As the first female helicopter flight instructor in Canada, Cathy Press is CEO of Chinook Helicopters, has trained some of the best pilots in Canada and around the world. Cathy started flying at 11 years of age and completed her first solo flight at 16. Cathy has a long history of persevering toward big challenges and goals which has led to her success both as an aviator and a business leader.

Currently Cathy is unique in that she holds “Transport Canada Pilot Examiner” status in both airplanes and helicopters, which gives her the ability to licence new instructors and pilots.

Cathy has always set high standards for herself and in turn expects high standards of those around her. She is a trailblazer in her field and enjoys the day to day challenges of the business. Her leadership focuses on moving towards aviation safety, sustainability and diversity.


  • ATPL Helicopter Canada / U.S.A
  • ATPL Aeroplane Canada / U.S.A
  • Class I Instructor Helicopter
  • Class I Instructor Aeroplane
  • Certified Flight Instructor U.S.A.
  • Group 1 IFR Rating since 1988
  • Group 4 IFR Rating since 2008
  • Swiss PPL Aeroplane and Helicopter
  • Chinese PPL Helicopter

Board Member:

  • BC Aviation Council
  • Chair of the Helicopter Association Canada (HAC) Flight Training Committee
  • Helicopter Association Canada Board Member
  • Pacific Aviation Advisory Committee Member
  • International Women’s Federation Board Member


  • BC Aviation Council Mentorship Program
  • Aviation Leadership Foundation Program
  • Elevate Aviation Mentorship Program


  • DCAM Flight Instructor Safety Award (2015)
  • BC Aviation Council’s Back and Bevington Air Safety Award (2017)
  • BMO Innovation and Global Growth Award (2017)
  • Enterprising Women of the Year Award (2017)
  • Women Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Award (2019)
  • Pilot Mentor for BCAC Mentorship Program (2020)
  • BC Aviation Council Board Member (2020)
  • University of the Fraser Valley, Honorary Doctorate in Technology (2021)