"Flying is more than a sport and more than a job.
Flying is pure passion and desire, which fill a lifetime."
- Adolf Galland
“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle.
- Igor Sikorsky.


This FAQ section is meant to leave the unanswered questions as few as possible. You will find information about almost everything : training, licensing, medicals, training on your own aircraft… Please, before asking a question, make sure it hasn’t been answered here and use the form at the bottom of this page.


About Flight Training

To achieve a pilot license a candidate has to comply with requirements set up by Transport CanadaTransport Canada is Canada’s civil aviation regulator. Transport Canada spells out the requirements in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and written and flight test guides.

These requirements include ground school, flight training time, flight training device time, and flight test standard requirements. To achieve these requirements you need to work with a flight training unit or a freelance instructor who then has the responsibility to develop a syllabus and will complete the training efficiently and safely.

There are 2 parts to learning to fly. The ground school and the flight training.

Flight Training is actual in flight training in the airplane. One on one with a flight instructor. A typical full lesson takes about 2 hours. 30 minutes on the ground in a briefing room going over the flight (preparatory ground), 15 minutes for a preflight/walk around/fueling, 60 minutes for the flight itself, then 15 minutes to debrief. During the debrief you will discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, and how to prepare for the next lesson.

The pacing and schedule of the lessons are up to you. You can fly once a month, once a week, or 4-5 times a day if it’s productive for you. The more often you fly, the sooner the course will be done and the less money it’ll cost you to learn to fly in the end.

Ground School covers all the theory you need to fly and to pass the written exam. It can be done in a group setting, one on one with a flight instructor, or online as a distance learning course. The best method for ground school depends on the schedule you can maintain, the start day, and how you learn best.

You do not need to complete ground school before you start flight training. I suggest to do ground school and flying at the same time. What you learn in theory you can put to practical use in the airplane and the lesson will be better remembered.

Just as an example, my youngest student was 11 years old and my oldest one, no so long ago, was 92...

Although there is no minimum age requirement to start your training, there is however minimum ages specified in the Canadian Aviation Regulations to hold licenses.
  • 14 years old for a Student Pilot Permit ,
  • 16 years for a Recreational Pilot Permit,
  • 17 years old to hold a Private Pilot Licence and
  • 18 years of age for the issuance of a Commercial Pilot Permit.

Although I am based in Victoria, I do move around to teach. I operate in Victoria, Nanaimo, Tofino, Port Alberni, Qualicum Beach, and I’m always happy to make arrangements with my students to accommodate them as much as possible. Of course, If the weather is uncertain while I have to drive or fly to your place, I might just cancel the lesson and not take the risk to have to do it once I've arrived. 

Definitely!  Online ground school is totally acceptable and even recommended in some cases. In fact, some students of mine who attended online ground school actually got some of the best marks I have seen amongst all the students I’ve had so far. So I am very inclined to advertise the online ground school and one of them in particular. But make sure you’re autonomous and disciplined enough to go that path. It is not for everyone.

I will give you full credit for any flying completed at any flight school or with another flight instructor provided you have a completed logbook or pilot training record with details of training certified by the school. Evidence of ground school must be certified in a Pilot Training Record or in another record acceptable to Transport Canada.

Yes. All student pilots (and yes, even English speaking ones) must take the Language Proficiency Test, which is designed to assess students’ listening comprehension, speaking ability, and responses to different verbal scenarios. If you need to be tested, I can provide you with a list of  English proficiency examiners.

More information about language proficiency here:  https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/general-personnel-proficiency-2085.htm

I usually allow the presence of one passenger on a familiarization flight but not for the rest of the training. Simply because most flights will imply some maneuvers that would make the passenger feel sick or unsafe, and the aircraft potentially out of the safety requirements envelope. You should also consider insurance... we can definitely imagine they would not like that idea.

There is no rule, really. Ideally, you should be taking both your ground and air instruction concurrently to receive the maximum benefit. You can easily imagine that flying helps understand some concepts learned on the ground while ground school lessons might prepare some students for what will happen in the air. But every student experiences things in a different way. However, it is not uncommon for students to start or even complete one type of instruction before starting the other.

A lot of factors can influence the amount of time it takes to complete a course: the time of year and weather associated, personal aptitude, dedication, motivation, and budget can all affect training times.
A full-time student can complete a Private Pilot License in approximately 3 months (some of my students did it in 7 weeks but it is a bit exceptional) whereas a part-time student will usually complete in approximately 10 to 12 months. 
Commercial Pilot training, if done right after the PPL, is typically another 6 to 8 months for the full-time student due to time building consideration and if the weather cooperates.
Again, lots of unpredictable factors should be taken into account and it is impossible to guarantee an accurate time of training.

The minimum requirements are as follows:

  • Recreational Pilot Permit 15 Hours Dual, 10 Hours Solo 25 Hours Total
  • Private Pilot Licence 25 Hours Dual, 20 Hours Solo 45 Hours
  • Commercial Pilot Licence 35 Dual, 30 Solo, 100 P.I.C. 200 Hours Total

If you want to get your Commercial Pilot Licence, you must first start with your Private Pilot Licence. Factor in at least 10 hours of mandatory Preparatory Ground Briefing for each license, rating, or permit.

The most important books you will need to start with are:

  • The Flight Training Manual,
  • From the Ground Up (study book)
  • your P.O.H. (Pilot Operating Handbook).  

Later in your training, you will also need maps, but they are really not mandatory at the very beginning of your training.

Yes. However, you will still need to catch up to the current standard of currency and ability.

An average of  2 to 3 flights a week is good if you can afford it. The more often you can flight - and this is even more true early in the training - the faster you develop your skills and consolidate them. This definitely accelerates the training and saves you money in the end.

