East-West: Gliding to Freedom

Gliding to Freedom

East Europeans have escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in almost every type of vehicle, but last week's flight to freedom by a determined Czechoslovak was a first. A 39-year-old agricultural engineer, identified only as Vladimir P., outwitted the Czech air force and winged into West Germany on a homemade hang glider powered by a motorcycle engine.

In a deserted field eight miles from the West German frontier, Vladimir donned flying goggles and wobbled aloft, rising no higher than 90 ft. to avoid being spotted by radar. Minutes later, two Czechoslovak air force Albatros jets closed in but turned away as...