On 26 April 1962, Lockheed test pilot Louis Schalk took Article #121 for an unofficial, unannounced, maiden flight lasting some 40 minutes. Schalk also flew the first official flight on April 30, 1962. He broke the sound barrier on the second official flight, 4 May 1962, reaching Mach 1.1.
Born Louis Wellington "Lou" Schalk Jr. - Alden, Iowa on May 29, 1926, Lou is survived by: Wife: Louise Cochran Schalk, Fairfax, VA, Daughter: Nancie Schalk Johnson, Alexandria, VA (husband Joel Johnson), (daughter Monique, son Joel A. Johnson), Son: Thomas "Tom" Schalk, Dallas, TX, (wife Debra), Son: Louis "Lee" Wellington Schalk III, Potomac, MD (2 sons Carson and Mason), Sister: Dr. Barbara Schalk Thomas, from Iowa City, Iowa, and Brother: Dr. Thomas Schalk, from Kalamazoo, MI
Lou Schalk, former chief test pilot for Lockheed
Advanced Development Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Skunk Works), worked
in secrecy on the development and test flying of the Blackbird airplane.
The project was a top-secret CIA reconnaissance program and until recently
much about this plane and its development was classified. Naturally some
is still hidden in
secrecy. Lou Schalk was one of the very few who worked with C. L. "Kelly" Johnson and the Lockheed Skunk Works team, in the middle of the Cold War, developing the Blackbird, STILL flying more than 35 years later!!
Lou Schalk graduated from West Point in 1948 and was commissioned in the Air Force. After completing flying school at Nellis AFB in September 1949, he was assigned to the 86th Fighter Bomber Wing in Germany. His duties brought him back to the United States for studies at the Pilot Instructor School at Craig AFB and nine months of instructing at Laredo AFB before enrolling at the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB.
Graduating FIRST in his class at Test Pilot School, Lou was assigned to fighter operations at Edwards, where his instructors were Pete Everest and Chuck Yeager. Initially he completed the Instructor's Gunnery Course at Nellis and was assigned to various test programs.
In June 1957, after completing the Phase II tests on the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, Lou joined Lockheed and became an engineering test pilot for Lockheed Aircraft. In 1959, he joined Kelly Johnson's "Skunk Works" and became Chief Test Pilot for Lockheed's Advanced Development Programs.
Lou Schalk designed the cockpit and interfaced with the systems engineers on the A-12, YF-12 and SR-71 Blackbird prior to making the first thirteen flights on the A-12, which commenced on April 26, 1962.
Continuing in the Blackbird program, he made the first four flights exceeding Mach 3.0 with a top speed of Mach 3.287 (2,287 mph) and subsequent flights above Mach 3.0 as the inlet, engine, and afterburner were fine-tuned for maximum efficiency. This testing was done at altitudes sometimes exceeding 90,000 feet.
Lou left Lockheed's flight test program and test flying in June 1964 to accept a position with North American Aeronautics, where he remained for ten years before resigning to devote full time to the field of real estate. In his career, he has flown 70 different aircraft, compiling 5,000 hours in ten years of engineering flight test.