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Garmin’s Chief Test Pilot Wins the Kincheloe Award

Award was based on work surrounding Garmin’s Autoland system.

A quick bit of history: Captain Iven C. Kincheloe—an Air Force test pilot back in the 1950s—was the first to climb a research aircraft above 100,000 feet, eventually peaking at 126,200 feet. He died in 1958 following an accident in an F-104. It’s in his honor that the Iven C. Kincheloe Award for exceptional contributions to aerospace was created, an annual award now bestowed by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).

Last week, Tom Carr, Garmin’s director of flight operations and its chief test pilot, received the 2020 Kincheloe award for his work surrounding FAA certification of the company’s Autoland system earlier this year. Carr has flown Autoland development flights on the Columbia 400, Piper M600 and the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet completing hundreds of approaches and fully-automated landings.

Carr graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and he also holds an M.S. in Aviation Human Factors, as well as a law degree. Prior to Garmin, Carr was a senior engineering test pilot at Beech Aircraft and Raytheon Aircraft in Wichita. With more than 42 years of experience as a test pilot, Carr has served at Garmin for the past 17 years, having worked on certification for the G1000 and G5000 integrated flight decks, the GFC 700 autopilot, Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) and Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP). His flight experience spans 192 different aircraft types ranging from gliders to four-engine jets with more than 12,000 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC) and more than 5,000 hours logged in the conduct of experimental flight tests.


  • Olathe, KS, USA
  • Garmin