A look at an HAI member up close and personal.
The Helinet name has been synonymous with the Los Angles helicopter industry for more than 30 years. The Van Nuys, Calif.–based company was co-founded in 1987 by industry visionary Alan Purwin as West Coast Helicopters. West Coast later acquired and became Helinet Aviation Services.
Purwin founded the company to provide his clients with a one-stop, multiservice aviation company offering superior personal and corporate charter services as well as valued support for top law enforcement agencies and the film industry.
Today, Helinet has expanded to become a highly respected, full-service, Part 91 and Part 135 helicopter operator serving the VIP charter, air ambulance, law enforcement, utility, fire suppression, electronic news-gathering, and film and television industries. In addition to providing a wide range of services across multiple sectors with a variety of helicopters and drones, Helinet offers full aircraft-management services, including maintenance, overhaul, and repair, through its FAA Part 145 certified repair station.
Aerial Film Production
If you’re a fan of film, you’ve seen Helinet in action. The company works with some of the biggest film studios and filmmakers in the entertainment industry, providing aircraft as both performers and filming platforms. Several of the industry’s most eye-popping helicopter stunts were overseen by Purwin before he passed away in 2015. Helinet also operates drones capable of capturing high-definition, film-quality wide and close shots for clients.
One of Helinet’s proudest achievements is its helicopter transportation program for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, launched by Purwin. All services are donated, with more than 10,000 transported to date. Additionally, Helinet is a trusted partner of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for their organ and medical team transport programs.
Helinet’s current CEO is Kathryn Purwin, a skilled pilot and businesswoman who has been involved with Helinet since its founding. She took the reigns not long after her husband’s death, to keep the company in line with his vision.
In September of 2021, Helinet hired Tom Norton as the company’s president. Formerly serving on Helinet’s board of advisors since 2016, Norton holds ATP ratings in helicopters and multi-engine airplanes and has brought a diverse background in aviation operations, finance, management, maintenance, and strategic planning.
Also last year, Helinet added its second UH-60 Black Hawk to the fleet, to help support firefighting efforts in California. The company flew close to 600 hours in 2021 supporting firefighting missions for the US Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).