Cathy Press

CEO | Chinook Helicopters

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.

In 2021 the University of the Fraser Valley awarded Cathy an honorary doctorate in technology for her longstanding contribution to the aviation industry. In 2019, she was awarded Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 on the Women’s Executive Network. In 2017, she was awarded “Established Business of the Year” from the Chamber of Commerce, she received the “Innovation and Global Growth” award from the Bank of Montreal and the “Enterprising Women of the Year” from Enterprise Magazine.


  • 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
  • Vice Chair
  • Helicopter Association of Canada Chair on Helicopter Flight Training Committee
  • Chair on Succession Committee
  • Pacific Aviation Advisory Committee Member
  • International Women’s Federation Board Member


  • BC Aviation Council Mentorship Program
  • Aviation Leadership Foundation Program