With over 25 years' experience, Vaughn Gouws is the passionate aviation expert at the helm of Echelon Consulting Ltd.

 Echelon's President, Vaughn Gouws

Echelon's President, Vaughn Gouws



Vaughn has been avidly involved in aviation since joining the South African Air Force in 1989.

Starting his aviation career as a flight line assistant, Vaughn progressed through initial pilot training on the venerable North American Harvard to helicopter training on the Alouette III. After a successful military career flying the SA330 Puma and SA332 Oryx, Vaughn transitioned to civilian life, and civil aviation, in 1997.

Since the early days flying the Bell 206 and 206L, Vaughn has carried out an impressive and diverse amount of commercial work on several helicopter types. His career highlight reel includes stolen vehicle recovery operations in South Africa, power line maintenance, day and night air ambulance  operations, tourism operations and VIP flights for various Heads of State.


Vaughn's career in Africa has allowed him to experience many of Africa's great countries by helicopter.

South Africa












With more than 25 years of full-time aviation commitment, Vaughn has acquired practical and highly specialized experience in the fields of aviation safety, safety management systems, risk management, flight operations quality assurance, flight data monitoring, aviation audits and operations management. Echelon is a truly international company, having completed successful projects in the aviation risk management sector across the world, including:






Côte d’Ivoire

The Philippines



Republic of Korea














Vaughn moved to Canada to work in the booming Mineral Exploration, Oil & Gas, Heli-skiing and Tourism industries.

Before founding Echelon Consulting, Vaughn had a remarkable career with VIH Helicopters. He began as a line pilot, established the company’s premier VFR Simulator Training Program, served as the company’s Flight Standards Pilot and progressed to Director of Operations.


Echelon Consulting aims to give practical assistance to organizations in high-risk aviation industries striving to meet the highest levels of safety, quality and operational efficiency. We are committed to achieving the highest industry standards in full compliance with the latest best practices. We are a member of the Helicopter Association International, HeliOffshore and the International Airborne Geophysics Safety Association.

 Echelon's Vice-President, Renée Brindeau

Echelon's Vice-President, Renée Brindeau



Renée's aviation career was a total pivot from her former life with a highly successful advertising agency. 

Renée started her professional life in advertising, eventually progressing to a rewarding career as a successful print production manager at a large advertising firm in South Africa. Her first helicopter flight, taken on a whim, changed everything. She promptly sold every asset she owned to invest in helicopter flight training, and hasn't looked back since.

After completing her commercial helicopter pilot license, she further displayed her determination to keep learning by acquiring her flight instructor rating. After a short career as an instructor at one of South Africa's most prestigious flight schools, Renée moved on into utility aviation where she notably qualified as South Africa's first female pilot authorized to conduct utility flight operations with live human loads on the country's high voltage power lines.

Renée's continuing growth as a pilot saw her take on international flight operations with deployments to Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Mali, Madagascar and Zambia; before changing tack to a career as a Helicopter Emergency Medical Services pilot.

In 2007 Renée relocated to Canada, where she was first introduced to Canada's vibrant helicopter community working as a base pilot in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Renée continued to accumulate diverse experience in Canada's fast-paced aviation industry until a chance encounter led her to another career path, this time as an airborne law enforcement pilot in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario.

During her time as a professional pilot, Renée has accumulated experience in Visual and Instrument Flight Operations, Flight Instruction, Human External Cargo loads, Utility Flight Operations, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, Night Vision Imaging Systems and Utility Flight Operations. She has served as the Chief Pilot for an air operator in Canada, and acquired formal qualifications in aviation auditing, ISO 9001 auditing and Aviation Accident Investigation training from the Southern California Safety Institute.

Renée joined Echelon Consulting as a shareholder and the company's Vice-President in 2014. In this role she coordinates personnel and contractor assignments, carries out peer reviews of our work, is responsible for office management and financial administration, manages our challenging travel arrangements and ensures that our global operations are coordinated and resources allocated effectively to ensure Echelon Consulting's clients receive the high quality of service they deserve.



Auditor & Business Ethics and Conduct

We are committed to upholding the industry's highest standard of conduct, every day.