Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Pilot Licensing

Do I need a pilot licence to fly an ultralight? What kind of licence?

Do I need a Seaplane rating to fly an ultralight on floats?

Can I carry a passenger in an Advanced Ultralight? In a Basic Ultralight?

Which pilot licences include passenger-carrying privileges?

What is the Passenger-Carrying Endorsement for the Ultralight Pilot Permit?

What are the requirements/privileges for Ultralight, Rec & Private licences?

What is the Sport Pilot Permit? What are Light Sport Aircraft?

Can I log ultralight time? What licences does it count towards?

Can I train for a Recreational Pilot Permit in my own Challenger?

Can I hold more than one licence at a time? Why would I want to?

What medical do I need to obtain for an Ultralight licence? And how often?

Does ultralight time count towards the 5 year recency requirement?

What are the privileges of an Ultralight Instructor rating?

I have an Ultralight Permit - what do I need to be an Ultralight Instructor?

I have a Private Licence - what do I need to become an Ultralight Instructor?

I have a Recreational Permit - what do I need to be an Ultralight Instructor?

I have an Aeroplane Instructor Rating - can I teach in Ultralights?

I have a Glider/Helicopter/Gyroplane/Balloon licence - can I fly ultralights?

I have a pilot licence but haven't flown in over 5 years - now what?

Can I downgrade my Private to a Rec Permit to go to a Class 4 medical?

Do I need a pilot licence to fly an ultralight? What kind of licence?

Yes, in Canada you need an appropriate licence to fly any aircraft. Ultralights may be flown with an Ultralight Pilot Permit or with any Aeroplane category licence such as a Recreational Pilot Permit or a Private Pilot Licence.

The Ultralight permit includes the privilege of flying non-Ultralight Aeroplanes as long as they meet the specified seat, weight and stall speed criteria. The Recreational and Private licences include the privilege of flying all Ultralights.

FYI, in the United States it is legal to fly a single seat aircraft without a pilot licence or any form of medical if it meets the requirements of Federal Air Regulation Part 103. This is explained in our FAQ on Aircraft Registration.

Do I need a Seaplane rating to fly an ultralight on floats?

No. Unlike the Aeroplane category, the Ultralight category is not further subdivided into 'classes' such as Land or Sea, Single or Multi-Engine. This means that a Seaplane rating is not mandatory to fly an ultralight on floats.

(While not legally required, training is advisable for landlubbers getting wet!)

Can I carry a passenger in an Advanced Ultralight? In a Basic Ultralight?

In a Challenger registered as an Advanced Ultralight, you can carry any other person if you hold a licence which has passenger-carrying privileges.

In a Challenger registered as a Basic Ultralight unless you hold an Instructor rating you may only carry a person who has an Ultralight or Aeroplane licence.

Ultralight instructors may carry students as well as perform intro flights for potential students in both Advanced and Basic Ultralights.

(For details of Advanced and Basic Ultralights click to Aircraft Registration.)

Which pilot licences include passenger-carrying privileges?

The initial Ultralight Pilot Permit does not include passenger-carrying except for carrying other pilots with Ultralight or Aeroplane licences. Ultralight instructors can train students or do intro flights for potential students.

To carry non-pilot / non-student passengers the Ultralight Pilot Permit holder can add the new Passenger-Carrying Endorsement. They can also upgrade to a Recreational Pilot Permit and all Challenger flight time counts towards this.

The Recreational and Private licences include passenger-carrying privileges.

What is the Passenger-Carrying Endorsement for the Ultralight Pilot Permit?

The new Passenger-Carrying Endorsement effective December 1, 2005 allows an Ultralight Pilot Permit holder to carry non-pilot passengers in Advanced ultralights. (Only ultralights actually registered in the Advanced category - not those registered in the Basic category.) The endorsement requires additional flight and ground training and 25 hours total time.

This eliminates the need for a Recreational Permit to carry passengers.

What are the requirements/privileges for Ultralight, Rec & Private licences?

In essence, the Ultralight, Recreational and Private licences are like rungs on a ladder. You can start on a lower rung and work your way up, or you can go directly to a higher rung. As you go up your privileges expand but at the expense of additional time, energy and money. For a comparison of licence requirements, privileges and costs click to Canadian Licence Comparison.

Notice that we have provided two sets of figures for flight time and cost. The Legal Minimum number of flying hours is virtually never enough to reach the licence standard of proficiency. The Realistic Scenario is what most people take in actuality to reach the appropriate level of competency. Plan on the latter.

What is the Sport Pilot Permit? What are Light Sport Aircraft?

The Sport Pilot Permit only exists in the United States where it came into being in 2004 along with their new Light Sport Aircraft category. They are much like our Canadian Advanced Ultralight category and Ultralight Pilot Permit with Passenger Carrying Endorsement however neither are recognized here.

Challengers in the U.S. meet the definition of Light Sport Aircraft so they may be flown by holders of the Sport Pilot Permit.

Can I log ultralight time? What licences does it count towards?

All ultralight flying time is logged, just as for other types of aircraft.

If you hold an Ultralight Pilot Permit there is no limit to the amount of Challenger flying time you can count towards a Recreational Pilot Permit. If you do not hold an Ultralight Pilot Permit then there is a limit of 5 hours.

Flight time in Challengers registered as ultralights may also be counted towards higher Aeroplane category licences: 10 hours towards a Private, 25 hours towards a Commercial, and 50 hours towards an Airline Transport licence. If you are career focused and it is important to log time towards your Commercial or Airline Transport licence for that big airline job then consider registering your Challenger in the Amateur-Built category. If you do so then in exchange for a little more red tape you will be able to count hours without limit.

