We are saddened to learn of and report the death of Thomas Wathen, long a guiding figure and friend of Glasair Aviation. He died this past June 20 in Santa Barbara, California . He was 86.

It was Mr. Wathen’s purchase of Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft in 2000 that preserved the highly regarded Glasair and GlaStar product lines during difficult times. In the years that followed he funded the development of Glasair Aviation’s popular Sportsman line of aircraft.

Mr. Wathen was not a hands-on owner here – he left day-to-day management to others he deemed smart and capable – but he was extremely successful in the security industry, and his policies, based on treating customers fairly, still guide our practices today.

Mr. Wathen was an ardent aviation enthusiast, restoring numerous airplanes and funding the replication of historic aircraft, and accumulating more 3,500 hours flight time. In 2000, Mr. Wathen also purchased FlaBob Airport in Riverside, California, where he established a high school devoted to aviation as a means to promote STEM studies.

In 2012 Mr. Wathen sold Glasair Aviation to the Jilin Han Xing Group of Jilin City, China.