A Canadian citizen must
be at least sixteen years of age, who does not hold
another aviation licence. This procedure is based on the present
requirements contained in the relevant chapters of the Personnel
Licensing Handbook and discussion with some of the people at Transport
Canada. It is meant as a reference only and you should always
refer to the aforementioned Personnel Licensing Handbook for current
requirements. If you have any questions concerning licensing, we
encourage you to contact Transport. They would rather answer a few
questions at the start than try to sort out problems after the fact.
There may be
circumstances where some of the following steps may be done in a
different order or they may be combined.
OUT WHAT THE REQUIREMENTS ARE FOR YOUR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES!
You must find a
Licensed Balloon Pilot with an Instructor Rating. If you already have
the names of some balloon pilots in your area ask them if they have a
valid instructor's rating. Transport Canada can confirm this. You don't
have to do all of your flight training with one instructor, however you
will have to demonstrate to one of them that you have received adequate
training, are competent to fly a balloon, and satisfy the requirements
for a license.
Medical. Most people
obtain the name of a physician recognized by Transport Canada and have
their medical exam prior to beginning their flight training. Although
you don't have to present evidence of passing the medical until you are
actually ready to fly solo, you are strongly advised to complete this
aspect as soon as possible. There's no sense in getting that far into
your training only to be disqualified for medical reasons.
You need at least ten
hours of ground school training. This will cover all the information
that Transport feels you must know, as outlined in their study guide.
Your instructor should be able to either provide the ground school
training or tell you where it can be obtained.
Any time after your
ground school training is done, you must obtain a letter from your
instructor stating that you have successfully completed the training
and that they recommend you be allowed to try your first written exam.
This exam (PSTAR) focuses on air law and regulations, but it does not
specifically pertain to Hot Air Balloons. You must
pass the PSTAR exam before you can fly solo.
Before obtaining your
license you will need a minimum of 16 (sixteen) hours of flight
training which includes at least 11 (eleven) hours of untethered flight
under the direction and supervision of a qualified instructor. The
untethered flight training must include at least 6 (six) dual
instruction flights, including one ascent to over 5000 feet, and 2
(two) solo flights of at least 30 minutes each. ALWAYS
VERIFY THE CURRENT REQUIREMENTS SET OUT IN THE PERSONNEL LICENSING
In order to fly solo
(with no other people aboard) you must obtain a Student Pilot Permit (SPP).
In order to obtain your SPP you have to either deal directly with
Transport Canada or with someone in the ballooning community authorized
by Transport Canada to act on their behalf. You must show this
Transport Authorized Person:
identification which shows your nationality, age and full name.
Nationality and age information show that you are entitled to be
licensed in Canada and for how long your medical is valid. Your name
is required for the issuing of the license, which is a legal
document. If your name has changed you will have to provide evidence
of such. (A married woman who has changed her name will be asked to
provide a marriage certificate.)
Proof that you have
satisfied the medical criteria. This is either your License
Validation Certificate or a Medical Assessment Letter.
A copy of your
results of the PSTAR exam, showing a passing grade.
A recommendation from
a qualified balloon instructor stating that you have completed the
requirements, have demonstrated sufficient competence in the
operation of a Hot Air Balloon and that you should be allowed to fly
You can make the process
easier and faster by bringing the original documents and 3 (three) copies
of each. The authorized person must see the originals, will keep one copy
of each document and send two certified copies to
At any time after
receiving a passing grade on your PSTAR exam, and after having
completed at least 12 (twelve) hours of your flight training (75% of
the flight time requirements), you should obtain a letter from your
instructor recommending that you be allowed to try your second written
exam. This exam (PIBAL) may cover any aspect of ballooning, from
regulations to the relevant laws of physics.
Any time after you have
satisfied all of the requirements your instructor must
certify in your log book that the flights and times entered therein are
accurate. They must also provide you with a letter stating that you are
competent to fly a Hot Air Balloon and recommend that you receive your
license. You will then return to the Transport Authorized Person and
Your Student Pilot
A current License
Proof of obtaining a
passing grade on the PSTAR and PIBAL exams
Your certified log
book showing that you have satisfied the requirements in the
Personnel Licensing Handbook
Your letter of
recommendation from a qualified instructor. Once again, it is easier
and faster to bring the originals and 3 (three) copies of each
You then fill out an
application form for a license, in duplicate, and pay a forty-two
dollar (subject to change) licensing fee. Once the paperwork has been
completed, the Transport Authorized Person will complete the back of
your Student Pilot Permit which then becomes your temporary
Balloon License for a specified time, or until Transport issues you the
There are exceptions to
these steps. For instance, if you already hold a valid pilot license for
another category of aircraft, with the exception of ultra lights, you
only need 5 (five) hours of ground school, and you need not write the
If you have any questions
concerning the procedures for obtaining a Balloon Pilot's License, give
us a call, or you can get in touch with
Transport Canada. They can be very helpful people.