Admission to the Flight Test

For admission to a flight test required for the issuance of a Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane, or a complete re-test, and to meet the requirements of CAR Standard 421.14, the candidate will present:

  1. a photo identification with signature;

  2. a valid flight crew permit, licence or foreign pilot licence issued by a contracting state;

  3. proof of meeting the medical standards for the Commercial Pilot Licence,

  4. a letter from a qualified flight instructor certifying that:

    1. training for all of the exercises in the Flight Training Manual and the Flight Instructor Guide from Ex. 1 thru to Ex. 25 and Exercises 29 and 30, including Ex. 13 has been completed;

    2. a pre-test evaluation of all required flight test exercises was completed with the candidate;

    3. the candidate is considered to have reached a sufficient level of proficiency to complete the flight test for the issuance of the Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane; and

    4. the instructor recommends the candidate for the flight test.

  5. evidence of having completed no less than 75% of the total flying experience required for application for a Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane;

  6. proof of having successfully completed the required written examination and a letter from a qualified instructor certifying that a review of subject area(s) identified as having deficiencies by the Written Examination and Feedback Report has been carried out and the candidate meets the proficiency standards for the Commercial Pilot Licence. This requirement does not apply to candidates enrolled in an approved CPL(A), CPL(A)/IR or ATP(A) integrated course.

Note: Items (d), (e) and (f) above may be incorporated on the same letter of recommendation but with separate signatures for each certification. Refer to the sample at the end of this document.

Admission to a Partial Flight Test

A partial flight test must be conducted within 30 days of the original letter of recommendation. Prior to admission to a partial flight test, the candidate will provide the requirements of paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above, and present:

  1. a copy of the flight test report for the previously failed flight test; and

  2. a letter, signed by the holder of a valid Flight Instructor Rating – Aeroplane who conducted the additional training dated within 30 days prior to the partial flight test, certifying that the candidate:

    1. has received further training on the failed flight test item(s)

    2. is considered to have reached a sufficient level of proficiency to successfully complete the flight test; and

    3. is recommended by the instructor for the partial flight test.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation must be dated within 30 days prior to the flight test and, in the case of a candidate recommended by the holder of a Class 4 flight instructor rating; the letter must be co-signed by the supervising instructor. In the case of a partial flight test, the person who conducted the additional training will sign the letter of recommendation.

Aeroplane and Equipment Requirements:

The candidate will provide:

  1. an aeroplane for the flight test that:

    1. has a flight authority pursuant to CAR 507 and that authority has no operating limitations that prohibit the performance of the required manoeuvres, including intentional spins;

    2. meets the requirements of CAR Standard 425.23 Training Aircraft Requirements - subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the Personnel Licensing Standards.

  2. current editions of appropriate aeronautical paper charts and the latest Canada Flight Supplement.

  3. an effective means of excluding outside visual reference to simulate instrument flight conditions, while maintaining a safe level of visibility for the examiner.

Note: More than one aeroplane may be provided to satisfy the requirements of the flight test, if evidence of having received instruction on each type of aeroplane is presented.

Liability Insurance

Pilot examiners will not accept a verbal statement from candidates indicating liability insurance coverage has been arranged. The candidate must provide proof of insurance indicating that the examiner is covered prior to the conduct of the flight test.

Flight Test

All of the flight test items described in this guide must be completed, except items 23A, B, C and D in the case of a candidate enrolled in an approved CPL(A), CPL(A)/IR or ATP(A) integrated course who has successfully completed a VFR Navigation Progress Test.

The minimum pass marks for the Commercial Pilot Licence are 93 (70%) or 81 for Integrated CPL(A), CPL(A)IR or ATP(A) candidates, where the VFR Navigation Progress Test has been successfully completed.

All flight tests will be conducted when weather conditions do not present a hazard to the operation of the aeroplane, the aeroplane is airworthy and the candidate and aeroplane's documents, as required by the Canadian Aviation Regulations, are valid. It is the sole responsibility of the examiner to make the final decision as to whether or not any portion or the entire flight test may be conducted.

