Air Law





Which side of the road we drive on is arbitrary. BUT WE ALL HAVE TO AGREE!


Canadian Aviation Regulations Index Page. Et en français.






Aeronautical Information Manual

I found a pdf of the planning section of the Canada Flight Supplement, but not for the airports section. The whole thing is available here at VIP Pilot for $19.95.

Canadian Aviation Regulations Index Page. Et en français.

Student Pilot Aviation Regulations Study Guide for PSTAR exam. (TP11919)

Private Pilot Study and Reference Guide (TP12880E)

Radiotelephone: Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate with Aeronautical Qualification (ROC-A). Et en français le Guide d’apprentissage pour le certificat restreint deradiotéléphoniste.


This is a screen shot of the VFR charts from Foreflight in my iPad. Notice the top half shows the detail on a VNC chart; the bottom half shows the detail on a VTA (terminal) chart. The scale of the former is 1:500,000, the latter 1:250,000, but ForeFlight conveniently shows them at the same scale.

Slide007CARS 202.26: You have to carry the Aircraft Registration on board the aircraft. Just like your car registration.

Slide008This is what it looks like. On the right is an application for registration.

Slide009This is the interim certificate used when buying or selling an aircraft.

Slide010But an aircraft also needs this: the Certificate of Airworthiness. It means that your aircraft type has been flight tested and meets the government’s standards.

Slide011There must be a record of any maintenance done on the aircraft. Maintenance work is recorded in the various Aircraft Logs. In addition, CARS requires certain checks that must be done regularly. The frequency of the checks depends on whether the aircraft is private, or used for commercial or flight training purposes. This is the Annual Airworthiness report that must be signed by your mechanic (AME) and sent to the government. It can be filed online.

Slide012Here is another example of  necessary paperwork for an aircraft. In this case old radios have been removed and new radios installed. They are carefully weighed to see how the aircraft’s Empty Weight and Center of Gravity have changed.


There is an error on the slide: Class and Type qualifications are contained in the Aviation Document, described below.

Recency requirement are found in CARS 401.05.

In addition, the pilot must keep a personal logbook.

Slide014This is the Aviation Document (cover ).

Slide015Inside are the endorsements (class and type qualifications, instrument and instructor ratings, etc.)


Also, the medical certificate must be kept up to date. It is located near the middle of the booklet.

Slide017The pilot must also carry his Restricted Radiotelephone certificate. I have mine scotch-taped into the back of my booklet.

Slide018This is what a pilot licence looked like in the old days.

Slide019This was the reverse side.

Slide020The medical was a separate certificate.

Slide021The reverse side of the medical was notable because the validity periods of a pilot medical were spelled out. This information is now in CARS 404.04(6), Table 1

Slide022Another Restricted Radiotelephone Certificate.

Slide023Front page of the Study guide in English.


Because a radio frequency is usable only when only one station is transmitting at a time, transmissions should be kept short and to the point. In general, a transmission from an aircraft should contain addressee, aircraft registration, position (& altitude if airborne) and request/intentions. For example:


The guide notes that superfluous communication is strictly prohibited.

Slide025Même en français!

Slide026Because of the distortions inevitable in radio transmissions, we have to speak clearly, and enunciated without running words together.


This is the phonetic alphabet in English and French. Slightly different letters, same sounds.

Slide028And here are the pronunciations for the numbers in both languages. Note the (relatively new) dropping of the “th” in TREE, and the F in FIFE. In French, notice CINQ-e all the way to NEUF-e. This ensures the final consonant is pronounced.

Slide029In this slide, look especially at 5800 feet example. This is almost never done in practice, but it is a good idea. For example, if you (for 1100 feet) say in French “mille cent”,  qu’il n’y ont pas de chiffres – c’est à dire, pas de chiffre zero à neuf. The bottom line is that there are many subtle ways your transmission could be misunderstood.

That is why we read back all clearances using the standard nomenclature.

Slide030It is an excellent idea to memorize the more common expressions in both languages.  Here are some more of them:

Slide031Here come some exam questions. I say that because I can’t remember the difference between an aerodrome and an airport, or between a movement area and a maneuvering area, for more than five seconds. Here is CAR

Slide032OK, so what is an airport?

