With over 30 years of experience in aviation, covering aircraft maintenance, design, certification, flight test, manufacturing, and expert witness services to the US Federal Courts, Nigel Waterhouse is one of the most experienced and highly esteemed aerospace engineers in the aviation industry. Working as an international consultant to the aviation industry, he also holds the titles of Transport Canada civil aviation design approval representative and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) compliance verification engineer. As such, he covers all aircraft types from helicopters to large transport category aircraft and all disciplines from cabin safety to structures and systems. In 2014, Nigel received delegation from the Canadian federal transport minister to approve the designs of aircraft on behalf of Transport Canada. Currently, as president of Can-Am Aerospace, Nigel leads the aeronautical engineering company in making design changes, certification of modifications and repairs to aircraft operating in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Nigel’s aviation career started out with humble beginnings; in charge of a broom and sweeping the floors in hangers at local airports. However, Nigel soon became an apprentice and mechanic, slowly working his way up from cleaning the floors to inspecting and repairing aircraft. Eventually, he became a licensed aircraft mechanic and stayed in that line of work for over 10 years.
In 1987, Nigel enrolled at Brunel College, Bristol, in the United Kingdom, where he learned the aircraft maintenance trade and earned his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s License from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. Then, in 1996, he graduated from England’s University of Lincoln with an honors degree in aeronautical engineering. Nigel decided to relocate to Canada in 1998 and started working in the aeronautical design and certification business where he remains today.
In 2001, Nigel founded Can-Am Aerospace, a privately held aviation and aerospace company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. Serving as a consulting organization to the aviation industry, airlines, government agencies, police forces, and the military come to them with problems and proposals for aircraft designs, modifications, or repairs. Nigel explains, “We start from the beginning and do a cradle to grave process, creating the design or reviewing the proposed design, going through all the analysis and testing, including flight and systems testing.” Then, they work with Transport Canada, the FAA, and/or EASA to get the necessary approvals.
According to Nigel, the most unique aspect of Can-Am Aerospace is that they hold extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of aviation where most other companies specialize in only a few areas. For instance, Can-Am Aerospace became the first aeronautical engineering company in Canada to successfully obtain a Canadian Technical Standard Order approving specialized aircraft mechanical fasteners. Nigel has also worked as an expert witness for a major aircraft manufacture in a U.S. federal court case and contributed to a successful outcome. Nigel’s goal for the future is to continue keeping the company ahead both nationally and internationally. Just as Can-Am’s motto says, “We’re taking off, so you can.”
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Nigel's feature on page 77.