Rod Thomas is an Idaho farm boy living just three miles from where he grew up. By age eleven, Rod and his older brother were operating a custom hay stacking business. With experience in custom farming and their love of all things flying, agricultural aviation was a natural fit. They started their own application business, Thomas Helicopters, Inc., in Gooding, Idaho in 1975 with a Hughes 300. They have owned as many as five helicopters they used for ag and other work such as coyote hunting, wild animal darting, fire-fighting, heli-skiing, construction and sling work, and movies. Presently they operate a Hughes 500D for seeding and an AT-502, an AT-301, and a Cessna Ag Truck for spraying, and an Ag Cat dual cockpit trainer. They also have a variety of general aviation a/c they own and operate as well. In addition, they also operate the local FBO complete with a full maintenance facility.
Rod has been active in the Idaho Agricultural Aviation Association and his community for many years. He held office in the IAAA as president, vice-president, secretary and NAAA Director. His company was named 1999 Operator of the Year for the Pacific Northwest AAA. He and his brother, Dale, have hosted annual Ag Fly-Ins and Safety Clinics since 1997; promote Ag Aviation through print and television media; and participate in elementary school science projects with their helicopters. Rod is a long-serving NAAA board and committee member and has served as the chairman of the Safety/Federal Aviation Regulations Committee. He was the proud recipient of the NAAA Falcon Club award in 2003. Rod served as the Vice President of the NAAA in 2006 and President for 2007 and is currently serving as President of NAAREF.
An NAAA member for 35 years, Rod believes in the value of association membership and continuing education. He has been a PAASS Presenter since 2001.