The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) has honored one of its own as Test Pilot of the Year with the Iven Kincheloe Award since 1958. This year Airbus Perlan Mission II Chief Pilot Jim Payne was selected for his flight testing of Perlan 2.
"The achievement must involve actual flight testing ... and represent outstanding contribution to an aerospace flight program while acting as test pilot... It is direct recognition from test pilot peers... 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 Kincheloe Award is a perpetual trophy incorporating four columns supporting a capstone symbolizing the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. The 4 columns "represent courage, integrity, knowledge, and accomplishment." The perpetual trophy is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the mall of Washington, DC.
Jim's totally unprepared remarks encouraged all pilots to mentor others. He thanked Jimmy Doolittle for mentoring him at Test Pilot School, Bob Ettinger at Global Hawk, Roy Martin at FireBird, and Einar Enevoldsen for support at Perlan Project. Jim's mentoring of others is demonstrated by the number of young cadets, pilots, or engineers who thank him personally for his encouragement in their successful adult careers.
At the same banquet Ignacio "Nacho" Lombo who is Chief Test Pilot for Airbus Military was chosen as a new "Fellow" of SETP. Jim and Nacho celebrated together after the banquet. Thanks to Miguel Iturmendi for nominating Jim for the Kincheloe, and Jamie Darcy and Ed Warnock for keeping the award secret while in Argentina during the most recent campaign.