Could Rogallo have been right?
- The original soft-kite was the paleolithic PlaySail. Many traditional kites evolved as more-or-less complex soft kites. Controversy exists in AWE R&D over soft-kites, mainly due to poor information.NASA's legendary kite designer, Francis Rogallo, invented a soft-kite that continues to thrive in kite sports, known as the NASA Power Wing (NPW)*. Rogallo's theory was that a single-skin fabric wing would be unbeatable in many aerospace applications, especially where megascale performance was needed at minimal weight and cost. The NPW is a robust low-cost master of the flight envelope of our most-probable winds.KiteShip's OL kite was the first post-MPW breakthrough, reducing the many bridle lines of the NPW to just three. Its not ugly, its an attractive dancing hippo. Mothra-tech (pure loadpaths and tarps) is the latest single-skin advance upon Rogallo's original insight. Mothra represents a hearkening back to the old playsail, on the AWES engineering Iterative Spiral.If Rogallo was right, soft single-skin wings will dominate in key AWE settings.* The Barish SailWing and other efforts share credit with Rogallo for modern single-skin advances. Dave Culp is a key recent figure, via the OL. A large number of folks contributed to Mothra's birth.