Hall of Fame Inductee

Tom Thomas

Born: 12/03/1942
Inducted: 11/10/2007

Madison, Wisconsin native Tom Thomas began flying as an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 1964. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1966, he began a twenty-eight year career in the Air Force and Wisconsin Air National Guard. That career would include piloting KC-135 and KC-97 aerial refueling tankers, A-10A and F-16D fighters. His rating as USAF Command Pilot is one of seven civilian and military pilot ratings he has earned.

In 1973, Thomas began a thirty-two year career with the Aeronautics Bureau of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. During that time Tom was involved in, oversaw or was responsible for administering aviation safety, aircraft registration, airport management and aviation education programs. Those programs included the Tall Structure Permit, Airport Site Approval, Automated Weather Observation System, Navigational Aids, Airport Safety Data Inspection, Federal Surplus Property and the State Block Grant Program. There is hardly a state aviation administration program implemented in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that Tom did not participate in.

Long before his retirement as Chief, Aviation Management and Education Section in 2005, Thomas was recognized in state and national aviation circles as a top-flight administrator. Tom promoted aviation in Wisconsin as the author of travel and education guides. As an educator, he led Wisconsin schools into the space age through the Rockets for Schools Program and provided opportunity for aviation careers for low income and minority students through the ACE Program.

His most memorable aviation achievement came in 1977, when he was part of the crew of a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser that landed on a short, uphill runway at the tiny Dodgeville (Wisconsin) Airport. Tom remains active in the Civil Air Patrol, as an aviation consultant and flight instructor. He fills his free time spending it with his grandchildren.

Tom Thomas stands in front of the B-377 (KC-97) that he flew into Dodgeville  
Tom stands in front of the B-377 (KC-97) that he flew into the Dodgeville Airport
(photo by Gary Dikkers)
Keith Gerard (left) and Tom Thomas visit Washington DC
Keith Gerard (left) and Tom visit
Washington DC for the bureau
(submitted photo)
Tom Thomas, aviator, 2007
Tom Thomas, aviator, 2007
(submitted photo)

Search our site

Join us on Facebook and Twitter!
The nomination process for individuals that you consider worthy of induction into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame is straightforward and has just one requirement. Individuals wishing to make a nomination must be a member of the organization. Complete the membership application (pdf) to become a member, fulfilling that requirement. The nomination form (pdf) is simply a coversheet for the substantiation materials that you provide. We ask that you provide as much material as possible so that we may give due consideration to your nominee.
Memberships and Merchandise 

Membership dues and merchandise sales contribute to the WAHF operating fund and help spread the word about your organization. WAHF logo merchandise is now available! Join | Shop | Donate

© Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame
3980 Sharratt Drive
Oshkosh, WI 54901-1276