Outstanding Southeastern Faculty & Staff

Kyle Thomas

Kyle Thomas, Chief Flight Instructor and Assistant Professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, grew up in McLoud, a small town just east of Oklahoma City. He graduated from McLoud High School in 1986 before attending Southeastern. Pursuing a double major in Aviation and Business, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree.  Thomas also earned a graduate degree in Masters of Administrative Studies from SE.

Like many aspiring pilots, Thomas initially dreamed of becoming an airline pilot.  After graduating from college and completing his pilot training, SE offered him a position as a staff flight instructor.

“I accepted the university’s job offer, thinking it would be just a first step on my career path to the airlines,” Thomas said, “Everything changed after I started teaching at the university.  I fell in love with it and never looked back.”

As the Aviation Science Institute’s Chief Flight Instructor, Thomas is responsible for the flight-training portion of the degree program.  He spends most of his day flying with and evaluating students as they progress through the program. Additionally, he is responsible for the training, staffing and standardization of the university’s flight instructors. He also works daily with the Federal Aviation Administration, insuring compliance with mandated training standards, certification requirements, and other regulatory issues. On top of all of this, he still makes time to teach an aviation class or two every semester.

Thomas has earned his Master Certified Flight Instructor accreditation, in which he had to demonstrate mastery and service in several categories. Some of the categories include, aviation educator, service to the aviation community, creator of media, and continuing education. He has held the accreditation since 2006, renewing it every two years. Thomas holds a highly prestigious title, being one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to earn the accreditation and one of only 31 individuals worldwide to earn the accreditation six times.

When asked what he would tell someone about Southeastern, the aviation authority said, “Southeastern is a wonderful university, especially for students who are looking for a small campus with big school opportunities.”

Thomas has several perspectives, as he was a student at Southeastern, he teaches at Southeastern, and now he is a parent with a daughter who attends Southeastern.  “I couldn’t be happier about her decision to attend,” he said, “I know her professors and I know they care about her the same way we care about our students in aviation.”

“The university has had a very positive influence on my daughters, especially in the School of Fine Arts because of their after school programs and the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival,” Thomas recalls.  His oldest daughter, Allyson, chose to attend Southeastern as a Music Education major, making her dad very proud.

Aside from his outstanding reputation among pilots in the industry that Thomas brings to the program, he also notes a very special asset of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute.  The Envoy/Southeastern Pilot Pipeline Program is a program that allows our students to flow directly to Envoy Airlines, and eventually American Airlines, after graduation.  Essentially, aviation majors, those who qualify for the program, have a pilot/first officer job waiting for them after they graduate.  It’s a streamlined career path to Envoy and eventually, American Airlines.

Thomas attributes his love for his job and Southeastern to multiple things.  He loves flying and teaching. “I get to teach young people how to fly airplanes, so who can top that?”  Thomas likes to think he has played a small role in the lives of his students, but their successes in the industry speaks for itself. His former students fly all over the world, and are captains for major airlines, fly for major corporations, and even fly F-18s off aircraft carriers. The natural tenacious and driven spirit of his aviation students pushes not only each other, but Thomas as well.

The faculty at Southeastern is another reason he loves his job. “I work every day with George Jacox, Dr. Stan Alluisi, and John Van Bebber,” Thomas said, “I can’t think of a better group of guys to work with.  In addition to his standard duties at the university, Thomas is the faculty advisor for the Southeastern Flight Team and the university’s chapter of Women in Aviation.

Thomas earned his Airline Transport Pilot Certificate in 1997. He is a Certified Flight Instructor with Multi Engine, Single Engine, and Instrument ratings. He has over 4,000 hours of flight experience.  He was recently appointed as Designated Pilot Examiner for Oklahoma.  This is an FAA appointment that will have him working with the Flight Standards District Office in Oklahoma City.