Evan Van Gilson as a young boy has always been fascinated by fast and loud vehicles. His first experience with helicopters was around the age of six years old when the New Jersey State Police landed in the parking lot of his mothers work for a community event. He remembers saying “This thing is awesome!” In high school he began searching eBay for experimental helicopters joking about how one day he was going to buy one, with the money he didn’t have, and learn how to fly it. As many young adults, when Evan graduated High School he went straight into the work force which instead of flying, he went into the law enforcement industry. About 6 years later, Evan got his second experience with the N.J. State Police helicopter, but this time he actually got to fly in it. Evan stared out of the window and pointed out all of the areas he recognized! He felt like he was in a different world and he LOVED IT! Evan told everyone about it and finally started taking lessons in helicopters. It was a tough career move to make, but in his mind he kept saying “It’s now or never.” He decided to follow his dream and fulfill his love for flying which has since lead Evan to great places, people and experiences. And now it has lead Evan to you, the person reading this! Evan has worked for 8 different helicopter companies in which 3 he is still working for. Evan currently flies aircrafts that have just 2 seats to some that seat 10 in both Helicopters and Airplanes. Evan has held positions for 135 Charter Captain and Company Check Airman, as well as Captain Positions for Privately owned aircrafts that he is a part of managing.
Brian Edwards doesn’t remember when his fascination with flight began, but he was making
airplane and helicopter sounds before he could talk. While most elementary school kids brought
Magic Treehouse books to read in class, Brian would lug around a massive encyclopedia of
aircrafts. Going to the Willow Grove airshow as a kid and watching fighter jets rip past made Brian realized his dream of becoming a pilot. Fast forward 15 years and as a mud covered Sergeant Edwards watches Apache’s swoop and dive over a training area he thinks to himself “I should do that!” He soon dropped a Warrant Officer packet and headed to Army flight school in Fort Rucker Alabama. Army flight school was not easy, but he powered through, receiving a commercial helicopter and instrument rating. After flight school he knew that just flying medevac Blackhawks part time in the National Guard wasn’t enough, so he came to Platinum Helicopters to master the Robinson helicopter and become a CFI. “The freedom of flying a helicopter is unlike anything else; once you experience it, you’ll never want to be tethered to the earth.”
Alison Fleck started flying in 2011 after a neighbor suggested she pursue aviation as a hobby. He referred me to a fixed wing school at Sky Manor Airport, and while the Cessna experience was fun, it made Alison wonder about the helicopter school she had passed on the way in. A week later Alison booked a demo flight in a R22 helicopter and was hooked! Over the next few years with Sky River and then Platinum Helicopters, she earned her ratings and began instructing in Princeton. In 2018 Alison started flying turbines, first in New York City for tours and charters and then out in Las Vegas for Grand Canyon helicopter rides. When COVID-19 hit, Alison switched to medevac and spent some time with Air Methods in the mountains of upstate New York. The work was intense and far from home, so she decided to take a break and come back to New Jersey. It only took a few months for her to miss flying way too much! Luckily there was an opportunity to fly again with Platinum Helicopters and Alison is very happy to be back in Princeton and back in the air!
Hunter Godeck is an experienced pilot currently specializing in flight instruction in helicopters. He studied at Smoketown Helicopters, Boston Helicopters and Green Mountain Flight Academy, experiencing a variety of different flight environments from the mountains and forests of Vermont to the busy airspace of downtown Boston to the summer thunderstorms of central Pennsylvania. Hunter is originally from Williston, Vermont and currently resides in Malvern Pennsylvania. In his free time Hunter enjoys playing hockey, training dogs and stand-up comedy at local open mics. Hunter is excited for his new adventures at Platinum Helicopters and is looking forward to sharing the experience of helicopter flight with many new people this year.
Duncan Winning has always known he didn’t belong sitting behind a desk. He’s always been interested in working with his hands mixed with a fascination for the outdoors. Duncan enjoys the physical challenges of running, cycling, and climbing and enjoys the mental challenges that come along with it. After a couple years at community college trying to figure out what would work best for him, he was coming up dry. With some encouragement from his dad and an uncle who started flying for the NJ State Police, he realized making a career out of flying is actually possible. He went for a demo flight in a Robinson R22 Helicopter and from then on he was hooked! Learning the whys and how’s of flying satisfied his itch to understand the world around him. After 5 years in the making, Duncan has finally achieved his CFI rating and is excited to begin working at Platinum Helicopters.
Harald Schaupp grew up in the northern part of Germany close to Hamburg. During an internship for the economic engineering degree program at the airport of Hamburg, he saw a Robinson R22 passing by and thought: “Wow, that´s cool!”. After having worked several years for a car producer, Harald realized that becoming a helicopter pilot is his real passion. Though Harald started his flight training in a Robinson R44 Helicopter in Germany, to improve his skills and gain useful experience in a diverse environment, he decided to move to Portland, Oregon in 2021. There he worked hard and finished all his American and European licenses and became a flight instructor. Harald couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Platinum Helicopters LLC team so he can share his enthusiasm of flying.