F-86 Ace in Korea, X-2 & X-15 Test Pilot and the First Man in Space (for a while*)

Iven Kincheloe was the 3rd highest Ace in Korea with 7, 9 or 13 kills depending on sources. 13 is probably correct but the confusion comes from the USAF policy of allowing but not claiming kills north of the Yalu in an attempt to avoid further conflict with China. Most of the adversary MiG-15s were based in China and they used this boundary to gain an altitude advantage on US aircraft before crossing the border. USAF pilots begain pursuing fighters into China and making preemptive raids on Chinese airbases to protect US strike aircraft.

Iven Kincheloe & Melburn Apt were the primary test pilots on the X-2 which was the first to exceed 100,000 ft and Mach 3. Iven Kincheloe set the world altitude record on September 7th, 1956 at 126,200 feet. Later that September, Mel Apt was killed when the X-2 lost control (thought to be the result of aeroelasticity at and interia coulping at high Q values) setting a new speed record of Mach 3.1296.

The X-2 accident delayed high speed aircraft research until the ambitious X-15 project that went on the re-write every record in the book.

Iven Kincheloe was killed in 1958 in the early phases of the X-15 project while flying an F104 Starfighter. The aircraft is thought to have ingested a bird on takeoff and lost power. The ejection was performed too low for proper parachute deployment and was hampered by the early model F-104’s downward ejecting ejection seats. His death was a major theme in the movie X-15 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-15_(film))

The Society of Experimentals Test Pilots honors the memory of Iven Kincheloe with it’s highest awards for outstanding achievment in test flying with the Iven Kincheloe award. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iven_C._Kincheloe_Award)

The tradition of naming roads for fallen test pilots at Edward AFB started with the re-naming of the then main road to Kincheloe Ave.

The Bell X-2: an introduction from James Duffy on Vimeo.

2014-07-29 18.19.32

* In 1958, The FIA established  the definition of space at the now accepted Karman Line at 100km. Previously, the informal 100,000 ft definition was generally used.