There I was, minding my own business. Web editor Omar Filipovic and I were preparing to leave AirVenture on Friday morning. Omar had gone off to do something, and as I was prepping my GlaStar this gentleman sidled up and started asking me about the airplane. Do you like it? (Yes, very much.) Did you build it? (No, not this one, but I did build a Sportsman—and I helpfully suggested was a close cousin of the GlaStar.)
He nodded thoughtfully as I went about my preparations. Then he said, “Actually, I know a little bit about these airplanes.” At the same instant, I recognized the voice. It was none other than Tom Hamilton, father of the Glasair and GlaStar. (Plus the Kodiak, Aerocet floats and who knows what else.) I hadn’t seen Tom in ages and, in my defense, I was neither looking for him nor wanting to miss anything in my preparations. Still, I was happy to have been pranked.
We had a good laugh about it afterward, even as I was quickly reviewing the mental transcript of the short conversation to be sure I hadn’t said something like, “I love the airplane but never use the folding wings.” Later that day, I texted the selfie photo to Ted Setzer, Tom’s cohort in the early Glasair operation at “the pig farm,” with a look-who-we-saw note. Ted jokingly responded, “Not sure. Is that one of the VanGrunsvens?”
Before we parted ways, I asked Tom what he was up to and the answer was a bit of “this and that,” but he did allow that he had a big project in the works. It could be just about anything. Nice to see you, Tom.