Students who fly only once in a while tend to get rusty between flights, don't memorize as well, and need to review more than more consistent students. At the end of the day, it tends to increase the cost of the training.

On the other hand for some students, overdoing it is not necessarily a good thing as too much practice and information on a short period of time can be overwhelming and counterproductive.

It is part of my job to determine what's best for you and give you advice about the right pace.

I haven't so far as I focused on keeping organized for the flying. Now that all this part is basically on track, but I am currently working on the ground school course. I hope to be done with that around next fall. Send me your email, I'll keep you posted about that.

Legally speaking, and if you don't plan on carrying passengers, no. But...

  1. be aware that any flight school you'd rent from will want to make sure you're safe enough. They'll check you if you haven't flown in the last few months. 
  2. If you don't feel confident enough, it is a good idea to brush off the rust with an instructor.  No need to stress out in-flight or scare yourself, that would kill part or all the pleasure of it.

If you're planning on carrying passengers, you need to do a flight that will include 5 take-offs and landings in order to be current. If your flight is planned to be done by night, those 5 take-offs and landings must be done by night.

Allow me to be very straight forward about that: I won't sign you off.

Be assured that it will break my heart as much as it will break yours because I'd rather deal with a  happy pilot than a sad and frustrated one. But I can definitely not sign you off if I have the smallest doubt about your ability to be safe in your aircraft.

You should also be aware that my signature engages my responsibility and my instructor's reputation on the check report I give you.

In case of a "fail", I would suggest a game plan to get you back on track as quickly as possible, which would obviously involve some dual flying.

Either online or with a flight school.  Just be aware that if you need help and consolidation, I'll be happy to help.

This is probably the question at least 80% of students forget to ask before making their decision about flight training. And this is one of the major reasons why there are so many drop-outs in flight schools. And these flight schools, for obvious reasons,  probably don't emphasize much the effort it takes to become a pilot.
And I'll be honest to you: although I thought I knew it would be a lot of work, especially for me at 43, I was still below the reality...

Of course, it will take a lot of work to be able to fly an aircraft as a private pilot, and even more as a commercial pilot, although much has already been acquired at that point and it becomes a little easier. And most students, after the fun and excitement of a familiarization flight, aren't aware at all of what it will take to reach the Holy Grail.

Flying is not the most difficult part if you understand what you need to do in a cockpit, if you're coordinated, not easily stressed out, and you apply strictly what your instructor teaches you. It will almost be a "piece of cake " and the most fun part of your training.

The theoretical part, on the other hand, is what might be the most challenging one as it requires strong motivation, good learning abilities, fluency with numbers, good memory, self-confidence, etc...
Think about it... the whole ground school course is about :

  • Air Law & Procedures;
  • Meteorology;
  • Pilot's Navigation & Radio Aids;
  • General Knowledge, including Theory of Flight, Human factors, Airframes, engines, and systems, Flight Instruments, Flight Operations,...

That is A LOT of information to understand, process, and remember. So, yes, flight training, even for a Private License is definitely a lot of work and this can't be emphasized enough. You will have some late nights and weekends studying for tests or preparing navigations for flights scheduled at 8:00 A.M. by your instructor.

If you're still young and just finished school, there is a big chance that your learning abilities and curve are still optimal and it will probably be much easier for you than for someone who left school a long time ago and never had to learn again (which was my case).

What matters at the end of the day is not so much the work you will have to put in your training. It's how much of achievement you'll have realized and how much of a reward it will be to you. And only you can know whether it was worth it or not.

Keep in mind that if you aim to become a commercial pilot, you will have to keep learning and studying in the long run anyway. It is, from day one and for the rest of your career, a real commitment that should never be taken lightly.

Most drop-outs are due to:

  • finances,
  • medical issues,
  • poor Flight Instruction,
  • flight test failures,
  • not setting the right goals,
  • unstructured training,
  • killing the fun of flying,
  • the "solo plateau",
  • flying is much more work than anticipated,
  • airsickness,
  • Flight Training becomes secondary compared with other priorities.

No, sorry, I cannot do that. To be able to train international students, I would need to run a flight school accredited by PTIB, which is an organization that supervises training institutions in Canada. Your only choice has to be a flight school, and most of them are PTIB accredited in Canada.

About Medical Certificates

No, but you will need a medical when you start flying solo. Ultimately, the sooner, the better as you want to know as soon as possible if you have any condition that would make you unfit for flying.

It definitely helps to have a good eyesight to fly but no. Contrary to a popular myth, perfect eyesight for pilots is not required, providing you have your vision on both eyes corrected using corrective lenses.

Transport Canada requires that all pilots be medically, physically, and psychologically fit and therefore are required to hold a medical certificate. There are different medical categories defined for the different license types. Each category will have different requirements and validity periods. More information on Medical Certificates can be found here.

As a private pilot, you need a category 3 medical certificate issued by a CAME (Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner). This medical certificate will be valid for 

  • 5 years if you’re less than 40 years old, and 
  • 2 years if you're over 40 years old.

A valid medical certificate is also what keeps your pilot license valid.

A lot of factors can influence the amount of time it takes to complete a course: the time of year and weather associated, personal aptitude, dedication, motivation, and budget can all affect training times.
A full-time student can complete a Private Pilot License in approximately 3 months (one of my students did it in 7 weeks) whereas a part-time student will usually complete in approximately 10 to 12 months. 
Commercial Pilot training, if done right after the PPL, is typically another 6 to 8 months for the full-time student due to time building consideration and if the weather cooperates.
Again, lots  of unforeseeable factors should be taken into account and it is impossible to guarantee an accurate time of training.

