March 16, 2018

TCCA Self-Paced Study Program


As another great flying season is just around the corner, numerous pilots across the country are getting their aircraft and themselves ready for the enjoyment of flying. This preparation effort includes ensuring that the pilot’s currency is up to date. In this regard, we received numerous inquiries with respect to the currency of the study program itself offered by TCCA on their website. As it happened, up until recently, googling ‘’Self-paced study program Transport Canada’’ would yield an entry entitled ‘’How to Stay Current – Transport Canada’’ with a link.

Clicking on this link would take you to a page titled ‘’How to Stay Current’’ and the text contained a link to the ‘’self-paced study program’’. Unfortunately, this new link would then take you to the relevant study program dated December 2016. This result generated the inquiries we received as to the validity of the test, and if TCCA planned to issue a more recent one in the near future. COPA verified with TCCA and we eventually discovered that this simply led to the removal of the December 2016 self-paced study program from their website with no replacement. Hence more confusion.

COPA renewed its inquiries with TCCA who assured us they would address the issue. We did check their website on any progress toward a solution this morning (14 March 2018). Googling the same wording as above, ‘’Self-paced study program Transport Canada’’, now shows us an extensive listing of related links, instead of the previous lone link mentioned above. One quickly notices that the vast majority of those links relate to study programs from several years back to at least 2010. The link mentioned earlier still appears, still works, and still gets us to an empty page. No progress there.

However, all is not lost. One new entry entitled ‘’Aviation Safety Letter – TP 185E – Issue 3/2017 – Transport Canada’’  which takes us to a pdf version of the Aviation Safety Letter Issue 3/2017. This ASL contains a self-paced study program as well as the answers to the questions. COPA believes at this point that this is the most recent program available from TCCA and is fair to use for the intended purpose. One can also access the program by googling ASL and selecting the appropriate issue of the letter. All this to say that accessing the study program is not a straightforward and easy process but it is doable with patience and creativity.

With respect to the actual date of the published program and hence the validity of the program for the intended purpose, COPA respects the uncertainty generated among our members. COPA also considers that things do not change so dramatically and so quickly in GA and the relevant regulations that TCCA would need to generate a new edition of the program on an annual basis. This decision remains a TCCA prerogative reflecting their perception of the requirements and the resources available for this task. A simple revision of the date on the published program would likely be sufficient in most cases, with a complete revision on a practical predetermined basis.

Incredible as this may seem, we just did one more google search to verify the content of this note and the ASL entry ‘’Aviation Safety Letter – TP 185E – Issue 3/2017 – Transport Canada’’ mentioned above does not appear anymore. However, clicking the related link in this text does work, at least this morning. This might change tomorrow. Luckily, I happened to download that ASL Issue 3/2017 immediately I saw it and can share it upon request. COPA has requested a copy of the exam and its answers from TCCA and will publish it here and in the COPA Flight magazine as soon as it is made available for the convenience of our members. As I am finalizing this, I received a call from a CASARA representative planning a currency session based on this program and he could not find it. After coaching him on the phone, he found ASL Issue 3/2917 and he was good to go. This can be a rather frustrating process considering that CAR 421.05(2)(d) specifically states: ‘’….. completion of the self-paced study program produced annually in the Transport Canada Aviation Safety Newsletter ……’’ We will work with TCCA to find an easier and more reliable way for our members to access this study program on the internet, in addition to publishing it in our media. Note that the results of an internet search, in this case, seem to be rather a hit and miss thing and might require more than one try.