Flying lizards of the genus Draco are famous for their gliding ability, using an aerofoil formed by winglike patagial membranes and supported by elongated thoracic ribs. It has remained unknown, however, how the lizards manoeuvre during flight. Here, I show that the patagium is deliberately grasped and controlled by the forelimbs while airborne. This type of composite wing is unique inasmuch as the lift-generating and the controlling units are formed independently by different parts of the body and are connected to each other only for the duration of the flight. The major advantage for the lizards is that the forelimbs keep their entire movement range and functionality for climbing and running when they are not used as the controlling unit of the wing. These findings not only shed a new light on the flight of Draco lizards but also have implications for the interpretation of gliding performance in fossil species.