previous attempts to join our instructors for a lesson. But, after many conversations, we knew it would only be a matter of time until she took flight. This February we got a beautiful, sunny day, and Joy leaped at the opportunity; she came out for a lesson, and now we are happy to report we have a new pilot in training!

There had been some time leading up to this point for Joy to see other people flying. But, when asked what it was like to finally get out there and fly after seeing so many park visitors take their flights, Joy ecstatically replied, “It was truly exciting.  Having watched so many people come off the dunes with such happy looks on their faces, I really wanted to know what it felt like to  hang glide.” And although excited for herself, we’ve come to find she’s often thinking of the park’s visitors first, which is why for Greenwood, she feels it’s important to be able to explain to our visitors what to expect.  “As the park superintendent, I feel it’s important to understand all aspects of what our visitors experience here.  There are many people who come from all over the world to hang glide here and I wanted to have some incite into what draws them to Jockey’s Ridge.”

When we said ‘excited’ earlier, that perhaps was an understatement; so, we were not at all surprised to see Joy jump right into things, and although she claimed some nerves, we did not see any!

“Once the initial nervousness was over, I was able to take things in a little more.  The beauty of seeing the ocean off in the distance and feel the air blow over my whole body was exhilarating.  I can’t wait to get more practice and go on longer trips.”

When we saw her smile, we knew she finally had felt THAT feeling. The wind, the sand, the views, and we finally had gotten to share the feeling we knew so well, and with someone who’s become such a great friend of ours. There is no better feeling in the world than when you feel your feet leave the sand as the winds picks you up, except for the feeling of seeing that moment being passed along to a friend and student. The moment, is indescribable.

The new perspective was an exciting new take for her as well. She reflected how “the view of flying over the dunes is absolutely beautiful.” What our crew really appreciated was that even the park superintendent, who has seen every inch of the park, appreciated the different angle of things. “It is a wonderful experience to enjoy the beauty of the park from a different point of view.”

Stories like Superintendent Greenwood’s are plentiful from the thousands of students who have graced the threshold of the oldest hang gliding school in the world. Hearing each experience continues to reinforce the staff and the sport of hang gliding to continue to truly live and Teach the World to Fly.

Want to fly with us like Joy? Follow this link and save your spots today! 

 

Happy Birthday, Francis Rogallo!

FrancisPortrait

Francis Rogallo, the NASA aeronautical engineer widely known as the father of modern hang gliding, was born on January 27th, 1912. He eventually celebrated 97 birthdays, but one in particular stands out, in 1974. Just a few years after his retirement from NASA, hang gliding as a sport was truly taking off, and Rog, as he was known to nearly everyone, was invited for his birthday to what was supposed to be the “First Annual Rogallo Meet” at Escape Country, a premier hang gliding site near Trabuco Canyon, Ca.

Despite careful planning by organizer Kas de Lisse, the meet was a bit of a wash. Fog descended onto the mountain, and the ‘Fogallo’ meet was punctuated only by a few intrepid airmen making occasional flights into the mist, (“onward through the fog!”), guided to the landing area by shouts and amplified music. And the tales of the mud that weekend were reminiscent of Woodstock.

What was truly noteworthy was simply Rog’s presence. Most of the pilots knew his name, but his face was anonymous enough that he could wander through the assembled gliders unrecognized, many of which were varieties of what were known simply as “Rogallo Wings.”

Francis&GertrudeRogallo

Maralys Wills, matriarch of the famous hang gliding Wills Wing family, described him beautifully in a piece she wrote for Groundskimmer Magazine:

 

“He was the tall man wearing the Russian Cossack hat; at close range, with his head cocked slightly in an attitude of listening, his eyes sparkling and an almost impish smile on his lips, he gave the impression of a tall leprechaun. One could see him throughout the day, observing with wonder the fruits of his earlier imagination. Francis Rogallo, whose birthday the meet was honoring, seemed almost removed from the arena of kiting. It was as if he had turned the switch, and then the machine had gone off and done its own thing.”

