Richard Kinney came to WVU from Parkersburg Community College (now WVU-Parkersburg).  The Associate Dean in the College of Engineering wouldn’t admit him.  Rich persisted, and after three meetings,the Associate Dean said he would be admitted if a department would accept him.  The Industrial Engineering department agreed to accept him because his brother was a successful student in the program.

Rich was married and had a daughter when he came to WVU.  Until his senior year, Rich didn’t see his family very much as they remained in Parkersburg.  In his senior year, Rich was given an internship in Parkersburg so he would be able to see his family each week.  His internship was with the Sheltered Workshop in Parkersburg, and Rich turned this internship into the best one in his senior class.  In fact, his presentation of the project which improved production processes for the workshop ended up winning second place at the IIE Regional Conference.

When Rich graduated, he had three job offers.  He accepted a job with NAVAIR Human Systems Integration Division because he loved the idea of working with aircraft.  Rich’s first assignment was the test and evaluation of the F/A-18 Night Attack aircraft, the first integrated night vision system for Navy/Marine aircraft.

Over the years, Rich worked on development, test, evaluation and accident investigation of a number of Naval/Marine aircraft, manned and unmanned systems. He has been to sea, traveled the world working with other foreign military but perhaps the most visible of these was the technology upgrade of all electronic systems for the Presidential helicopter (Marine 1) in which he was hand selected to lead.

Rich is especially proud of his work on the V-22 Osprey.  This is a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft that has become an important component in the Marine and Air Force arsenal.  The V-22 was a tremendous challenge requiring over 9 years of test and evaluation. The first aircraft delivered to the Marine Corps was in 2000. The Osprey is now being used around the world in both military and humanitarian operations

Currently Rich is the Branch Head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems engineers that test and evaluates the integration of electronic systems.  Some of the work he is doing deals with the growing cyber security threat to our nation’s flying defense.  Rich is also a mentor for many of the new engineers hired by NAVAIR.

While Rich’s career path is not a usual one for Industrial Engineers, he feels that his background has been excellent preparation.  “I learned subjects such as budgeting, project management, cost analysis, and leading a project team in my IE courses,” Rich says.  “I also learned how to see things as systems not just as components.  I can also cross disciplines. But more important, I gained an appreciation of and how to use new technologies.”


Richard M. Kinney


Present descending to 1990

  • Branch Manager for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test and Evaluation; technical oversight of flight test engineers supporting NAVAIR squadrons; VX-20 (Maritime Patrol Aircraft), VX-23 (Strike Jet Aircraft), HX-21 (Helicopter Aircraft) and UAS Test Directorate.
  • Program Executive Office, AIR ASW, Assault & Special Mission Programs, Test Branch, Senior Test Team Manager for the U.S. NAVY MH-60R, MH-60S, Australian MH-60R, Thailand MH-60 and Denmark MH-60 helicopters.
  • Branch Manager of Mission Systems Flight Test Engineers supporting Navy and Marine Corp helicopter and Unmanned Aircraft Systems test programs.
  • Branch Manager for Mission Systems Senior Flight Test Engineers supporting NAVAIR squadrons; VX-20, VX-23 and HX-21.
  • Engineering Science Development Program 5.1.2 – Z Code. Program Test & Evaluation coordinator for NAVAIR’s training program of newly hired college engineering graduates.
  • Technical Decision Authority reviewing and signing NAVAIR Flight Test Plans for flight test squadrons; VX-20, VX-23, HX-21 and UAS Test Directorate.
  • Contract Officer Representative, Technical Adviser for a Development Test & Evaluation Special Projects contract at Top Secret / SCI level.
  • Hand selected as the Senior Mission System Test & Evaluation engineer for the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program Source Selection team.
  • Developmental Test Team Lead for Marine Corp MV-22 and Air Force CV-22 Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft avionics/electronics flight test program.
  • Pilot ground school and simulator training for the U.S. Marine Corp MV-22, British Royal Air Force EA-101, Sikorsky S-92 test platform.
  • Aircraft accident investigation of several F/A-18D Inadvertent Ejection Seat incidents during landing followed by redesigning the ejection seat handle used by the fleet.
  • Research & development of Night Vision Goggles, night vision compatible cockpits and heads-up displays for Navy and Marine Corp aircraft.
  • Research & development of aircraft helmet tracking systems. On lone to NASA AMES during the development of helmet mounted tracking systems and symbology displays.
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