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 and two AT-502s for seeding and spraying. They also have a variety of general aviation aircraft 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; promoted Ag Aviation through print and television media; and participated in elementary school science projects with their helicopters. Rod is a long-serving NAAA and NAAREF board and committee member and has served on both boards in many capacities. He is a past recipient of the NAAA Falcon Club award and the Outstanding Service Award. Rod served as the Vice President and President of both the NAAA and NAAREF in years past.
An NAAA member since 1975, Rod believes in the value of association membership and continuing education. He has been a PAASS Presenter since 2001.