Where a second aeroplane is used to demonstrate Exercise 13 - Spinning, flight test items already demonstrated during the initial flight, but repeated for the purpose of the second flight, may be re-assessed as "1" (fail) if their aim is not achieved or safety is compromised.

Items 2A, 2B, 2C and 23A are ground flight test items and will be completed and assessed before the flight portion of the flight test.

Repeated Flight Test Item

A flight test item or manoeuvre will not be repeated unless one of the following conditions applies:

  1. Discontinuance: Discontinuance of a manoeuvre for valid safety reasons; i.e., a go-around or other procedure necessary to modify the originally planned manoeuvre.

  2. Collision Avoidance: Examiner intervention on the flight controls to avoid another aircraft, which the candidate could not have seen due to position or other factors.

  3. Misunderstood Requests: Legitimate instances when candidates did not understand an examiner's request to perform a specific manoeuvre. A candidate's failure to understand the nature of a specified manoeuvre being requested does not justify repeating a flight test item or manoeuvre.

  4. Other Factors: Any condition under which the examiner was distracted to the point that he or she could not adequately observe the candidate's performance of the manoeuvre (radio calls, traffic, etc.).

Note: These provisions have been made in the interest of fairness and safety and do not mean that instruction, practice, or the repeating of an item or manoeuvre, that was unacceptably demonstrated, is permitted during the flight test evaluation process.

Incomplete Flight Test

If the test is not completed due to circumstances beyond the candidate's control, the subsequent flight test will include the flight test items not completed on the original flight test and will be completed within the 30 days of the original letter of recommendation.

The following process will apply:

  1. a copy of the incomplete flight test report must be given to the candidate;

  2. the flight test may be completed at a later date;

  3. the test may be completed by the same or another examiner;

  4. the original letter of recommendation remains valid;

  5. flight test items already assessed will not be re-tested, but items already demonstrated during the initial flight and repeated for the purpose of the second flight, may be re-assessed as "1" if their aim is not achieved;

  6. the original flight test report form may be used to complete the test;

  7. the candidate is permitted to complete additional training while awaiting completion of the test.

If the initial flight test included one or two failed air items, the partial flight test for these items may be conducted during the subsequent flight test flight, after the candidate has completed all of the required items, provided:

  1. the minimum pass mark has been achieved;

  2. no additional items were failed during the subsequent flight test; and

  3. a letter of recommendation for the partial flight test was received prior to the flight.

Failure of a Flight Test

Failure to obtain the minimum pass mark or the failure of any flight test item constitutes failure of the flight test. The failure of any ground item requires a complete re-test and precludes the air portion of the flight test. Ground items are not eligible for a partial flight test. The failure of one or two air items will require a partial flight test on those items, and the failure of a third air item will require a complete re-test.

The examiner will stop a test, assess the item with a "1", and a complete re-test will be required if the candidate compromises safety by:

  1. displaying unsafe or dangerous flying that is not linked to a lack of proficiency or training; or

  2. demonstrating a pattern of failing to use effective visual scanning techniques to check for traffic before and while performing visual manoeuvres.

Following a failed flight test that qualifies for a partial re-test, the candidate will obtain a copy of the flight test report to meet the requirements for admission to a partial flight test.

If not satisfied with the outcome of the flight test, a candidate may wish to file a written complaint regarding the conduct of a flight test or the performance of an examiner with the Transport Canada Regional Office responsible for that examiner. In order to succeed with a complaint, the applicant will have to satisfy Transport Canada that the test was not properly conducted. Mere dissatisfaction with the flight test result is not enough. After due consideration of the individual case, the regional Technical Team Lead responsible for Flight Training, may authorize a re-test to be conducted, without prejudice (with a clean record in regard to the disputed flight test), by a Civil Aviation Inspector or an alternate pilot examiner. Should the complaint not be addressed to the candidate's satisfaction, the procedure to follow is outlined in "Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System (CAIRS)".

Partial Flight Test

Provided that the applicable pass mark has been achieved and there are no more than two failed air flight test items, the skill requirement for licence issue may be met by completing a partial flight test of the item or items assessed "1".

