February 1, 2018

Changing to a Recreational Pilot Permit (RPP)


Several COPA members have been inquiring about the procedure to obtain an RPP when one already holds a pilot license, be it private, commercial, or airline. The inquiries indicate that there is some inconsistencies in interpretations at some Regional TCCA offices. COPA staff has contacted TCCA and obtained detailed clarifications on the topic. The appropriate TCCA staff has reviewed this text and agreed with it.

The first aspect to remember is that the RPP requires a Category 4 Medical only. CAR 421.22 defines the requirements to obtain an RPP.

But what if you are already a licenced pilot and feel that you have reached a point where an RPP would be sufficient for your flying? Well, the process is quite simple. You fill in and submit Form 26-0799E: that easy.

Essentially, if you already have a pilot licence and wish to go to the RPP, you submit Form 26-0799E and you get it on the spot. In addition, you must ensure you have a valid medical certificate. A current Cat 1 or Cat 3 medical will be adequate of course but next time around, you can go to a Cat 4.

What happens if you ever want to go back to your pilot licence? All you need to do then is to reacquire the proper medical category. Remember your license was issued for life, so it is there. Take the scenario of a person with an ATPL for instance who chooses to go to an RPP with a Cat 4 Medical. Obtaining a new Cat 1 Medical would revalidate that pilot’s ATPL. That pilot might have to satisfy some currency requirements at that point but the ATPL is back in force.

So why not just stay with a pilot licence, for instance a Private Pilot License (PPL)? The advantage of the RPP is the Cat 4 Medical simplicity as opposed to the complexity of a Cat 1 or Cat 3. The privileges are obviously restricted but this is an individual choice as to what is sufficient for one’s flying activities. Note that the pilot license is an ICAO recognized document while the pilot permit, as in Recreational Pilot Permit, is a Canadian airman document recognized in Canada only. Further, one can concurrently hold a pilot license as well as an RPP. The benefits are rather unclear but some might appreciate having one more document in their file.

Useful links:

Cat 4 Medical: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/regserv/cars/part4-standards-t42402-1412.htm

RPP requirements: https://tc.canada.ca/en/corporate-services/acts-regulations/list-regulations/canadian-aviation-regulations-sor-96-433/standards/standard-421-flight-crew-permits-licences-ratings-canadian-aviation-regulations-cars#421_22 (link updated August 2022)

RPP Privileges:  https://tc.canada.ca/en/aviation/licensing-pilots-personnel/flight-crew-licences-permits-ratings/general-information-pilot-licences-permits (link updated August 2022)

Form 26-0799E: http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Corp-Serv-Gen/5/forms-formulaires/download/26-0799E_E_PX


Additional links (as of August 2022):

Testing: https://tc.canada.ca/en/aviation/publications/flight-test-guide-recreational-pilot-permit-aeroplane-tp-12475

Study Guide: https://tc.canada.ca/en/aviation/publications/study-reference-guide-recreational-pilot-permit-aeroplane-tp-12467