Test Pilot Wins Kincheloe Award for Stratolaunch Maiden Flight

Stratolaunch takes off. (Credit: Stratolaunch)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Scaled Composites PR) — During the annual Society of Experimental Test Pilots symposium this past weekend, test pilot Evan “Ivan” Thomas was awarded the Kincheloe award for the execution of the initial test program and first flight of the Scaled Model 351, Stratolaunch.

In addition, the Stratolaunch first flight crew – Evan “Ivan” Thomas, Chris “Duff” Guarente, and Jake Riley – were awarded the Tenhoff award or the most outstanding technical paper that was presented during the event.

Iven C. Kincheloe Award

In 1958, The Society of Experimental Test Pilots established the Iven C. Kincheloe Award in memory of Captain Iven C. Kincheloe, USAF.  The purpose of the Kincheloe Award is to recognize outstanding professional accomplishment in the conduct of flight-testing by a test pilot member of The Society of Experimental Test Pilots.  The recipient must be a living member of the Society and the accomplishment or at least a significant phase must have occurred during the past year (1 July to 1 July).  The achievement must involve actual flight-testing conducted by the individual and represent the outstanding contribution to an aerospace flight program while acting as a test pilot.  The presentation of the Kincheloe Award is a highlight of the annual Awards Banquet and is the most visible manifestation of the Society’s contribution to the aviation community in general.  The award is all the more significant in that it is direct recognition from test pilot peers.  The Kincheloe Award is sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

The Kincheloe Trophy

The Kincheloe Award is a perpetual trophy incorporating four columns supporting a large symbol of the Society and a symbolic aerospace vehicle.  Around the sides of the onyx base are plaques bearing the names of each year’s awardee.  The columns represent courage, integrity, knowledge, and accomplishment – which make up the foundation upon which the Society is built.  The symbolic aerospace vehicle points toward the shield of the Society and conveys the thought that the aerospace industry is dependent upon the Society to share in development of aerospace systems. Each recipient will receive a small replica of the respective award, while the perpetual trophies remain on display at SETP Headquarters and the National Air and Space Museum.

Ray E. Tenhoff Award

The Ray Tenhoff award was established in 1962 to recognize the most outstanding technical paper presented at the annual Society of Experimental Test Pilots Symposium. The award is determined by a panel of judges at the completion of the annual Symposium. The award, consisting of a plaque and cash honorarium, is presented at the annual Awards Banquet.

Selection Criteria

The technical papers submitted for the Ray E. Tenhoff award include only those presented to the Society during the annual Symposium.

Nomination Criteria

Nominations for the Ray E. Tenhoff Award are not accepted. A panel of judges convened during the symposium grades and subsequently votes on the winning paper. Their voting determines the Ray E. Tenhoff Award winner. The grade sheet utilized by the judges is available here.  Voting results are maintained secret until the award’s announcement.