The late Betty Ardell Hinn ('Dell') of Salinas, was honored as a 2014 inductee into the International Forest of Friendship, in Atchison, Kansas during ceremonies in June. The Forest is a living, growing memorial to the world history of aviation and aerospace. Sponsored by the Monterey Bay chapter of The Ninety-Nines, Inc, the international organization of women pilots, Dell was honored for more than 60 years of commitment to aviation and to the 99s, as well as to Angel Flight and air racing.
When Dell married Dr. George Hinn in 1965, she had already logged approximately 4,000 hours in the air. They had a mutual agreement that he would not tell her how to fly, and she would not tell him what to do in the operating room- This arrangement worked from then on!
Dell's interest in aviation began in October 1946, when a friend offered to take her for an airplane ride, which turned out to be a lesson. Dell was immediately hooked. She moved to Honolulu where she received her private pilot certificate. Her first passenger was her mother who shared her enthusiasm and dream.
Dell was excited flying her J-3 Club and sharing the airspace with fighter jets. Flying from Honolulu to Haleiwa each day, the fighter "jocks" were used to seeing Dell in her little yellow J-3 Cub and they had fun flying barrel rolls around her. Dell just flew straight ahead and hung on. In the 1950s, she earned her glider rating and achieved a flight level of over 20,000 feet above Minden, Nevada. While attempting the "Minden Wave" within the 20 x 20 square mile window, she overheard a commercial jet ask ATC to explain, "What was a glider doing flying at 20,000 feet?"
During the 1970s, Dell accumulated several hundred towing flights from the Vacaville Glider Port that was owned and operated by her son. She was a corporate pilot in the Salinas Valley; a charter pilot for Air Trails in Salinas; and even was hired by the Monterey County Sheriff's Department for five years to fly women prisoners from Salinas to and from prisons throughout the Southwest penal system. Rather than carrying a gun, "Deputy Dell" carried a batch of snickerdoodles and iced tea for her prisoners.
Dell was encourged to join The Ninety-Nines in 1946, and was instrumental in the formation of the Monterey Bay Chapter. She held the offices of Chapter Chairman (three times), Treasurer, Secretary, Newsletter Editor, and Nominating and Membership Chairman.
Dell participated in the Women's Medical Auxiliary of Monterey. Dell and other Ninety-Nines would collect medical supplies and then fly them to Santa Barbara Airport. Here the supplies were sorted and distributed by Direct Relief International to underdeveloped countries. Dell also donated her time to Angel Flight, transporting patients to Stanford Medical Center and UCLA for medical treatment.
Dell's racing career included; 12 Powder Puff Derby races, one Air Race Classic, one Palms to Pines, two Pacific Air Races, and six Great Pumpkin Classic races. She logged PIC time in 66 single-engine and eight twin-engine aircraft. She was honored on her 80th birthday by The Ninety-Nines and friends at a luncheon, and presented with a commendation by the Mayor of the City of Salinas. At the time of the commendation she had logged over 10,000 hours and was very honored. Dell flew away to new horizons in 2010.
The International Forest of Friendship was a gift to America on the Nation's 200th birthday (1976) from the City of Atchison (Amelia Earhart's birthplace) and the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. It is made up of trees representing all the 50 states and 35 countries around the world, including a "moon tree" grown from a seed taken to the moon on Apollo 14. Among the more than 1,400 honorees are such internationally recognized flyers as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, the Wright Brothers, Sally Ride, Eileen Collins, and Chuck Yeager. The public is invited to the induction ceremonies which are held during the 3rd weekend of June (June 19-20, 2015). More information about the Forest, and points of contact are at www.ifof.org
The late Betty Ardell ("Dell") Hinn, a pilot from Salinas who often flew with her pet poodle Pepe by her side, has been honored nationally for her more than 50 years of devotion to aviation and her 10,000 hours of flight time. See article in the Californian.
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