TAKE FIVE...for safety

The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) tell us that, in addition to having a valid licence or permit and a valid medical certificate, there are some things that pilots need to do every five years, every two years and every six months if they wish to exercise the privileges of their licences or permits.

Every five years, pilots must fly as pilot-in-command or co-pilot at least once in a category of aircraft for which they are licensed. Pilots who do not meet this requirement must successfully complete a flight review with an instructor and pass the Student Pilot Permit or Private Pilot Licence for Foreign and Military Applicants, Air Regulations (PSTAR) examination.

Every two years, pilots must complete a recurrent training activity. In order to satisfy this requirement, pilots can choose one of the following activities:

  • complete a flight review with an instructor;
  • attend a Transport Canada safety seminar;
  • participate in a Transport Canada approved recurrent training program;
  • complete the self-paced study program available each year in the Aviation Safety Letter;
  • complete a training program or pilot proficiency check (PPC) required by Part IV, VI or VII of the CARs;
  • complete the requirements for the issue or renewal of a licence, permit or rating; or
  • complete the written exam for a licence, permit or rating.

Every six months, pilots who wish to carry one or more passengers must complete at least five takeoffs and five landings in the category and class of aircraft in which the passenger is carried. “Category” refers to whether the aircraft is a glider, airplane, helicopter, balloon, gyroplane, etc.; “class” refers to whether the aircraft is meant for land or sea, whether it is single-engine or multi-engine, etc.

Pilots wishing to carry passengers at night must complete five takeoffs and five landings at night every six months. Glider pilots have the option of completing two takeoffs and landings with an instructor. Although balloons are not allowed to land at night, if part of a balloon flight carrying passengers is to take place at night (in other words, if the flight departs just before dawn with the plan to land in the daylight), the pilot must have completed at least five takeoffs during the day and five takeoffs at night in a balloon during the last six months.

For more details about these specific requirements, visit

Beyond meeting the recency and currency requirements, pilots must ensure that their Aviation Document Booklet has not expired. The booklet’s expiry date is indicated on the identification page. Pilots who don’t yet have an Aviation Document Booklet should consider applying for one by contacting their regional Flight Crew Licensing office.

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