Rod Thomas

Rod Thomas is an Idaho Farm boy living just 3 miles from where he grew up.  By age eleven, Rod and his older brother Dale 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 company, Thomas Helicopters, Inc. in Gooding, Idaho in 1975 with a Hughes 300 and one truck.  They have owned as many as 5 helicopters which they used for 135 work such as coyote hunting, wild animal darting & netting, firefighting, heli-skiing, sling work, construction, and movie stunt work.  All of this while still flying ag in both summer and winter.  The present operation consists of a couple of 502’s an 802 and an Astar 350 helicopter.  They also own a variety of General Aviation aircraft they use for training, travel, and pleasure.  They also own and operate the FBO in Gooding [ High Range Aviation} with a full maintenance facility as well as a government contracting company {High Desert Aviation}.  Over the years they have also expanded into hanger construction and hanger door repair.  The ag flying business {Thomas Helicopters, Inc.} is in the process of being purchased and expanded by Scott and Glenn Heinen from Kansas while Rod and Dale continue to manage the local operations they started. 

Rod has been active in the Idaho Agricultural Aviation Association and his community for many years.  He has held all the IAAA offices and was the NAAA director from Idaho for many years.  His company was named Operator of the Year for the Pacific Northwest AAA in 1999.  He and his brother Dale have hosted annual Ag Fly-Ins and Safety Clinics since 1997, while promoting Ag Aviation through print and television media.  His company has participated using helicopters in school science projects and has hosted many field days at the airport as well as participating in Ag in the Classroom.  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 has served as the Vice President and President of the NAAA an 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.