No. You MUST make an appointment with a CAME (Civil Aviation Medical Examiner) who's familiar with Transport Canada requirements and will make contact with them for everything regarding your file.

The only time your family doctor should be involved in your pilot's life is when you suspect you have a condition that might make you unfit for flying. In that case, you would mention any potential issue to your family doctor who would make contact with your CAME before taking any action regarding your case.

To find aviation doctors, click here for a search for Canadian Aviation Medical Doctors

The cost may vary from one doctor to another. But roughly, between $100 and $150.  Also, take into account that Transport Canada will charge you a $55,00 for "administrative fee" every time you do your medical.

About My Training

Unlike what most people tend to believe, flying an aircraft does not require to be a genius. If you're just comfortable enough with numbers, can read and listen to learn, can do what the instructor shows you, and, most important, can be consistent in your training, there is a big chance you can become a pilot. I'll never emphasize enough that passion, desire, and being curious are the pillars of success in aviation.

Because I was there myself, and although flying is always a choice, I am fully aware that the flight training process is not totally natural for some and this tends to undermine some students' confidence and self-esteem. So, one of the things I quickly try and determine when starting with new students is how comfortable they are with the information they have to learn and process.  And I try to adjust to their knowledge level and ability and desire to learn new things. And you'd be surprised how, sometimes, people who thought they weren't good learners turn out being very good students as soon as they start dealing with aircraft and flying.
My job, then, is to do everything I possibly can to keep them in that state of mind.

It is also part of my job to let a student know when flying might not be the right thing for him/her. Or, at the very least, that they should anticipate a higher cost as it will obviously take them more time than initially planned to make it to the licence.

I was not well versed in mechanical things either when I started flying, and that was one of my main concerns too.  Really, a piston engine aircraft isn't much different from a car, and both work basically the same way with just a few differences. Honestly, engines and systems are not the most exciting things to learn when you're not into mechanical stuff, but it's all very basic and there isn't that much to know. And if you're really interested in flying, you'll understand at some point that you need to know how your aircraft engine works. And, believe me,  you will learn!

The way I "deal with that" is by using the right tools to get you interested in the subject. I use my own knowledge, some very well done videos that outperform all lessons I've heard on the topic so far, and also quizzes. And I think it's a winning combination.

NO! Let’s be totally honest and realistic here. No one, regardless of what they may advertise, can guarantee you a license or a rating. What I do promise is that I will provide a training experience that is second to none, with a mature and experienced flight instructor, state-of-the-art training syllabus and program, and very acceptable weather conditions most of the year. Truly, a winning combination!
And keep in mind that your success does not only depend on me. It's a teamwork and you have to do your part.

I should add that I have never seen a student who did the whole pilot training not making it to the license. The most frequent worst-case scenario is a partial fail (or success depending on how you see the glass...) and you have a second chance to fix what went wrong on the first attempt.

I think it's pretty simple and straight forward:

  1. I call you and ask you your opinion about the weather and  if we can go fly (assuming you have attended the meteorology section of ground school, of course.)
  2. We meet at my facility at Victoria Airport for a PGI (Preparatory Ground Briefing). Coffee is on me.
  3. Pre-flight briefing: what, how, where.
  4. Weather still permitting, we go fly. Between 1 and 1.2 flight time.
  5. Back from the air, post-flight briefing: what you did well and what you need to improve. I fill up your PTR (Pilot Training Record) and you countersign it.
  6. You pay me and get back to a boring life.

I cannot do that unless you already own an aircraft. Another solution would be renting an aircraft from a flight school for that specific flight if you don't own your aircraft yet.

About Ratings

I can do your night rating but I won't be able to provide an IFR training as I don't have one myself. Do you have your own aircraft? Is it equipped for IFR flying?

There is no rating for Mountain Flying. All you have to do is do a ground lesson about the human factors, mountain weather, flying techniques, flight planning, and do the flight with an instructor. It is basically a "mountain check" and the instructor just certifies you did that check and acquired experience.


Keep in mind that ss this flight is intended to enhance the private pilot's understanding and skills in mountainous terrain, I would expect that you will have attained a minimum of a Private Pilot Licence.


The following items are required for a mountain flight:

  • Mountain flying emergency equipment
  • Appropriate clothing for a mountainous environment (jacket, warm clothing, appropriate footwear)
  • Current VNC and VTA

Yes, it does if you haven't done any night flying in the last six months, you need to complete 5 night take-offs and 5 night landings before doing a flight with passengers that will be conducted wholly or partly by night.

Check out this Transport Canada Video for more information on pilot recurrency.


Transport Canada's requirements are 15 hours of dual flying.  On top of that, you should anticipate between 3 and 5 hours of ground briefing. Multiply all this by my hourly rate, $60,00, and you get your answer.

Note that 5 hours, out of the 15-hour requirement, can be done on a simulator... but I understand it might not be relevant for someone who owns his/her airplane.

About License Conversions

The following conversion process is for licence holders who want a Transport Canada licence and already hold a licence from another country.

A foreign pilot must meet the medical fitness, knowledge, experience, and skill requirements as stated in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

Transport Canada will grant credits to foreign pilot licence holders, provided that the foreign licence is medically valid, and originates from a country that is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). If the foreign applicant meets the applicable experience requirements, the holder of a Commercial or higher type pilot licence in the airplane category, issued by a Contracting State of ICAO, shall be deemed to have met the ground school instruction requirement.

