Happy Birthday, Francis Rogallo!

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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!

Picking out a kite? Let us help!

There are so many different kinds of kites in the world that we couldn’t possibly list them all. There are certain constants among all them, though, that might help folks who are looking at 200-300 kites in a well-stocked kite store–Kitty Hawk Kites, as an example–and are wondering what to buy.

There are four basic kinds of kites—single line, single line fighter kites, dual line stunt kites and quad line stunt kites. Within each type there is an infinite selection, but those are the basics.

Single line

This is the most basic kite and what almost everyone thinks of when they imagine flying a kite with a child. A single line attaches to the kite, run into the wind and the kite goes into the air.

Three basic frames—diamond, delta and parafoil. The classic diamond is actually the hardest to get into the air; either the parafoil with no frame, or the delta are the easiest to fly.

Rachel's Kite

Two line Stunt Kites

A fun, fun kind of kite to fly. The flight of the kite is controlled by two lines that allows the flyer to maneuver the kite up, down, across the horizon, figure 8s, just about anything imaginable.

Most two line stunt kites are delta shaped—actually look a bit like a miniature hang glider—but there are also dual line parafoils that generate tremendous lift and power.

It generally takes about an hour or so to get comfortable controlling a stunt kite. The time is very well spent.

 

Quad Line Stunt Kites

The Revolution quad line kite.

The Revolution quad line kite.

When Revolution Kites brought out their line of quad line kites back in the 1990s, it was, well . . . revolutionary. But here’s a historic footnote: look at a photograph of the Wright Brothers flying their 1901 kite and they are controlling it with four attachment points.

Nonetheless, quad line kites really got people thinking about new stunts and new ways of doing things. Remarkable in their maneuverability, and surprisingly easy to master.

Revolution is still making their frame kites. Ram air quad lines are great power kites; kiteboarding kites use quad line controls.

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!

Fly Into Fun at the Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition

16_stunt_kite_fbOBSKC is a regional kite competition bringing some of the nation’s best kite fliers right here to our back yard. This gives people the chance to be introduced to a sport that is consistently gaining in popularity because of the skill and artistry that is involved. This is a great opportunity to bring your kids out and let them explore the world of wind driven flight, all while you enjoy the talent at hand as well.

On Saturday the 22nd, Kitty Hawk Kites and the Eastern League Stunt Kite Association will host demos and a competition on the field and a FREE family fun fly day. Enjoy massive display kites flying high, and participate in stunt and power kite lessons given by pros. Following OBSKC, on Saturday, October 22, and the 2nd annual OBX Brewtag, a celebration of flight and beer benefitting The Rogallo Foundation.

Sunday, come watch some of the nation’s most talented kite fliers put on world-class displays of elegance and skill with kite flying set to music, synchronized performances, and more.

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Kites and Beer … Plenty of Reason to Celebrate in April

April has finally arrived and there is plenty of reason to celebrate! For those who enjoy tracking bizarre and unique holidays, you may be reveling in the fact that it’s National Humor Month, Lawn and Garden Month and National Poetry Month. But don’t worry … we won’t attempt to tell any bad jokes, educate you on tending to your blooming flower bulbs, or craft a haiku. What we WILL do is launch a kite and raise a pint in honor of National Kite Month and North Carolina Beer Month!

 

NATIONAL KITE MONTH
Every year in April Kite enthusiasts across North America celebrate the history and the future of the world’s favorite pastime by letting their kites fly.  It is a month to celebrate the joy and happiness that comes from letting out the line, letting your kite catch the wind, and letting that kite soar high into the sky.

 

Kitty Hawk Kites - Florida

KHK Fly into Spring Kite Festival /Fort Walton Beach, FL

To kick-off our month-long celebration, Kitty hawk Kites invites you to Florida’s Emerald Coast for the annual Fly into Spring Kite Festival in Fort Walton Beach this weekend (April 2-3). In addition to experiencing the sight of 25-to-100-foot larger-than-life show kites of all sizes and shapes, this FREE two-day, high-flying event features professional stunt kite flying, demonstrations and lessons, and a family fun fly that is perfect for kite enthusiasts of all ages. The public is invited to experience and learn from several professional kite fliers both days, courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites and the Emerald Coast Kitefliers Club. Also, be sure to try out the Revolution Kites Simulator before testing your skills on a Rev kite. Receive $20 Rev Bucks to be used at Kitty Hawk Kites just for trying!

 

KHK Instagram Kite Promotion
Between April 1-17, Kitty Hawk Kites is giving away an amazing limited edition series of SuperSize Star Wars kites from Wind n Sun (48” R2D2, 50″ Millenium Falcon, 52” X-wing Fighter) to one lucky winner! To be eligible to win, visit our Instagram page and simply mention three of your Instagram friends in the comment section between now and April 17 at 11:59pm ET and we will select our grand prize winner on Monday, April 18. Good luck … may the force be with you!

 

Kitty Hawk Kites - Instagram Kite Contest

 

Additional National Kite Month Online Resources
AKA National Kite Month Updates
April Kite Events
National Kite Month Online Store


NORTH CAROLINA BEER MONTH

April also happens to be North Carolina Beer Month, and for the fourth year in a row there are an exciting array of activities lined up from the mountains to the coast! It’s a month-long celebration offering plenty of NC beer-inspired events and festivals, tastings and dinners, special discounts, travel deals, giveaways and more. Ready … set … cheers!

As we’re raising our glasses to the finest NC craft brews from across the state, we’d be remiss if we didn’t show some love to our local Outer Banks breweries who provide locals and visitors, alike, with liquid deliciousness on a daily basis … Weeping Radish Farm BreweryOuter Banks Brewing Station, and Lost Colony Brewery.

 

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OBX Brewtag: Kegs Will Fly Again on October 22!
We’re also excited to remind everyone that the 2nd Annual OBX Brewtag event will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at The Soundside Event Site in Nags Head, NC. Flying Kegs, Craft Beer Garden, Live Music, Kid Zone, Food Vendors, and much more. You will NOT want to miss it! To get you excited, check out highlights from our inaugural event.