Slade Thomas, co-founder of Starlite Aviation Group, holds the position of CEO of the Group and serves on both the Irish and South African, Board of Directors. He is responsible for the growth of Operational Contracts, new initiatives and fleet renewal.
Slade qualified as a helicopter pilot from the South African Air Force in 1985, achieving first position overall. During his 12 years of service in the SAAF, he studied Special Training, Management Development and Accident Investigation through the University of Southern California, and Crew Management Training through South African Airways. He went on to complete his studies in Command Preparation, Air Crew Management and Special Night Operations. Slade achieved the rank of Major in the SAAF.
Slade served 3 years as Puma Fleet Flight Commander at 15 Squadron, managing 11 Puma helicopters, 22 pilots and 11 flight engineers. He was responsible for the Operational readiness of all aircraft and personnel, the serviceability of the aircraft and the well-being of all crew.
In 1991, Slade was awarded the Air Force Cross medal, for his role as Captain of one of the Puma helicopters, for the multi-helicopter rescue of 600 passengers and crew from the stricken vessel the “Oceanos”. Classed as one of the most successful sea rescues of all time, the 6 aircraft ferried passengers and crew to safety in extremely hazardous conditions of enormous swells and gale force winds. Not a single life was lost in the operation.
In 1994, Slade joined a local Durban helicopter company, building the business into a profitable concern. He went on to become General Manager and Shareholder at NAC. Slade grew NAC Helicopters Unlimited into a business of considerable repute, increasing the fleet to 36, carrying out offshore ship servicing, training, charter and fire-fighting contracts. The business included a highly successful sales and maintenance division. In July 2003, Slade assumed control of the Company in its entirety establishing Starlite Aviation Group, with its Head Office in Durban, and Maintenance and Operational base in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2008, Starlite Aviation Group relocated its Head Office to Dublin, Ireland.
Slade continues to fly and instruct on the Company’s aircraft. He has flown in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, Indonesia, the USA and many areas on the African continent.
Slade holds South African ATP O27O243579 and American ATP 3594668 licences. His ratings include; Instrument, night winch / and undersling ratings, firefighting, CRM, safety and survival, night vision goggles experience, Huet and GRII Helicopter Instructor training and he is Offshore rated.
Flying for over 32 years, he holds a total of 6760 flying hours and is instructor rated on the following aircraft types:- Sikorsky S92, Super Puma, Puma, Alouette III, B407, B206L, B206, HU 500, HU 300, Robinson R66, R44 and R22, EC120 and B2 and B3 helicopters.
Office: +230 650 4030 | Fax: +230 650 4031 | International Mobile: +27 82 458 9362 | Mobile: +230 5251 5925