Open main menu

Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr.

  (Redirected from Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr)

Iven Carl "Kinch" Kincheloe Jr.[1] (July 2, 1928 – July 26, 1958)[2][3] was an American fighter pilot, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, and a flying ace in the Korean War.[3][4]

Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr.
Iven Kincheloe photo portrait head and shoulders.jpg
Born(1928-07-02)July 2, 1928
DiedJuly 26, 1958(1958-07-26) (aged 30)
Cause of deathAir crash
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
EducationPurdue University, B.S. 1949
Known forTest pilot and flying ace
AwardsSilver Star
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (4)
Aviation career
Air forceUnited States Air Force
BattlesKorean War

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Kincheloe grew up in Cassopolis in the southwest part of the state, the only child of Iven C. Kincheloe Sr. (1894–1966) and Frances Wilder Kincheloe.[5] Interested in aviation from a very young age, he graduated from Dowagiac High School in 1945 and attended Purdue University in Indiana.

Kincheloe joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity (Indiana Alpha), and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering. In the summer of 1948, the ROTC cadet met test pilot Chuck Yeager and sat in the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

Korean WarEdit

Upon graduation from college, Kincheloe received his commission in the U.S. Air Force and entered flight training. After earning his pilot wings in August 1950, he spent a year as a test pilot, flying the F-86E at Edwards Air Force Base, California, was promoted to first lieutenant, and transferred to Korea in September 1951.

During the war, he flew F-80s on thirty combat missions and F-86s on 101 combat missions, downing five MiG-15s (becoming an ace and earning the Silver Star) before returning to the U.S. in May 1952. At this time, he had reached the rank of captain.

Post-war careerEdit

After the war, Kincheloe was a gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nevada, then became a test pilot, graduating in December 1954 from the Empire Test Pilots' School at Farnborough, England. He participated in the testing of the Century Series of fighter aircraft (F-100 Super Sabre, F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, and F-106 Delta Dart).

In the mid-1950s, Kincheloe joined the Bell X-2 program and on September 7, 1956,[6] flew at more than 2,000 mph (3,220 km/h) and to a height of 126,200 feet (38,470 m)[2][6] (some sources list 126,500),[3] the first flight ever above 100,000 feet (30,480 m). For this he was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman." He was awarded the Mackay Trophy for 1956 for the flight.[7]

The X-2 program was halted three weeks later, after a fatal crash resulted in the death of Mel Apt in a flight in which Apt became the first person to exceed Mach 3.[8] Kincheloe was later selected as one of the first three pilots in the next rocket-powered aircraft program, the X-15,[9] and would have been part of the Man in Space Soonest project.

Death and legacyEdit

In July 1958, Kincheloe was killed in the crash of an F-104A (Lockheed F-104A-10-LO s/n 56-772) at Edwards AFB; he had ejected at low altitude, but the deployed parachute did not adequately slow his descent.[9][10] He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.[11] Only thirty years old, Kincheloe was survived by wife, Dorothy, their young son, Iven III, and a daughter who was born two months later, Jeannine.[12]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr. is on his grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery.
    However, his first name is sometimes spelled Ivan.
    Bryan, C. D. B. (1979-09-23). "The Right Stuff". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-04-02. (The Right Stuff, however, consistently uses Iven).
    "Astronaut bio: Robert L. Crippen". NASA, Johnson Space Center. 1997. Retrieved 2006-04-02.
  2. ^ a b Burns, Curtis A. (1975). "Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe Jr". National Museum of the United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2006-02-25. Retrieved 2006-04-02.
  3. ^ a b c "Captain Iven C. Kincheloe Jr". Air Force Link. Archived from the original on 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2006-04-02.
  4. ^ Mumford, Lou (September 10, 2006). "Cassopolis native was first man in space". South Bend Tribune. (Indiana). Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  5. ^ Kincheloe's parents,
  6. ^ a b Chant, Christopher (1999). "The chronology of flight 1940 to [1999-03-25]". In Taylor, Michael J.H. (ed.). The world's greatest aircraft. Hertfordshire: Regency House Publishing Ltd. p. 388. ISBN 1-85605-523-X. The Bell X-2 research aircraft is flown by Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe to an altitude of 126,200 ft (38,466m).
  7. ^ "Mackay Trophy". The Air Power Historian. 4 (3): 173. 1957. JSTOR 44512998.
  8. ^ "Needle-nose X-2 dives to earth". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 28, 1956. p. 1.
  9. ^ a b "Jet crash kills pilot slated to be one of first spacemen". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. July 27, 1958. p. 1.
  10. ^ "26 July 1958". This Day in Aviation. July 26, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Ike asks successor to aid lad". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. November 18, 1958. p. 2.
  12. ^ Kincheloe's family,
  13. ^ Boster, Steven F. (1969). "Aerospace Profile: Space Age Pioneer". Aerospace Historian. 16 (4): 7–8. JSTOR 44524658.
  14. ^ Smalls, Yashekia (September 24, 2006). "Kincheloe monument restored". South Bend Tribune. (Indiana). Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  15. ^ "Sightings: Capt. Iven Kincheloe Memorial, Cassopolis, Michigan". Bell X-2. 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  16. ^ "Kincheloe Elementary". Dowagiac Union Schools. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Halley, Blaine (September 19, 1992). "Ceremony Will Honor 5 Test Pilots". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. B2 – via
  18. ^ "50th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony". National Aviation Hall of Fame website. Retrieved on 2011-07-23.
  19. ^ Mumford, Lou (2011-07-22). "An Honor Long Overdue". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  20. ^ "Need of Human Pilots, Despite Missiles, Seen". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. October 5, 1958. p. 4 – via

External linksEdit