We get behind the controls of a Magni M16 gyroplane, chat with NASA engineers about the Mars Helicopter, look at Helinet’s firefighting Black Hawk & reflect on the legacy left by Universal Helicopters.
Helinet Aviation Services, a diverse and respected helicopter operator in the United States, has announced the appointment of Sean M. Cross as president and chief operating officer (COO). A retired U.S. Coast Guard captain and aviator with 25 years of distinguished service, Cross is responsible for leading the company’s day-to-day operations and growth into new markets. He brings extensive experience in leadership, helicopter operations and maintenance to Helinet’s leadership team.
Prior to joining Helinet, Cross 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. He previously served as the commanding officer of Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, responsible for search-and-rescue operations in the western Great Lakes. He also served as executive officer of Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, responsible for search-and-rescue and counter-narcotics operations from Central America to the Arctic.
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, Cross spent his career in various aircraft maintenance and logistics management positions including managing the Coast Guard’s multi-million dollar aviation maintenance budget supporting more than 4,100 personnel at 28 units, operating 200 aircraft flying more than 100,000 flight hours per year.
“I am confident that Sean’s wealth of operational, tactical and technological expertise will greatly advance Helinet’s continued growth across all service areas and markets,” said Helinet CEO Kathryn Purwin. “He exhibits the passion, discipline and real-world mission experience to lead our Helinet team into the future.”
Headquartered at Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport, Helinet provides diverse services and aircraft to a wide range of markets including VIP charter, air medical, electronic news gathering, motion picture and commercial production, and public safety. Its technology division provides customized surveillance solutions to law enforcement, public safety and government agencies nationwide.
“I am honored to join an organization and leadership team with a global reputation for delivering the highest levels of service, safety and professionalism in the industry,” said Cross. “I look forward to working with our customers to ensure our brand continues to grow and lead the industry and with our staff to maximize the contributions of each team member to ensure Helinet’s continued success.”
A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Cross 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 for his mentoring work with men’s lacrosse program.