A student pilot radioed for help, and the president of Chrysler Corp., at the controls of another plane, personally gave permission for a landing on one of the automaker's car test tracks.
Robert Trybulec radioed the Willow Run Airport tower for help on Sunday, saying his plane had started losing power and altitude.Trybulec, 34, of Westland, was told to land on a grass strip at Rosetti in eastern Washtenaw County.
"When they told him to go to the Rosetti airport, he was concerned because he never landed on grass before," State Trooper Brad Breedveld said.
The radio exchange was overheard by Chrysler Corp. President Robert Lutz, flying his private L-39 Albatros jet over Pontiac.
Lutz offered Trybulec clearance to land on a 1.5-mile, four-lane oval track at the Chrysler Proving Grounds near Rosetti.
Breedveld was impressed.
"I never heard of anything like it before. How many times would a guy with that kind of clout and authority be able to assist somebody and be able to ensure the safety of an individual and the general public?" Breedveld said.
Lutz said he had experienced emergencies when he was a Marine Corps jet pilot and he empathized with Trybulec.
"You could tell from his voice and radio transmissions that he was very worried," Lutz said.