Record-Setting Father & Son Air Racing Duo Win Big At EAA Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet

Published in Midwest Flyer – February/March 2020 issue

Yes, it is a busy and cold time of the year, but EAA members always come out in droves to hear a really great speaker or speakers at EAA’s Annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The event was held December 13, 2019 and featured racing icons, Steve Hinton and his son, Steven Hinton. The father-and-son duo have each won national air racing championships and set world speed records.

Steve Hinton, EAA 181203, is the president of Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California, and a retired air racer who won two Unlimited-class national championships at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, over the race course of his career. In 1979, Hinton set the piston-driven aircraft 3-kilometer world speed record in the P-51D Red Baron (re-designated RB-51 due to extensive modifications), a record he held until 1989. Hinton is also renowned for his work in a variety of movies and television series, where he either served as a pilot or aerial coordinator. Among his many credits are Black Sheep Squadron, Die Hard 2, The Rocketeer, Con Air, Air Force One, Pearl Harbor, Iron Man, Dunkirk, and First Man.

As one of the most experienced warbird pilots in the world, Steve Hinton is regularly called on to perform test flights for newly restored warbirds. He rarely gives public presentations about his career, but did so at the Wright banquet for EAA and its membership.

Steve Hinton’s son, Steven Hinton, has won seven Unlimited-class national championships at the National Championship Air Races, doing so in the highly-modified P-51Ds, Strega and Voodoo. In 2017, he set the world speed record for a propeller-driven, piston-powered aircraft, doing so in Voodoo with a speed of 531.53 mph — breaking the record of 528 mph set by Lyle Shelton in 1989 in the F8F Bearcat Rare Bear, which had previously broken his father’s record.

Steven Hinton is also involved in the motion picture industry and just completed “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to Top Gun (1986), which stars Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Ed Harris, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, and Lewis Pullman. Cruise and Kilmer reprise their roles from the first film. Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States 34 years after the 1986 original on June 26, 2020 by Paramount Pictures.

Steven Hinton said that he enjoyed doing the film and working with Tom Cruise, who is also a pilot, and has a “need for speed!”

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton welcomed attendees and the Hintons to the banquet, then turned the microphone over to EAA’s Sean Elliott and Chris Henry who interviewed the Hintons on stage. A lot of effort goes into this event, from registration to catering to presentations, and all persons involved are to be commended.

EAA’s 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet will be held December 11. Speakers to be announced soon!

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