Can I train for a Recreational Pilot Permit in my own Challenger?

Yes, absolutely. And if you hold an Ultralight Pilot Permit you can meet the requirement for 25 hours total flight time entirely with your Challenger hours. (Note that if you do not go through the interim step of getting an Ultralight Pilot Permit you can only count 5 hours of ultralight time towards the RPP.)

The only thing you cannot do in an ultralight is the RPP flight test which must be done in a certified aircraft such as a Cessna 152. Obviously it would be smart to get a little time in the Cessna before the big day!

Note that as detailed elsewhere in this section effective December 1, 2005 you can obtain a Passenger Carrying Endorsement entirely in a Challenger which eliminates the need to get involved with the RPP's Cessnas and such.

Can I hold more than one licence at a time? Why would I want to?

You can hold a licence in each 'category': Aeroplanes, Ultralight Aeroplanes, Gliders, Helicopters, Gyroplanes, and Balloons.

With an Ultralight Pilot Permit your medical will be easier, and valid longer.

If you start out with the Ultralight permit and move up to Recreational or Private levels, then you retain the Ultralight permit and, if issued, your Instructor rating.

A pilot who holds an Aeroplane category Recreational or Private licence and wishes to instruct in Ultralights will find the shortest route to success is to obtain an Ultralight Pilot Permit and add to it an Ultralight Instructor rating.

What medical do I need to obtain for an Ultralight licence? And how often?

A Class 4 medical is required for an Ultralight Pilot Permit. It is self-declared, meaning that no doctor's visit is required unless you have a history of major health problems. You will need to submit this declaration only every 5 years.

For the Passenger Carrying Endorsement effective December 1, 2005 you will need to have your Class 4 declaration signed by a physician, for example your family doctor. Validity is 5 years if you are under 40 and 2 years otherwise.
This is the same medical requirement as for the Recreational Pilot Permit.

For an Ultralight Instructor rating a Class 3 medical is needed. This requires a physical by a Transport Canada approved doctor. For Ultralight Instructors the Class 3 is valid for 5 years, regardless of age.

Does ultralight time count towards the 5 year recency requirement?

Yes. Time as pilot-in-command of any category of aircraft validates all licences.

What are the privileges of an Ultralight Instructor rating?

The Ultralight Instructor rating allows the holder to provide flight instruction and ground school towards the Ultralight Pilot Permit and to actually issue the permit to students when they meet the requirements and standards.

This rating also allows the training and sign-off of Ultralight instructors.

Ultralight instructors may use both Basic and Advanced Ultralights to give training to students or perform introductory flights for potential students.

I have an Ultralight Permit - what do I need to be an Ultralight Instructor?

The Ultralight Instructor rating requires a minimum total of 50 hours ultralight flight time plus flight and ground training from an Ultralight instructor on instructional techniques for normal and emergency procedures in ultralights.

There is no flight test but you must obtain a letter of competency from an ultralight instructor. There is a written test on principles of instruction. Also, you must upgrade your medical from Class 4 to Class 3.

I have a Private Licence - what do I need to become an Ultralight Instructor?

An Ultralight Pilot Permit is a prerequisite. This normally requires 10 hours in ultralights plus a flight test, ground school and written exam.

For holders of a PPL or higher, the flight time requirement for the UPP is reduced to 5 hours. Also, the flight test, ground school and written are waived.

The total flight time for the Instructor rating is reduced from 50 hours to 20. You must still obtain a letter of competency and take the ground school and written on principles of instruction. You already have the Class 3 medical required.

I have a Recreational Permit - what do I need to be an Ultralight Instructor?

An Ultralight Pilot Permit is a prerequisite. RPP holders are exempted from the written exam but must still take a ground school and undergo a flight test.

RPP holders receive no credit for their flight time, neither towards the 10 hours required for the Ultralight Pilot Permit nor the 50 hours for the Instructor rating.

You must still obtain a letter of competency, take the ground school and written on principles of instruction, and upgrade your medical from Class 4 to Class 3.

I have an Aeroplane Instructor rating - can I instruct in Ultralights?

Legally, yes. Morally, you owe it to your students to ensure that you yourself have sufficient actual experience in ultralights to effectively teach normal and emergency handling and procedures. Ultralights are more docile and easier to fly than Cessnas and such, but you must adapt to their unique personalities.

I have a Glider/Helicopter/Gyroplane/Balloon licence - can I fly ultralights?

You will have to obtain a licence in the Ultralight or Aeroplane category, the most expedient choice being either the Ultralight or Recreational Pilot Permit.

You will be exempted from the written exam for an Ultralight Pilot Permit but not for a Recreational Pilot Permit. There is no credit for your flight time.

I have a pilot licence but haven't flown as PIC in over 5 years - now what?

For each licence you will have to complete a flight review and obtain a letter of competency from an instructor. You must also do a written on air regulations.

Can I downgrade my Private to a Rec Permit to go to a Class 4 medical?

Yes. Send a letter stating the request to your regional Transport Canada office.

The attraction here is the lower-level medical, the reduced medical frequency and the lower cost of permits. Note that you do not want to cancel your Private, just downgrade it, so there is no requirement to submit it to Transport Canada for cancellation. You may reactivate your Private at any time in the future.


Home Page | 10 Best Reasons | Airplane | Experience | Owners | FAQ | Company | Contact Us

To learn and see more order our comprehensive information package and video!

Copyright National Ultralight Inc. All rights reserved.