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A Proposal for the Recreational Aviation Review Project
Prepared by:
Frank Hofmann
Chairman, Governmental Affairs
Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
Ottawa, Canada
August 1994


Recreational Aviation Policy - COPA Recommendations

COPA proposes the following policy for Recreational Aviation. The proposal satisfies the criteria on the COPA 'Checklist' (See Appendix 'A'), and The Citizen's Code of Regulatory Fairness, Appendix 4.2 and 4.3, published by the Regulatory Affairs Directorate, Treasury Board Secretariat (See Appendix B).


Canadians' culture is based on freedom. An expression of this freedom is the right to move about freely. Flying historically has been an integral activity molding Canada, and has served and continues to serve as a link between widely dispersed Canadians and their families. It is also the only means of transport to many locations in our vast land. This vital link, heritage and cornerstone of our modern Canada must be protected as are our other national assets, such as road systems, and must be nurtured through intelligent regulation. The public perception for some time has been that aviation has been suffocating from over-regulation, and is in danger as a means of personal transport and expression. It is important to find solutions to stem this trend, and to restore to Canadians their right to move about where, when, and how they choose. A Recreational Aviation policy is required which is consistent with Canada's operating rules and regulations for personal automobiles, boats, and other recreational vehicles. Traditionally aviation has been singled out for unusually stringent regulations, regulations which for the most part are written for commercial aviation but unfortunately are applied equally to recreational aviation. (D. Wightman, ADM, has stated that one fourth of all regulations in Canada come out of Transport, and half of those are for aviation). It is crucial that in these times of dwindling recreational aviation activity a more positive policy for recreational aviation be created. It is foreseen that with the implementation of COPA's recommendations costs of flying Recreational aircraft will be lowered, flying's accessibility will be increased as wilt student pilot numbers, and the numbers of operational aircraft in Canada will increase. At the same time it is foreseen that fewer Canadian aircraft will be exported to the United States.





Create a new all-inclusive category - Recreational Aircraft - to include all privately operated aircraft under 4000 lb.


Withdraw the requirement for all Recreational Aircraft to necessarily operate under Ch. 571 of the Airworthiness Manual.

Permit equipped AMEs to sign for all repairs and modifications.

Permit parts replacement/substitution as per AME's discretion.

Permit de-certification of C of Ad aircraft into the Recreational Category.

Permit owners of de-certified aircraft, amateur builts and ultralights to perform their own maintenance.


Introduce a 25 hour Recreational Pilot Licence, with restrictions.

Permit restrictions to be signed off by CFIs, DFTEs, in the field.

Permit AME apprentices to work on non-certified aircraft for credit. Schools

Permit schools to train using non-certified aircraft.

Log Books

Withdraw the Journey Log Book Order and the Technical Log Order.


Permit the medical criteria required for a driver's licence to be the same criteria for holders of Recreational Pilot licences.

The above recommendations all meet COPA's 'Checklist' requirements for just and equitable regulations.




1.0 Definition

Recreational Aircraft are all privately operated aircraft under 4000 lbs. Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW). This weight is chosen since Amateur built aircraft in Canada already enjoy a 4000 lb limit.

2.0 Aircraft specified as RECREATIONAL Aircraft

2.1   Two categories of aircraft should exist in the 4000 lb and under group: certified and non-certified.

Certified aircraft to undergo a change in maintenance standards. (See 3.0 to 3.8.)

Non-certified aircraft to include four (4) classes of aircraft: ultralight, advanced ultralight, amateur built, and a new class of aircraft - the de-certified factory built of 4000 lb and under, which the owner has chosen to de-certify specifically in order to operate and maintain it according to the rules and regulations heretofore the domain of amateur built aircraft alone. In de-certifying his aircraft, the owner acquires Recreational Aircraft privileges while forfeiting certified aircraft privileges. (See maintenance regulations for de-certified aircraft as outlined in 3.6 and 3.7.)

3.0 Maintenance

Current maintenance regulations have contributed to setting the costs of owning and operating recreational aircraft far beyond the reach of most average Canadians. At one time when the recreational aircraft fleet was still being mass produced, and new competitively priced replacement parts were readily available, maintenance regulations were freer and less stringent than is the case today. Most average Canadians could entertain the notion of owning an aircraft, if not alone, at least in partnership with another individual. Today when the fleet of recreational aircraft is no longer being mass produced, and replacement parts are in continually scarcer supply, maintenance regulations, rather than answering the current supply dilemma with creative solutions designed to find new supply sources, have applied a firmer grip and required that increasingly more be done with the dwindling available material that is skyrocketing in cost. Moreover, the aircraft owner less and less is permitted flexibility in choosing maintenance methods or workers, and is obliged to pay out ever increasing amounts of money for this new maintenance requirement or that new body of experts who from this moment on are decreed to be the only hands that may touch a given part of his aircraft. The result has been disastrous. Aviation is no longer financially an option for most Canadians.