Slide033So for your exam, remember airport certificate. It means the airport has met certain criteria for firefighting, lighting, etc.


The Canada Flight Supplement is a 1400-page paperweight that contains almost everything you want to know about Canada’s airports.  You pretty much have to have one.  It is available at VIP Pilot for $19.95.

If you plan to fly to the USA, use AirNav .

In this slide we have gone to the Airports tab and put in Burlington, VT, KBTV.

Slide036This is the beginning of a long page with lots of information, including pdfs of all the IFR approach plates. Notice where it says, International Airport of Entry.

Slide037Here is some more, further down the page.

Slide038See what I mean? I think of the ramp, the runway, and the taxiway. Good luck on your exams.

Slide039It reads like a legal brief. Hey, one of my sons is a lawyer.

Slide040OK, I confess – this is a bit more up my alley.

Slide041It is worth it to spend some time with runway numbers and compass headings. Why? Because as you progress in flying your ability to visualize the compass rose becomes more and more important.

In the old days of sailing there was north and south, east and west, the four cardinal points. Those were further divided: northeast, southwest, etc. Now there were eight points. Divide again, and you get NNE, WSW, etc. and there are sixteen points. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, mariners were using a 32-point compass, with points named, for example, northeast by east.

Meanwhile mathematics divided the circle into either degrees or radians. With the 32-point compass, the points are 11.25 degrees apart, or 2 pi / 32 radians, or 0.1963495 radians. Less than practical for a poor pilot.

So aviation has gone with the 360-degree circle. North is 360 (same as 0), east is 90 (expressed as 090), etc.Slide042Numbers 180 degrees apart are called reciprocals. (There is an old pilot joke: let’s do a 360 and get the %$#* out of here!) For that reason and others, it is very useful indeed to have memorized the reciprocals. I suggest you do this, gradually, by learning the runways, first at your home airport, then at every airport you visit. Before long you will not only have the reciprocals – 03-21, 14-32, etc. – but also a picture in your head of the runway’s orientation relative to Magnetic North (and your own orientation, when you are under the hood or in cloud or just flying in VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions)).

Slide048Here is our home airport, St. Hubert (CYHU). In this slide I have drawn some hold lines that are – well – surprising, not where you think they would be. It’s because of the “swamp”, an area of asphalt that is not maintained or charted.

CYHUAPTHere is a more official airport chart.

Slide049If a runway (or taxiway) is closed, it is marked with “X”s.


Here is a wind sock. It is lighted at night. It shows both wind direction and speed.

Slide051Notice how the angle of the wind sock is related to wind speed.

Slide052These a re Visual Approach Slope Indicators, or VASIS. Here you are looking at six representations of a runway with VASIS to the left. The more common two-bar VASIS are on the left, with three pictures: too high (two white bars), too low (two red bars), and just right (white over red).

Each one of those white or red lights comes from an identical light box. Seen from the side and opened up, it would look something like this:

VASIBoxBrown is the ground it sits on. Black lines are the top and back of the box. The yellow dot is a light source. In the front of the box is a window: the top half is transparent glass and the bottom half is red glass. Seen from a position higher than the green line, the box seems to emit white light. Seen from below the line, the light in the box looks red.

Slide053Larger airplanes have to cross the runway threshold at a higher altitude and touchdown further down the runway. That’s because the distance from the pilot’s eye to the landing gear is greater. So larger airplanes use the two upwind (further away) light boxes.

Slide054The Precision Approach Path Indicator is even nicer to fly (four pictures on the left) because there are more cues that you are getting too low or too high.

To see how this works, imagine the light box diagram again. In each of the four PAPI light boxes, the light source inside is at a slightly different height, changing the angle of the green line.

Regs085OK. Sorry, we’ve got to get back to the regs. It’s like that slow drip, drip, drip of Chinese torture. But the regs do make sense, in a way. We have to do the sensible thing, like not fly over forest fires, endangering ourselves and the pilots of the waterbombers.

