The Einstein of Aerodynamics...
Jalbert Aerology Laboratory, Boca Raton Florida, Circa 1990.
Domina Cleophas Jalbert
The Father of the Ram-Air Parafoil & Paragliding.
Making the Dream of Simplified Personal Flight into a Reality for Millions Around the World... Domina C. Jalbert is considered to be One of the Most Prominent & Innovative Pioneers in the Field of Aerodynamic Study, Since Leonardo Da Vinci.
The Modern Day Parafoil was developed by Domina C. Jalbert in his laboratory he owned, based in Boca Raton, over 40 years ago. Dom first spoke of his new invention in the June 10th 1963 issue of the Sun Sentinel Newspaper, on page A-12. He referred to the device as a kite-balloon vehicle which could be flown with 12 onces of dry-ice pellets to clear fog, by causing precipitation around runways and landing stripes. He also mentioned it could be used to slow space vehicals for re-entry and guide astronauts to a safe recovery area. I believe it was first used by NASA when they tested the X-37 emergency recovery vehical in 1998 for the new orbiting space station...exactly like what Dom had predicted 35 years earlier. It was first successfully flown in Boca Raton, March of 1964. The name for the device went through several transitions before it became known as the Parafoil. It had been referred to as the flying mattress when it's flight was first witnessed. The first few that were ever produced by Mr. Jalbert, were stamped with the name "Kitefoil" and later "Aerofoil"... before a German friend of Dom's suggested Parafoil... which stuck. Mr. Jalbert filed for a patent Oct. 1st 1964... and was granted one on Nov. 15th 1966 under the Patent # 3,285,546. I believe the J-4 Parafoil was the first commercially produced by Gayla Industries, introducing a whole new & unique Soft-Kite/Toy Category using the Ram-Air Principle... thus eliminating the need for any rigid structure.
Besides inventing the Parafoil during Jalbert's 80 plus year career in the field of Aerology & Aerodynamics, Domina had many other patents pertaining to WindSurfing Sails, from the 1960's... Blimps (The Kytoon, which is credited for winning the 2nd World War in the 40's by extending communication ranges by lifting antenna behind warships), Racing Spinnakers dawning several Parafoil Bars (The America's Cup Dolly Spinnaker), Parachutes (The Multi-Center of effort round canopy used in WWII, also used for The NASA Apollo Missions in the 60's & 70's, & most recently for Missions to Mars and other Outer Planets), Drogues & Spinsocks, Many powerful Boxkite-Parafoil Hybrids, Aerial Platforms and Sled Kites.