There are 2 options for converting the Private pilot licence:

  1. Foreign Licence Validation Certificate (FLVC)
  2. Private Pilot licence (PPL)
1. Recreational Flying in Canada:  Foreign Licence Validation Certificate (FLVC)

A foreign pilot licence of a visitor whose residence is outside Canada may be validated for flight training and recreational purposes. The foreign pilot licence must be valid under the law of the issuing state and valid (with a current Canadian Aviation Medical) for the privileges appropriate to the specific purpose. An applicant should apply for a Foreign Licence Validation Certificate (FLVC) before arriving in Canada.

The FLVC will be issued for a period of one year at which time the applicant may choose to renew it or apply for a permanent Canadian Pilot Licence. Below is the process to apply for the FLVC:

  1. Fill out this form
  2. Include a copy of your licence, medical, passport, English test, and the form, and email it to plo-LPOpnr@tc.gc.ca. It takes up to 20 days to process and then you can fly as pilot in command of a Canadian registered airplane. The cost is $55.
2.Private Pilot Licence Issued On the Basis of Foreign Licence

Candidates who want a long term Canadian Private Pilot licence are advised to convert to a full Canadian licence.

An applicant who is the holder of a Private Pilot Licence issued by another country shall be considered to have met the ground school, written examination, and the flight test provided that they can show a licence and logbook.

To convert:

  • Obtain a Canadian Class 3 medical or higher. It is important to do this first as you cannot do the written or flight test until you have been issued a medical certificate.
    Candidate has obtained 90% in the written examination PSTAR. You will find one here to prepare.
  • Complete 5 take-offs and 5 landings within the 6 months preceding the date of application
  • Have at least:
    • 45 hours total flight time, including:
      • 12 hours solo,
      • 5 hours instrument time,
      • 3 hours dual cross country, and
      • 5 hours solo cross country.
  • Complete an Aviation-Language Proficiency Test (Canadian or ICAO is acceptable)

Once the above has been completed, the candidate will be issued a licence which will state it is based on a foreign licence. To remove this statement from your licence, the Private Pilot written examination and flight test must be completed.

Yes. Canada belongs to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). All flying hours are transferable. Some countries will require written of flight test to convert.

Yes, it is possible. Here is the process:

  1. Complete the medical examination requirements in accordance with the Medical Standards for Civil Aviation Personnel Licensing and have a Category 1 Medical Certificate. You will find a listing of doctors here.
  2. Give proof that the experience requirement is met. An applicant should be able to provide Transport Canada with a logbook of their flight experience for review.
  3. Meet the knowledge requirements by successfully completing the following written examination: CPAER. This exam costs $110 to write.
  4. Meet the skill requirement by successfully completing a Flight Test.
  5. Complete the standard administrative requirements such as:
    • submitting proof of foreign citizenship and age,
    • provide the foreign licence and logbook for evaluation,
    • submit a licence application form, and
    • pay the appropriate fee (This is conducted at a Transport Canada office); The licencing fee is $80.
    Also fill out the Aviation Document Booklet application and bring in a passport picture (original) for the Aviation Document Booklet. For a pilot who is current, proficient, and has prepared for the written prior to arrival, the above will take a week or so.

This is the process to convert an FAA pilot licence to a Transport Canada licence:

  1. Get a Canadian Aviation Medical. You must get the medical certificate before you can do the conversion exams. After seeing a doctor it still takes about 6 weeks to get the medical certificate mailed to you. The medical from your FAA licence must also be valid in order to do the conversion.
  2. You can prepare for the conversion exams by going to Pilottraining.ca and select the "FAA to Canadian Licence" that is required.
  3. Once you have a medical certificate and are ready for the exam, schedule the exam at a Transport Canada exam center.
  4. Complete the application at a Transport Canada office. It can take up to 90 days to receive the actual licence.
    Also fill out an Aviation Document Booklet application and get a passport picture for it.

About Licensing

If it’s your desire to learn to fly for personal recreational purposes (e.g. sightseeing, personal business) or just for the sheer pleasure of it then you would most likely want to obtain your Private Pilot Licence (PPL).

If you want to pursue a career in aviation as a professional pilot then a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is what you will need.

This can be a long journey, but it all starts here with learning to fly. The first step is obtaining your Private Pilot license, then Commercial Pilot Licence and various ratings, and through a progression of obtaining experience and dedication. There are many paths to becoming an airline pilot but whatever your route is you will at the very least need a Commercial Pilot Licence, flight experience, and aptitude and desire for this job and lifestyle.

In order to get a license issued by Transport Canada, you must be at least

  • 16 years old to hold a Recreational Pilot Permit;
  • 17 years old to hold a Private Pilot License;
  • 18 years old to hold a Commercial Pilot License;

but you can still start training before the age of 16.

No, absolutely no difference. My syllabus is pretty much the same as the one of a flight school, you do the same flight training, take the same exams and flight tests. At the end of the road, you get the exact same licence.

Recreational Pilot Permit Requirements & Privileges:
  • 25 flying hours minimum
  • 35 flying hours average to complete
  • no ground school required, but...
  • pass a written exam (most students take the PPL ground school)
  • Class 4 medical based on family doctor's declaration


  • Only One passenger,
  • Airplane with 4 seats or less,
  • Allowed to fly In Canada only,
  • By day, in good weather only,
  • No ratings or endorsements to upgrade except float rating.


This permit can easily be upgraded to a Private Licence.


Private Pilot License Requirements & Privileges:
  • 45 flying hours minimum
  • 55 flying hours average to complete
  • 40 hours minimum of ground school


Ratings and endorsements may be added to fly at night, on multi-engine, or in instrument weather conditions.

Both courses are the same for the first 15 hours. A student does not have to decide before starting which course to take. A Recreational pilot may write the Private written exam  (PPAER), thus saving having to write another written exam with an upgrade to PPL within 2 years.

