Life Accomplishments
Modern Day Leonardo da Vinci
"A Convention Paper"

"A Convention Paper" by Domina Jalbert:
This brief paper by Mr. Domina Jalbert eloquently tells the story of how the parafoil was developed. An article in Life (13 Sept. 1968) rightly states that, "The parafoil, once mockingly written off as a flying mattress, is the most radical departure in parachute design since Leonardo Da Vinci sketched the original in 1495."

I was so young when I flew my first kite that I remember being intrigued as to why the kite would fly one way and another way the next. Later on I realized that these differences were due to changes in the wind conditions. I kept designing and making all sorts of kites. In the late 30's I realized that I could design kites to perform various functions under different weather conditions.

I designed and fabricated kites for M.I.T., Woods Holes Oceanographic Institute, and many government agencies. The thing that bothered me most, was the heavy sticks required on kites having span of over 12 feet. After a couple of hours of flight time , the sticks would bend under pressure, the plane surface would differ from one side to the other, and directional stability would be lost, causing the kite to become erratic, often destroying itself. So a combination of the kite balloon was the next step, and the result was the creation of the Kytoon, which I developed in the mid-30's. Having assigned the trade mark and patent to a company I was employed by in the early 40's, I could not use the name Kytoon, when I formed and started Jalbert Aerology Laboratory at Bedford Mass. Airport in 1949, so we just called our products Jalbert Kite Balloons, with the 5- and 10 lb. free lift units. Today we are in the 200 lb- plus free lift class MSL. Continuing my work with kites and later with balloons, I learned that in winds under 12 knots, kites are not reliable, and in winds over 12 knots balloons are too erratic. Between the time of my original play and work with kites and the forming of our Jalbert Aerology Lab, there was much water over the dam and many blisters, back aches, frustration and disappointments. During this time I was able from actual experience to accumulate much knowledge and know-how in fields which gave me the background necessary for the development of my first practical airfoil.

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