Ref. CAR 421.26

If you are looking to fly for pleasure, the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) allows for more privileges than the Recreational Pilot Permit (RPP). With a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) you may carry as many passengers as the aircraft can accommodate and fly during the day in VFR weather conditions.

Holders of a PPL can add ratings to their licence which allow them to fly at night, in cloudy weather, on floats or on multi-engine aircraft. If you intend on pursuing a career as a pilot, obtaining your PPL will be your first step. Pilots must hold a PPL before obtaining a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), the licence required to be employed as a pilot.

Getting Started – Your Aviation Medical

Prior to beginning your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) training you will need to get a Category 1 or 3 aviation medical certificate from a Transport Canada-approved Civil Aviation Medical Examiner (CAME). If you are not planning to fly professionally as a Commercial pilot, a Category 3 medical is all that you need. Below is a list of approved list of medical examiners in the London, Ontario area:

  • Dr. Malizia
    • Office: (519) 455-1990
    • Address: 1033 Dundas Street
  • Dr. Chapeskie
    • Office: (519) 461-0776
    • Address: Box 130, 21816 Fairview Road (Thorndale)
  • Dr. Bates
    • Office: (519) 438-5101
    • Address: #208 -190 Wortley Road
  • Dr. Siu
    • Office: (519) 858-4694
    • Address: 827 Richmond Street
  • Dr. Marshall
    • Office: (519) 245-3590 
    • Address: 31 Caradoc Street North


In order to prepare for the required Transport Canada written examination (PPAER), you will need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of PPL ground school training (our ground school is closer to 50 hours) consisting of the following areas of study:

  • Theory of Flight
  • Flight Instruments
  • Airframes and Engines
  • Flight Operations
  • Air Law
  • Pilot Decision Making
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation

The ground school training can be completed before, during or after the flight training portion. We recommend that ground school be taken at the same time as flight training so that you can apply the knowledge learned in class to your flying lessons. What you learn in theory in ground school you can put to practical use in the airplane and the lesson will be better remembered. The only stipulation is that the PPL ground school must be completed before you will be issued your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) at the conclusion of your training.

Your Flight Training

Flight training consists of dual training (where you fly the aircraft with an instructor) and solo training (where you practice flying the aircraft on your own under the supervision of your flight instructor). Before every flight, you will sit down with your flight instructor for a pre-flight briefing where you will discuss what air exercises are to be flown and how you will perform them. Training flights generally last about one hour and how much of that time you will spend at the controls yourself depends on what phase of your training you are in. Both you and your flight instructor have full sets of aircraft controls in front of your seats. Your first few training flights will familiarize you with the controls of the aircraft and you will have control once the aircraft has reached a safe altitude. After a few more training flights you will learn how to conduct the takeoff and landing and will very quickly start to do all of the flying.

Once you are comfortable and safe with the airplane (usually after about 10 hours of flying), your instructor will send you up flying on your own for your first solo flight. Your first solo is just a short flight, but any pilot will tell you that their first solo is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of their life. Before you can go for your first solo you must have obtained your aviation medical, radio licence and passed a short exam on air regulations (called the PSTAR exam). After you have gone solo, the remainder of your training will be a combination of dual training to learn more advanced sequences and solo training to practice what you have learned. As soon as you and your flight instructor agree that you are ready, you will complete a practical Private Pilot flight test with a certified examiner. If you are successful with the flight test and also pass the Transport Canada written exam, then you will be issued with your licence!


A Private Pilot Licence allows you to fly single-engine, single pilot non-high-performance aircraft in daytime, in Visual Flight Rules (VFR) weather conditions. 


Candidate must hold a Category 1 or 3 Aviation Medical
Minimum 17 years of age (14 years of age for first solo)


  • Minimum 17 Years of Age (You can fly solo at 14 years of age!)
  • Minimum 45 Hours Total Flight Training Including:
  • Minimum 17 Hours Dual Including:
    • Minimum 3 Hours Dual Cross Country Time
    • Minimum 5 Hours Instrument Training (Maximum 3 Hours in Flight Simulator)
  • Minimum 12 Hrs Solo Flight Training Including:
    • Minimum 5 Hrs Solo Cross Country Time
    • 150 NM Cross Country Time with a Minimum 2 Enroute Full Stop Landings
  • Successful PPL Flight Test with Transport Canada Pilot Examiner

The average time to get the PPL in Canada is currently between 65-70 hours and varies from student to student. If you do your training on a part time basis (i.e. once per week) you can expect to finish within one year and approximately 70 hours. If you do your training on a full-time basis (a minimum of three flights per week), you can expect to complete your training in six months or less and take less total time overall. You can help the process along by doing the assigned flight training readings as well as completing the assigned ground school quizzes when assigned. 


4 Months (Full Time – Min. 3 Flights per Week)

12 Months (Part Time – 1 Flight per Week)


Minimum requirements - additional training may required

Average time to PPL in Canada is approximately 65-70 hours

Reference: CAR 421.26