Pilot Licenses and Ratings Explained

There are specific requirements for each license and rating mandated by TC (Transport Canada) that the applicant must meet to obtain their licenses and/or ratings. All information updated on TC’s Part IV — Personnel Licensing and Training section 421, the link below will direct you to TC  website for the main source of information: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/transport-canada/corporate/acts-regulations/regulations/sor-96-433.html

It is important that you check TC (Transport Canada) website regularly for any updates on the requirements for the licenses and ratings!

Licenses

PPL (Private Pilot License)

The PPL can be the first license a Student pilot can obtain.

The holder of a PPL can fly any single engine piston aircraft (if endorsed with the appropriate ratings) for personal use but cannot be paid as a pilot or work for a company.

Minimum age 17 to be a holder of this license but you can commence training at the age of 16.

Training will be done under VFR (Visual Flight Rules)

Medical Certificate Class 3 or Class 1 (by an approved medical examiner).

Minimum flight hours requirements 45 in which 5 hours of the 45 can be done on approved flight training device(simulator). Average flight hours to obtain PPL is 60-65 flight hours (It may vary between students)

Requires both a written and flight exam passed including aviation knowledge and flight exercises and maneuvers competencies.

The pilot candidate can elect to sit the written exam or do the flight exam first.

Written exam PPAER (Private Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) requirements are 10 flight hours and 40 ground hours of instructions with a recommendation letter from your flight instructor.

Flight exam requires a minimum of 35 flight hours and must be done by a TC examiner or an examiner approved by TC with a recommendation letter from your flight instructor.

The student pilot will be required to do an English exam to meet the ICAO English standards (note French speaking province Quebec you are granted the option to do it in French as well).

CPL (Commercial Pilot License)

CPL can only be obtained after the PPL.

Minimum age 18 for the holder of this license but you can commence training at the age of 17.

Medical Class 1 certificate.

Training will be done under VFR (Visual Flight Rules)

Allowing the holder to work and get paid for flying.

Total flight hours required 200 in which minimum 100 must be PIC (Pilot in Command).

Written exam CPAER (Commercial Pilot Licence — Aeroplane) requirements are 100 flight hours plus 80 hours of ground instructions and a recommendation letter from your flight instructor.

Flight exam requires the written exam passed and a total of 150 flight hours and a recommendation letter from your flight instructor.

Limitation for the number of passengers carried while working under a CPL license.

ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License)

The ATPL is required by most major airlines as it removes the restriction on passenger limitation, and opens a wider range of options and job opportunities.

Minimum age 21

Medical class 1 certificate

ATPL allows the holder to reach the pilot in command position of a multi crew aircraft.

1500 flight hours minimum.

2 written exams required, SAMRA & SARON

A flight exam conducted by a TC examiner or an examiner approved by TC.

  • A frozen ATPL is where the pilot can do both written exam at 750 flight hours giving the holder 2 years to meet the rest of the requirements.
  • An Integrated ATPL is where a frozen ATPL can be obtained at less than 200 flight hours, the candidate needs to reach 1500 flight hours within 2 years preceding the successful pass of both written exams.

Note that not all aviation colleges provide the integrated ATPL program.