The Cape Albatross Hang Gliding Club has a long and rich heritage going back to the early days of the sport.  Recently the club was contacted by Nick Moldan, a CAHGC pilot from the 70's, who shared some classic images from the early days of the sport in the Western Cape.  The pictures and text below are courtesy of Nick.  Enjoy!

(image above: Peter Sacks flies his motorized glider at Muizenberg circa 1978)

Hi, I enjoyed looking at your website - and good to see hang gliding is still going strong in C Town. I was taught to hang glide by Herman Pederson in '74 - he also made my first glider. I continued to hang glide for about another 4 or 5 years - amazing years. I have very few pictures and not much video. There just seems to be so little available from those early years - which is rather a pity. Herman was such an amazing guy - and at the age of 18 he gave me the gift of flight. I envy you guys now. Here is one old video I have - my 2nd glider, the red one - made by Fast Sails in Durban. We had only just started to fly prone.



Here are a few more from the archives!  Mine was the green and white glider (over Sea Point, landing on 4th Beach, Clifton and also flying at Dasklip Pass).  Purchased from Herman Pederson (made at his factory, Cabson Caravans) for R250 in 1974 – courtesy of Barclays Bank Student Loan, Stellenbosh branch.  It was a 20’/20’ bomber! 

The other pictures are of Herman on Tygerberg.  Showing his new glider – quite radical – he took 2’ off his keel pipe – down to 18’!  What an amazing guy he was – he had diabetes and his one arm was shorter than the other.  He built all our gliders and helped us along as we crashed down the nursery slopes on Tygeberg a few times – before he sent us off the top.  Herman really was the grandfather of hang gliding in Cape Town in the early 70’s.

The last one is of my mate, John Hutchinson – he was the 6th person to fly from Table Mountain and I was the 7th.  We flew off the back and down to Camps Bay.  Only did that once – those old gliders certainly plummeted over the edge, before they got flying!

 Good memories – they were exciting times for a teenager! 



That Table Mountain flight was something else.  To be honest I was never one of the super brave gung ho pilots – but my passion for the sport was greater than my bouts of nerves!  We always spoke about having a “bossies” before a flight.  If it look like a bit of a tricky flight – quite often the guys used to nip into the bushes with the loo paper before taking off!  I am 55 now – and we had such fun back then.  No one really knew that much – but Herman knew a bit more than all of us!  We used to meet at his house every Sunday morning – and go off and look for a new place to fly.  No rules and regulations – that’s what we all loved about it.  

I think hang gliding burst onto the scene when Herman flew from Table Mountain.  I guess with Godfrey Castle, Duncan Temp Forbes and others.  When John and I flew there it was illegal.  In fact that was not the right word as there were no rules about where you could and couldn’t fly.  

We spent weeks waiting for the right day and then arrived early at the cable car.  We begged the operators to take our gliders up.  The gliders would not fit on the roof – so one of the operators sat on the roof of the cable car with it.  We gave him a case of Castle.  The only place we could find to take off was a short flat rock on the back of the mountain.  And of course a sheer drop – with only about 10 feet for the run off.  We had to rely on the tail man (Anton van Dorsten) to give us a good shove over the edge – and he had to be careful not to run over too.  

John flew first (the 6th person to do it).  I spent at least another hour plucking up the courage, looking for a more gentle run off etc.  I get butterflies just thinking of it.  Eventually I plucked up the courage and over the edge I went.  John was sitting on Camps Bay beach having just about given up hope of me taking off.  I flew over his head, screaming “I have done it!!!”.  What a day.  I never did it again.  I hated cliff “jumps”. 



A Feature on Hang Gliding from "Die Burger", 11 October, 1975. 


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