Thursday, May 17, 2007
As Northrop’s Chief Test Pilot for advanced fighter aircraft, Hank Chouteau helped develop dozens of new or modified aircraft, participating in aircraft design, development, test flights and marketing. Chouteau logged more than 7,300 flight hours in more than 80 models of aircraft. He piloted first flights in nine aircraft including the YF-5A, F-5A, F-5E, the CF-5A and CF-5B in Canada, the NF-5 in the Netherlands, and the YF-17 prototype for the F-18 Navy Strike Fighter. He helped develop the F-18L Cobra, F-89J atomic weapon equipment interceptor, the T-38 supersonic trainer, the A-9 ground attack fighter, the F-5A Freedom Fighter and the F-5E international Fighter. During World War II, Chouteau was assigned to the European Theater as a member of the Army Air Corps’ 587th Bomb Squadron. He returned to the Air Force in the Korean War flying 100 sorties with the 12th Fighter/Bomber Squadron in the F-51 Mustang; he later flew sorties in Vietnam in the F-5. Chouteau was born in Oklahoma in 1924. He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming, and graduated from the USAF Maintenance Officer School and Test Pilot School. Chouteau has been honored by the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four clusters, four Battle Stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the South Vietnamese Cross of Honor, the Award of Pilot Wings by the United States, Vietnamese and Ethiopian Air Forces.