Garmin Chief Test Pilot Honored for Autoland Program

 - September 29, 2020, 11:55 AM

The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) honored Tom Carr, Garmin director of flight operations and chief test pilot, with the 2020 Iven C. Kincheloe Award for his role in the Garmin Autoland flight-test program. Presented in a virtual awards ceremony last week, the award recognizes outstanding professional accomplishment in the conduct of flight testing.

SETP established the Iven C. Kincheloe Award in 1958 in memory of the veteran flight test pilot and U.S. Air Force Korean war ace. It is considered the highest honor from the organization.

The Kincheloe Award in particular recognized Carr for his role as the experimental test pilot in the Autoland flight-test program. Carr has flown hundreds of approaches and fully-automated landings using Autoland in the Columbia 400, Piper M600, and Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet, including tests involved as part of the FAA certification program. The system has since received approval from the FAA and EASA.

Carr has a 42-year career in experimental flight test, including as director of flight operations and chief test pilot at Garmin for 17 years. As an airline transport pilot with 14 type ratings, he has more than 12,000 hours as pilot-in-command and more than 5,000 in experimental flight test. His experience spans 192 different aircraft types ranging from gliders to four-engine jets.

“From the day Tom started at Garmin, he has dedicated himself to growing our business and developing a team of passionate and talented flight test professionals and in doing so, he has built a world-class flight department,” said Phil Straub, executive v-p and managing director of aviation. “His dedication to the advancement of flight testing, along with his perseverance and pioneering vision, have played a vital role in bringing innovative Garmin products to market and into the hands of our customers, all of which further illustrates why he is extremely deserving of the Iven C. Kincheloe Award.”