To qualify as a Private Pilot, students must undergo two examinations—one is a flight test conducted in an aircraft with an examiner, and the other is a written examination conducted by Transport Canada.  There are time limits on when these examinations must occur—the flight test must be completed no later than two years after successfully completing the written examination, and the written examination, in turn, must be completed no later than one year after successfully completing the flight test.  Private Pilot training is therefore oriented towards preparing students for these two examinations—that is, the flight training portion prepares students for the flight test, while the ground school portion prepares students for the written examination.  While flight training is conducted one-on-one with a Flight Instructor, ground school is normally conducted in a conventional classroom setting.  All training must conform with standards established by Transport Canada, and the aircraft used for training must meet the maintenance standards established by Transport Canada for certified commercial aircraft.
With respect to prerequisites, prior to obtaining a Student Pilot Permit, which permits solo flying practice (under the supervision of a Flight Instructor), and prior to completing the written examination requirements for this licence, students must obtain a valid Category 1 or Category 3 Medical Certificate.  Students seeking careers as Commercial Pilots should obtain a Category 1 Medical Certificate.  The minimum age requirements for the Student Pilot Permit is fourteen years of age, while the minimum age for the Private Pilot Licence is seventeen years of age. In accordance with the International Civial Aviation Organization, all pilots must demonstrate English language proficiency.
Transport Canada establishes the minimum requirements for the Private Pilot Licence as follows:

  1. Minimum Age of 17 years.
  2. Category 1 or 3 Medical Certificate.
  3. Training conducted as per Transport Canada requirements.
  4. 40 hours Groundschool on subjects specified by Transport Canada.
  5. 60% on the Transport Canada Private Pilot written examination (Air law, Navigation, Meteorology, Aeronautics-General Knowledge).
  6. 45-hours flight training in the aircraft category (aeroplane, gyroplane, and helicopter), including not less than 17 dual with a flight instructor and 12 hours solo.
  7. Of the 17 hours of dual, 3 hours must be cross-country, and 5 hours must be instrument time (reference only to flight instruments)
  8. Of the 12 hours solo, 5 hours must be a cross-country trip with a triangular flight not less than 150 nautical miles, including 2 full-stop landings.
  9. Successful completion of a flight test.


Private Pilots receive a blanket aircraft type rating for “all single pilot, non-high performance single engine land aeroplanes;” however, they can fly any aeroplane provided they have received an “Individual Aircraft Type Rating,” >which may require additional ratings, examinations, and Pilot Proficiency Checks (flight test).


The blanket aircraft type rating therefore excludes multi-crew aircraft (e.g., requiring co-pilot), as well as high performance aircraft, the latter formally defined as aircraft with a “never exceed” (Vne) of 250 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and greater, or a “stall speed in a landing configuration” (Vso) of 80 KIAS and greater.

As mentioned above, the flying portion of this Program prepares students for the Private Pilot flight test.  The flight test lasts from 1 to 1½ hours, during which time air exercises are demonstrated by the candidate and evaluated by a Pilot Examiner.  Flight Instructors are extremely familiar with the standards applied by the Pilot Examiners—standards that are extensively detailed in the Canadian Aviation College’s Flight Training Handbook.  Importantly, Flight Test candidates are recommended for Flight Tests by their Flight Instructors —accordingly, the results of a given Flight Test reflect upon both the Flight Instructor and Canadian Aviation College, as well as the student being examined, and are an important measure of how well we do our job—something that we no doubt regard with high esteem.


The 25 hours Dual Air and Instrument Instruction, as well as the 20 hours of Solo Practice, focus on the air exercises contained in the Air Training Syllabus outlined below:

Student Pilot Permits

To pilot an aircraft (act as “Pilot-in-Command”) under the supervision of a Flight Instructor, students must hold a Student Pilot Permit.  The minimum age for this permit is 14 years.  Once a student reaches the skill and knowledge requirement to hold a Student Pilot Permit, the student effectively “flies under the wing” of a Flight Instructor, and for training, legal and aircraft insurance purposes, acquires pilot privileges subject to the certain limitations—some of which are outlined below.

To be eligible for the Student Pilot Permit, students must hold a Medical Certificate and they must successfully complete the Student Pilot Permit or Recreational Pilot Licence for Foreign and Military Applicants, Air Regulations Examination—“PSTAR” for short (thank goodness!).  The PSTAR examination is administered on behalf of Transport Canada by Canadian Aviation College, and the passing grade is 90%, which must subsequently be corrected to 100% with your Flight Instructor.

For the purpose of receiving flight training or undertaking a flight test, the holder of a Student Pilot Permit may act as Pilot-in-Command of any aircraft of the category to which the permit applies, provided the following requirements are met:

  1. The flight is conducted in Canada during the day; the flight is conducted under the direction and supervision of Flight Instructor;
  2. no passengers are carried on board the aircraft
Before an individual can receive a private pilot licence or recreational pilot permit, he or she must demonstrate both flying skill and knowledge.44  Flying skill is demonstrated to a designated Transport Canada examiner on a flight test, and a specified number of dual and solo hours flight training must be completed before the flight test can be attempted.  In contrast, general knowledge of various subjects related to flying is demonstrated by successful completion of a Transport Canada multiple-choice written examination; before a student pilot can write the examination, he or she must complete the Ground school requirements, complete 10 hours of flight training, and obtain the required Medical Certificate.  The purpose of this course is to prepare the student pilot for the written examination.  By introducing the student to such subjects as the theory of flight, airframes and aero engines, meteorology and navigation, airpersonship and flight procedures and rules, he or she will acquire knowledge to successfully write the written examination and to safely enjoy the art of flying.