Comparison between the Recreational Permit and Private Pilot licence

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Here is a direct comparison between the Recreational Permit and Private Pilot licence.

Recreational PermitPrivate Licence
Recreational Permit Requirements:

  • 25 flying hours minimum
  • 35 flying hours average to complete No ground school is required.
  • (You must still pass a written exam, most students take the PPL ground school)
Private Licence Requirements:

  • 45 flying hours minimum
  • 55 flying hours average to complete
  • 40 hours ground school
Class 4 medical: Medical declaration with any family doctor (ask for form)Class 3 medical: Aviation medical doctor.
Recreational Privileges:

  • One passenger
  • Airplane with 4 seats or less
  • In Canada only
  • Day, in good weather only
  • No ratings or endorsements to upgrade except float rating.

Easy upgrade to Private Licence

Private Privileges:

  • No passenger limit
  • No airplane limit
  • World wide
  • Day, in good weather only

Ratings and endorsements may be added to fly at night, multi engine, or instrument weather conditions.

Who should get a Recreational?

  • Fly for fun
  • To fly a homebuilt, or ultra light
  • Want to get a start in aviation for less cost and then upgrade later.
Who should get a Private?

  • Fly for fun
  • Use aviation for business
  • Use aviation for traveling
  • To fly advanced airplanes
  • To fly to the United States
  • As a first step in an aviation career.
Both courses are the same for the first 15 hours. A student does not have to decide before starting which course to take. A Recreational pilot may write the Private written exam, thus saving having to write another written exam with upgrade to PPL within 2 years.


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