About Us

DEA Aviation is a UK-headquartered aircraft operations, management and maintenance service provider. We meet our customers’ specific and diverse requirements by creating custom solutions using our specialised hardware, equipment and personnel. Our services include:

• Airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
• Land and environmental survey and analysis
• Specialised commercial air transport
• EASA Part M and Part 145 and other regulatory bodies aircraft management and maintenance.

We are a highly qualified and accredited aviation organisation. DEA has a UK Air Operators Certificate (AOC), guaranteeing the highest standards of quality, safety and environmental responsibility.

Using our fleet of highly efficient and versatile aircraft, we provide vital knowledge to government agencies, businesses and other organisations. We support their security, enforcement, migration, transport, aviation navigation and commercial development activities. Our aircraft operations are backed by extensive aircraft management, maintenance and engineering capabilities with robust safety systems, all underpinned by an independently audited compliance and safety management team.

Launched in 2006 as an executive air charter business, Diamond Executive Aviation, we grew steadily and increased our fleet at our UK headquarters in Retford (Gamston) Airport alongside our customer base. In 2015, we rebranded as DEA Aviation when we introduced a new senior and middle management team. Since then, we have focused on growing and diversifying our service offering - an ongoing mission of ensuring the best quality service for our customers. 

Our People

Our team spans every aspect of aviation and collectively draws upon decades of experience in both civilian and military operations.

Gerald Cooper

CEO / Accountable Manager

Gerald leads DEA as CEO, directing our growth and diversification strategy and as accountable manager responsible for our compliance with regulatory bodies. Alongside being a Specialised Operations (SPO) Commercial Pilot and Licensed Aircraft Engineer, his three decades in the aviation sector have included senior management roles in several aviation businesses. Gerald is also a British National Unlimited Aerobatic Champion since 2009, ranking in the world top 10 since 2007.

Dicky Patounas

Director Business Development

Dicky joined DEA in 2015 to drive new business development. A former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot, he has applied his extensive service experience to growing DEA’s capabilities. His RAF career highlights include helping to bring the Eurofighter Typhoon into service in 2002; completing an MA in Defence Studies before working as a MOD strategic planner and strategic adviser; and Commanding No.3 (Fighter) Squadron flying the Eurofighter Typhoon, where he led combat operations. Dicky is one of the youngest ever pilots to join the Red Arrows, when he was just 27, and was Red 1, the Leader of the Red Arrows.

Richard Cucksey

Finance Director

Richard joined DEA as the finance director in 2014. He utilises his previous 20 years of financial experience to help shape DEA’s response to operational and financial challenges. Under Richard’s leadership, our finance department actively embraces competitive pricing and opportunities for sustained growth. His previous roles included leading the finance function at ENER-G Group and Rand Group.

John ‘JS’ Sullivan

Head of Operations

As DEA’s head of operations, JS coordinates our flight operations, ground operations, mission systems and crew training. His oversight ensures that our teams across these functions are resourced, structured and empowered to deliver safe, high quality and cost-effective solutions to a demanding and dynamic programme of operational commitments. JS is a former RAF fighter pilot and weapons instructor, commanding a front-line squadron and representing the RAF and UK in a range of senior leadership roles. 

Ed Grindrod

Head of Engineering and the Continuing Airworthiness Manager

Ed leads our ground-based team of aviation engineers at Retford airport. He joined DEA in 2016 and brings in-depth knowledge and experience in maintaining business jets, helicopters, and piston and turboprop aircraft. A former RAF Aircraft Mechanic, Ed’s accreditations are extensive, a key asset enabling us to maintain our multiplatform fleet: EASA B and C licenses for rotary and Fixed wing aircraft, FAA A&P IA Certificate and CAA form 4 approval for Continuing Airworthiness.

Sally Varley

Head of Ground Operations

Sally joined DEA in 2017 and leads Ground Operations. With 24 years of RAF experience, including Team Manager of the Red Arrows, she has a true understanding of and passion for our industry. Next to leading her team to the next level, she maintains effective communication with airborne colleagues to ensure integrated, safe and effective aviation services for DEA’s customers.

John Dundon

Head of Flight Operations

A rotary and fixed wing pilot since 1982 and one of our longest serving team members, John leads our flight operations team and is responsible for training. Before joining DEA in 2007, he was responsible for operating Bagby Airfield. John’s considerable experience includes tenures with the Royal Naval Elementary Flying Training Squadron and an exchange with Royal Air Force in Elementary Flying Standards at Royal Air Force Cranwell.

Lee Scott

Senior Business Development Manager

With over 40 years of experience, Lee joined us in 2017 to help deliver new opportunities, respond to new markets and widen DEA’s geographical reach in the UK, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. He has over 40 years’ experience in the aviation business including Airport Operations Manager at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Head of Ground Operations for Cobham Flight Inspection.

Our Fleet

Our diverse and flexible aircraft fleet reflects the varying and complex needs of our customers. We have developed solutions that deliver the most effective and best value flight platform for the task, tailoring a complex solution to our customer’s specific requirements. As a result, our choice of fleet and systems offers better value to our customers.



Civil Aviation Authority


Bailiwick of Guernsey 2-REG

Isle of Man Aircraft Registry

Diamond Aircraft Platinum Service Centre

Authorised Piper JetPROP Service Centre

Continental Diesel Engine Service Centre

Austro Engine Service Centre

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