2024 Gala Honoree – Steve Hinton

Steve Hinton

Steve Hinton is an accomplished American aviator with a remarkable career in air racing and aviation. From 1979 to 1989, he held the world speed record and secured victory in six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. Hinton’s achievements include winning four consecutive Unlimited races in a single year, a feat unmatched by any other pilot. Notably, he set the piston-driven aircraft 3-kilometer world speed record in 1979 at the age of 27.
In 1979, despite facing catastrophic engine failure during a race in Reno, Hinton finished second and survived a crash with a broken back, leg, and ankle. He retired from racing in 1990, and his son, Steven Hinton Jr., later became the youngest pilot to win the Reno Air Races Unlimited-class championship in 2009.
Aside from his racing career, Hinton is the president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum and owns Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company. He also became the chief test pilot for the Tsunami Racer in 1987. Hinton’s contributions extend beyond the racing circuit; he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. Additionally, he has worked on over 60 films, receiving a Taurus Award nomination in 2002 for Best Aerial Work in Pearl Harbor.
Hinton’s involvement in the aviation community includes performing at airshows worldwide since 1983, flying more than 150 different types of aircraft. As the president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum since 1994, he has overseen the restoration of over 40 warbirds to flying condition. Hinton’s dedication to preserving aviation history is further reflected in his role as a civilian pilot with the USAF Heritage Flight, and he holds the distinction of having more than 7,000 hours flying WWII fighters.