Welcome to Silverwing Aviation Ltd.
- Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs -
Welcome to Silverwing Aviation! Check back frequently as our website is being built. Expect our site to be fully operational soon. (Updated 2021-01-28)
As you read through these Frequently Asked Questions, there is one major theme you will learn:
That obtaining your Ultralight Pilot Permit allows you far more freedoms to fly what you want and where you want, than you would have imagined possible!
All this with almost none of the preconceived negatives you may have believed!
Referring to these aircraft as "Ultralights" at this point has almost become a misnomer, and does incredible disservice to these high performance aircraft and the aspiring pilots who may not have realized how accessible, safe, economical and enjoyable aviation can be!
In this section you will find answers to questions regarding the type of aircraft you can fly, and all the freedoms and limitations of ultralight aircraft and the Ultralight Pilot Permit
Transport Canada has greatly lagged in classifying these aircraft as they truly should be, a real lacking in the nomenclature. In the United States they have recognized the incredible performance and advances in the light-sport aircraft category. These aircraft are capable of speeds in excess of 300 km/h and are yet still able to land at 45 mph (72 km/h) or less. They are light and nimble, and yet carry a useful load rivaling even Cessna 152s. Depending on the type you choose, they can land on unprepared surfaces such as gravel bars on rivers, sandy beaches, or grass fields. According to Transport Canada these aircraft are labelled by what at this point in time has almost become a misnomer. Transport Canada refers to them as Ultra-light Aeroplanes or Advanced Ultra-lights. But they are most certainly NOT what you would think of as old-school delta-wing (kite-like) open cockpit, tube and fabric aircraft.
You will be astonished at what types of aircraft actually fall into the Ultra-Light category. You can find floatplanes, biplanes and even amphibians (flying boats) in the ultra-light category; as well as bush planes, aerobatics capable aircraft, and very fast, sleek aircraft.
Click this link to see some examples of the type of aircraft that qualify for the ultra-light category. We assure you will be amazed and impressed.
Unknown to most is that even some certified aircraft may be legally flown by pilots holding an Ultra-light Pilot Permit. Examples include the Piper Vagabond, Piper Cub, and others.
We can train you to be legally permitted to fly all of these aircraft with one license. (Once you are a qualified pilot, additional training in each specific model to become familiar with them is usually only a few hours extra - but is not a legal requirement.)
While Transport Canada has a very specific definition of what an "Ultra-light Aeroplane" is, the simple answer is this:
Ultralight airplanes can be broken down into two categories: Basic Ultra-lights and Advanced Ultralights. Basic ultra-lights are permitted to have a total maximum takeoff weight of 1200 lbs, while advanced ultra-lights are permitted to have a total maximum takeoff weight of 1232 lbs. Ultralight aeroplanes must also have a stall speed of 45 mph or less.
Other than the above, and a couple other VERY minor details, an Ultra-Light can be almost ANY aircraft you can conceive that falls into the Ultra-Light Category.
There are many categories of aircraft, including: 'homebuilt' (also known as kit-planes), certified aircraft, ultra-lights and helicopters.
These are all distinct categories of aircraft. While there is no such aircraft recognized as an 'ultra-light helicopter', both homebuilt and certified aircraft have the potential possibility of being flown by a pilot who holds an ultra-light pilot permit (UPP) - provided the aircraft falls within the definition of an ultra-light aircraft.
Ultra-light aircraft do not have to adhere to any flight worthiness standards, and are not required to be maintained by certified mechanics. Likewise individual parts and components do not require certification.
The short answer is: not at all! But there is more to the answer. One of the biggest factors in the early days of ultra-light aircraft was the engines were very unreliable. They were two stroke engines with single ignitions, and two-cylinders. Now ultralights will often have 4 cylinder, 4 stroke engines with dual-ignitions and regular maintenance and overhaul schedules. Their reliability is virtually on par with any other aircraft or automobile engine.
Structurally, a failure causing loss of control of an ultra-light is almost unheard of. In that sense they are nearly on par with certified aircraft for their safety record. But it is a bit more nuanced. A poorly maintained airframe will be less reliable than one where regular maintenance and inspections are performed. So it is very much up to the individual owner of the aircraft whether their airframe is maintained to the highest safety standards. With certified aircraft, regular maintenance and inspections are mandated. This should make them more reliable. But in practice that is not necessarily the case.
Thirdly, many accidents in general aviation aircraft are due to the aircraft flying in marginal weather. Ultra-lights are not permitted to fly at night, and generally are used more for recreation than for the intention of destination type flights. Therefore, there is not the pressure to fly in unfavourable conditions. Pilots electing to more often fly in favourable weather are less likely to encounter weather related issues.
And FINALLY, ultralight aircraft have a much slower stall speed, and often a much lighter wing loading. Energy in the form of momentum is squared with the velocity, and since ultralights land at a much lower speed, the landing energy is EXPONENTIALLY less. In this aspect, it can be said ultra-lights are exponentially safer than certified aircraft!
