Steve Hinton took his first ride in an aircraft in October 1967. Ten years later, Steve earned his ATP and A & P licenses. He learned how to keep historic aircraft flying from WWII veterans and has passed that knowledge on to hundreds of mechanics and pilots. Steve has been a warbird instructor since 1978 and has served continuously on the Board of Planes of Fame Air Museum since 1971, becoming President in 1994.
Steve’s involvement with Planes of Fame started in 1968 working on museum aircraft. In 1980 Steve started Fighter Rebuilders, a company that specializes in historic aircraft restoration and their reputation as savvy restorers spread quickly. Fighter Rebuilders has restored 44 historic aircraft. The most recent completion was an 8-year restoration of Lewis Air Legends Lockheed Constellation. Steve is known worldwide for his expertise not only in rebuilding the aircraft but also in flying them. He has consulted and flown aircraft for collectors as well as other museums worldwide, completing 64 first flights after restoration. Steve has received many accolades in his career, but he is most proud of the many restorers who learned their skills in his shop.
He was part of the Air Force Heritage Flight Program, The Horsemen Flight Team, Motion Picture Pilots Association, AOPA, ICAS, EAA, and is currently flying with the Navy Legacy Flight. Steve began racing at the Reno Air Races in 1975. He moved into the highly modified “Red Baron” in 1978, winning the Unlimited Division, the first of six Unlimited victories, while flying for Western Airlines from 1979-1981. Steve set the World’s Speed record for piston-powered, propeller- driven aircraft in 1979. He took over pace plane duties from R.A. “Bob” Hoover in 1990 flying the T-33 pace plane.
As a Screen Actors Guild member, he has flown as a pilot for film since 1977, working on approximately 100 motion picture and television productions as pilot/coordinator. Steve is rated to fly “All Makes and Models of Single and Multi-Engine Piston Powered Experimental Aircraft.” He has flown as pilot in command in 170 types of piston and jet powered aircraft, compiling 12,000+ hours total time, 9,500+ of those hours in warbirds.