Regs086This section, on negligence and fitness, is essentially a laundry list of how people have needlessly killed themselves in airplanes. The takeaway is not just:

  • don’t fly drunk
  • don’t do crazy stuff way beyond your skill level
  • etc., etc.

but mainly – and really, there is not much that’s more important than this – please have a healthy respect for the dangers, subtlety, and depth of this flying airplanes trade. There is more to it than meets the eye. The upside is that it is a fascinating and stimulating and wonderful world, where you never stop learning. The downside is it can kill you.

The popular saying is that there are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots. The saying is memorable and to the point, but it doesn’t capture the whole problem, which is that to survive, a pilot must always operate within her limitations and those of the aircraft he is flying. Doing so requires skill, confidence, and judgement. It also requires continuous, life-long learning. But that is another subject. Back to the regs . . .

Regs087CAR 602.05 introduces the idea of the Pilot in Command. The PIC was worked to earn licenses and ratings. The PIC is in command of the airplane (and its passengers) from the moment the doors close and the engine(s) start. The PIC must brief the passengers on what to do – don’t talk on the intercom when you hear anyone talking on the radio, here’s what we’ll do if we have an engine failure, etc.

Regs088Frost, snow, or ice on the airplane is a big no-no for flight. If you have to wait for spring, so be it. The one exception is a light frost on the underside of a jet’s wing. (The jet has been flying at high altitude where the temperature can be – 40 degrees C. The fuel in the wings has got very cold.)

Regs089CAR 602.14 explains why it is not a good idea to go buzz the control tower on a whim or go bust up your neighbour’s lawn party. Low flying (like any stunt in an airplane) takes not only skill, but planning. The regs explain here how to do things safely, for example: sure, you can buzz the beach at 100 feet above the breakers. But amuse the onlookers, don’t scare the bejeesus out of them. So fly at 100 feet, but don’t come closer than 500 feet to any person, vehicle, vessel, or structure.

Regs090Here is a picture of CAR 602.14.

Regs091CAR 602.21 & subsequent talk of flying too close, formation, dropping objects, and jumping out of airplanes. If you want to fly formation, it has to be by pre-arrangement between the pilots. In real life, flying formation is a very challenging (and satisfying) skill. I recommend you take a full course in it if you have the urge to do it. There is lots to learn.


Flying aerobatics is another wonderful and satisfying skill. It also puts all of your regular flying into a new and enlightening perspective. Again, I recommend taking a course. CAR 602.27and 602.28 speak to aerobatics.

Regs093Here is a subject many pilots know too little about: reading back clearances. I guess it goes hand-in hand with pilots’ often poor radiotelephone technique in general. CAR 602.31 says IFR pilots must read back all clearances in their entirety. VFR pilots must read back clearances when requested by the controller.  In any case, reading back a “hold short” clearance is just good practice. At many airports you will hear on the ATIS, “read back all hold short instructions.

Regs094CAR 602.34 lays out cruising altitudes for VFR and IFR flight. Notice that the VFR levels do not apply at 3000 feet Above Ground Level and below.

**** HINT ****


Regs095Also notice that the directions are magnetic in the southern airspace and true way up north where magnetic compasses are unreliable because the magnetic field is too vertical.

Regs096We will get into this in more detail in Flight Instruments and in Meteorology, but the altimeter setting (the small scale marked in inches of mercury on the altimeter and set with the knob) is extremely important, since aviation standards depend on pressure altimetry, and the atmospheric pressure is varying constantly with highs and lows floating by.

CAR 602.35 is definitely worth a read.

Regs097CAR 602.41 addresses unmanned air vehicles. Boy, has that suddenly become a problem with drones! Look for changes in this area soon. And 602.40 talks about airport (aerodrome?) lighting at night.

Regs098CAR 602.57 and subsequent lay out the equipment that must be carried on board an aircraft. Notice there has to be a timepiece. Your watch? And a flashlight. Your iPhone? Boy, those phones come in handy.

Regs100CAR 602.61 is worth looking at,  both for exam question fodder and stuff that might not seem intuitive. For example, section (2) describes when the survival kit does NOT have to be carried on board.

Regs101CAR 602.62 (and 602.63) describe when life vests have to be carried. (Most of the time). Life rafts become necessary 100 miles (0r 30 minutes at cruising speed, whichever is less) from shore, or 200, or 400 depending on the type of aircraft. The following slide presents the information graphically:


Airliners can go 400 miles from shore without rafts.

