Staying current and proficient as a pilot

As a pilot in Canada, you need to practice certain skills or do training every 6 months, 2 years and 5 years. Recurrent training ensures your skills are, at minimum, what they were when you earned your certificate or rating.

Staying proficient is also important in keeping your overall knowledge and skills up to date. Learn about your currency requirements as well as things you can practice regularly to stay proficient.

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What you need to fly

The Canadian Aviation Regulations tell us that pilots must have:

Note: you can check the expiry date on your booklet’s information page. If you don’t have one, consider contacting your regional Flight Crew Licensing office.

How to stay current

In addition to meeting the requirements above, pilots must also stay current. Here’s how:

  1. Every 6 months:
    • Pilots who wish to carry 1 or more passengers must complete at least 5 takeoffs and 5 landings in the category and class* of aircraft in which they carry passengers
    • Pilots who wish to carry passengers at night must complete 5 takeoffs and 5 landings at night
    • Glider pilots have the option of completing 2 takeoffs and landings with an instructor
    • Balloon pilotsare not allowed to land at night: if part of a balloon flight carrying passengers departs before dawn with the plan to land in the daylight, the pilot must have completed at least 5 landings during the day and 5 takeoffs at night (before dawn) in a balloon during the last 6 months

    *Class refers to whether the aircraft is meant for land or sea, whether it is single-engine or multi-engine, etc.

  2. Every 2 years, you must complete one of these training activities:
  3. Every 5 years, you must fly as pilot-in-command or co-pilot at least once in a category** of aircraft for which you’re licensed.

Pilots who do not complete this requirement must:

**Category refers to whether the aircraft is a glider, airplane, helicopter, balloon, gyroplane, etc.

To review the requirements in full, see the Canadian Aviation Regulations, 421.05.

How to stay proficient

The Canadian Aviation Regulations outlines the requirements for staying current. However, staying current doesn’t always mean that you’re staying proficient as a pilot. By staying proficient, you’re keeping your overall knowledge and skills up to date.

For example:

  • When was the last time you practiced a forced approach, stall or full-flap overshoot?
  • When did you work on your cross-wind land technique?
  • When did you last fly with an instructor?
  • How prepared are you if a real emergency happens?

To improve your proficiency, practice your skills. Do this with an instructor or on your own. One way is to become current, then practice by yourself until you feel you’re fully competent.

Stay proficient by regularly:

To meet the 2-year requirement, you can complete the Transport Canada self-paced study program. We publish an update about this program each year in the Aviation Safety Letter.

Attending a Transport Canada aviation safety seminar in your region is also a way to meet the 2-year requirement.

Watch a video on staying proficient

How to remain proficient, as well as current as a pilot

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