Technically and legally, any aircraft. It can be a very classic piston single-engine aircraft with a very basic private license and no rating, or a high-performance turbine engine aircraft with the right type rating added to your license. 

Of course, all pilot training starts on small single-engine aircraft.

Well, that depends on a number of factors, most notably how often you come out to fly!  Weather delays, varying student abilities, and aircraft contingencies will also play a role, but as an idea, if you come out once a week it will take you about a year to complete a Private Pilot Licence.  If you could come out 6 days a week, you could finish in as little as 10 to 12 weeks!

No, your pilot's license does not expire, it's a lifetime thing. But your medical Certificate does! And your medical is what keeps your license valid. You also need to keep your skills current in order to be able to fly legally. See currency matters here.

To be paid to fly you’ll need a Commercial Pilot Licence. To reach that point you’ll need a private pilot certificate and over 200 hours of flight time.

Most pilots will also have an instrument rating so they can fly in the clouds as well.

However, most paid pilot jobs will require more hours and/or additional ratings. This is why most pilots become Flight Instructors on their path to becoming an airline pilot, to build hours to become eligible for a future job.

The Student Pilot Permit (S.P.P.) is basically an authorization to fly solo while you are training.  It is conditioned by:

  • Your age (14 years minimum)
  • Your skills as a pilot student;
  • The completion of the Pstar Exam with a 92% pass mark;
  • Your Medical Certificate;
  • Your radio communication abilities.

With a permit, a student pilot may fly solo under the supervision of a flight instructor and for purposes of flight training only. Only domestic day flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) is allowed under this permit and no passengers may be carried.

The SPP must be carried onboard every time the student flies solo.

There are three time frames for recency requirements: 5 years2 years and 6 months. If you wish to be pilot-in-command or co-pilot, you must meet both the 5 year and 2 year recency requirements. If you wish to carry passengers you must also meet the 6 month requirement.

5 Years.

If you haven’t flown as a pilot in command in the last 5 years and wish to get back in the air, one of Transport Canada requirements (see Canadian Aviation Regulations here and here) is that you:

  1. Redo and pass the Pstar Written exam in the previous 12 months,
  2. fly with an instructor to check and refresh your skills.

This flight usually involves most exercises and maneuvers of a flight test to check your flying abilities and decision making.
In the end, if you're not too rusty and your skills are still within standards, you receive a dated document signed by the instructor stating that you were checked, the exercises you were checked on, with a couple of comments.
If you happen to be a bit rusty and no quite safe, there is a big chance the instructor does not sign that document and asks you to as many flights as needed to get you back to the expected flying level. Be aware that no instructor would take the responsibility to let you fly without the required competence; and as much as this situation would be frustrating for you AND the instructor, you must be prepared for this possibility.

2 Years.

If you haven’t flown as a pilot in command in the last 2 years, you must have successfully completed a recurrent training program within the previous 24 months. There are 7 ways to meet this requirement, by participating in a Transport Canada approved recurrent training program:

  • Complete a flight review with an instructor
  • Attend a safety seminar conducted by Transport Canada
  • Complete a Transport Canada self-paced study program
  • Complete a training program or PPC required by Part IV, VI or VII of the CARs
  • Complete the requirements for the issue or renewal of a license permit or rating
  • Complete the written exam for a license, permit, or rating.

6 Months

If you haven’t flown as a pilot in command in the last 6 months, in order to be allowed to carry passengers, you must have completed 5 takeoffs and landings in the same category and class within the previous 6 months. If the flight is to be done at night, then the takeoffs and landings must have been completed at night

About The Cost

The flying part of your training includes a minimum of 21 mandatory dual flights (Transport Canada requirements) to cover all the air lessons. A flight training lesson duration is usually around 1.2 hours on average, which gives us a total of 25.2. Add to this an average of 15 hours of pre/post-flight briefings (for dual AND solo lessons). That's a total of 40. 2 hours.

$60.00 X 40.2 hours = 2,412.00


  • The long answer now:

Add to 2,412.00 the cost of your aircraft fuel, insurance, maintenance, and tie-downs. Also, add the cost of your medical certificate, your study material, and the cost of your written exam and flight test. You now have the whole cost of your training.

For comparison purposes, the average cost of a Private Pilot License training in a flight school is between $13,000 and $15,000.

Hard to answer that question objectively. I guess it all depends on:

  • what you can afford, of course;
  • whether you'll keep your aircraft and how long you'll keep it after your training or not;
  • the level and quality of equipment you'd like to have on your aircraft.

I assume the underlying question here is actually "How much"...

You are charged by “flight time”.  This is the time from engine start to engine stop. The Hobbs meter in the aircraft keeps track of this time in .1 hour intervals (6-minute intervals).

  • My rate is $60,00 an hour for ground or air lessons.
  • You pay as you fly, no payment in advance, no account.
  • Cash or by cheque.

Parts of the Private Pilot Licence, Commercial Pilot Licence, and additional ratings can be claimed if you intend on pursuing a career in aviation and you are a Canadian citizen. The tuition and portions of the flight training are tax-deductible; however, textbooks are not.

Yes, I do. Fly, fly, fly!

What I mean by that is the more often you fly during the training, the less money you will put into it as your skills will very probably increase faster and you'll get rusty less easily.

And that's where some flight schools "trick" their students sometimes as some hidden fees are not mentioned. So here's what you should think of to figure out how your training budget will be spent:

  1. Ground School
  2. Flight training
  3. Study Material
  4. Pstar Exam (not always, though)
  5. Written Examination
  6. Flight test (Aircraft rental + examiner)
  7. Medical Certificate
  8. Transport Canada medical administrative fee
  9. Transport Canada Licensing Fee

I will not give you amounts as they would be different for every school anyway. Some flight schools also forget to mention that they rent their headsets.

