As is the case elsewhere, becoming a pilot in Canada is a long, challenging and thrilling procedure. Your determination and passion will see you through this arduous course which will mark the beginning of a rewarding and fulfilling career. The course is marked by milestones on the completion of which you will earn a license. As you increase your experience, you will upgrade to the next license which will open newer avenues for you. Let us take a closer look at the series of licenses required for an aspiring pilot in Canada.
Types of licenses required to fly a plane in Canada
There are 3 licenses and one permit that you can hold as a pilot in Canada.
- Recreational Pilot Permit: This permit is recognised only in Canada and it allows you to fly with your family and friends on fun excursions. It has limited scope only.
- Private Pilot’s license: This is a recognised license and its validity extends all over the world. This license too allows you to fly a plane for non commercial purposes. You need a flying experience of around 40-50 hours to qualify for this license.
- Commercial Pilot’s License: This license is recognised all over the world and you are entitled to be paid to fly. You can be employed even in jet airlines ferrying passengers but not as Captain. A flying time of 200 – 250 hours and clearing a written and flight exam are the criteria to qualify for a commercial pilot’s license.
- Airline Transport Pilot’s license: This is the highest level that can be attained and authorizes you to fly as Captain with any major airline. This license is valid and recognised all over the world. For this, you need to have gathered an experience of 1500 hours of flying time before you can attempt the written exam.
What are Ratings?
Ratings are like additional features that add value to your license. A license without ratings would lose out to the keen competition that there is in this field. They greatly enhance your job prospects and add scope to your license. Following are some types of ratings that can be added to pilot’s licenses in Canada.
- Night Rating: You need this rating to be permitted to fly an aircraft at night.
- Multi Engine Rating: With this rating you are permitted to fly an aircraft having more than one engine
- Instrument Rating: This one qualifies you to fly in cloudy and turbulent weather conditions
- Float Rating: With this, you would be allowed to take off and land an airplane on water. The aircraft will have to be equipped with floats
- Instructor Rating: This rating qualifies you to conduct flying lessons and train others to fly an aircraft. However you need at least a commercial license to be eligible for the instructor rating
The Medical Exam
Although you are allowed to begin your training before doing the medicals, it is recommended that you clear it at the starting itself. That way, you will know whether or not you are medically fit to fly before you spend a huge some on flight training.
Most people who are generally fit overall don’t find it a problem to clear the medicals. Vision need not be an issue as long as you can correct it using spectacles or contact lenses. It’s only if you are color blind or have any problems with perception of depth that it may render you unfit for flying. Heart problems, diabetes and mental disorders are other reasons for failing the medical exam.
The medical cannot be conducted by your family doctor but by a specially certified doctor qualified to conduct Pilot Medical exams. For a private pilot license you need to clear a class 3 medical exam while for a commercial pilot license you should pass a class 1 medical exam. The exam has to be periodically repeated according to the level of license you hold.
The Training process
For the very first level, you need to enrol for ground school classes once a week which would cost you around $500. Along with this, you would also start with your flight lessons which are of duration of 1 or two hours each. You would begin by training with an instructor but eventually you would have to fly the plane yourself with the instructor only monitoring you from the ground. It is best to plan 2-3 flying lessons every week.
This is how a typical traditional school program would run. You would then graduate to a commercial license and be able to earn the add on ratings as well. Other than this there are college school courses which are expensive but do not necessarily have an advantage over the other kind of school.
Hence it would be best to make an informed choice and opt for the training that suits you best. Bon voyage for a wonderful career that awaits you!