At 3 am on 7 July 1988 a hang-glider started from a deserted place near Slovak motorway towards Malacky. The twenty-four-year-old Josef Hlavatý was sitting inside. But he was not alone. A small, three-year-old son was tied to his back. They embarked on a dangerous flight across the Iron Curtain to Austria.

It was a desperate solution. His wife and one child were released to Yugoslavia by the communist authorities, but he and his little David had to stay at home. He did not obtain permission. But they wanted to emigrate altogether - thus agreed that the father and son will fly away and then they all will meet in Austria. It turned out well, but with a great deal of luck.

Despite the border was close and the hang-glider in a good condition, the flight was full of complications. First, they waited for the wind to stop blowing, then they got lost right above the Iron Curtain and they nearly got back to Czechoslovakia.

Hlavatý initially explored various possibilities of escape. The choice of the hang-glider was made in the end. They already had it at home. Just for fun. The engine was from Trabant, the petrol tank was made of white jerry can for water... But it flew well. Josef Hlavatý and his father tried it many times and knew that it was able to carry both him and his son. He just replaced the propeller, the original was too noisy ...

This decision then nearly became fatal for him.

Photo gallery

Josef Hlavatý - archive photo
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Rogallo on show
Rogallo on show

Walking route suggestion

  1. The surroundings of Reinthal