Bill Anders has risen from the Earth, for the last time…

Former NASA Astronaut, Bill Anders, who took the iconic Earthrise picture on Apollo 8, died in a plane crash yesterday.

What a guy!
What a life he lived…


Died doing low level acro in his own T-34 Mentor at he age of 90. What a way to go.


Unpopular opinion, but should 90 year olds still be flying, much less acro?


There is certainly the potential for the sad loss of a perfectly good airplane that is no longer manufactured and could have continued to be enjoyed by the next generation. At least it wasn’t a real warbird like a mustang.

Other than that, I think the regs should be blind to age. Most folks hang it up when they get too old, with a few glaring exceptions, much like driving. I plan to fly as long as I’m able, but maybe only do low level acro in current-production airplanes once above the age of 80. :rofl:


Fly as long as you can keep a medical. Acro too. This may well have been an exit strategy. (I had no right to posit this) As far as planes go, Beech Mentors are nothing special. And anyway, I know none of us are mourning the metal. The MAN lived large. I envy both his long, healthy life. And his exit.

(This assumes no passenger)

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Several things could have gone wrong that could have easily happened to a pilot 30 or 40 years his junior.



Over pancakes, I was once chatting with what I affectionately call an EAA hanger rat, in his 80s, about his Citabria. He said that his favorite recent guilty pleasure was throwing a toilet paper roll out tbe window and chasing it in a spiral as the roll descended, while doing his best to trim the ever increasing tail with the prop. I thought right on my brother.


That’s a blast to do, but you have to buy the high-end TP. More plies the better. Cheap ones won’t keep unrolling, which is pretty disappointing.

Indeed he did! Appointed himself as a test pilot on the F-16 while he was chairman at GD :rofl:, pretty awesome life. Everyone has to go sometime, and it looks to me like he went in the manner of his choosing, or close enough that I doubt he would trade it for a bed in a nursing home.

It’s easy to say that, but if the prices of these legacy airplanes continue to rise and supply dwindle, there will come a time when they’re no longer attainable for the next generation (already has for most). I think it’s okay to be a little sad for the loss of a cool GA airplane, even if it’s not a P-51 or B-17. When flying an airplane that’s far older than I am, I always feel a sense of stewardship for the next gen that will own/fly it after I’m gone.

Indeed. Age is ultimately just a number.


Excuse my language, but no the eff it isn’t.

Congitive decline, slower reaction times and decisionmaking, and higher sensitivity due to physical deterioration of the body are all real things.

ESPECIALLY that far north of 70.


Certainly true. But we have a guy, Ron Swartz, in our glider club who habitually outflies everyone for the day in a humble 1-26. At age 80 he was the second man to ever fly a 1000km in it. Apparently he has been declining from a very high mental perch.


Generally speaking, yes. But as with any normal population you have outliers.
To judge someones condition solely on their laps around the sun isn’t fair either.

Most 90 year olds shouldn’t be on a bike, let alone in an airplane. But that can also be true of a 70 yo. Imagine being told you can’t do stuff you love, for no other reason than most people your age can’t.

But then again, the statistics of age being what they are, people that old should be monitored if they want to operate advanced machinery.

So, I don’t think age is as simple as a number.

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Wouldn’t he need a class 2 or class 3 medical before being allowed to fly a plane like that? I imagine checks must be annual or every 6 months at an age like that if he wanted the capability to fly continuously without getting DNIF’d.

RIP Bill Anders!

Not sure about the FAA rules but over here he would’ve needed a Class 2 and renewal twice a year.

All he would have needed here ins the US is a class 3 medical, good for 24 months at his age, or BasicMed, if he wanted- probably the most likely case.

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