UPDATED – January 27, 2020
The new Pilot Certificates are here as part of the new RPAS rules in Canada and will be mandatory for all drone pilots effective June 1st.
Transport Canada has developed a set of RPAS online Exams for Pilot Certifications (Basic and Advanced). In addition to the online exam for Advanced, TC is also requiring a Flight Review conducted by an accredited Flight Examiner to obtain the Advanced Pilot Certificate, due to the complex nature of operations permitted for that Certificate.
You can access the Transport Canada Portal here to create your TC account, register your drones and take the online exams. See below for Training Schools that we’re working with to get students ready for exams and the Flight Review.
Basic and Advanced Pilot Certificate Exams
The new Exams cover a range of topics covering a diverse range of topics, including Air Regulations and Laws, RPAS Technology and Operations, Weather, Human Factors and Manned Aviation.
If you can pull together a base level of understanding from the manned aviation world in areas like Aviation Charts, weather, radio and other associated topics, as well as RPAS related CARs and topics, it will prove useful in successfully passing your exams the first time.
As we went through the exam progress, we found we needed a range of documents to study from, based on the range of topics. We’ve listed the ones we found most useful and included links to them where available.
Transport Canada will be publishing a RPAS related Study Guide later this year to assist students but in the meantime, this list covers most of the essentials. We’ve also included some Pilot Documents from the FAA as they cover very similar topics and cover the material in a quite readable fashion.
The two Transport Canada documents that are required reading are:
- Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems 250 g up to and including 25 kg, Operating within Visual Line-of-Sight (VLOS)
- Flight Reviewer’s Guide for Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems 250 grams (g) up to and including 25 kilograms (kg), Operating within Visual Line-of-Sight (VLOS)
If you are an experienced Operator, some updating and concentrated study may be enough to get you though the Advanced Exam and Flight Review.
Here’s the list…
- Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
- FAA AIM
- FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
- FAA Remote Pilot sUAS Study Guide
- Aviation Weather Services Guide
- Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) sample version from 2009
- Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH)
- Coastal Drone Blog post on Canadian Airspace and Charts
- Flight Training Manual, Transport Canada, 4th Edition – link to book page
- Manual of Word Abbreviations (MANAB)
- PPL Flight Test Study Guide
- PPL Written Exam Study Guide
- Radio Operator’s License Study Guide
- VFR Phraseology
- Unmanned – Textbook for sUAS studies
- Airspace Notes
- Environment Canada Clouds Poster
- David Cooke from Inskyphoto.com put together this regulation cheatsheet and kindly shared it with the RPAS Community
- There is also a great set of study notes for the Private Pilots License developed by Jonathan Clark that provides a great foundation for the general aviation questions on the exams.
Flight Exam Preparation
There is not a lot of existing material to study for the Flight Review (FR) and it requires an extensive set of documents, checklists and procedures to be in place to be successful on the exam.
The best resource to get a view of what the FRs require is to take a course from a Training School to prep and practice for the exam. Failing that, Transport Canada has published a Flight Reviewer Guide that outlines the process and is definitely worth a read prior to booking a FR.
You can get the Flight Reviewer guide from Transport here.
Take a Course and Get Reviewed!
Based on our review experience so far, individuals not having done a SFOC before are struggling to pass with the level of detail required for the Advanced Pilot Certificates.
It is always a great idea to take a course from a reputable RPAS Training school to prepare for the Advanced Exam and Flight Review. While online courses are available for folks who need a refresher, we’re fans of in-person training because of the complexity and depth of knowledge required for the Advanced Pilot Certificate as well as the ability for in-depth instruction and interaction with the instructor and other students.
We are working with TC Listed RPAS Training Schools such as Brampton Flight Center or Coastal Drone to assist new pilots to get the proper training to pass the exams and Flight Reviews as quickly as possible.
As always, feel free to leave comments or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us if you’ve found other material that we should add to our list.