Recreational Pilot Permit Vs Private Pilot License

March 19, 2022
Category: Popular

Here is a direct comparison of a Recreational Pilot Permit Vs a Private Pilot License

Minimum Age

Recreational Pilot Permit: Minimum 16 years old

Private Pilot License: Minimum 17 years old

However, students may begin their flight training before this age.

Medical Requirement

Recreational Pilot Permit: Minimum Category 4, 3, or 1.

Private Pilot License: Minimum Category 3 or 1.

Minimum Flight Training Requirement

Recreational Pilot Permit: 25 hours consisting of 15 hours dual flight instruction and 5 hours solo

Private Pilot License: 45 hours consisting of 17 hours dual flight instruction and 12 hour solo.

Dual flight instruction means time spent being taught by a licensed flight instructor. Solo refers to time spent by yourself in an aircraft practicing flight maneuvers. The times listed are minimums and most students will fly well over the posted Transport Canada requirements.

Ground School Requirement

Recreational Pilot Permit: There is no formal requirement, however students must write and pass the Pilot Permit – Recreational – Aeroplane exam (RPPAE exam is 80 questions) or the Private Pilot License -(PPAER exam is 100 questions). Most students choose to enrol in the Canadian Flight Trainers Private Pilot Ground School Course to gain the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to write the exam.

Private Pilot License: Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of ground school and they must obtain a minimum of 60% on the Private Pilot Licence – Aeroplane (PPAER) exam. Most students enrol in our Private Pilot License Ground School Course to complete this requirement.

Skill Requirement

Recreational Pilot Permit: Must complete the Recreational Pilot Permit or Private Pilot License Flight Test

Private Pilot License: Must complete the Private Pilot Flight Test

Flight tests are done with a Transport Canada Inspector or Transport Canada designated flight test examiner.

Privileges and Limitations

Recreational Pilot Permit

  • Maximum of 1 passenger
  • Cannot fly and airplane with more than 4 seats
  • Fly in Canada only
  • Only add a float rating
  • Cannot fly for money

Private Pilot License

  • No passenger limit
  • Fly any non-high performance airplane
  • Fly world wide
  • Ability to add night rating, multi-engine rating, instrument rating, and float ratings
  • Cannot fly for money


While the recreational pilot permit may seem like a better choice due to the lower requirements, the amount of time spent in flight training will only be slightly less than that of a private pilot license. With many of the same exercises having to be completed and for slightly more money, you can have the extended privileges that come with having a Private Pilot License in Canada.

Recreational Pilot Permit vs PPL
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