Regs103What’s this all about? Flight Plans and Flight Itineraries. In either case, you have to define when a flight is overdue so Search and Rescue can be called in. This is CAR 602.70. (Overdue means one hour after ETA for a Flight Plan or 24 hours after ETA for a Flight Itinerary).

You start to get the idea: Flight Plans are there to give S&R an idea of when and where to look for you. If you’re IFR, it also gives ATC the info on your planned route and altitude so they can issue a clearance that is somehow related to your plan. But VFR, the main idea is S&R. Now you can also see why it is so important to a) activate and b) close your Flight Plan on time. Those C-130 Hercs are expensive to operate.

When do you have to file a flight plan? Yes, is the short answer.

CAR 602.73. If you’re more than 25 NM from your airport of departure.

But if I’m going to an airport 26 miles away on a clear day I can tell my wife where I’m going and when I’ll be back, and if she acknowledges, we have a Flight Itinerary.

Regs105Increasingly, both Canada and the USA are moving toward ICAO flight plans. This is the form.

Regs106Here is one filled out. How to do this is detailed in the AIM RAC 3.15.

The main changes from the older Canada flight plan are in Item 10: Equipment. The arrival of WAAS GPS, RNAV and RNP make this much more complicated. So much so that the equipment listing spill over into Item 18: Other Information.

I don’t even fill them out by hand anymore, for that reason. I use (free).


We drive on the right, and in airplanes we turn right meeting another aircraft head on, and also when overtaking.

Slide082But 602.19 (1) (a) overrides all other right-of-way regulations: the Pilot in Command must do whatever is necessary to avoid a collision.

Slide083Also, in general faster aircraft give way to slower aircraft; gliders give way to balloons, etc.

Regs111Here are a few examples: overtaking, head-on , and faster airplane altering course for slower. Although I wonder about the B747 . . .

Regs110Here are various people giving way. But are they in the right order?

Regs112The reference is AIM RAC 2.2.1 . The difference is that down south we use magnetic track, and in the Northern Airspace we use true track to determine cruising altitude. Remember that slide?

Regs113Now to controlled airspace. There is a lot more of it now than when I started flying. The reference for this slide is AIM RAC 2.5 and subsequent. There (as well as in the slide) you will see how these control areas overlie the domestic airspace, but that the floors sof the former rise as you go north: FL180, FL230, and FL280. That’s because overflights (Polar Routes) are above FL280. Below that is uncontrolled airspace.

Regs114The controlled airspace in a busy terminal area like Montreal looks something like this in 3-D.

But to get all the details, you have to study your Terminal Area Chart, the VTA.

VTA_CYHUThis is a portion of the Montreal VTA. If you get out your own Montreal VTA you can study the data group just east of Beloeil/ Mont St Hilaire and visualize the cylinders of airspace at that spot.

Starting from the ground up, the airspace is uncontrolled under 7 AGL (700 feet above ground).  From there up to 2000 MSL (above Mean Sea Level) no contact is required. Unless, of course, you plan to land at St. Hubert. Then you would have to fly south to Marieville, call the CYHU tower, and continue inbound via the arrival route from Autoroute 10 Rivière Richelieu. Above 2000 MSL is Class C controlled airspace. You must contact Montreal Terminal on 134.15.

In contrast, study the data group just to the north of CYHU. Working this time from the top down, we have 125, TML 134.15 C, ABV 25, ______, 25, TWR 118.4 D, and SFC. Translation: starting at 12,500 feet, (this is the bottom of the Southern Domestic Controlled Airspace  (Airspace Classification slide) which is Class B airspace) and continuing down to 2500 MSL, you have to contact Montreal Terminal on 134.15, and the airspace is Class C. Below that, you have to contact CYHU tower on 118.4. All the way down to the surface.

Why? Because you are in the CYHU Control Zone, which happens to be Class C. What is the horizontal extent of this control zone? The line of cartoon sauté pans. (See VTA Chart Legend).

If you look up, just to the north of Varennes and St. Amable, there is another data group. In this area Montreal Terminal is Class D and extends down to 2000 MSL.

