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Alan D. Purwin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (9)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 28 August 1961Los Angeles, California, USA
Date of Death 11 September 2015Medellin, Colombia  (airplane crash)
Birth NameAlan David Purwin
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alan D. Purwin was born on August 28, 1961 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Alan David Purwin. He is known for his work on Transformers (2007), Armageddon (1998) and Furious 7 (2015). He was married to Kathryn. He died on September 11, 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

Spouse (1)

Kathryn (? - 11 September 2015) (his death)

Trivia (9)

Alan D. Purwin, who has done over 100 helicopter stunts throughout many movies, unfortunately passed away on the 11th of September 2015 due to a plane crash on the set of Tom Cruise's movie "American Made (2017)" along with Carlos Berl. Jim Garland was also badly injured during this accident. The crash was attributed to bad weather.
His first job was crop dusting in Indiana.
While building his career as a film pilot, Alan learned that most aviation companies used outdated equipment and based their business on a small selection of rotorcraft. In response to this increasing need, Alan started West Coast Helicopters in 1987 and later merged it with Helinet Aviation, which he purchased in 1998.
He sat at the controls of a helicopter for the first time at the age of 16.
In 1996, Purwin was injured in a helicopter crash while filming a television commercial, east of Los Angeles, near Palmdale, California. Michael Tamburro, his business partner, was killed. "It was a very tragic event and a life changer," he said. 'It put things in perspective and reminded me how fragile life can be and how dangerous this flying business is." Purina's survivors include his wife, Kathryn; children Kyle and Michaela; mother, Sheila; brother Steve; and sister Tina. After his death in Colombia on September 11th, a memorial service was conducted at his Helinet's headquarters in Van Nuys, California, on Saturday September 19th, 2015.
In the 2003 remake of "The Italian Job," Alan Purwin piloted a chopper that screamed through skyscrapers, skimmed over traffic-jammed streets, raced under a bridge and churned through a downtown street tunnel as it chased the bad guys driving Mini Coopers in the central core-city of Los Angeles. Purwin plotted his aerial stunts meticulously. In the tunnel sequence, "I worked with the city on removing the vapor lights .. and then I got the effects guys to bring in a huge fan driven by a Chevy engine," he told The L.A. Times in 2005. "I wanted the whole ceiling and the rafters blown out to see if there was anything loose that would come down and go into the helicopter's rotor blades and cause a problem." With all that done, Purwin had a small, powerful, maneuverable chopper trucked from Van Nuys to the tunnel and wheeled in. "Then I had somebody rotating the blades so I could measure how much width I had. Once I determine it was all feasible, we kind of just laid out a plan and I went into it very cautiously." Jack Snyder, Purwin's colleague at Helinet, said the helicopter chases in "The Italian Job" were among the pilot's most iconic work. "He loved the creativity, the ability to help film directors realize their vision," Snyder said. "He liked the camaraderie on the set. Honestly, when he'd come back from being out filming, I didn't think I'd ever see him happier".
Alan Purwin was the founder, owner and chairman of Helinet, a helicopter service based at the Van Nuys Airport. With 18 choppers, Helinet aviation performed for Television News programs, filming aerial shoots for feature films, television programming and commercials, conducting surveillance for law enforcement agencies and flew medical missions with donated organs to patients in need. Sister companies founded or acquired by Alan Purwin were involved in developing new aeronautical equipment for aerial cinematography, including film coverage from drones. "He was the quintessential entrepreneur," said Jack Snyder, Helinet's chief operating officer. "His passion was flying, but he was really able to anticipate trends and new uses for helicopter-related equipment." Purwin contributed on more than 100 feature films, including the "Transformers" series, "Armageddon" (1998), "Pear Harbor" (2001) and "Tropic Thunder (2008).
Alan Purwin picked up his taste for flying every early in childhood; at 5 years of age, he would perch on a stack of pillows in his father's Cessna 182 so he could see past the instrument panel as the small air-plane rose over and above the San Fernando Valley. When he was 16, Alan received his pilot's license. A couple of years later, he was a crop-duster in Indiana. When he came back to Los Angeles and started flying for film studios, his aeronautical career took off in earnest. Purwin, who staged heart-stopping helicopter chases for feature film movies and flew life-saving missions for critically ill children, Died September 11, 2015, in Colombia in the crash of a small plane being used to transport crews for the Tom Cruise feature film "Mena." Purwin was 54 years of age; he was in Colombia with the film company assisting and helping to film the feature studio project. Carlos Berl, a Colombian pilot who was also aboard the twin-engine Piper Aerostar, was killed after the takeoff from the colonial town of San Francisco de Antioquia, officials in Colombia told the Associated Press. Jimmy Lee Garland, a pilot from Georgia, was critically injured. It was unclear who was at the airplane's controls as the plane flew into bad weather on the short hop through the Andes to Medellin.
Born August 28th, 1961, Alan David Purwin grew up in North Hollywood. His father owned an auto repair business and few a Cessna 182, which he owned with several friends, for enjoyment. His father also volunteered to transport patients for a medical charity. As a teenager, Purwin thought he might one day work for an airline as a pilot. "But after flying for a while, when I was 18, I started to get bored going from point A to point B," he said in The LA Times interview. With his post-high school crop-dusting experience under his belt, Purwin worked at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, shooting aerial footage of the cycling and sailing competitions. That led to helicopter stunts on TV episodic series, shows including "The A-Team," and then began to work on Hollywood feature film epics. Purwin co-founded Helinet in 1987. He later became involved, like his father, shuttling patients, organs and transplant teams. He was on the Los Angeles Children's Hospital Board of Directors, where he donated a helicopter and offered transportation services to many patients at no charge. "Doctors can't get caught in traffic or on the runway," he said. "You're essentially talking about life or death. For me, it's a lot more rewarding than moving around execs or shooting movies".

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