Monday, June 28, 2010

Daniel K. “Shaka” Hinson 1963-

A native of Charleston, SC, Daniel K. “Shaka” Hinson graduated from the University of South Carolina and was commissioned in the United States Navy in May of 1985. After his first assignment training prospective Naval Flight Officers at VT-10 in Pensacola, he deployed with VFA-15 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in 1991, and flew combat missions in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort. He reported as a member of the United States Naval Test Pilot School’s (USNTPS) 103rd class in June of 1992.

A distinguished graduate from USNTPS, Dan was assigned to the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, MD, from June, 1993 to June, 1995. As a test pilot for the Ordnance Department, he was the Project Officer for the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), the Automated Tactical Manual Supplement (ATACS) and many other smaller programs. He also flew test flights in support of High Lateral Asymmetry Flying Qualities envelope expansion, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Engineering and Manufacturing Development, and Automated Carrier Landing Systems certification on three aircraft carriers. He successfully launched the first free-flight JSOW at China Lake, CA in December, 1994, which marked the new era of GPS/INS-only guided munitions. Later in December of 1994, he was awarded the Captain “Axel” Hazelrigg Award for superior leadership.

Dan reported directly to the VFA-131 “Wildcats” in June of 1995, where he flew missions in support of Operations Decisive Endeavor and Southern Watch. In late November, 1997, he reported to the Staff of USNTPS and in addition to personally managing the Weapons Integration and Night Vision Device exercises, he held the positions of Senior Airborne Systems Curriculum Instructor and Operations Officer. During this tour, he was selected as the 1998 USNTPS Instructor of the Year.

Dan served as the C-5 Plans Cell Chief at the Balkans Combined Air Operations Center, Vicenza, Italy, before returning to the United States in March, 2001 and serving as the Carrier Air Wing SEVEN Operations Officer. Highlights of this tour include support for Operation Noble Eagle for homeland defense following the attack of September 11, 2001, and combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom while deployed aboard USS John F. Kennedy in 2002.

After reporting in October, 2002 for duty as the Executive Officer, then Commander Hinson took command of the Strike Fighter Weapons School, Pacific in January, 2004. He subsequently reported to the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office as the Communication, Navigation and Identification Integrated Product Team Lead in June of 2005. Dan retired from the Navy in June, 2008, and joined Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) as a Program Manager and Test Pilot for the Navy T-6B Program. He has been the Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Manager and Lead Test Pilot for the AT-6 Program since January, 2009. Highlights of flight testing while at HBC include Navy T-6B air-to-air and air-to-ground tactical training system software testing, as well as envelope expansion, system integration and flight demonstration of the AT-6 from first flight through the Joint Expeditionary Forces Experiment in April, 2010.

Dan has accumulated over 4,500 total flight hours in 69 different airplanes and helicopters, including 2,700 hours in all series of the F/A-18 and 504 carrier arrested landings. He holds the civilian certification of Air Transport Pilot. In 2006, Dan organized, incorporated and was the first President of the USNTPS Alumni Association, in which position he served for two years. His SETP activities have included Symposium Papers in 1995 & 2009; East Coast Section Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-Chairman; he is currently the Central Section Vice-Chairman.