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Chinook Helicopters Cathy Press Honored By Women's Executive Network

Named One Of WXN's '2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100' Award Winner

Cathy Press, CEO of Chinook Helicopters (1982) Ltd has been named a Women’s Executive Network (WXN) '2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner', presented by KPMG in Toronto on November 21st, 2019.

As the first female flight instructor in Canada, Cathy Press (pictured) is CEO of Chinook Helicopters, a flight training school based out of Abbotsford, British Columbia, which has become a national leader (with 25% of the market) in training some of the best helicopter pilots in Canada and around the world. In fact, as someone who started flying at the tender age of 11 and did her first solo flight at 16, Cathy has a long history of persevering toward big challenges and goals in her extraordinary aeronautical career.

Cathy inherited her passion for aviation from her father who had owned a floatplane charter service, flying up and down the rugged B.C coastline, and then started Chinook Helicopters in 1983 when Cathy was 13 years old. Cathy helped around the office answering the phone and attending to the needs of student trainees, and within a few short years, had also acquired both her private and commercial pilot and helicopter licences.

Cathy was one of only six women in Canada privately licenced to fly helicopters at that time. In her early twenties, Cathy started flying charters in southwestern BC in areas of electronic newsgathering, aerial survey, search and rescue, forestry, and air taxi. At 21, Cathy completed Chinook’s flight instructor training, and at 27, she did the helicopter instructor program to become the first female helicopter instructor in Canada. Currently Cathy is also the only person in Canada to hold a “Transport Canada Pilot Examiner” status in both airplanes and helicopters, which gives her the ability to licence new instructors and pilots.

That was 1997 when Cathy’s father had begun moving away from the day-to-day operations of the business, and Cathy began to take over with big goals for the company. Since then, Cathy has grown Chinook Helicopters from three to 12 helicopters as well as adding 8 aeroplanes into the mix. She also has 3 original-design flight training devices that are customized to the needs of its customers. Cathy recently opened Chinook Aviation, a brand new 18,000 square foot building with hangar and office space for the growing fixed wing division.

Chinook offers every training course available from private, commercial, night, instrument flight rules, instructor and airline transport. B.C’s vast mountainous and heavily forested terrain also makes Chinook ideal for mountain training. Heralded as the “Harvard of Training Programs” and renowned for their world-class instructors, Chinook Helicopters attracts trainees from all across the country and from Switzerland, Egypt, China, Thailand, Australia, the UK, France, Denmark and Russia.

Cathy has always taken a hands-on approach to business administration. In 2015, she added to her credentials by getting her private helicopter licence in the People’s Republic of China and winning the flight instructor safety award for Canada.

In 2017, Cathy Press received the following accolades to add to her already impressive list of aviation accomplishments. The Bank of Montreal’s Innovation and Global Growth Award; Enterprising Women of the Year by Enterprise Magazine, and Chinook Helicopters received the BC Aviation Council’s Back and Bevington Air Safety Award for the most significant contribution to air safety in British Columbia.

(Source: Chinook Helicopters blog. Image provided)

FMI: www.chinookhelicopters.com

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