You may recognize Chuck Surack as the Founder of Sweetwater Sound, Surack Enterprises, the owner of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation, or as a community leader, serving on the boards of many local non-profit organizations.
What you might not know is that Chuck is a helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast. Inspired by his aviator father, Chuck has loved flying since childhood, even keeping his Boy Scouts Aviation merit badge to this day. His first flying experiences were in his dad’s Aeronca Chief based at Smith Field. Chuck would go on to own many other airplanes and helicopters, such as the Cessna 414, Cessna Citations, and the Airbus H130, just to name a few. He loves flying and can often be found at the helm of a helicopter.
In addition to Sweet Helicopters, other aviation related businesses under the Surack Enterprises umbrella include Sweet Aviation, which provides charter flights, training, and rental for fixed-wing aircraft from both Smith Field Airport and DeKalb County Airport and Aviation Specialty Insurance, which insures the aviation industry including corporations, light aircraft, flight schools, drones & UAVs, and more.
He and his wife, Lisa, have two sons and a daughter.
, Director of Operations/FAA Pilot Examiner/Check Airman
California born, but Ohio raised before Sweet Helicopters, Jeff spent 29 years as Chief Pilot/Director of Training for a large Midwest Air Medical program. With years of aviation consulting experience, Jeff also has spent the last 30+ years as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. Dual rated in both helicopters and airplanes, Jeff spends his days at Sweet Helicopters administering the day-to-day management of the business, and overseeing FAA operational control.
, Chief Pilot
Kyle Roth always had a desire to fly. His grandfather was a radio operator for float planes during WW2 and Kyle would follow in his steps joining the Marine Corps and serving three deployments in Iraq. In addition to receiving a BS in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Kyle has worked in line service, refurbished WW1 cloth-era biplanes, flown gliders, and became dual-rated in both helicopters and single engine aircraft.
, HAA Lead Mechanic
Simon is an AW169 School Trained Technician and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic. Simon grew up in northern Indiana watching Parkview Samaritan helicopters. Even as a child, he was fascinated by the important role these helicopters played in helping people in critical situations. Even if Simon wouldn’t be the pilot flying them, he knew he wanted to be involved somehow.
He spent 11 years maintaining Blackhawk helicopters for the U.S. Army, serving as crew chief, before bringing that experience back with him to home to Indiana. He now leads a crew of HAA mechanics for Parkview Samaritan, allowing him to serve his community in the same way he envisioned as a child.
, HAA Pilot
Having grown up in Wabash, Indiana, Drew attended Quantum Helicopters Professional Pilot Program in Arizona. He spent the next few years flying tours in both Arizona and Alaska, but it was always his goal to find his way back to northeast Indiana. Drew began providing helicopter air ambulance services in 2007 for a program in southern Ohio. Finally, the right opportunity to return to the Hoosier state came in 2010 with Parkview Samaritan.
Drew is now a CFII and has his ATP certificate. He, his wife Jackie, and son Avery enjoy traveling, camping, fishing, and hunting. Drew is a huge Purdue football fan and enjoys cheering on the Boilermakers every season.
, HAA Pilot
Michael Smith has always made serving his community a priority. Before serving as Pilot in Command for Samaritan 2, Michael was serving his country in the U.S. Army. He is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael spent seven years in the infantry and 13 in Army aviation as an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Pilot in Command. While he has since retired from the Army, Michael remains just as committed to saving lives. He now provides Air Ambulance support for Parkview, transporting patients across Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. When every second counts, Michael is up for the challenge, of transporting critically injured trauma victims to hospitals as quickly and safely as possible.
Michael is an ATP-certified pilot. He is happily married to his wife Crystal. Together they have three children: Cody, Jesse, and Emma.
Derrick "Dusty" Potter
, HAA Mechanic
Derrick Potter says he feels incredibly humbled to be a part of the Samaritan program. It’s his responsibility to make sure the AS365N2 aircraft stays airworthy and continues to save many lives. His childhood was spent at the airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he watched the planes land with his father. Derrick and his childhood best friend both decided to attend the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Indianapolis to become aircraft technicians. Since then, Derick has logged more than 250 hours of Ascend Leadership training. He now has ten years of project management experience.
Derrick married his high school sweetheart. They’ve been married for more than 15 years. Together they have two kids. Derrick’s older boy aspires to become a pilot for Samaritan when he grows up. In his free time, Derrick enjoys fishing, learning about space, and skydiving.
, HAA Mechanic
Joseph McConnell has worked to keep aircraft in flying shape for decades. He graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in 1979 with an associate degree in aviation maintenance. Before he began maintaining Parkview’s fleet, Joseph already had some piloting experience, but he wanted to learn more about helicopters and how they work. He now knows several aircraft inside and out, including the AS365N, N1, and N2.
In his free time, Joseph loves to read, collect scale models, and restore old cars. He has two sons: Alexander and Cameron.
, HAA Pilot
Austin has always found himself fascinated by fast cars and motorcycles. He says flying was his first outlet where he didn’t get in trouble for going fast. Austin began learning to fly as a teenager in Huntington, IN. He went on to complete a degree in Professional Aviation Technology at Purdue University, and later, he received his CFI license from a flight school in Oregon. Austin puts his knack for speed and precision to work every day as an HAA Pilot for Parkview Samaritan, where he provides both transport from a crash scene and inter-facility transfer.
While Austin might be the first person to become a pilot in his family, he’s not the first person to work for Parkview. His father is a Parkview Emergency Department Physician, and Austin says that sometimes, their paths cross during transports. Austin has a wife, a toddler son, and a daughter on the way.
, HAA Pilot
Even as a toddler Brian knew he wanted to fly. He’s had several family role models help solidify his passion for flying and helping others. His grandfather was involved with aviation during World War 2, his uncle occasionally let him take over the controls on short flights, and his mother worked as a nurse for more than 50 years. Now, he serves as an HAA Captain for Parkview Hospital. Brian is directly responsible for operating the AS365 N2 SPIFR, managing crew and passenger relationships, and making all the preparations for a flight.
Brian attended flight school at Civic Helicopters in Carlsbad, CA. and has spent most of the past two decades on the move, relocating ten times in the past 23 years. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking and photography. Brian and his wife have two kids.