George G. Troutman

United States of America


George G. Troutman, 75, a World War II bomber pilot who served 22 years in Air Force and then 27 years on Capitol Hill representing General Dynamics, General Electric and Bell Helicopters Textron, died February 19, 2000 at his home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  Known widely among lawmakers and staff on the Hill, Troutman led lobbying efforts for development and funding of several major aircraft projects including the F-111, F-16 and V-22 Osprey.

In 1990, with the help of few congressional friends, he arranged one of the most spectacular events ever seen at the Capitol - a midday fight demonstration by the XV-15 tilt rotor experimental aircraft.  Hundreds of Hill workers and visitors watched in fascination as the forerunner of the V-22 lifted off from the east parking plaza to perform an aerial ballet in the shadow of the Capitol dome.

A native of Albany, Georgia, Troutman enlisted at 17 in the Army Air Force and flew combat missions in Europe as lead pilot for a B-24 liberator group.  After VE day, he participated in one of the earliest confrontations of the Cold War - a massive flyover of American airpower to deter the threatened Communist seizure of the strategic Italian port of Trieste.

In 1965, he retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and joined General Dynamics, where his principal task was to keep appropriations flowing to the firm's Fort Worth plant for continued production of the F-111 fighter.  He 1975, he became general manager of the General Electric's aircraft engine group in Washington, and 6 years later he moved to Bell Helicopter Textron to become Washington vice president.  At Bell, he became fascinated with the military and civilian potential of tilt rotor aircraft.

When Dick Cheney, then President George Bush's defense secretary, terminated the US Marine Corps' V-22 in 1990 as part of a cost-cutting effort, Troutman took immediate action.  Keeping a low personal profile, he arranged a series of hearings on the Hill in which national and aerospace industry leaders promoted the "tilt rotor" as a uniquely "American asset."  If he did not actually coined the words "dual use," Troutman gave the term meaning and made it memorable with a constant battery of presentations, exhortations, and advertising heralding the tilt rotor's military as well as commercial applications to satisfy national needs.

Troutman fashioned a national strategy with the active participation of Bell's and Boeing's extensive supplier base.  Feeding a constant stream of faxes to Bell's Fort Worth plant, he demanded the name, geographic venue and congressional district of every V-22 supplier of the nation.  None was too small or insignificant.  Within a short time, Troutman and his friends gained overwhelming bipartisan congressional support for the V-22 sufficient to overcome a threatened presidential veto.  So it went each year during the appropriation season, 1990, 1991 and 1992, until during the fall 1992 presidential campaign, democratic candidate Bill Clinton - soon followed by George Bush - announced support for the V-22 Osprey.  The battle for the tilt rotor was finally won.

AHS Update: Vertiflite Spring 2000