About

Company Overview and History

In 1987, industry leader and visionary Alan Purwin, co-founded West Coast Helicopters which later acquired and became Helinet Aviation Services. In an effort to create ease and convenience for his clients’ every need, Alan sought out to create a one stop, multi-service aviation model that not only offered best in class personal and corporate charter service, but one that also became a highly valued partner for top law enforcement agencies, as well as some of the biggest film studios and filmmakers in the entertainment industry.  

As a father who dedicated his life to service, one of Alan’s proudest moments came when Helinet launched the helicopter transportation program for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. To date, through the donation of all its services, Helinet has transported over 10,000 patients for the hospital. Additionally, in the 30 years since the company was founded, Helinet has become the number one trusted partner for Fortune 500 Executives, celebrities, news stations, and film and TV production companies. It also remains a trusted partner of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for their organ and medical team transport programs.  

Additional offerings include turnkey travel services at every stop, and full-service aircraft management.  

Today, Alan’s wife Kathryn, continues his legacy as one of the only female CEOs in the Aviation industry. A pilot herself since 1987, Kathryn has a steadfast approach toward safety and service, and a passion for investing in new technology including unmanned aerial systems. She was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a top female business owner and has further solidified Helinet’s position as an industry leader that exceeds every customer’s flight needs.  

Leadership Team

Helinet is backed by a team of 90 highly qualified professionals, including some of the most skilled pilots, maintenance technicians, camera operators, technology experts and aviation leaders in the industry.


KATHRYN PURWIN


KATHRYN PURWIN

CEO

Kathryn has been involved with Helinet since its creation in 1987 and took a leadership role at the company when she became its CEO in March of 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in History and Political Science from UCLA and worked for several years as a commercial pilot flying private jets. She is also a helicopter pilot.

Kathryn is very active in the Van Nuys Airport community and serves on the Board of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Since 1999, Helinet and the Purwin family have supported CHLA with the donation of two medical transport helicopters, pilots staffed 24-7-365, and all associated fuel, insurance, and maintenance at no cost to the hospital, the patients or their families

Brad Sather

Brad Sather

Chief Financial Officer

Brad is responsible for all of the financial activities at Helinet and its subsidiaries. He has more than 20 years’ experience in financial and operational leadership roles, including eight years with rotary and fixed wing companies operating domestically and internationally. In addition to his financial responsibilities, Brad maintains relationships with external advisors and stakeholders and contributes to the strategic direction of the organizations.

AL SOUSA

AL SOUSA

Director of Operations

Al joined Helinet Aviation in 2004. As Director of Operations, he is responsible for flight operations safety and compliance with all FAA regulations and company policies, and communicating with the FAA and TSA. Al has extensive experience as an ENG (electronic news gathering), charter, and medical transport pilot. Prior to this position, he was the Operations Manager from 2008 until July, 2015. His ratings include Commercial Pilot Helicopter, Instrument Helicopter, CFI Helicopter and CFI Instrument Helicopter.

ALLISON RAKUN

ALLISON RAKUN

Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development

Allison joined Helinet in 2014 to lead the company’s marketing department and became Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development in October of 2018. In this role, Allison is responsible for overseeing the formation of business partnerships and managing the company’s strategic and operational marketing activities to ensure continued growth. Allison also leads marketing for Helinet’s subsidiary company, Shotover Camera Systems. Allison previously worked at the PR firms SSA Public Relations and Carl Samrock Public Relations. Allison holds a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from California Lutheran University.

KEVIN LAROSA II

KEVIN LAROSA II

General Manager and Vice President of Production

From Iron Man to The Avengers and Transformers 5, Kevin has piloted on an extraordinary list of credits. He started logging flight time at the early age of 14. Kevin accumulated his ratings as quickly as he could and by the time he was 18, Kevin was a commercially rated helicopter and multi-engine fixed wing pilot logging time in everything from King Airs to Hueys. He has been working heavily in the film industry coordinating and directing multitudes of aerial film sequences in the air and on the ground and is a member of SAG and the Motion Picture Pilots Association. 

James Hanna

James Hanna

Director of Maintenance

James manages Helinet’s FAA Certified 14 CFR Part 145 repair station and is responsible for the oversight, maintenance, and field support of Helinet’s fleet. Prior to joining the Helinet team, he was the Director of Maintenance for South Coast Helicopters for over 17 years. James has a 26-year career in helicopter maintenance with factory training and extensive experience in multiple helicopter airframes and engines. James has been recognized by his team for his outstanding leadership and attention to safety. He is also a pilot with fixed wing and helicopter ratings.

BRIAN PETSCHAUER

BRIAN PETSCHAUER

Chief Pilot

Brian joined Helinet in the summer of 2013. In the role of Chief Pilot, he is responsible for training and managing pilots in electronic news gathering (ENG), executive charter, and HAA.  Having worked for Helinet as an ENG and charter pilot, Brian has extensive experience in many different flying roles including VIP transport, tours, organ transplant, international ferry flights, and training. His ratings include Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI/CFII). Brian is also a EuroSafety instructor in the AS350, AS355 and EC130 airframes

CHAD DARING

CHAD DARING

Director of UAS Operations

Chad joined Helinet in April 2018 and is responsible for managing the company’s commercial UAS programs for television and motion picture production. He is an FAA licensed Part 107 UAS remote pilot and brings extensive knowledge of FAA UAS regulations and protocols to the firm. Chad has over 13 years of film and television production experience, with past clients including FOX, CBS, NBC, and SONY. Chad is a member of the SOC and Local 600.

Bryan Cazan

Bryan Cazan

Director of Charter Sales

Bryan brings a unique combination of aviation and sales management experience to his role as Director of Charter Sales. In this role, Bryan is responsible for ensuring all of our charter clients’ needs are being met. Prior to joining the Helinet team, Bryan served as Regional Sales Manager for DHL’s eCommerce Southern California division where he was responsible for managing $25 million of client assets. Bryan holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management from California State University, Northridge and is also an FAA licensed Part 107 UAS remote pilot.

Chris DeVicariis

Chris DeVicariis

Safety Manager

Chris has been in the aviation industry for over 28 years and is a graduate of the Southern California Safety Institute, where he completed a Safety Management Systems Program. As Safety Manager, Chris provides aviation safety education to all of Helinet’s employees and is responsible for the administration of the company’s strategic safety management program. He is currently the lead pilot for the Children's Hospital Los Angeles - Alan Purwin Emergency Transport Program and is a Part 135 pilot in the Sikorsky S76, Leonardo 109 and Airbus airframes.  

Board of Advisors

Thomas Norton’s distinguished federal government career included developing agency-wide standard operating procedures for aviation security. He spent over a decade as director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Marine Center and has extensive aviation training and more than 9,500 tactical flight hours on high-risk military missions.

Arnold Kleiner was President and General Manager of KABC-TV, the first network in Southern California to embrace high definition television through helicopter cinematography, for almost 20 years. Under Kleiner, the studio also became the first local news studio to use HD cameras in-house and in the field.

Jim Adams more than quadrupled the markets held by a now nationally-recognized regional provider of air and ground ambulance services in his 11-year tenure as CEO of REACH Air Medical Services. He oversaw a team of 800 at St. Joseph Health and helped establish Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as a Level-II trauma center. Adams also served as chairman of the board for both hospitals in Northern California.

Before becoming a member of Helinet’s Board of Advisors, Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee served as commander of the Atlantic Area for the U.S. Coast Guard. In this role, he was responsible for commanding missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf spanning across five Coast Guard districts and 40 states. Concurrently, Dean served as Commander of the Defense Force East and provided Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders.

logo-company