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Viper pilot helps troubled plane to land

May 5, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A Michigan ANG F-16 pilot on a training mission Saturday helped a passenger plane that had lost its instruments and radio find clear airspace for landing.

USAF F-16C #85503 ready to get launched at Selfridge ANBG on March 25th, 2002 [USAF photo by CIV John S. Swanson]

Two F-16s belonging to the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard were in the air when air traffic control from Bishop Airport notified them about the troubled plane.

One Viper went ahead and got eye contact with the Cessna and directed the plane where to go.

A passenger on the plane using a cellphone contacted Genesee County 911 and told the dispatcher that the plane had lost its electrical and needed help dropping below the cloud base. The dispatcher then called the Bishop control tower to set up three-way call.

The plane landed safely at 1:50 p.m. at Bishop.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the emergency landing.