An 80-year-old US woman landed a small Cessna twin-engine plane safely at a northeastern Wisconsin airport after realising that her husband who was at the wheels was dead.

Hellen Collins landed the plan which was running on low gas safely at the Cherryland Airport taking guidance from her pilot son James Collins through the radio.

Another pilot, Robert Vuksanovic, who lived a mile away from the airport also took to the air to guide her to the ground.

Though she has taken a few flying lessons 30 years ago at the insistence of her husband, she does not own a flying licence.

James Collins told the AP that his mother was completely under control at the wheels and was calmer than those who were at the ground.

"At one point she didn't even want the wingman to go up. She said, 'Don't you guys think I could do this on my own? Don't you have confidence in me?' She was calmer than everybody on the ground. She had it totally under control, " AP quoted James Collins as saying.

The couple was returning from their second home Marco Island, Florida, for Easter when the 81-year-old John Collins had a heart attack seven minutes before landing at the Cherryland Airport.

One engine had completely run out of gas and the other was close to running out when she skidded nearly 1,000 feet down the runway before coming to a halt.

Though the nose-wheel collapsed, she could keep the plane straight.

"She wanted to know if I was confident in her confidence. I said if you're confident then I'm confident, I think we can do this," Vuksanovic told a news conference.

Helen Collins was taken to the hospital on Tuesday to treat an injury to her vertebrae and a cracked rib. She is doing fine according to her son.