Joseph M. Kinkella had his first flying lesson at age 12 in his hometown of Kingman. The next year his father, Tony Melles, purchased a Porterfield 70 HP model 35. By the time Joe reached age 16 and was allowed to solo, he had accumulated more than 200 flight hours.
Joe took Basic in Miami Beach, Fla., and then went to Santa Ana pre-flight, Primary at Tulare (PT17), Basic at Merced (BT-13), and after graduation at Luke did the P-40 trans. and Gunnery at Ajo. Joe stayed at Luke as an instructor in the AT-6 and also as gunnery instructor at Ajo. He left the service in October of 1945.
Joe then enrolled at General Motors Institute-Engineering, Flint, Mich., from 1945 to 1948. During this time, Joe had purchased a P-63 and he entered the Bendix National Air Races in 1947. He then spent a couple of years instructing and in a charter service.
He went to work for the state of Arizona as their first civilian pilot and to test the feasibility of aircraft use by the state. Recalled in 1950, he became flight test maintenance officer at Tyndal and Elgin AFB, Fla. '51 F-86D project Pilot, then in 1953 Project Test Pilot on the new supersonic F-102.
In 1953 Joe was hired by North American Aviation in Los Angeles as a civilian test pilot on the F-86 and F-100 Sabre Jet series. In 1961, Joe became corporate director of Flight Operations for North American Aviation in Los Angeles. In 1980, he retired and became part owner of Santa Monica Aviation that principally sold large jet and turboprop aircraft.
Joe was a life member of Kingman Elks Club 468; Prescott Military Pilots group; Mach Buster's Club, USAF F-86 Sabre Jet-1953 NAA, F-86 Sabre Pilots Association, Las Vegas; 44-K-Luke Army Air Force Pilots Group Phoenix, QB Hanger, Prescott; First Year-The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Lancaster, Calif.; Mach Buster's Club USAF F-100 Super Sabre NAA, Los Angeles.
Joe is survived by his sister, Tony Lindsey and family; daughters, Corrine, Karin and Colleen; grandson, Alan; the family of Carmen, Norma, Miguel, Heriberto and Esmeralda; his wife, Tedi; sons, Zell, Kirk, Patrick, Damon, Mark and families.
Following a 1 p.m. service at Mountain View Cemetery, our family welcomes all to join us at the Brunswick Hotel next to the "Sportsman" in Old Town Kingman.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to KRMC Hospice, 1790 Sycamore Ave., Kingman, AZ 86409 or Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 W. Beale St., Kingman, AZ 86401.