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, now one of the top LA helicopter companies in existence. 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 our helicopter 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

SEAN M. CROSS

SEAN M. CROSS

President & COO

A retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain and aviator with 25 years of distinguished service, Sean is responsible for leading Helinet’s day-to-day operations and growth into new markets. Prior to joining Helinet, he retired as Chief of Incident Management for the Coast Guard’s Thirteenth District, where he oversaw search and rescue, marine environmental pollution and maritime incident response operations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Before that, Sean served as the Commanding Officer of Air Station Traverse City, MI, and also served as Executive Officer of Air Station Elizabeth City, NC. Cross earned designations as a flight examiner, instructor pilot, and post-maintenance test pilot – accruing over 4,000 flight hours in the MH-60J/T Jayhawk and MH-65C/D Dolphin helicopters. A designated Aeronautical Engineer, Sean spent his career in various aircraft maintenance and logistics management positions, including managing the Coast Guard’s multi-million-dollar aviation maintenance budget, supporting 200 aircraft flying more than 100,000 flight hours per year.

A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Sean also holds master’s degrees in business administration from Purdue University and aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is the recipient of the Admiral Chester R. Bender Award for Heroism, Order of Daedalians Helicopter Aircrew of the Year Award, and the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Volunteer Award.

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

Vice President of Operations / Director of Operations

Al joined Helinet Aviation in 2004. As Vice President 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

SVP 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, she 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. She 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

Vice President

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

ALEX ANDUZE

ALEX ANDUZE

Chief Blackhawk Pilot

Alex has piloted over 5,000 flight hours, including 750 hours in UH-60A and AS350 aircraft for firefighting. Alex is a commercially rated rotorcraft pilot with instrument ratings, and is type rated in the following aircraft: S76, SK-61 and SK-92. He currently holds a USDA interagency pilot qualification card and is certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration to administer 14CFR 61.58 Pilot-in-Command proficiency checks in the UH-60A. 

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.

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.

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