About Pilot Careers

The choice is actually quite large. Of course, the most common sought career is the airline pilot one. But we can also mention careers in bush flying, corporate flying, fire detection and fighting, agricultural spreading, RCMP pilot, Air Force, aerial photo, coast guard surveillance and inspection… and, of course, instruction. As you can see, lots of different profiles in the pilot specialty. Check out avcanada.ca and their free job ads, you’ll be surprised sometimes what you can do with a commercial pilot license.

I don't know you, so it is a difficult question for me to answer. But basically, whether you want to achieve a lifelong goal of flying an aircraft or following your dream to become a commercial airline pilot, then flight training is right for you. Learning to fly is a challenge many people aspire to accomplish. Flying a light aircraft can be a rewarding adventure that is not only fun but can lead to an interesting career and travel opportunities. The best way to know is to give it a try: do a familiarization flight with an instructor and see if it's what you imagined and if you get the big kick out of it!

But keep in mind that learning to fly is not just about the flying... there's a lot more to it and your motivation must be infallible in the long run.

I started flying at 43, became a commercial pilot at 45, and a flight instructor at 47. I’ll leave it there...

Pilot training gives you the knowledge and skills you need to become a qualified pilot. A great pilot has:

  • Good Multitasking abilities
  • Strong focus
  • Strong situation awareness and decision-making abilities
  • Strong teamwork and communication skills
  • Good coordination
  • Good ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Good ability to lead
  • The willingness to keep learning

We all have some of these skills when we start flying. The instructor's mission is to determine which are missing and give you, through good training, the right tools and information to develop them.

I honestly think there is no rule. I know some people with degrees and diplomas who struggled in their training and others with very little education who became some of the best pilots. I have seen a 19-year-old student who could not divide 500 by 2 becoming a Commercial Pilot and, to be honest, I wouldn't have given much about his future in aviation at the time. Of course, having a good educational background definitely helps and gives you an advantage. But I am convinced that, as long as you are passionate, curious, and put enough work in your training, you can become any kind of pilot.

Ask anyone who’s been in aviation for 40 years and they will tell you it’s not. More than most industries, aviation is sensitive to economic upticks and downturns. When downtimes come, airline pilots who are low on the seniority list (which is to say, are newly hired) are the ones likely to get laid off. That said, the growth we’re seeing in aviation today is meteoric. Will it last forever? It probably won’t. But the forecasts all paint a rosy picture of job growth and industry growth for the near and long term. It's now or never.

It is fairly difficult to find a job as a commercial pilot right after getting your license due to your lack of flying experience. This is why most new commercial pilots follow the instruction path for a while, as it allows them to build up flight time and acquire the necessary experience that will make them employable.

However, the current market is actually very open and all companies are experiencing the pilot shortage. They tend to hire pilots with less flight time.

Yes, it usually pays well... but not always and not everywhere. The cons I can think of are the following:


  • Constantly changing schedules means you might never be able to settle down into a routine.
  • Red-eye flights are tough on your sleep cycle.
  • Until you have high seniority at an airline, expect to be working on holidays like Christmas, Easter, Canada Day, etc...
  • As hard as it'll be, you'll probably miss a few of your kids' birthdays.
  • Layovers aren't as exciting as they may seem. Even when flying internationally, you might end up at an airport hotel and see nothing of the country.
  • Unlike nearly any other job, you have to "go back to school" and pass recurrent training every 6 to 12 months.
  • After a few years, you'll make a good salary, but your first job could bring in as little as $19,000 per year. With the high costs of flight training, you're likely to have some serious debt.
  • Paris, Punta Cana, Papeete, or San Fransisco are a lot less interesting once you've flown there 50+ times.
  • You're on the road with the same flight crew for days at a time.
  • If you can't pass your medical exam, your pilot career may end.
  • Working for an airline is risky. If there's a major swing in the economy, you might get furloughed. Ask any pilot, and they've either been furloughed themselves, or they know someone who has.
  • Everything is seniority-based. If you want to bid a certain schedule or aircraft, it's all based on how long you've been at the company.
  • Once you've picked an airline, it's often a lifelong decision. If you switch airlines, you'll start over with a new, low seniority number and matching, low salary.


I can think of two options, and one in particular:

  1. He could start flying anytime with a flight school
  2. Check out the Air Cadet League of Canada

The only advice I would give for now is doing a familiarization flight to ensure he's comfortable in an aircraft. Then maybe wait a couple of years... 14 is still young and his mindset can switch easily with different desires and ideas. Also, the attention span can be a bit short at that age. In the meantime, nothing keeps him from attending ground school and starting learning theory. Which will make him aware there is more than just flying in a pilot's life.

About Training on your Aircraft

YES, you can! And as a freelance flight instructor, that is exactly why I’m there today! Because I can offer instruction only on my students’ aircraft or one that would belong to a member of their family.

If you own an airplane or are interested in purchasing one, I can provide the training if:

  • The airplane’s maintenance has been completed (annuals and hourly inspections)
  • The paperwork is complete
  • The airplane has dual controls
  • The airplane has to be insured for hull and liability and I am named on the insurance document.
  • I get the opportunity to inspect your aircraft before starting the training

There may be limits on what we can do in your own airplane. For example, it has to have a full gyro panel to do instrument training. The airplane also has to be capable of doing spins; if it cannot, then that exercise would have to be done in an aircraft that can.

Honestly, for a given category, I don’t think it would be fair to say this aircraft is more appropriate than this other one. They all have their flaws and strengths. If it was for me, I would tend to go towards Cessna because I’ve done my licenses and most of my career on them and they are exceedingly forgiving to starters. One thing, for sure, is that you want to buy an aircraft that is approved for spins as they are part of the pilot’s training and the flight test. And not all aircraft are approved.

