Light Sport Aircraft, Canada

June 3, 2016


Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Aircraft Registration

What are Light Sport Aircraft? What is the Sport Pilot Permit?

The Light Sport Aircraft category only exists in the United States where it came into being in 2004 along with their new Sport Pilot Permit. They are much like our Canadian Advanced Ultralight category and Ultralight Pilot Permit with Passenger Carrying Endorsement however neither are recognized here.

Challengers in the U.S. meet the definition of Light Sport Aircraft so they may be flown by holders of the Sport Pilot Permit.

What exactly is an ultralight? Do ultralights have to be registered?

In the 1970's and 1980's the term ultralight usually referred to a hang glider with a chainsaw motor and a lawn chair underneath! Today exactly what constitutes an "ultralight" depends on where you are located.

Canada divides aircraft into six 'categories': Aeroplane, Ultralight Aeroplane, Glider, Helicopter, Gyroplane, and Balloon. Here, all aircraft must be registered.

In Canada there are two types of Ultralight Aeroplanes: Basic and Advanced. This allows one or two seats and a maximum takeoff weight of up to 1200 pounds for Basic or 1232 pounds for Advanced. Stall speed must be less than 45 mph. A Minimum Useful Load is required based on seats and power. In recent years most new Challengers have been registered in the Advanced Ultralight category.

It is worth noting that today's Canadian definition of ultralight is much broader than in the United States. In the U.S. under Federal Air Regulation Part 103 the limits are a single seat, takeoff weight less than 254 pounds excluding pilot, and a stall speed less than 28 mph. Part 103 also limits maximum speed to 63 mph and fuel capacity to 5 US gallons. If the requirements of Part 103 are met no licence, medical or registration are required.

In the United States prior to January 31, 2008 there was provision for two-seat ultralights operated as trainers however these are no longer legal. Now U.S. Challengers are usually registered in Aeroplane category as Amateur-Built. This can be done in Canada too but our Ultralight category is preferred because there is much less red tape and cost.

What are the differences between Basic and Advanced Ultralights?

Advanced Ultralights meet standards of design, construction, performance, modification and maintenance established by Transport Canada. Advanced Ultralights have all the privileges of certified aircraft for Day VFR operations - they can use airports without advance permission, enter controlled airspace, etc. Occupants of Advanced Ultralights are not required to wear helmets.

Basic Ultralights need meet no standards whatsoever so long as they satisfy the seats, weight and stall speed criteria. Basic Ultralights are subject to a variety of restrictions such as operation at airports and in controlled airspace. Occupants of Basic Ultralights must wear helmets.

Can I carry a passenger in an Advanced Ultralight? In a Basic Ultralight?

Both types of ultralight may be used by instructors to train students and by pilots to carry other pilots licensed for Ultralights or Aeroplanes.

Only an ultralight registered as Advanced may carry a passenger who is neither a pilot nor a student, and then only if the pilot in command holds a licence with passenger-carrying privileges. (See FAQ on Pilot Licensing.)

Basic Ultralights can never be used to carry passengers who are neither pilots nor students, no matter what licence is held by the pilot in command.

Does the Challenger qualify as an Advanced Ultralight or as a Basic?

Yes to both. It is important to understand that the privileges and restrictions applicable to the two types of Ultralight do not apply to generic Challenger models but to individual aircraft based upon their specific registration status.

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