Added to the decline in aircraft ownership is the sad fact that the current abundance of maintenance constraints has encouraged many owners to cheat on their maintenance records, to decide not to make necessary repairs due to unaffordable TSO or PMA parts, and in fact has likely diminished the legitimate economic activity of AMEs or AMOs.

In fact when the details of the very rigorous (and perhaps rightly so for commercial aviation) Chapter 571 of the Airworthiness Manual are applied to owners of aircraft such as J-3s and the like, it is evident that the recreational fleet is over-regulated by an unsuitable set of standards which cannot apply to the reality of recreational aircraft ownership and operation in today's market.

A. Aircraft with C of A

The suggestions herein are aimed at reducing both the costs and the regulatory burden associated with operating certified Recreational Aircraft to the AWM Chapter 571 standards which were set up to include commercial aviation of all types.

3.1   All maintenance and modifications to aircraft operating on a C of A are to be authorized and signed for by AMEs. This includes avionics installations and aircraft repairs and alterations as they currently are permitted on amateur built aircraft. (AMEs with access to the proper equipment are to be authorized to approve ELTs and transponders, for example.)

3.2   AMEs are to be authorized to sign out C of As, including those for imported aircraft.

3.3   Transport Canada Aviation shall continue to carry out Quality Assurance functions.

3.4   At their discretion, AMEs are to be authorized to approve non-certified parts for use in aircraft repairs.

In many instances substitutes of equal quality to certified parts are available to the amateur builders but since they are not PMA approved, AMEs cannot currently install these on certified aircraft. It is difficult to justify from a safety standpoint that a homebuilder may safely install, for instance, a non-certified throttle cable whereas someone flying a J-3 may not install the same non-certified but serviceable part at one quarter the cost of a certified cable.

Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs, must be protected so that they will not be held responsible for the use of substitute parts or equipment on their products.

3.5   Withdraw the requirement for recreational aircraft to be maintained to Chapter 571 standards.

Some current regulations, and specifically Chapter 571 (and all its AMAs) of the AWM are principally written for large commercially operated airplanes. There is no demonstrated need for the rigor of Ch 571 in the case of recreational aircraft which have operated successfully on a factory prescribed inspection system for over 40 years. Should the standards for trucks and buses ( DC-9s and 747s) be the same as those for antique cars (J-3s and C-170s?) Obviously not.

Many of the existing maintenance regulations governing aviation do not apply well to the recreational fleet. There is no evidence to suggest that if the owners of Cessna 150 -172 style of aircraft were given the same maintenance privileges and restrictions as those of amateur built aircraft that the skies would be any less safe.

Policies must be generated which allow the aviation industry to respond to technological advances: permitting improvements to current aeronautical products and facilitating the introduction of new equipment.

B. Aircraft Without C of A (including de-certified aircraft)

3.6   Permit de-certification of C of Ad aircraft with the aim of permitting owner performed maintenance by qualified owners, QOs, (as proposed by NRAC for passenger carrying ultralights.)

3.7   Permit owner maintenance by Qualified Owners of de-certified airplanes, to be performed on their own airplanes only. Qualified Owners to have parts manuals and maintenance manuals for their airplanes in order to exercise these privileges.

Amateur builders already exercise this privilege, even in cases where the owner did not build the airplane, but purchased it from another builder. Owners of decertified aircraft should be awarded this privilege: this type of aircraft are more numerous and better known in the field than are homebuilts, resulting in more expertise being available to the de-certified owner for guidance and information than is available to the homebuilt owner. Furthermore, amateur builts so far have proven to be maintained to an acceptable level. There is no reason to expect otherwise of owner maintained de-certified airplanes.

3.8   Permit owners of Ultralights, Advanced Ultralights and Amateur Builts to continue their current maintenance privileges.

The Ultralight groups and Amateur Builts are the only sectors to have thrived during the years that all other categories of recreational aircraft have been languishing. The freedom of the regulations enjoyed by these two former groups must be introduced into the rest of the Recreational fleet if their declining numbers are to be positively affected.

