So, you have completed your Private license and are ready to work on mastering your skills and learning how to work and think like a pilot for hire! Let’s review what you’ll need and how this works to meet government regulations. We would ask that you take some time to review this information, as you will be required to become familiar with it for the duration of your training.

Note that the holder of a Commercial Pilot Licence must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid Category I medical. This will include completing an electrocardiogram (ECG). As a Commercial Pilot Licence holder, you will be legally able to work as a pilot, and as such you will be able to fly multiple passengers even outside of Canada. If you choose you will have the option to obtain additional ratings.

Permit Ages

  • Student Pilot Permit – 14 years old
  • Private Pilot License – 17 years old (must be completed prior to starting the commercial training)
  • Commercial Pilot – 18 years old


Minimum Category 1 Medical Certificate as determined by Transport Canada. Note that we recommend getting a category 1 medical at the start of any training or prior to starting your private license to ensure something won’t hold you back. If you have completed the PPL and have defaulted to the category 3 you are ok for CPL training but note you will require a current Category 1 medical prior to writing the CPL written exam and challenging the flight test.

Requirements: CARS 421:30

Ground School​

An applicant shall have completed a minimum of 80 hours commercial pilot aeroplane ground school instruction on the following subjects:

  • Canadian Aviation Regulations
  • Aerodynamics and Theory of Flight
  • Meteorology
  • Airframes, Engines and Systems
  • Flight Instruments
  • Radio and Electronic Theory
  • Navigation
  • Flight Operations
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Human Factors, including pilot decision-making

An Applicant shall have obtained a minimum of 60% in each of the following four mandatory subject areas as well as in the overall written examination Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane (PPAER)

  • Air Law – regulations, rules and orders, air traffic services, practices and procedures, and licensing requirements relevant to the licence
  • Navigation – navigation, radio aids and electronic theory
  • Meteorology
  • Aeronautics – General Knowledge – airframes, engines and systems, theory of flight, flight instruments and flight operations


An applicant shall have completed a minimum of 200 hours flight time in aeroplanes of which a minimum of 100 hours shall be pilot-in-command time including 20 hours cross-country pilot-in-command flight time.
Following the issuance of a private pilot licence — aeroplane by Canada or another contracting state, have completed 65 hours of commercial pilot flight training in aeroplanes consisting of a minimum of:

The flight training shall include a minimum of:

  • 35 hours dual instruction flight time including a minimum of 5 hours night including a minimum of a 2 hours night cross-country flight time and an additional 20 hours of instrument time of which a maximum of 10 hours may be instrument ground time (in a flight simulator)
  • 30 hours solo flight time including 25 hours solo flight time emphasizing the improvement of general flying skills of the applicant which shall include a cross-country flight to a point of a minimum of 300 nautical mile radius from the point of departure and shall include a minimum of 3 landings at points other than that of departure.
  • 5 hours solo night time in which at least 10 takeoffs and landings were completed.


Within the 12 months preceding the date of application for the licence, an applicant shall successfully complete a flight test to the standard outlined in the Flight Test Guide Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane (TP13462).


  • Transport Canada written examination Commercial Pilot – Aeroplane (CPAER)
  • Transport Canada Flight Test (Pilot Examiner on site)


  • Operate any Canadian registered non high performance land aeroplanes for hire in VFR conditions (IFR conditions and multi engine if ratings also obtained)
  • Night and VFR OTT Ratings



The 80 hour ground school course is divided into 4 Modules; General knowledge, Airlaw, Meteorology, and Navigation. The course is presented via the Power Point medium with a test at the end of each phase. You may begin your training at the start of any of the 4 Modules. This course is typically offered in person once a year, depending on demand, and online any time through EFC.

This traditional lecture style is supplemented with videos, guest speakers and group activities. In addition, we encourage group discussions and opinions. The best way to learn is by asking lots of questions and staying involved.

To be eligible to write the examination required for the issue of your licence, you will need to produce the following:

  • A letter of recommendation from the Flight Training Unit or from the flight instructor who is responsible for the training of the applicant, stating that the applicant has completed the ground school instruction, and has reached a sufficient level of knowledge to write the examination.
  • This course and exam are based off of the guidelines set out by Transport Canada in the CPL Study and Reference Guide TP12881E

To be eligible to write the examination required for the issue of your licence, you will need to provide proof that the experience and training requirements set out below have been met:

  • Proof of completed CPL ground school
  • 100 hours flight time * Need to find Reference for this number*
  • Set by CAR 401.13


Stage 1 – PPL Experience Building

PPL Completed! Congratulations! It’s now time to enjoy your license and take some friends and family flying! Explore some of the local airports and work on your cross country skills. This is also when you want to sit down with your instructor and come up with a plan for your future CPL training

Stage 2 – Night Rating

This stage consists of 5 hours of instrument work, which we recommend doing primarily in the aircraft, this is to help later on when you’re working towards your instrument rating. You will also complete 5 hours of dual night training learning the differences of various exercises at night including some upper air, circuits, and navigation. This rating also includes 5 hours solo spent getting comfortable with take offs and landings at night along with some night cross country time. This rating does not require a written or flight exam although EFC does have a night quiz for you to complete. You will then need to complete the night rating application paperwork with your instructor and authorized person

Stage 3 – Commercial Training

During this stage you will be trained on the various procedures outlined in the Commercial Pilot Flight Test Guide TP13462 and further explore the handling techniques of the aircraft. This will include additional instrument training, learning how to enter and exit the spin, achieving goals on precision power off 180 landings, learning a commercial standard for the steep turn, and improving many of the skills from the Private license to a higher commercial standard. This training will consist of both dual and solo training. Note that spins are not authorized solo as per the CARs.

Stage 4 – Commercial Run and Flight Test Preparation

Commercial Run: Once you approach the 150 hours total time mark and have completed the CPL written exam it is often time for the Commercial run. This is ideally when you take 2 -3 weeks and can book 3-5 lessons each week and get yourself ready for the flight test. This will consist of a few dual flights and a few solo flights where the goal of each mission is to reach the flight test standards set out by Transport Canada. Once you have shown your instructor you are proficient, they will book you for a pre-flight test with a senior instructor. This is a mock flight test which you will then use as a base for what needs to be fixed prior to challenging the real exam.

Stage 5 – Flight Test

For the Commercial, you must complete the Transport Canada written exam prior to your flight test. This way the final phase is the flight test. It’s not as scary as it sounds. During your training you are constantly being prepared for this moment. The examiner will mark you on every flight maneuver for safety and accuracy within a given range of limits.

Stage 6 – Cross Country or Multi / Multi IFR

Once the Commercial flight test is passed you again have options. In this case you may now consider doing a Multi Engine rating and then potentially the Multi Instrument rating to complete your required hours. Or you may spend a bit more time exploring various airports across Canada.

Stage 7 – CPL completion and Resume prep

Upon completing the 200 hours, along with the 100 pilot in command time and other requirements you will then work with an authorized person, often the CFI (Chief Flight Instructor) on completing the required paperwork for your commercial application. Note that one of the items that Transport needs is proof of hours through your personal logbook. With this we encourage all pilots to create a digital copy of their logbook that can easily be sent digitally or printed if needed.

Ok so now you have a commercial pilot license now it’s time to apply for flying jobs! Note that prior to doing this be sure to work with the EFC staff on getting some help with your pilot resume and working with the EFC partners for interview and hopefully job opportunities!