The candidate will be required to successfully perform the air item(s) assessed as "1" on the complete flight test. Flight test items not associated with the items(s) to be retested, but repeated for the purpose of the second flight, may be re-assessed as "1" if the aim is not achieved or safety is compromised. The partial flight test must be completed within 30 days of the original letter of recommendation. No more than one partial re-test will be allowed for each complete flight test.

Use of Flight Simulator or Flight Training Device

For a partial flight test, and at the discretion of the examiner, a Level A or higher full-flight simulator or a flight training device (min. Level 2) approved in accordance with CAR 606.03 - Synthetic Flight Training Equipment, may be used to re-test Exercise 24D - Radio Navigation. A Level 3, 5 or 6 flight training device that reproduces the aeroplane type used for the failed flight test may be used to re-test Exercise 29 - Emergency Procedures/Malfunctions.

Complete Re-test

A complete re-test will be required in the following situations:

  1. the required pass mark is not obtained during a complete flight test;

  2. failure of any ground item;

  3. failure of more than two air items during a complete flight test;

  4. failure of an air flight test item during a partial flight test;

  5. displaying unsafe flying or dangerous behaviour that is not linked to a skill, lack of training or proficiency;

  6. a demonstrated pattern of failing to use effective visual scanning techniques is displayed during the flight test; or

  7. a partial flight test is not completed within 30 days of the original letter of recommendation.

Note: In the case of a complete retest, the candidate will not show or submit a copy of the previously failed flight test report to the examiner.

Pre-Flight Briefing

Examiners are required to brief test candidates on the following details:

  1. The sequence of flight test items. There is no need for the candidate to memorize the sequence, as the examiner will give instructions for each item.

  2. If in doubt -- ask! Candidates who do not clearly understand what they are being asked to do should feel free to ask. It may be that the examiner was not clear in giving instructions.

  3. Who is pilot-in-command? The examiner will be the pilot-in-command (PIC), pursuant to CAR sections 401.03 and subparagraph 401.26(c)(ii)(B) – Private Pilot Licence - Aeroplane - Privileges, as amended in 2014. In all cases, the examiner reserves the right to exercise all reasonable duty of care to ensure safe flight by intervening or taking control of an aircraft when any action or lack of action by the candidate seriously jeopardizes flight safety or if a breach of regulation is imminent.

    1. Pursuant to the Aeronautics Act: "pilot-in-command" means, in relation to an aircraft, the pilot having responsibility and authority for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight time.

    2. The responsibility and authority of an examiner, while conducting any flight test, is illustrated by the following non-exhaustive list. The examiner:

      1. determines the route of the aircraft;

      2. establishes the conditions for the takeoff and landing;

      3. directs the candidate when conducting air exercises;

      4. manipulates the flight and power controls at their own discretion when preparing for certain exercises;

      5. intervenes, when necessary and at any time, to ensure the safe continuation of the flight;

      6. makes decisions with respect to the continuation or termination of the flight.

    3. If the examiner performs the duties listed in the short list above, by default the examiner effectively is the Pilot-in-Command. In any case, the examiner, as the most qualified on board and may be held responsible for any negligence or for not exercising all reasonable duty of care as any other reasonable person in the same position would have exercised.

  4. Who will do what in the event of an actual emergency? Although the examiner is PIC, the candidate, who is role-playing as a PIC with a passenger, shall provide a briefing to the examiner detailing the actions to be taken by the candidate and examiner in the event of an actual emergency. The examiner may question or supplement the briefing as required to ensure the highest possible level of safety in the event of an actual emergency.

  5. How to transfer control. There should never be any doubt as to who is flying the aircraft, so proper transfer of control through the words "You have control" and "I have control" is expected during a flight test. A visual check is recommended to verify that the exchange has occurred.

  6. Ground References. For the short or soft field approach and landing, the examiner will clearly specify the simulated surface conditions, obstacles on approach, runway threshold and length of surface available to the candidate. The candidate will specify the intended touchdown zones and specific touchdown points.

  7. Method of simulating emergencies. What method will be used? Verbal? Engine failures will only be simulated in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations or, in their absence, by closing the throttle or by reducing power to flight idle. The moving of the mixture control to idle cut-off will only be used where specifically recommended by the manufacturer.

