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Guide to the Vernon L. Rogallo Papers, 1948-1992
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Series Description


Series I Engineering Papers 1948-1992

Physical Description: 18 folders.

Scope and Content Note

This series reflects Vernon Rogallo's employment as an Aeronautical Research Scientist and Project Engineer at Ames from April 1948 to September 1969 as well as his post retirement inventions and research. Included are Rogallo's publications on propeller and upwash research, as well as numerous articles and technical notes related to Rogallo's momentum transducer and ballistocardiograph, the invention that earned him the nickname "egg man of Ames" due to his research measuring the heartbeats of avian embryos. This series includes an aluminum propeller used as a wind tunnel model, and six letters patent for inventions designed at Ames. Also included are: Rogallo's NASA retirement album, NACA staff photographs, snapshots taken at Ames in 1991, various memorabilia from Ames including NACA and NASA lapel pins, a patch, a decal, and records documenting his post-retirement research into unconventional aircraft wing shapes such as the W-wing and the use of unducted fan applications in modern aircraft. Also included is a design for a bicycle u-style lock.

Series II The Rockets: The Rogallo Wing and Flexikites 1954-1991

Physical Description: 13 folders.

Scope and Content Note

The second series focuses on the use of Vernon's brother Francis Rogallo's "Rogallo Wing" design as an aluminized Mylar hobby stunt kite marketed as the "Flexikite." Vernon embraced the Flexikite and took on its distribution in the West Coast. Vernon and wife (June), their three children (Phoebe, Diana, and Mary), as well as the family dog (Chalky) took to promoting the Flexikite by starting a family aerobatic kite flying team called "The Rockets" complete with matching uniforms. The models of Flexikites represented come in two types: hexagonal with a four-line harness and no tail, referred to as the "skittish racehorse" (Jet and Rocket) and the diamond with a six line harness with a tail, referred to as the "steady workhorse" (Comet and Shooting Star). This series contains examples of each, as well as the suitcase that was used to house and transport the kites. Also included in this series: memoirs, articles, a scrapbook, various photographs and their original negatives, an example of the red nylon parachute material used to make The Rockets' uniforms, and other examples of the Rogallo wing including a toy Mercury space capsule.

Container List


Series I: Engineering Papers, 1948-1992

Box 1, Folder 1

Propeller and Upwash Research Publications (1 of 2) 1951-1953

Box 1, Folder 2

Propeller and Upwash Research Publications (2 of 2) 1951-1953

Box 1, Folder 3

Aluminum Propeller -- Wind Tunnel Model

Box 1, Folder 4

Momentum Transducer and the Ballistocardiograph (1 of 3) 1963-1965

Box 1, Folder 5

Momentum Transducer and the Ballistocardiograph (2 of 3) 1965-1969

Box 1, Folder 6

Momentum Transducer and the Ballistocardiograph (3 of 3) undated

Box 1, Folder 7

Piezoelectric Transducers and Some Unique Applications Invented by Vernon L. Rogallo, June 15, 1964. International News Conference, Washington D.C., April 9, 1964. (VHS Videocassette)

Box 1, Folder 8

Six Letters Patent 1965-1969

Box 2, Folder 1

Bicycle Lock 1970

Box 2, Folder 2

Significance of Research on Propeller-Plane Flow Fields, Originals and Copies 1989

Box 2, Folder 3

The Propeller as a Propulsion Device 1989

Box 2, Folder 4

W-Wing Proposal: Correspondence and Background Research

Box 2, Folder 5


Box 2, Folder 6

NACA Staff Photographs 1948-1952

Box 2, Folder 7

NASA Ames Research Center Retirement Album 1969

Box 2, Folder 8

Loose Scrapbook Pages 1951-1991

Box 2, Folder 9

NASA Ames Research Center Snapshots January 16, 1991

Box 2, Folder 10

NASA Ames Research Center Memorabilia


Series II: The Rockets: The Rogallo Wing and Flexikites, 1954-1991

Box 2, Folder 11

Vernon Rogallo Family Flexikites (Memoirs and Articles)

Box 2, Folder 12

Flexikite Scrapbook

Box 2, Folder 13

"Peninsula Living" featuring the Rogallo Family March 5, 1960

Box 2, Folder 14

NASA Publications Featuring Francis and His Rogallo Wing

Box 2, Folder 15

The Vernon Rogallo Family Aerobatic Kite Flying Team (The Rockets) Photo Negatives

Box 2, Folder 16

Photographs 4 x 5

Box 2, Folder 17

Photographs 8 x 10

Box 2, Folder 18

Photograph, 8 x 10 on Oversized Board

Box 2, Folder 19

Photograph, Oversized

Box 2, Folder 20

Mounted Poster of Aircraft with Rogallo Wing, Oversized

Box 2, Folder 21

Kite Carrying Case with Kites and Accessories

Box 2, Folder 22

Red Nylon Parachute Material used for The Rockets' Costumes

Box 2, Folder 23

Toy Mercury Space Capsule with Para-Glider (Based on Rogallo Wing)