Pilots: Vladimir Lange

From Russia to Harvard to Hollywood

July 1, 2013

Vladimir Lange

When Vladimir Lange first soloed in the early 1970s, he was a young medical-school student at Harvard. It was a long journey from his youth in Russia (his family was loyal to the czar and escaped to Brazil during the Russian Revolution), growing up in the rain forest, living in a desert village in Iran, to high school in a Jesuit convent in France. The 17-year-old moved to New York barely speaking English and eventually entered Harvard. “My fiancée—who was also a medical student—and I were on a class outing near Hanscom Field, and watched the ‘little planes’ land. I decided there and then that when we became doctors we would buy an airplane,” he says. “Shortly thereafter, a resident who owned a Bonanza invited me to go flying and demonstrated an ILS approach. The sight of those two crossed needles sealed the decision. I started taking flying lessons the following week.”

Lange and his first wife Marilyn moved to California and he began a career in emergency medicine. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Lange started his educational series of books and videos, Be a Survivor, which helped cancer patients through their treatments. Lange Productions now produces extensive multimedia products for the healthcare industry from his Hollywood Hills home and offices.

Lange’s website proclaims “From Russia to Harvard, to Hollywood, Vladimir Lange’s personal story reads like a movie script.” Ice climbing in the Himalayas, he rescued an injured climber by performing a thoracostomy with a Swiss Army knife.

Lange has piloted his V-tail Beech Bonanza through South America, Brazil (see “Why Brazil?” January 2011 AOPA Pilot), and, most recently, flew a Cherokee through Africa on an air safari.

“Flying back to Brazil was a dream accomplished—the dirt strip in the middle of the jungle on a river, a sleepy little place with insects buzzing and fish biting, a starry night under the Southern Cross—I get goose bumps remembering.”

Lange is the author of two medical thrillers, Fatal Memories and The Delta Anomaly. In The Delta Anomaly, Lange’s main character is a pilot and physician who is involved in an aerial battle and evades an intercept.


Who | Vladimir Lange, emergency physician, medical multimedia producer, nonfiction and fiction author

Hours | 4,000-plus hours

Ratings | CFII, ATP

Extra | Owns a 1979 V-tail Beech Bonanza

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker | AOPA Senior Features Editor

AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.