About the Cape Town Flying Club
The history of Cape Town Flying Club
Cape Town flying Club’s origins date back to the pre-World War II era. The club’s base of operations was at the Youngsfield Military Base in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.
Then known as the Cape Aero Club it moved to DF Malan Airport (Cape Town International Airport) in the 1970’s. In the mid 1970’s the club split into two separate flying clubs, Good Hope Flying and Cape Aero Club. Both clubs continued to operate from DF Malan airport.
Good Hope Flying Club then operated closely with the University of Cape Town’s Flying Club from the same base at the airport. Cape Aero Club moved to the current club house of Cape Town Flying Club in the early 1980’s. The club house was officially opened by Sir Douglas Bader on 12 November 1980.
As economic times became tougher the Committees of Cape Aero Club and Good Hope Flying decided to pursue an amalgamation of the two organisations. This amalgamation was successfully completed on the 1st of July 2006 and thus the Cape Town Flying Club was born.
Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader
Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL was a Royal Air Force flying ace during the Second World War. He was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.
Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds. After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his “Big Wing” experiments.
In August 1941, Bader bailed out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace. Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.
Bader left the RAF permanently in February 1946 and resumed his career in the oil industry. During the 1950s, a book and a film, Reach for the Sky, chronicled his life and RAF career to the end of the Second World War. Bader campaigned for the disabled and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 1976 was appointed a Knight Bachelor “for services to disabled people” and continued to fly until ill health forced him to stop in 1979. Three years later, at the age of 72, Bader died on 5 September 1982, after a heart attack.
The Club premises were officially opened by Sir Douglas Bader on 12 November 1980. To commemorate the event he is seen above with the 1980 Committee Members.
(from left to right): Mr. P C Daniel, Maj. P C Dagg, Mr P Steinmann, Dr. B R A Binnewald, Mr. S L Reilly (Chairman), Sir Douglas Bader, Mr. A Searl and Mr. D I Edwards. Committee Members, Mr. T Barlow and Mr. J B J Ecclestone (inset) were not present for the photograph.