That is a vast topic!  This is how I see things: it's all about when you can at least break even...


Let's imagine you have enough money to consider buying a single-engine airplane for training purposes. There is actually a good chance you could save cash this way, mostly if you plan on selling back the airplane after your training, or on adding up enough flight time on it in the long run.


With new aircraft prices soaring, the used market is strong and you can find great deals. With resale values holding steady and the fact you won't add that much time on the aircraft to complete your license, you can accurately calculate the expected depreciation of a plane and sell it for nearly what you paid for it once you finish your training. You also buy your own fuel instead of paying the hourly rate that, despite fluctuations, never decreases in flight schools. Other costs—like hangar or storage fees and insurance—are predictable, and a total of all expenses needed to complete your training should allow for a very accurate budget. Compare this price to what the hourly rate your local airplane rental will charge and there's a good chance you'll see several thousand dollars in savings.


Of course, there are risks. Unpredicted maintenance could throw off your budget, and unforeseen aircraft market changes could affect your resale. You also may not have tens of thousands of dollars stashed away and not so many banks offer aircraft financing, either.


However, if buying your own aircraft isn't possible, maybe it's time to find some friends to share those costs with. Flying clubs are a popular option for making aircraft ownership possible with an upfront fee that buys you a portion of one or multiple aircraft. Monthly dues go toward maintenance, insurance, and hangar fees. These clubs can be as informal as a small group of pilots who each split duties for keeping the club running or an organization with a small fleet of airplanes and many members. If you chose this route, just be sure to verify the penalties in the event you decide to sell your share and leave the club.


Now, to make the long story short let's list up the Pros and Cons of owning your aircraft vs. renting.

  1. Owning

    • Pros:
      • convenience;
      • flying when and where you want;
      • the plane is always how you left it;
      • you know how it was flown prior to the next flight;
      • the fuel rate is based on the exact current price;
      • you can leave your flying stuff in the aircraft if you want to;
      • you can do some basic maintenance yourself if you'd like to;
      • you're the proud owner of the plane;
      • you can upgrade or add any safety, communication or navigation equipment;
      • you know the specs, weaknesses, and strengths of your plane;
      • you get to choose who you are trained by;
      • no one else but your instructor is watching you;
      • your emotional relationship with YOUR OWN aircraft will be stronger;
      • having purchased your own aircraft can increase your motivation in doing and finishing your flight training as soon as possible.
    • Cons:
      • you can't predict the whole maintenance cost you're responsible for;
      • you're stuck with one type of aircraft;
      • the insurance cost will be higher;
      • you are responsible for the document follow up
      • you have to respect the maintenance cycle and schedule it.
  2. Renting

    • Pros:
      • no maintenance costs,
      • fixed hourly rates,
      • lower insurance rates,
      • you can take a break from flying without impacting your costs.
      • not much responsibility, except for flying safely
    • Cons:
      • mandatory scheduling;
      • availability issues;
      • aircraft must be returned on time for the next student/renter
      • often outdated avionics, and equipment;
      • general aircraft condition can be.. so-so.
      • limited rental types;
      • possible limitations in where you can fly to;
      • you might be asked to get checked when you haven't flown for a while;
      • you might have to cope weather minima lower than the standard ones;
      • you don't know the weaknesses and strength of the aircraft;
      • you have to comply with the flight school rules and policies.

My advice would be that you discuss that particular topic with your insurance company or broker. One thing for sure is that you need to have the instructor's name as one of the pilots of your aircraft on your insurance contract.

Absolutely!  Although you co-own the aircraft, it's still yours. So I'm allowed to teach you on that aircraft without any doubt.

I do know a couple of brokers or aircraft for sale. I also know about other opportunities that might be of interest to you. Please, give me a call or email me.

Here is the shopping list you should consider before buying an aircraft. Of course, the cost will vary based on the type of aircraft you buy and financing might also raise the cost.  I won't get into amounts and I'll just mention the operation budget line items.

    • Maintenance

      Small aircraft are required to undergo annual inspections. Obviously, the more equipped the aircraft the higher the cost (landing gear, instruments, etc...)

    • Fuel/Oil

      The average small plane fuel burn rate is 5 to 10 gallons per hour. Aviation fuel is significantly more expensive than typical automotive fuel, averaging $2,50 dollars per liter. Flying Clubs that provide fuel will usually sell their members for a lower price, of course. Check out 100ll.ca to figure out prices based on airports all over Canada.

      Small aircraft should have oil changes every four months or 50 hours—whichever comes first. For the average user, this represents three oil changes per year.

    • Landing Fees

      Based on where you fly to and land, there could be some landing fees associated with your flying operations. This item is often ignored or forgotten in a flying budget.

    • Storage

      When not in use, planes must be stored at an airport either in hangars or outdoors. Outside storage is typically cheaper than hangars and other covered spaces, although this depends on the region and location of the airport. Urban airports typically charge more than comparable rural airports. Keep in mind that outdoor storage, in the long run, might generate some maintenance costs as the aircraft deteriorates in weather conditions.

    • Insurance

      Aviation insurance covers aircraft damage and provides liability for anything your aircraft damages. Coverage varies by policy, and aircraft damage is categorized either as in-flight damage and from external damage. When selecting small aircraft insurance, which runs between $1,500 and $2,500 per year, it’s best to consult with a licensed aviation insurance agent.

