Born October 23, 1927, Barron Hilton had been a private pilot since 1947 earning multi-engine, helicopter, glider, and lighter-than-air ratings. He owned and flew helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, balloons, and his all-time favorite, gliders. His Flying M Ranch in Nevada is one of the finest locations on the planet for soaring, and was home to the Barron Hilton Cup Invitational. Between 1980 and 2009, pilots from around the world tallied more than 3,000 flights in the largest glider competition ever held. As an avid fan of hot-air ballooning, Hilton was the main sponsor of the Earthwinds Hilton, a uniquely shaped, manned balloon which made attempts from 1991 to 1994 at non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Hilton has been called by some the “Patron Saint of Sport Aviation.” His generosity and support of flying has been recognized by a number of aviation organizations, including the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Soaring Society of America, the National Aeronautic Association, the Tuskegee Airmen and the National Business Aircraft Association, the Federation Aeronautique, who awarded him the prestigious Gold Air Medal, and the National Air and Space Museum, which re-named one of its more important galleries, "The Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Exhibit" in his honor. Hilton passed away on September 19, 2019 at the age of 91.
Barron Hilton was inducted into the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 2012.