Easy, right? For extra points, see if you can find boundaries between controlled areas with different floors. You did? Have you thought about a law career?

Regs115Here is the Airspace Classification slide I promised. You can find a small monochrome reproduction of this in AIM RAC 2.10.

Regs116More of the same diagram.

To oversimplify:

  • Class A:  No VFR
  • Class B-D: you have to talk to someone, and have a transponder that squawks altitude
  • Class E you may not have to talk to anyone, but you may have to squawk altitude (see transponder airspace, AIM RAC 1.9.2)
  • Class F: (AIM RAC 2.8.6) you probably shouldn’t go there, and you won’t get cleared there IFR, but maybe you’re there because you are training soaring, or parachuting or something
  • Class G: uncontrolled


This is how we look on the controller’s radar screen. At top left you can see a primary target.  The airplane does not have a transponder, so what we see is the primary radar’s energy bouncing back off the airplane. If the airplane is equipped with a transponder, the blip looks a little different. The transponder replies to the secondary radar. If the transponder has an altitude encoder, (Mode C) the airplane’s altitude appears in the data block attached to the radar blip.

The transponder can also include one of 4096 codes (octal: 4 digits 0 to 7) in its reply. If the aircraft has been assigned a discrete code by Air Traffic Control (ATC), The aircraft’s registration or flight number will appear in the datablock. In this case it is American Airlines Flight 076.


Here are a whole bunch of airplanes at a busy airport. This could be Chicago O’Hare (KORD). There are simultaneous instrument approaches to two parallel runways (27L & 27R). See if you can figure out (from the altitude and groundspeed readouts) what each airplane is doing.

Regs117Here’s a slide that’s soon to be history. The bottom two diagrams are airways defined at one or both ends by Non Directional Beacons (NDB). NDBs will all be phased out by 2019, according to the NavCanada Air Navigation System Plan.

The top diagram is of an airway defined by two VOR’s (Very high frequencyOmni-directional Radio range). This the typical legacy airway. It is quickly being replaced by GPS or RNAV-defined T-Routes, but that is a subject for the IFR Course.


The altimeter setting region is all of southern Canada.


This diagram shows when and how you switch from a local altimeter setting to standard pressure (29.92 inches) as you transition between regions.


Air Defense Indentification Zones



***************** EXAM QUESTION ****************

Think of entering the circuit at an airport in these weather conditions.


Can you do circuits at an uncontrolled airport?


When might you (if ever) want to ask for Special VFR?Regs124

Why 1000 feet vertical from cloud? IFR aircraft could pop out of the cloud above or below.


What if you are between layers, and the layers come together? Or weather at destination goes to overcast?


The easy part: You need oxygen if you are at 13,000 or above, or if you are above 10,000 feet for more than 30 minutes.

The tricky exam question: You have 2 masks and 2 passengers. Can you fly at 11,000 feet for an hour?


Can a Private Pilot fly for hire? No. Can he share expenses with his passengers? Yes. But read the fine print.


This diagram is in AIM RAC  4.6.2.  (Upwind side is a bit of a misnomer – that place in the diagram is more properly referred to as the Inactive Side.)

You can see that the preferred entry into the circuit is from the Inactive Side, crossing the runway at circuit altitude an joining the downwind leg at 90 degrees.

To get to the Inactive Side (if you are coming from the Active, or Circuit side, you must be at least 500 feet above the circuit altitude, and then descend on the Inactive Side.

If traffic permits, you may enter the circuit (at circuit height) from a long downwind.


This is a 3-D representation of a circuit. This is the normal (default) left-hand circuit. (All turns are to the left and the pilot can easily see the runway from the left seat.

A right-hand circuit is the mirror image. See the CFS.


Remember transponders are mandatory for Class B, C, and D airspace.

What about Class A, E, and F?


Now the standard is Mode S. It is like Mode C but also transmits your aircraft’s registration if you are squawking a discrete code. You need it now for Class C airspace, like the CYHU Control Zone.

Regs1331200 is the old VFR squawk. Now we are assigned a code, like 0522.

Special emergency codes are as above.

If the controller asks you to “Squawk Ident”, push the IDENT button once only.  Your blip on his screen blooms out (becomes larger) so he can confirm that blip is you.