4.0 Licenses

The 45 hour Private pilot licence has effectively turned into a 75 hour licence partially because the extra 15 hours over the original 30 hour licence require much more real calendar time than just those 15 additional hours. General student experience has been that the longer the time since lessons began the more the tendency to start forgetting what was learned earlier on, so extra "review" hours are required. Add to this phenomenon the hours of lessons scheduled which have to be cancelled due to weather. The more hours required to be scheduled the greater number of cancellations will occur, resulting in an increase of hours wasted while a student waits at an airport unable to have a lesson. Seasonal changes bring their own interruptions and lessons missed. Personnel changes over the longer passage of time contribute to the ever increasing number of hours required to complete the licence requirement.

Clearly, a stepping stone approach to licenses is required to make it possible for more people to enter aviation, to learn to enjoy flying, and not necessarily to obtain commercial licenses. Many of the older people entering flying, those with the financial means, have little interest in a career in aviation. They fly for the sport. Current license requirements do not respond to that desire.

4.1   Retain current Ultralight licence requirements: 10 hours for a solo licence.

4.2   Implement the NRAC recommendations concerning passenger carrying in Ultralights. (Owners of two seaters to be permitted to carry a second person in their own ultralights.)

General knowledge of today's ultralight community seems to suggest it is likely that all two seaters currently flying in Canada have already carried passengers while the pilot was qualified only as a private ultralight pilot.

4.3   Approve flying time in Ultralights and other non-certified aircraft to count toward a Recreational Pilot Licence.

Flying clubs shall remain in a position to determine the level of skill of the Private Pilot licence applicant and to determine the candidate's Private Pilot standard.

4.4   Establish a 25 hour Recreational pilot licence, with restrictions.

The Recreational licence effectively would become a licence to learn. The reduced hours required would make flying more attractive to a greater variety of people.

4.5   Limit the Recreational licence holder to operate within 100 miles of an airport, no passengers, day, land, single engine, Class A,B and D airspace exclusion, Canadian airspace only.

4.6   For pilots wishing to have international flying privileges, retain the current requirements for a Private Pilot licence, fulfilling ICAO requirements. The more restricted Recreational pilot licence, as outlined in 4.4 and 4.5, provides increased accessibility to flying for Canadians not requiring international privileges.

4.7   Permit CFIs and DFTEs to initial removal of restrictions from Recreational licenses directly on the licence. These signatures to be obtainable in the field without TCA contact.

4.8   For pilots who are denied for medical reasons the renewal of a standard Private Pilot Licence or better, permit them the privileges of the Recreational licence, if they are medically fit to hold a driver's licence. (See 7.0.)

4.9   Leave it to CFIs and DFTEs to determine which restrictions to remove from a Recreational pilot licence based on the experience the candidate has gained, and in what type of airplane.

4.10   Authorize CFIs, DFTEs and Authorized Agents to authorize all licenses and endorsements in the field.

4.11   Allow time worked by AME apprentices on non-certified aircraft, but under the supervision of an AME, to be credited toward the experience requirement for an AME licence.

Currently about 6000 aircraft in Canada's fleet are non-certified, It is projected that by 1997, even without implementation of the recommendations found herein, the non-certified fleet will equal the certified fleet in the 4000 lb and under category of aircraft. With declining numbers of certified aircraft in Canada, and a different set of skills required to maintain a non-certified fleet, knowledgeable apprentices are required who will eventually service the new fleet, It is therefore important, if apprentices are to have the opportunity to become involved in aircraft maintenance, that they have the opportunity to work on non-certified aircraft.

5.0 Schools

The number of certified aircraft is diminishing, and replacement parts are increasingly difficult to obtain for the existing fleet of training airplanes. Both these phenomena have added to the cost of operating aircraft.

5.1   It is suggested that flying schools be permitted to operate Amateur Built airplanes.

Not only have the amateur built airplanes shown themselves to be credible and safe aircraft, but because the number and complexity of homebuilt aircraft is steadily increasing, builders or subsequent owners are increasingly in need of quality instruction on these aircraft.

5.2   Aircraft should be permitted to be withdrawn from the certified fleet and to be operated as non-certified aircraft by the flying schools. Such aircraft shall be operated by schools who also operate certified aircraft, and who also have an AMO for maintenance of their certified aircraft.

This suggestion is aimed at lowering the costs of maintaining portions of the training fleet. This is achieved by removing non-certified aircraft from the requirements of Chapter 571 of the AWM. This chapter is more relevant to the operation of Commercial aircraft than it is to recreational aircraft.