FrancisW/Kite

Rog saw an incredible variety of designs at that meet, most of which were based on the flexible wing he and his wife Gertrude invented in 1948. After all the years of trying to get recognition for the possibilities of their invention, the tall, leprechaun-like man must have felt an almost disconnected sense of wonder at what had become of his idea. The machine had gone off and done its own thing, and people all over the world were learning to fly with simple, inexpensive wings–what he had always hoped would happen. He knew what was possible as early as 1949, when he wrote in an article for The Ford Times, “Imagine the thrill of carrying such a glider in your knapsack to the top of a hill or mountain, and then unfurling it and gliding down into the valley below.”

 

Happy Birthday Rog, and thanks for letting us all “imagine the thrill.”

FrancisSmiling

 

Written By Billy Vaughn, Francis Rogallo Historian

If you are interested in making a donation to The Rogallo Foundation, which supports educational opportunities involving aerodonetics and low-speed aerodynamics, you can click here!

Kites We Love!

This Valentine’s Day we wanted to change things up! We decided instead of telling you about a bunch of products that are red and have hearts, we would tell you all about the kites that we LOVE. These kites have genuinely brought some happiness to our lives, whether through family time or just simple serenity. Take a moment to check out some of our favorite kites and the fun ways that we get out to use them.

Rachel's Kite

Rachel, KHK Head Kite Buyer • “After years of flying all kinds of kites, the triangle-shaped Festive Sky Delta package has become my all-time favorite kite to fly.  It has tails that you can add to it, or just fly it by itself in almost any wind.  My kids love the moving tail and play games trying to catch it!”

Check out this kite HERE!

Kirsten, KHK Store Manager • “I’ve flown hundreds of kites, and the Killip Foil 90 is such a show in its own that is will grab attention for miles – hands down my favorite! It’s soft so there’s no assembly, it flies surprisingly well in a low 6mph wind and with a higher wind you can attach all kinds of fun flair to it, like flags, spinners, streamers, and even large inflatable kites like you see at kite festivals! But don’t let its size intimidate you – that’s the best part! Just make sure it’s always anchored off before you launch and that you have a helping hand for takeoff and landing.”

Check out this kite HERE!

Brett, KHK Digital Marketing • “I love taking my box kite with me to the beach. It’s a good kite for a variety of winds which is perfect on the Outer Banks. The single line design makes it very easy to control. And you can’t beat the design, it will always draw some attention. Overall just a very cool kite, that is tons of fun to watch fly!”

Check out this kite HERE!

 

Heather, KHK Store Manager • “I absolutely love our Nexus Special edition. Not only is a great stunt kite to learn and grow, it’s a great value with all the extra bells and whistles. You get the line and winders, repair kit, tail and a full size extra nylon case. The case is perfect for people like me who don’t want to disassemble their kite all the way. It’s great to have options! It flies like a champ and has a wide wind range. It’s very responsive and has a fantastic wind range. The hardest part of this kite is choosing the color you want.”

This is a special KHK exclusive kite! Check out this kite HERE!

 

Stephen, Graphic Designer • “Ever since the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, my daughter can’t get enough. This kite became the perfect way for us to go out and have fun… and to help bridge her into the Star Wars world! It flies extremely well and is easy to control even for my young daughter. To be honest, it’s just fun to feel like I’m finally flying the Millenium Falcon.”

 

Check out this kite here!

North Carolina’s Outer Banks: A Destination Any Time of Year

Thank you for the recent feature, Sara Kendall, of the Epicurean! “Spanning over 200 miles in a string of narrow barrier islands, the Outer Banks is an ocean haven anytime of the year. The locals refer to them as OBX, and millions of people make these islands their vacation destination. Looking to book a winter retreat or plan next summer’s getaway? The Outer Banks is a fabulous choice no matter the time of year you decide to venture to the ocean breezes.” http://www.epicureancharlotte.com/travel/

This Article from the Charlotte Epicurean on just a few of the reasons why the OBX is so special hit the nail on the head! We have so much to do here and a ton of great dining options! What are you going to choose to do today?