    • Engine and Propeller overhaul

      One of the reasons that airplanes run so well is because of how the engines are cared for. Every 2000 flight hours or so, depending on the particular engine, an overhaul will be required costing in the ballpark of $25 to 30K. True, that’s pricey, but keep in mind that the average private pilot logs in somewhere around 100 hours per year, meaning that the overhaul might not happen for up to 20 years. Knowing that the cost will happen every 2000 hours will allow you to put aside money per hour as you fly to prepare for the engine overhaul.

      A propeller overhaul needs to be accounted for as well, which could be either every 6 years or every 2000 hours. This will cost several thousand dollars, depending on the prop, so a few extra dollars per hour alongside that engine overhaul fund is wise.

      Finally, setting money aside into a general maintenance fund is a good idea. Like with owning a home, there will be unexpected costs that pop up, and having the money ready for that is a necessary step.

Aircraft ownership might seem like a dream for the average pilot, but those who have gone through it know that buying an airplane can be a real nightmare! Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way through the aircraft buying process.

Determine Your Budget

First and foremost, you’ll want to determine a budget to stick to. It’s extremely easy to overspend and there will likely be costs that arise that you didn’t plan for. The best thing to do is create a spreadsheet of your own or use an online cost calculator.

As you may know, there’s more to aircraft costs than just the purchase price of the airplane itself. You’ll need to purchase an insurance policy, hangar or tie-down rental, fuel, oil, parts, and maintenance. And don’t forget the accessories: put next to the aircraft cost, passenger headsets and engine covers might seem inexpensive, but these costs add up quickly.

Know What You Need (Not What You Want)

Will you be a weekend pilot or a business pilot? Will you fly mostly fair-weather flights in the local area, or will you log hours on ​long cross-country flights in instrument weather conditions? The type of flying you'll do will largely determine what kind of airplane you need and what features and capabilities it will need to have.

Every pilot wants a brand new technologically advanced airplane with a great paint job, a high cruise speed, and the latest GPS. But a private pilot that flies a few hours on the weekend won’t see the benefits of higher horsepower and retractable gear. Instead, buying a fast, complex airplane just means a higher price tag (and more costly insurance) for the same type of flying.

Start your Search

Finding your dream airplane has never been easier. With today’s vast amount of online resources, you can look anywhere for your perfect airplane. While many good deals are still found on your local airport bulletin board, you can usually find a large selection of aircraft for sale on websites like Trade-a-Plane, Island Aero, Controller.com, or C.A.S, just to name a few.

Take a Test Flight

When you begin to look at and test-fly potential aircraft in person, it would be wise to take along a trusted aircraft maintenance technician or A&P mechanic. They’ll be helpful when it comes to testing flying the aircraft since they know how to look for certain engine and handling characteristics.

If you can’t take a mechanic with you on the first visit, make sure you have the aircraft inspected thoroughly at some point before you purchase it.

You’ll want to do a thorough preflight inspection yourself, being sure to look for signs of corrosion or other obvious signs of neglect like broken antennas or worn tires.

Inspect the Documents

Once you’ve decided on an airplane, you’ll need to spend some time in the books. A careful inspection of the aircraft’s maintenance logs will let you know if it’s been maintained properly, or if there were recurring maintenance problems in the past.

Upon completing the aircraft purchase, you will need to register the aircraft in your name. You can transfer the aircraft registration by sending an application and proof of ownership.

Finally, you are responsible for the airworthiness of the aircraft once it’s in your hands. The airworthiness certificate will transfer with the sale of the aircraft, but it’s up to you to make sure the aircraft itself is still airworthy.

Get Insured

Maneuvering your way through the insurance process can be a daunting task. While you might want to put this off until the last minute, it might be in your best interest to begin the process sooner rather than later.

Insurance companies typically set the requirements and premiums based on the type of airplane, its equipment, and pilot qualifications. So if you know you’ll be purchasing a Cessna 172, you can probably get started with the process of obtaining insurance.

Use Your Resources

Buying an airplane is a lot of work, especially if it’s your first one. It is a good time to call upon your fellow pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners to help if you already have them around.

A 172 makes a fine trainer. A 182 would do in a pinch but they're a lot more powerful, burn more fuel, and the learning curve could very well be problematic. Also, insurance would probably increase correspondingly...

Technically, you do not need to be checked on this aircraft since it's a single engine and belongs to the aircraft type your Private Pilot Licence was issued for. Now, for insurance purpose you might have to do that check and I would be happy to help, of course.

Let's  start with Transport Canada requirements (CARs 605.14):

The "legal" day VFR Equipment includes

  • Tachometer,
  • Oil pressure gauge for each engine,
  • Manifold pressure gauge (if relevant),
  • Altimeter,
  • Timepiece,
  • Oil Temperature Gauge (or another coolant gauge as applicable),
  • Fuel gauge,
  • Landing gear position indicator(if relevant),
  • Airspeed indicator,
  • Magnetic compass,
  • Emergency Equipment (first aid kit, Fire extinguisher, ELT),
  • Survival equipment appropriate to the season, geographic area, and route of flight.


But on top of that, it would make sense to also have :

  • Seat belts for each seat, 
  • A Carbone Monoxide detector


If you plan to do night flying at some point, you should add the following to the Day VFR list:

  • a sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure;
  • a turn and slip indicator or turn coordinator
  • adequate electrical energy generated for all electrical requirements;
  • pilot access to all fuses installed on the aircraft, and spare fuses adequate for at least 50% of fuses installed);
  • a gyroscopic or stabilized magnetic direction indicator (when operating beyond visual range of an aerodrome),
  • a means of illuminating instruments;
  • a landing light (when carrying passengers);
  • position and anti-collision lights.



You did not find the answer to your question here? Please, ask. I will answer you personally and then add your question to the database for everyone to access it.