Note: The practice of closing a fuel valve, shutting off magneto switches or the pulling of circuit breakers will not be used during a flight test. Electronic flight display failures may be simulated in accordance with the manufacturer's Guide for DPEs and CFIs or POH/AFM Supplements as appropriate to the aeroplane type.

Flight Management

Flight management refers to the effective use of all available resources, including working with such groups as dispatchers, other crewmembers, maintenance personnel, and air traffic controllers. Poor performance of an exercise or task can often be explained by weaknesses in flight management competencies.

Problem Solving and Decision Making
  1. anticipates problems far enough in advance to avoid crisis reaction

  2. uses effective decision-making process

  3. makes appropriate inquiries

  4. prioritizes tasks to gain maximum information input for decisions

  5. makes effective use of all available resources to make decisions

  6. considers "downstream" consequences of the decision being considered

Situational Awareness

  1. actively monitors weather, aircraft systems, instruments, ATC communications

  2. avoids "tunnel vision" - awareness that factors such as stress can reduce vigilance

  3. stays "ahead of the aircraft" in preparing for expected or contingency situations

  4. remains alert to detect subtle changes in the environment


  1. provides thorough briefings

  2. asks for information and advice

  3. communicates decisions clearly

  4. asserts one's position appropriately

Workload Management

  1. organizes cockpit resources well

  2. recognizes overload in self

  3. eliminates distractions during high workload situations

  4. maintains ability to adapt during high workload situations


The candidate's airmanship will be assessed along with other factors in determining the mark awarded for each item. Items such as looking out for other aircraft, use of checklists, consideration for other aircraft on the ground and in the air, choice of run-up areas, choice of runways and clearing the engine during prolonged glides and will be assessed. The candidate will be expected to demonstrate good airmanship and complete accurate checks on a continuing basis and demonstrate the smooth and coordinated use of flight and power controls.

Flight Test Results

The Privacy Act protects the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution. A flight test measures the performance of the candidate for the flight test, the examiner conducting the flight test, the instructor who recommended the candidate and, through identification of the Flight Training Unit responsible for the training, the performance of the Chief Flight Instructor of that unit. All of these are identified on the flight test report.

Personal information may be disclosed in accordance with Section 8(2)(a) of the Act, which allows disclosure…"for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose". The purpose for which flight test information is obtained is to ensure the safety of aviation in Canada. The specific purposes are to measure whether the candidate meets the minimum skill standard for the licence or rating, whether the recommending instructor is performing competently as an instructor, whether the examiner is conducting the test in accordance with the standards, and whether the Flight Training Unit is performing in accordance with the general conditions of the operator certificate.

A copy of the flight test report may be given to the candidate for a flight test and the examiner who conducted the flight test will retain a copy. In accordance with 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act, a copy may also be given to the instructor who recommended the candidate for the flight test and to the Chief Flight Instructor responsible for the quality of flight training at the Flight Training Unit where the training was conducted. Specific information about the results of a flight test will not be given by Transport Canada to anyone but the individuals named on the flight test report, except in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Assessment of Flight Test Performance

The "Performance Criteria" section of each exercise prescribes the marking criteria. These criteria assume no unusual circumstances as well as operation of the aeroplane in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, recommended speeds and configurations in the Pilot's Operating Handbook/Aircraft Flight Manual (POH/AFM) or other approved data.

The recommended climb and approach to landing airspeeds may be corrected for actual weights as depicted in available POH/AFM performance charts or tables, or, in their absence, in accordance with Airworthiness Manual Chapter 523 section 523.63 Climb, General or section 523.73 Reference Landing Approach Speed.

Throughout the flight test, the candidate is evaluated on the use of an appropriate checklist. Division of attention and effective visual scanning should be considered when using a checklist. Correct use is dependent on the specific task being evaluated. The situation may be such that the use of the written checklist, while accomplishing the elements of an "Aim", would be either unsafe or impractical. In this case, a review of the checklist after the elements have been accomplished would be appropriate. It is acceptable for certain items to be verified from memory.