A flying school using non-certified aircraft should be considered for immediate approval as a benchmark experiment for the Recreational Aircraft Review Project and an eventual modification of flying training practices in Canada.

Having non-certified aircraft operated and maintained by a flying school using its AMEs and inspection standards is the optimum opportunity and situation to evaluate a potential new direction for recreational aviation training.

Such a school would respond positively and constructively to the Problem Statements #s 2,3,4,5,6,12, outlined by the Recreational Aviation Working Group members, published July 26, 1994. It would also answer positively to all 6 questions on COPA's 'Checklist' for fair and equitable regulations.

The US Department of Transportation's FAA, in its Federal Register, Part VI, dated Sept. 9, 1992, noted that it will "allow the rental of primary category aircraft, provided that these aircraft are maintained by an FAA-certificated mechanic or repair station, " and "allows the rental of primary category aircraft for the personal use of the pilot..."

AOPA, in an article entitled "Self-Made Safety" appearing in a recent issue of AOPA PILOT, outlines the difficulty of obtaining accurate accident statistics for amateur built aircraft. However, it correctly points the finger at the high proportion of accidents caused by 'pilot error', or lack of skills, particularly for the first few flights of new homebuilts. Schools offering non-certified aircraft can address this statistic by not only providing 'check-outs' in a variety of types of homebuilts, but also by providing the opportunity for 'conversion' training for standard pilots wishing to fly the more delicate-handling homebuilts.

6.0 Log Books

6.1   It is recommended that Log books no longer be required for Recreational Aircraft.

It is questionable that the Journey Log Book Order is constitutional vis a vis the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms. Section 8 of the Legal Rights chapter of the Charter protects citizens against unreasonable search, i.e. against having to declare one's constant and daily movements. Section 15 of the Equality Rights chapter protects against discrimination and guarantees freedom of association: in what way is this compatible with the regulation requiring disclosure of names and numbers of passengers?

Is it an unconstitutional intrusion into the personal lives of pilots to require that personal logs be kept, and be presented upon demand? What purpose is served by logs? Why are automobile drivers not required to keep and produce logs?

How is the public interest served by requiring logs of any kind to be kept on any private aircraft? Is the Government treading onerously on Canadians' rights and freedoms if it makes such demands?

How are the interests of the people of Canada being protected by requiring the owner of a J-3, for example, to keep 4 separate technical logs of that aircraft -Airframe, Engine, Propeller and Installations and Modifications?

If there is some need to keep a record of total time, why is Tachometer time, or a 'Hobbs' meter time not adequate? Automobiles use Odometer 'time' as an acceptable way to track usage. Simple airplanes should require nothing more elaborate.

6.2   For Recreational Aircraft owners wishing to maintain their C of A reduce the Log requirement to a single all-inclusive technical log.

A J-3 hardly justifies more than a single log. Requiring separate Airframe, Engine, Propeller and Equipment logs for this style of airplane is a prime example of how the regulations spelled out in Chapter 571 do not serve Recreational aviation.

7.0 Medical

7.1   Consider pilots of Recreational aircraft medically fit to operate their aircraft if they have a valid drivers licence.

If no such driver's licence exists, the pilot shall answer to and sign for the same medical information as is required for obtaining a driver's licence.

Until it is shown that a medical problem a pilot may have will result in greater risk to others than does his condition while driving, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. In fact the owner group is aging, but it is also precisely this group of pilots which is most likely not to operate a vehicle of any kind if they feel unwell.

Arguments (indicated by the numbers of C.A.T. cases) regarding the state of fitness of pilots abound. The fact is that most pilots make decisions about such mundane activities as going to a ball game based on how they feel. Surely we can credit them with making a good decision about going flying when they do not feel well. How is flying in a J-3 more demanding than driving on a highway? Surely the stress of heavy traffic is more likely to cause physical problems than is the stress of floating along in a 70 mph airplane. Moreover, a pilot in an aircraft who suffers an incapacitation is far less likely to do damage to others than is a driver of a car suffering the same fate.

Is the current level of safety in the skies commensurate with that of other recreational vehicles used by Canadians? Are Canadians any less safe operating their own airplanes than they are operating their own motor boats or cars?

A change in medical requirements, aligning them to other requirements Canadian Citizens experience for other forms of personal transport and recreation will obviate the need for much of the Civil Aviation Tribunal's case.

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Frank Hofmann
Copyright © 1994