Air Lutz Flies Again

July 21, 2005
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When a meeting at the Milford (Michigan) proving grounds was called off at the last minute recently, General Motors' car czar, Bob Lutz, used the opportunity to keep his flying skills current. The former Marine pilot jumped into the seat of his Alpha Jet, and set off on a short mission, practicing strafing runs down the long, Milford test track. "All you could see was the nose heading straight at us," recalled one GM engineer, with a mix of laughter and awe. "Then he stood it on its tail and climbed out." It seems the jet, originally designed for the German military, can climb at a rate of nearly 10,000 feet a minute.

A few days later, and a half continent away, Lutz was sipping a glass of water and explaining that he likes to get in at least one flight a week in the Alpha, and another in his Czech-made L-39 Albatros fighter-trainer. (He's also got a helicopter, which he'll often use to commute from his home in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan, to various GM locations.) "I want to remain current in case they recall me to active duty," the GM Vice Chairman said with mock sincerity, "and what a deal they'd get. I'll bring my own stuff."

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