For the most part you will find that ultra-light aircraft can fly anywhere most general aviation aircraft are permitted to fly. Including in controlled airspace and at most airports. You will likely need certain equipment on-board the aircraft to fly in controlled airspace; however, that would apply to any general aviation certified aircraft as well. So, in essence, ultralight aircraft can fly anywhere any other aircraft is permitted to fly.
So, it can be said that, in practice, you can fly anywhere you like without restriction.
In Canada ultra-light aircraft are not permitted to fly at night.
Ultra-lights are restricted to a MAXIMUM of two seats. This would allow for the pilot and a maximum of ONE passenger ONLY in the aircraft.
Yes, no, and maybe! As with many things in aviation, the answer is "It depends". There are two factors to consider: The first is whether the aircraft is a 'basic ultra-light' or an 'advanced ultra-light'; the second is if you have a passenger carrying endorsement.
The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) stipulate that in order to be permitted to carry passengers, you must a) be in an 'advanced ultra-light' and b) have a passenger carrying endorsement.
If you are flying in a 'basic ultralight' you may have a second person, but that person must also be a pilot.
Only instructors are permitted to take students in basic ultralights for the purposes of flight training.
No! In terms of Transport Canada regulations there is no distinction with ultra-lights as pertains to whether or not the ultra-light is on floats. It does not matter if the aircraft is on wheels or on floats it is treated simply as an ultra-light.
From the viewpoint of Transport Canada, if you have your PPL or higher; your UPP; or your UPP Student Pilot permit, you are legally allowed to fly an Ultra-light floatplane, an Ultra-light amphibious aircraft (flying boat), and Ultra-light on wheels, etc. You need not fulfill any other requirements from Transport Canada.
Yes! With Silverwing Aviation Ltd. you will be training in an ultralight on floats. We will train you from your Ab-Initio training through to your Ultra-light Pilot Permit and your Ultra-light Passenger Carry endorsement.
Transport Canada does not recognize float training on Ultra-lights as applicable to the float rating, nor may any hours logged on Ultra-light aircraft on floats be credited toward the 7 hour float rating.
However, flying ultra-lights on floats requires a much higher degree of competency than aircraft with larger floats; and requires some more advanced techniques. So we can train you to much higher standard than would be required for your float rating.
Also, we can get you into the air on floats at a fraction of the cost of flying a certified aircraft - giving you the freedom to reach those remote lakes more easily and at much less cost!
Remember, you DO NOT require a float rating to be permitted to fly ultra-lights on floats!
In summary, the difference between Ultra-light aircraft and other aircraft is blurry to the point of almost no distinction. With an Ultra-light license you will be able to fly an enormous range of aircraft, whether they be manufactured, homebuilt, kit built, or certified aircraft! The most pronounced distinction is more of a legal nature than a practical one. You can experience the freedom of flight in comfort and style for less time, money and effort!
The Pilot License
In the category of ultralight aircraft Transport Canada refers to the pilot license for ultralight aircraft as a "Permit" - an "Ultralight Pilot Permit" to be precise. Though, in practical terms there is no difference between a "Pilot License" and a "Pilot Permit". Both give you privileges to fly certain aircraft within Canadian airspace. And there are no greater restrictions on where you may fly with an Ultralight Pilot Permit compared to a Pilot License or Recreational Pilot Permit.
An ultra-light student pilot permit may be issued to any person 14 years of age, or older. This will allow you to fly with an instructor in the aircraft and also allows you to fly solo under the supervision of an instructor.
At the age of 16 a person is eligible to receive a full Ultra-light Pilot Permit and passenger carrying endorsement as a full-fledged pilot.
Silverwing Aviation Ltd. will start training students as young as 12 years of age, depending on aptitude, interest, and physical capability (You must be able to reach the controls).
It depends. All pilots are required to have a medical certificate. With Ultra-lights the medical requirements are much more lenient than for even a Private Pilot License. You are required to have a "Class 4" medical, which is a self-declared medical. This means you are given a questionnaire, and if you can answer the questions to the satisfaction of the questionnaire, you can obtain a Class 4 medical. This can be done without needing to see a doctor.
Even with some otherwise disqualifying medical conditions on the questionnaire, a visit to a medical doctor will often allow you to obtain a medical certificate. This does not necessarily need to be an "Aviation Medical Examiner"; but can instead be completed by a family doctor.
If you plan to carry passengers, your Class 4 Medical will have to be signed off by a medical/family doctor, but it need not be completed by an Aviation Medical Doctor.
No, you do not - but you do need to provide proof of citizenship.
