Rogallo Museum of Low Speed Flight

This Museum will reflect the highest caliber of design and exhibits, reflecting the significant contributions of the Rogallo’s to aviation…


A Place To Honor FreeFlight's Heritage

The Board of Directors of the Rogallo Foundation has approved a long-range plan to build a Rogallo Museum, located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This Museum will reflect the highest caliber of design and exhibits, reflecting the significant contributions of the Rogallo’s to aviation; their inventions; and. their incredible story. The Museum will be dedicated to the development, enthusiasm, adventures, and excitement of the worldwide sports of hang gliding, paragliding, flexible wing ultralighting, parachuting, and kiting. 

It is estimated that structure design, and construction may exceed $7 million. The funding for this ambitious project will be raised through grants as well as individual and corporate donations. Your support in the form of effort, time, or funding is welcome and needed. Please contact us to find out how you can help make this museum a reality. 

The Rogallo Foundation's Effort to Locate The Museum in Jockey's Ridge State Park

Francis Rogallo performed many of his flexible wing experiments on the slopes of Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Mr. Rogallo even referred to Jockey’s Ridge as a ‘Natural Wind Laboratory’ with it’s smooth consistent winds and forgiving sand.  In the 1960’s Francis was testing multiple versions of the flexible wing including ‘paragliders’ on this living sand dune.

1960s photo of Rogallo testing on Jockey's Ridge
Homemade Bamboo Glider on Jockeys Ridge Circa 1971

As early as 1971, backyard engineers had discovered the ‘Rogallo Wing’ through various news media around NASA’s use of the wing in the space race.   In 1973, over 100 hang glider pilots came from all over the country and as far away as South Africa for the first hang gliding competition to be held at the site.   Jockey’s Ridge proved to be a magnet for Francis Rogallo’s flexible wing. 

Over 100 gliders attended the 1973 hang gliding meet
Over 50 years later, modern gliders share the dune with beginners

Two years after that first hang gliding meet and over a decade after Francis Rogallo performed tests on Jockey’s Ridge, the dune was in danger of becoming developed and concerned citizens stepped in which fortunately led to the large dunes becoming part of a new 266+ acre State Park.  With the rich history of the flexible wing design and use engrained in the sand dunes that are part of Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the Rogallo Foundation thinks it a natural fit to locate the Rogallo Museum on the park land.

The 3 original sites that were studied for most suitable location.
Site #2 was selected as the proposed site due to it's low overall environmental impact.

The Rogallo Foundation started talking to the State in the fall of 2017 about the possibility of working toward a lease agreement to locate the Rogallo Museum in the developed part of the park.   The state recommended that we have a study done to determine the most suitable site.   The Foundation hired Evoke Studios – the firm the state uses for such tasks to do a site survey to come up with options.    Three options were evaluated with site #2 being determined to be the most suitable due to it’s lowest environmental impact and it’s lack of need for greatly expanded infrastructure – thus putting less strain on the park. 

The diagram to the left shows the ‘L’ shaped museum in relation to the current cluster of park buildings. 

Once the Foundation felt it was at the point of looking like there was a chance to move forward with the state, in the spring of 2019 our Vice President met with the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge to let the organization know what our goals were and to answer any questions.   

Conversations with the state moved slowly (as those type of conversations do) and we were asked to present a ‘first draft’ of a memorandum of understanding.  

Our first draft of the memorandum of understanding was put together utilizing parts of a lease from another entity that has a lease with a N.C. State Park plus input from leaseholders with National Parks. 

The proposed location of the museum shown in relation to most of the park (park continues out of frame)

Not long after the first draft of a memorandum of understanding was sent to the state, COVID hit and everything related to dealing with the state at this level of priority – ground to a stop for 2 years.     

In January of 2022, the Foundation was able to start conversations back up 

The foundation set up a number of meetings with the state and started the efforts of informing the community of what our goals are in relation to the museum.   

In September 2022, we presented our goals to the Dare County Board of Commissioners and The Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau. 

In October of 2022, we presented our goals to the Town of Nags Head and we will continue educating the public on our goals to see the Rogallo Museum become a reality. 

Keep an eye on this website for more updates. 

Some Facts About the Rogallo Foundation, Proposed Museum & Location

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Group

The Museum would be a non-commercial educational Museum leaning heavily on STEM education.

The Museum would become the property of the State after it is built – because it would be built on state property. 

The Foundation intends to ask the state for a 99 year no cost lease.

The Museum would be built, operated and maintained with Foundation funds.

This lease would not be the first lease in a NC State Park. 

This museum would not be the first museum in a NC State Park.

This museum location would not be in wetlands or on the dunes. It would be in the current cluster of buildings that include the Visitor Center, concessions building and bathroom building.

This museum would join the 13 other  buildings and 9 shelters currently on the property.

The location was selected because of it’s low environmental impact.