In 1981, Chuck Thornton acquired and rebuilt a discarded United States Air Force Northrop T-38A with the help of two mechanics. In 1984, it was returned to flying status, becoming the first civilian owned & operated T-38. That same year, a new hangar was built at Van Nuys Airport and Thornton Aviation was established.
Over the years, four more T-38’s and multiple Northrop F-5A/B/E aircraft would be acquired, overhauled and sold by Thornton. During this process, Thornton would become the first FAA Certified Repair Station approved to maintain experimental aircraft. Our Repair Station has now grown to encompass the repair & maintenance of a variety of the latest corporate & charter aircraft now available.
In 2011, Thornton Aviation teamed with Castle & Cooke Aviation to become their maintenance provider. In 2013 they completed a new hangar at our old location & we now share a beautiful 38,000 sq. ft. hangar. In 2021, Thornton Aviation added services at Burbank Airport at Hangar 89. Presently, Thornton Aviation has 25 full time employees including 17 FAA licensed mechanics.