VAN WERT – On Saturday, May 18, a “World Record 100th” anniversary celebration for Van Wert County pilot Walter Hinton will be held at the Van Wert Regional Airport. In May of 1919, the U.S. Navy successfully flew an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean with a stop in the Azores Islands. The flight was the first ever across the Atlantic Ocean.

At 12:30 p.m. on May 18, the airport will be rededicated and named, “Walter Hinton Airfield.” Prior to that, at noon, there will be the presentation of the colors by American Legion Post 178 and Paul Hoverman as trumpeter.

Lieutenant Walter Hinton, born on Nov. 10, 1888, and raised in Van Wert County, was a co-pilot on a flight, named the “NC-4.” With the passing of time, non-stop flights such as that of Charles Lindberg in 1936, became famous in world flight history, but Hinton’s flight was a world sensation at the time.

After the successful completion of this journey, he was made a knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword by the Portuguese government. As a member of the NC-4 crew, he was awarded the Navy Cross and later received a Congressional Gold Medal in 1929.

In 1927 and 28, he served as president and founder of the Aviation Institute of U.S.A. in Washington, D.C.

Until his passing at the age of 92 on Oct. 28, 1981, Hinton more than proved his flying skills. During his long life he safely flew the first flight to South America from North America. He piloted the first airplane exploration of the Amazon River in South America. He survived what was to be a short military balloon flight that blew off course into northern Canada. With three others on the balloon, they survived very bad odds and were to travel back south by foot and dog sled to a remote location and then be transported back to the United States.

The celebration will kick off with fly-in by visiting pilots of various aircrafts flown by regional pilots. Breakfast will be begin at 7 a.m. Also, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be an Aviation Stars of Van Wert County display and a display of future plans for the airport construction. Also, airplane rides will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other major activities will include children’s activities, including an appearance by Icy D. Eagle and Frickin’ Chicken, appearances by Parkview Samaritan Helicopter and Lutheran Hospital Air Helicopter, and demonstrations by Hooligan Flight Team and RC Plane.

As part of this celebration, a search for pilots and individuals in aviation is being made to create a historical record. This is for international, national and regional “aviation stars” born in, raised or living for a length of time in Van Wert County.

The contact person for information of such individuals is Larry Webb, cell phone, 419-203-5779 or email at lwdw1963@gmail.com.