Air Show Buzz (ASB) has selected Steve Hinton as the recipient of the ASB Person of the Year Award, which is given out each year to an air show icon who captures the passion of flight. In September, Hinton became the youngest pilot to win the top prize at the National Championship Air Races in Reno.
Previous winners of the ASB Person of the Year Award include 2007’s recipient, U.S. Air Force Major Paul “Max” Moga, who was the first Air Force F-22 Raptor demo pilot, and 2008’s recipient, Advanced World Aerobatic Champion Rob Holland.
“Steve is a prodigy in the air show arena and the most deserving of this celebrated award,” stated ASB’s Ed Shipley. “With decades of success ahead of him, Steve joins legends Max and Rob as the best among his fellow aviators.”
Hinton said, “Being honored as ASB’s Person of the Year is incredible. Having won the Gold Jacket and becoming the youngest Unlimited Gold Champion and now being recognized by ASB, 2009 was a year I will never forget. I am proud of this accomplishment and the statement it makes and I thank ASB for recognizing me with this coveted award.”
This past year, Hinton, 22, flew the highly-modified P-51 Strega to victory in the Breitling Gold Unlimited Race in Reno. He won with an average speed of 491.822 mph in a time of 8:10.357, almost 13 seconds ahead of John Penney in Rare Bear, an F8F Bearcat. It was only Hinton’s second appearance in the Unlimited class but he’s been around the sport since he attended his first Reno races when he was two weeks old. His father is a two-time Unlimited champion.
Hinton’s love of airplanes dates back to when he was 4 years old giving tours at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, Calif., where his father served as the museum’s president. Hinton soloed in a Cessna 150 at 16. When he was 15, Hinton saw the P-51 Strega and introduced himself to owner Bill “Tiger” Destefani, who in turn put Hinton in touch with Strega’s crew chief, LD Hughes. After eight months of discussions, Hinton was invited to join the Strega team.
For more information: ASB.TV.