U.S. registered Light Sport Aircraft permitted in Canada

By Patrick Gilligan


A recent exemption by Transport Canada (TC) makes it more affordable and less onerous for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) from the United States to be flown into Canada.

TC’s new Standardized Validation form puts LSA on equal footing with U.S. amateur-built aircraft flying into Canada. U.S. LSA owners simply have to download the Standardized Validation form found at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/maintenance/regsdocs/standardised_validation.htm , and follow other entry requirements such as customs, and fly. The $100 fee has been eliminated.

TC still requires U.S. pilots flying LSA aircraft in Canadian airspace to hold at least a private pilot certificate and a current FAA medical certificate.

What about Canadian pilots wanting to own and fly a LSA in Canada?
COPA chaired an industry/government working group whose task was to review how recreational aircraft are classified and make recommendations for changes, including how to accommodate LSA in Canada. An article ‘Status report on Recreational Aviation and Light Sport Aircraft’’ http://www.copanational.org/CAWJan10-2En.cfm , summarizes this initiative, which is still under consideration by TC.

While the recommendations work their way through the bureaucracy, there are three existing aircraft categories into which a LSA can be registered in Canada. Each one has its advantages but also some limitations.


LSA can be registered in the Advance Ultra Light Aircraft (AULA) category

  • The manufacturer must be willing to take on all the responsibility for the “Fit for flight” statement for the aircraft.
  • The aircraft’s MTOW will be limited to1,232 lbs with no float allowance.
  • The aircraft must be on the TC list of eligible AULA.
  • The manufacturer must conform to the AULA standards TP10141.
  • The manufacturer must send Transport Canada all the required compliance documentation, including a Declaration of Compliance indicating the aircraft meets the AULA standards, maintain a Specified Maintenance Program, inspection schedule and the maintenance procedures, send advisories to all aftermarket owners for Mandatory Actions, to support “fit for flight” condition, initially supply signed Fit For Flight certificates and maintain a list of current records of all owners.
  • The pilot/owner of an AULA is responsible for maintaining the aeroplane in a “fit for flight” condition by adhering to the Manufacturer Specified Maintenance Program and for completing the manufacturer’s Mandatory Actions in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and time frame. He/she must also maintain appropriate records for the aeroplane, including scheduled maintenance, mandatory actions, modifications, and accident repairs.
    Manufacturers’ responsibilities link http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/general/ccarcs/manresp.htm.


LSA can be registered in the Amateur-Built category

  • While this category does not have a weight or seat limitation, the LSA ASTM maximum take-off weights are 1,320 lbs and 1,430 lbs allowance on floats.
  • The LSA must be a kit that meets the 51% requirement.
  • The aircraft must be on the joint FAA/TC list as an eligible aircraft. If it is not, then a MD-RA 51% Determination evaluation must be completed.
  • A letter of intent, the assembly and the MD-RA inspection process must be completed before flight.
  • The pilot/owner must hold an appropriate licence to fly the aircraft in Canada, which is at least a pilot permit-recreational or a private pilot licence.


LSA can be registered Limited Class

The Limited Class was developed to allow old out of production non-certified aircraft such as ex-military warbirds and non-certified experimental gliders, to be flown in Canada. But other aircraft, including LSA, can be in this category.

  • This category does not have a weight limitation but LSA ASTM maximum take-off weights are 1,320 lbs and 1,430 lbs allowance on floats.
  • Special Flight Authority application is required to fly in the U.S. airspace.
  • The limited class is not an “owner-maintenance” class for aircraft and requires an AME or AMO to sign off all maintenance.
  • The aircraft must be evaluated by a four step eligibility process by TC regional Maintenance & Manufacturing inspectors for the first of the type to be registered in Canada. Subsequent examples of the type have to have an assessment performed by an AME to evaluate its conformance with the original eligibility assessment.
  • The pilot/owner must hold an appropriate licence to fly the aircraft in Canada, which is at least a pilot permit-recreational or a private pilot licence.

It is not possible to have an LSA in Canada on the same basis as it is in the U.S. and operators of U.S. LSA are limited in Canada to possessing at least a private pilot certificate. LSA can be registered in Canada but each of the three categories into which they can be registered has their limitations. COPA will continue to work the issue.