Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Col Kenneth O. 'KO' Chilstrom 1921-



Ken Chilstrom (Col, USAF, Ret.) is a decorated combat veteran, and a legend in the flight test community. Following World War II, he graduated from the very first test pilot class, along with famous ace Dick Bong, Bob Cardenas, and Glen Edwards (Edward AFB is named for him). In 1946, Col Chilstrom became chief pilot, Fighter Test Division at Wright Field supervising some of the most famous US test pilots in history: Pete Everest, Dick Johnson, Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover. He also flew captured German aircraft such as the ME-109, FW-190 & ME-262. In a bit of early Cold War capability demonstration, he flew the very first "jet mail" - a fast postal service demonstration (image above), in the P-80 Shooting Star: the U.S.'s very first operational jet fighter.