Col. Chester A. Snow, 78, a World War I fighter pilot who was deputy of staff for the Army Air Corp in China during World War II and later headed a Washington property management firm, died Sunday of a heart attack at Sibley Hospital.

A member of the famous World War I "Hat in the Ring" Squadron of fighter pilots under Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Col. Snow also was a member of the French Foreign Legion.

He joined the foreign legion as an aviator tranee after leaving the University of Pennsylvania before graduating. He later became a polot for the Escadrille as a fighter pilot for France and earning the Bravet d'Aviateur Miltaire.

When the U.S. joined World War I, he transferred to the Army Air Squadron and joined Rickenbacker's unit.

Between the world wars, he flew in airplane races and helped test the VT or proximity fuse, during its development. He also earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School.

At the start of World War II he was the only member of the Army AIr Corp reserve to serve on the general staff at the Pentagon. He then was sent to CHina to serve as Deputy CHief of Staff for Air under Gen. Joseph Stillwell. His final World War II assignment took him to India, where he served as the assistant dupty commnader of the 10th Air Force.

After the war, he opened the C. A. Snow Property Management Co. here.

Col. Snow was a member of the Chevy Chase Club, the Metropolitan Club, then the Army/Navy Club, and a senior member of the Corinthian Yacht Club.