Transport Canada establishes airworthiness requirements and standards for aircraft including certified and non-certified aircraft.
On this page
- Basic Ultra-light aeroplanes (BULA)
- Advanced Ultra-light aeroplanes
- Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Owner-maintenance
- Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Amateur-built
- Standardized Validations for Ultra-light and Amateur-built aeroplanes
- Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Limited
- Related guidance
Basic Ultra-light aeroplanes (BULA)
Basic Ultra-light aeroplanes (BULA) are power driven fixed-wing aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of 544 kg (1200 lbs). They may have one or two seats, and they must have a stall speed of 39 knots or less. There are no design standards for Basic Ultra-lights. Transport Canada does not test or certify the quality of Ultra-light design or construction. The owner of a Basic Ultra-light bears full responsibility for keeping it in a safe condition for flight.
Powered parachutes are considered by TCCA to be BULA.
Advanced Ultra-light aeroplanes
Advanced Ultra-light aeroplanes are declared by their manufacturers to conform with the Design Standards for Advanced Ultra-light Aeroplanes published by the Light Aircraft Manufacturers of Canada (LAMAC) – Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (upac.ca). Transport Canada does not test or certify the quality of Ultra-light design or construction. The owner of an Advanced Ultra-light must do all maintenance, repairs, and modifications in accordance with its manufacturer’s instructions.
Guidance for owners and operators of Ultra-light Aeroplanes
- Ultra-light aeroplanes are subject to operating rules, see General operating and flight rules
- All ultra-light aeroplanes must be registered, see Register an aircraft
- Listing of Models Eligible to be Registered as Advanced Ultra-light Aeroplanes (AULA)
- Ultra-light Transition Strategy
Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Owner-maintenance
Aircraft owners can perform Elementary Work on their aircraft.
Elementary work is a form of maintenance that must be properly performed and recorded but is not subject to a maintenance release by the holder of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer license.
All tasks that are considered elementary work are listed in Standard 625 - Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance Standard - Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Appendix A - Elementary Work.
If their aircraft has a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance a licensed pilot who is the aircraft’s owner can also perform and release maintenance that is not Elementary Work on their aircraft.
Aircraft owners can apply to their TCCA Regional service centre for issue of a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance.
An aircraft with a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance can only be used for recreational purposes and is not allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly in United States airspace.
Maintenance and Modification of Owner-maintenance aircraft
Except where specifically stated to the contrary, Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Owner- maintenance aircraft are subject to the same maintenance regulations as other aircraft. The effect of the flight authority “Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance” is to allow the release of maintenance by the owner of the aircraft, provided they are also licensed pilots.
Maintenance on owner-maintenance aircraft must be performed in accordance with CAR 571.02, which calls for proper practices and the use of the correct tools, manuals, and instruments; records have to be kept in accordance with CAR 507.03 and 605.92. All modifications and repairs to owner-maintenance aircraft must be performed in accordance with at least “acceptable data”, as defined in CAR Standard 571.06.
CAR Standard 507.03(6)(e) lists the eligibility conditions for the owner-maintenance classification. An owner-maintenance aircraft cannot be modified beyond those conditions. For example, a ground adjustable propeller, a constant speed propeller or amphibious floats cannot be installed on an owner-maintenance aircraft, because the Standard limits eligibility to aeroplanes with fixed pitch propellers and fixed landing gear.
The aircraft cannot be modified to carry more than 4 occupants.
The FAA forbids flight of Owner-maintenance aircraft in the United States.
Airworthiness Directives (ADs) address safety issues. Owners of aircraft operating under Special Certificates of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance should research and assess any ADs that may be applicable to their aircraft, engine, propellor or any other installed equipment.
Appendix H of Standard 507 lists the types and models of aircraft that are currently eligible for a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance.
Appendix H of Standard 507 will be modified at a later date to include the types and models identified below.
- Cessna 172I
- Cessna 175B
- Cessna 177A
- ICA Brasov IS 28M2
- Morane-Saulnier MS885
- Piper PA-28-150
- Piper PA38-112
- Beech 77 Skipper
Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Amateur-built
An Amateur-built aircraft is an aircraft the major portion of which a builder constructs or assembles individually, as a unique project, either from raw materials or from a kit.
A list of amateur-built aircraft kits that have been evaluated by Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) in meeting the major portion requirement can be found at the following web-page;
An aircraft that meets the construction and design requirements is issued a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Amateur-built;
- Exemption from Section 549.01 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations and Chapter 549 of the Airworthiness Manual – Airworthiness Standards - Amateur-built Aircraft
- Airworthiness Manual Chapter 549 - Amateur-Built Aircraft
Airworthiness Directives (ADs) address safety issues. Owners of aircraft operating under Special Certificates of Airworthiness - Amateur-built should research and assess any ADs that may be applicable to their aircraft, engine, propellor or any other installed equipment.
The company ‘MD-RA Inspection Service’ administers the amateur-built program on behalf of Transport Canada Civil Aviation. Individuals intending to construct or import an amateur-built aircraft should contact MD-RA Inspection Service at:
2350-B Holder Place
LONDON, ONTARIO N5V 3Z9
Toll-free: 1-877-419-2111 (in Canada only)
Website: MD-RA Inspection Service
Standardized Validations for Ultra-light and Amateur-built aeroplanes
To fly in the United States, pilots of Canadian Ultra-light and Amateur-built aeroplanes must abide by the terms of the:
- FAA - Special Flight Authorization (SFA) for Canadian Registered Amateur-Built Aircraft and Basic and Advanced Ultralight Aeroplanes Operating in the United States (Revised)
To fly in Canada, pilots of USA registered Light Sport and Amateur-built aeroplanes must abide by the terms of the:
- Standardized Validation of a Special Airworthiness Certificate – Light-Sport or a Special Airworthiness Certificate – Experimental – Light-Sport, for the Purpose of Operating a United States-Registered Light-Sport Aircraft in Canadian Airspace, or
- Standardized Validation of a Special Air Worthiness Certificate - Experimental for the Purpose of Operating a United States Registered Amateur-Built Aircraft in Canadian Airspace
United States Ultralight Vehicles operating under 14 CFR Part 103 are not registered, and cannot be flown in Canada without specific permission. US Ultralight Operators wishing to operate in Canada should contact TCCA to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Limited
An aircraft eligible for a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Limited is an aircraft which:
- has been serially and commercially manufactured to a distinct and definable type description; and
- is not of a model for which a type certificate has been issued or accepted by Transport Canada Civil Aviation, or for which an application for type approval has been submitted to Transport Canada Civil Aviation.
Most aircraft that are considered Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) in the United States are eligible for the Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Limited.
The Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Limited is for the operation of aircraft that do not have type designs certified by Transport Canada. Special C of A – Limited aircraft may be limited production and specialized aircraft, such as high-performance aerobatic aircraft or gliders, very specialized aircraft like gyrocopters; or aircraft originally designed for military purposes that are useful for civilian purposes or are of historic interest.
For more information see Advisory Circular (AC) No. 507-001 Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Limited
Airworthiness Directives (ADs) address safety issues. Owners of aircraft operating under Special Certificates of Airworthiness - Limited should research and assess any ADs that may be applicable to their aircraft, engine, propellor or any other installed equipment.
Before flying in the USA, owners of aircraft with a Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Limited must obtain a Special Flight Authorisation. To apply, contact one of FAA's Flight Standards Office of General Aviation Safety Assurance or Aircraft Certification Directorates.