Louis Wellington Schalk Jr., 76, original chief test pilot for the A-12 Blackbird spy plane built by Lockheed's storied "Skunk Works" in 1962, died Friday in a hospice in Arlington, Va. The cause of death was complications of leukemia.
A native of Alden, Iowa, Schalk graduated from West Point and served with the 86th Fighter Bomber Wing in Germany. He later completed flight instructors school and taught at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas.
After graduating first in his class at the Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1954, Schalk became an Air Force test pilot under Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, flying such aircraft as the F-104 Starfighter.
Schalk joined Lockheed in 1957 and two years later was chosen as Kelly Johnson's chief test pilot for the secretive "Skunk Works."