Consideration will be given to unavoidable deviations from the published criteria due to weather, traffic or other situations beyond the reasonable control of the candidate. To avoid the need to compensate for such situations, tests should be conducted under normal conditions, whenever possible.


Error: means an action or inaction by the flight crew that leads to a variance from operational or flight crew intentions or expectations.

Minor Error

A minor error is an action or inaction that is inconsequential to the completion of a task, procedure or manoeuvre, even if certain elements of the performance vary from the recommended best practices.

Major Error

A major error is an action or inaction that can lead to an undesired aircraft state or a reduced safety margin, if improperly managed; or an error that does not lead to a safety risk, but detracts measurably from the successful achievement of the defined aim of a sequence/item.

Critical Error

A critical error is an action or inaction that is mismanaged and consequently leads to an undesired aircraft state or compromises safety such as:

  • Non-compliance with CARS or non-adherence to mandated standard operating procedures; or
  • Repeated improper error management or uncorrected and unrecognized threats, which risk putting the aircraft in an undesired state; or
  • Repeated major errors or the non-performance of certain criteria prescribed in the Performance Criteria that are essential to achieving the Aim* of a test sequence/item.


Deviation: means a variance in precision with respect to a specified tolerance published for a manoeuvre within a test item or sequence, which is a result of pilot error or faulty handling of the aircraft.

Minor Deviation

A minor deviation is defined as a deviation that does not exceed a specified tolerance.

Major Deviation

A major deviation is defined as a deviation that exceeds a specified tolerance or repeated minor deviations without achieving stability.

Critical Deviation

A critical deviation is defined as a major deviation that is repeated, excessive or not corrected, such as:

  • Repeated non-adherence to specified tolerance limits; or
  • More than doubling the specified value of a tolerance limit; or
  • Not identifying and correcting major deviations.

4-Point Marking Scale

When applying the 4-point scale, award the mark that best describes the weakest element(s) applicable to the candidate's performance of the particular sequence/item demonstrated.


Performance is well executed considering existing conditions:

  • Aircraft handling is smooth and positive with a high level of precision.

  • Technical skills indicate a thorough knowledge of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics.

  • Situational awareness is indicated by continuous anticipation and vigilance.

  • Flight management skills are exemplary and threats are consistently anticipated, recognized and well managed.

  • Safety margins are maintained through consistent and effective management of aircraft systems and mandated operational protocols.


Performance is observed to include minor errors:

  • Aircraft handling with appropriate control input but includes minor deviations.

  • Technical skills indicate an adequate knowledge of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics to successfully complete the task.

  • Situational awareness is adequately maintained as candidate responds in a timely manner to cues and changes in the flight environment to maintain safety while achieving the aim of the sequence/item.

  • Flight management skills are effective. Threats are anticipated and errors are recognized and recovered.

  • Safety margins are maintained through effective use of aircraft systems and mandated operational protocols.


Performance is observed to include major errors:

  • Aircraft handling is performed with major deviations and/or an occasional lack of stability, over/under control or abrupt control input.

  • Technical skills reveal deficiencies either in depth of knowledge or comprehension of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics that do not prevent the successful completion of the task.

  • Situational awareness appears compromised as cues are missed or attended to late or the candidate takes more time than ideal to incorporate cues or changes into the operational plan.

  • Flight management skills are not consistent. Instrument displays, aircraft warnings or automation serve to avert an undesired aircraft state by prompting or remedying threats and errors that are noticed late.

  • Safety margins are not compromised, but poorly managed.


Performance is observed to include critical errors or the Aim of the test sequence/item is not achieved:

  • Aircraft handling is performed with critical deviations and/or a lack of stability, rough use of controls or control of the aircraft is lost or in doubt.

  • Technical skills reveal unacceptable levels of depth of knowledge or comprehension of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics that prevent a successful completion of the task.

  • Lapses in situational awareness occur due to a lack of appropriate scanning to maintain an accurate mental model of the situation or there is an inability to integrate the information available to develop and maintain an accurate mental model.

  • Flight management skills are ineffective, indecisive or noncompliant with mandated published procedures: and corrective countermeasures are not effective or applied.

  • Safety margins are compromised or clearly reduced.

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