In practical terms, yes! But Transport Canada does use specific wording for ultralights. It is called an "Ultra-light Pilot Permit" (UPP); not a "Pilot License" - though the distinction is really an ICAO designation, not a Transport Canada one. Meaning that a "license" is internationally recognized, whereas a "pilot permit" is a Canadian designation.
With the Ultra-light Pilot Permit you are permitted to fly any aircraft that adheres to the definitions of an "Ultra-light Aircraft". This includes basic ultra-lights, advanced ultra-lights and even some certified aircraft and homebuilt (kitplane) aircraft!
The Ultra-light Pilot Permit also allows you to fly nearly anywhere in Canada that any other General Aviation aircraft could typically fly.
Yes! Well, kind of. There are two 'levels' of Ultra-light Pilot Permit - (UPP). There is the Basic UPP, and then there is the "passenger-carrying" endorsement. The passenger-carrying endorsement does require a little more training, and a flight-test conducted by a Transport Canada examiner.
It also depends on what type of aircraft you are piloting. Most aircraft that fall under the definition of 'Ultra-light' you will be permitted to take a passenger. The exception is the "Basic Ultra-light" – in which case your passenger must also be a pilot.
There is no easier way to become a pilot in Canada than the ultra-light pilot permit!
While there is a little bit of math, science, meteorology, and navigation skills (geometry) it is to a much lesser extent than the Private Pilot License (PPL). The UPP is mostly having the co-ordination to competently and safely fly an aircraft and have good pilot decision making skills.
The biggest ingredient you need in becoming a successful pilot is PASSION!
Without getting into too much detail you will have to:
-Complete 20 hours of groundschool
-Complete 2 written tests
-Have a minimum of 10 hours total flight time (minimum 5 hours dual, 2 hours solo)
-Complete 30 takeoffs and landings
-Have a valid medical certificate
-Obtain a radio operator's permit - Restricted (Aviation)*
The 10 hours is the Transport Canada MINIMUM requirements. You will not be eligible for your UPP until your instructor is confident you are competent and safe. It usually takes many more than the 10 hours minimum before you will be able to demonstrate to your instructor that you are a safe and competent pilot.
How many hours it takes is almost entirely dependent on you - though a good instructor will also be an immense asset. How quickly you are able to develop the necessary skills is much more pertinent than what the minimum hours are. And remember: the more frequently you can fly, the less overall hours you will need to develop your skills.
We offer groundschool on a cyclic basis. You can start at any time and carry through until you've completed all the class topics. It is most beneficial to start flying, and do groundschool concurrently.
If you have to choose one or the other, definitely start with the flying! It will not only help keep you focused on your training, it will help you get the most out of the groundschool classes.
-The UPP requires much fewer hours than the PPL or the Recreational Pilot Permit. The tests are less daunting, and the medical requirements are less. Overall this equates to WAY less money, a much easier and quicker process, and allows some pilots, who may otherwise be disqualified, to enjoy the freedom to fly despite medical issues preventing them from obtaining their medical certificate for the other licenses.
-Flying Ultralights is less costly on a per hourly basis, putting it within reach of even more people, and yet the comfort of the aircraft is virtually the same.
PLUS a lot of the hours obtained on Ultra-lights can be applied to upgraded licenses. In the case of the Recreational Pilot Permit 100% of your time can be credited to it from the UPP. It is, essentially, FREE flying!
And finally, we focus very highly on stick and rudder skills, as opposed to rote procedures. This makes you a much safer and more skilled pilot. We also have more fun doing it!
There is no flight test for the Ulra-light Pilot Permit. There is, however, a flight test for the passenger carrying endorsement if you wish to carry passengers in the future.
In summary, the Ultralight Pilot Permit is THE easiest pilot license to obtain. With fewer flight exercises, easier written tests, and no flight test; there is no downside to obtaining your Ultra-light Pilot Permit before continuing on to more advanced licenses. And when you do upgrade your license 100% of your flight time can be credited in some cases! Free flying! Who can turn that down?
Flight Hour Credits
Many of the hours of your flight experience can be credited to other licenses. In essence the hours and expenses you spend on ultralights can essentially be free when applied to other licenses.
An applicant for the Pilot Permit - Recreational - Aeroplane who holds a valid Pilot Permit - Ultra-light Aeroplane may credit all dual and solo flight time acquired in ultra-light aeroplanes towards the experience requirement.
This means that 100% of your Ultra-light flight time is applicable towards the Recreational Pilot Permit.
A maximum of 10 hours pilot-in-command flight time in 3-axis Ultra-light Aeroplanes may be credited towards your total Private Pilot License flight time. That's like getting 10 free hours of flight time toward your pilot license!
If an applicant holds a Pilot Permit - Ultra-light Aeroplane, a maximum of 25 hours pilot-in-command flight time in three axis ultra-light aeroplanes shall be credited towards the 200 hour total flight time requirement but this time shall not be credited towards the 100 hour pilot-in-command flight time.
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