APOLLO 8 Astronaut Bill Anders,
center, tells his sailplane pilot Allan Dresner and
co-owner Ernie Klimonda of the Capital Area Soaring School
how it felt up there during Anders' first ride in a
-Democrat staff photos
A man who orbited the moon last Christmas came to Warrenton
Airpark last Saturday to take his first flight in a
When he set foot on earth again, Apollo 8 astronaut William
A. Anders was asked if he felt any uneasiness or anxiety up
there in a glider.
Used to the potent thrust of after-burners, Bill Anders said,
"Whenever you don't hear that motor turning over, It's an
But he told Allan R. Dresner, his pilot for his maiden flight
in the motorless plane, "Heh, that's great." And to his guide to
Warrenton, James Elms, director of the national space agency's
Electronics Research Center, Cambridge, Mass., who is a veteran
sailplaner, Bill Anders repeated, "Great, isn't it?"
Anders started with Frank Borman and James A. Lovell Jr. the
thrill of being the first to man a Saturn rocket flight and the
first to orbit the moon.
From their 10 lunar orbits they returned to earth with
spectacular photos, the first of the moon's surface close-up.
Their 147 hour, one-minute mission was a Christmas gift of
beauty, daring and adventure to all the world.
The flight tested techniques
later followed by the crew of Apollo 11, two of whom were the
first to set foot on the moon.
Jim Elms, the NASA research director, said sailplaning is the
best of sports. "You've got to pay attention every second," he
said, "for the little bit of wind current that you don't
You can't put a sailplane on autopilot and forget it, but --
unlike golf, he said -- it's the perfect sport in that you're
rid of earthbound troubles every moment you're soaring. Elms,
who owns his own sailplane in Boston, made a check flight of
Bill Anders gave his autograph to eager children and adults
who approached him after the flight. Chatting with them, he said
he has a rating for every kind of powered flight, but not for
Now executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space
Council, Executive Office of The President, Bill Anders gave
some strong indicators that he won't be happy until he has a
sailplane pilot rating, too.
Co-owner Klimonda says soaring operations will continue
Saturdays and Sundays at the Airpark through the winter, weather