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Erika Kangas

“My #AeroPassion is pushing the corners of the envelope.”
Erika's Biography

Erika Kangas is a Flight Test Engineer for Bombardier in Toronto, where she supports flight testing of the Q400 and Global 5000/6000 aircraft. More recently, she was lead FTE for a missionized Challenger 605 certification program in Mirabel, Quebec. Erika was the recipient of the Northern Lights Rising Star Award in 2012, and has participated in many events supporting and encouraging women in aviation and aerospace. She is a member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE), and is involved with Women in Aviation, Women in Aerospace and the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI). She received a B.Eng in Aerospace Engineering from Ryerson University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.Eng) in the Province of Ontario.

As a Flight Test Engineer, I support testing of new aircraft, new aircraft systems, product improvements providing increased aircraft capabilities, and engineering investigations. Some days I’m in the office planning a ground or flight test, and others I’m on the airplane conducting the test! As test director, I instruct those onboard on what needs to be accomplished, as well as operate the aircraft instrumentation and monitor critical flight parameters.

As a leader in Canadian Aerospace, and one of the largest aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers in the world, Bombardier is a driver of the industry in Canada. We manufacture a wide range of products which fuel the need for local support and ancillary services. Our products are sold to customers across the globe and operate in a variety of markets.

My favourite part of being a Flight Test Engineer is working directly with the end product, travelling to far and exotic places to support testing with our customers, working with a fantastic team, and most importantly knowing what we do on a daily basis directly affects the safety of our products and assists all of our operators. I’ve developed an intimate knowledge of the aircraft that I test, both from a system and operational perspective, and love learning something new everyday!

I’ve had the opportunity to test customer aircraft in New Zealand, Australia and The Philippines, which all provided their own challenges. For a year and a half I was Lead FTE on a certification program for a Challenger 605 business aircraft that was modified to perform search and rescue and surveillance missions. I was also onboard the first biofuel flight in Canada! From my experience, no two test programs are the same, and each is exciting in its own way.

The testing we conduct increases the safety and performance, and lowers the operating cost of our aircraft, which benefits the consumer and the traveling public, both in Canada and abroad.

I would like to see the trend of women joining the industry to continue, specifically within positions of leadership and in operations. In recent years, I’ve participated in a number of events and organizations that promote, encourage and recognize women in Aviation and Aerospace in Canada. I believe that these events are invaluable for sharing with young women the opportunities that are available to them within the Canadian Aerospace Industry.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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