The Owner-maintenance Category



Photo courtesy Garth Wallace, COPA

Owner-maintenance is here to stay. The new category is open to a list of unsupported, small aircraft such as this American Trainer. Pilot/owners of aircraft switched into this category are eligible to perform the maintenance on their aircraft; effect modifications and repairs without Transport Canada approval; install uncertified parts; and sign the maintenance release for all maintenance performed.

The Owner-Maintenance Category was developed to allow certain certified fixed-wing aircraft to be maintained, modified and upgraded under similar regulations as amateur built aircraft.

The proposal for this category grew from a cross-Canada series of town hall meetings for pilots conducted by Transport Canada recreational aviation specialist Lindsay Cadenhead during 1994-95.

During the meetings, recreational aircraft owners expressed their concern for the spiraling cost and lack of availability of certified parts and expertise for older, unsupported aircraft.

This concern was turned into a proposal from several aviation associations, including COPA. It called for a new category for these aircraft that would allow owner-maintenance, part substitution and aircraft modification.

An Owner-Maintenance Category became part of Transport Canada’s new Recreational Aviation Policy in June 1996. That policy was accepted by the aviation community and approved by the Minister of Transport.

Under the O-M Category, Aircraft Pilot/Owners are Eligible To:

  • maintain an airplane
  • refurbish all or part of an airplane
  • overhaul all or part of an airplane
  • install certified and uncertified parts
  • install or replace any instruments or avionics
  • modify an airplane
  • rebuild an airplane that is out of service
  • sign the maintenance release.


The COPA Guide to The Owner Maintenance Category (members only).