Meet the Pilot: Greg 'B.A.' Anders
Jul 11, 2019
Greg “B.A.” Anders was a combat qualified crew member in the B-52, F-15E and A-10 during his 23-year military career. A 1985 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Anders is a third-generation military officer and flew multiple combat missions in Iraq including Operations Southern and Northern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Anders is currently the senior vice president and executive director of the Heritage Flight Museum.
Q: What first sparked your passion for flying?
A: My dad was a pilot and I loved flying. We saw him fly many things but mostly we saw him fly the NASA T-38 all the time, and that was our childhood- watching him fly. One of my first memories was watching him fly the lunar landing training vehicle. I still vividly remember that even though I was six. (William Anders was a crew member on Apollo 8).
Q: Why did you decide to become a military aviator?
A: I saw the military as a great way to get into flying fighters and that’s what my passion and pursuits were. I started my flying up in Syracuse and during my initial solo I got pinned between two A-10s taxiing out, so I’ve always had an interface with military flying from my initial solo.
Q: What was your favorite aircraft to fly during your military career and why?
A: The F-15E for the flying and A-10 for the gun.
The F-15E is an airframe that does anything you ask it, just about. It was just an incredible aircraft to fly. Now that I’m flying warbirds, I find the P-51 flies a lot like the F-15E and the F-15E flies a lot like the P-51.
There’s just nothing like shooting the A-10 gun. You get the smoke and the smell of cordite coming back into the cockpit. It’s just a very effective weapons system and I enjoyed employing it quite a bit.
Q: What drew you to the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation?
A: I was crew chief for my dad for several years with the Heritage Flight Museum before applying for the Heritage Flight team. Being my Dad’s “crew chief” was fun for me and was my introduction to the incredible people in the warbird world. Heritage Flight is a very professional team and I really enjoy flying with the people that are involved with it.
Q: What is your favorite warbird to fly and why?
A: The P-51. She flies perfectly and is an extremely honest aircraft, but she doesn’t allow you to take her for granted. She teaches you something on every sortie.
Q: What is the most challenging part of flying a warbird with a modern fighter?
A: The dramatically different flight and power characteristics. My goal is to fly as smooth of an aircraft as possible because we’re operating at different extremes of the flight envelope. I’m at the top of my flight envelop in the P-51 and they’re at the bottom of their flight envelope. Being at different ends of the spectrum creates the challenge.
Q: Which modern aircraft do you most enjoy flying with and why?
A: All of them. What I really enjoy is being around our current day military aviators and their highly motivated support crews. So I love the flying, but I really enjoy being with the people of the Demo teams.
Q: What is it like to fly alongside the A-10?
A: It brings a lot of pride to be with an airplane I used to employ in combat. It’s such a privilege and I enjoy it every time I have the opportunity to do it.
Q: Which modern military aircraft would you most like to fly and why?
A: Any and all once.
Q: What historical aviator do you most look up to?
A: Besides my Dad, Bob Hoover – he was a great pilot, and a gracious gentleman.