How Do You Keep It?

So you’ve worked your butt off (and took out a second mortgage on your home) to get your pilot licence. Now that you have it, how do you keep it?

A lot of people ask me how long the licence is valid for. I usually give them the simple “forever” answer – which is not entirely true.

CAR 401.05 has all the details about Recency Requirements for your PPL (you can also see a “plain language” version at the AIM). I have distilled them below:

In order to keep your licence you have to satisfy three time based requirements: 6 months, 2 years, and 5 years.

At a bare minimum, to keep your licence, you would have to:

– Acted as PIC in the past 5 years

– Completed the self-paced study program in the past 2 years

– Performed 5 take-offs and landings in the past 6 months.

I personally think just doing the self-paced study program is not enough. I plan on attending at least 3 aviation safety seminars a year. As well, spending some time with an instructor every 24 months to go over some of the less used exercises (like forced approaches, stalls, etc..) to keep them fresh in my mind.

You don’t want to end up in a situation where you forget how to exit out of a spiral dive.

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5 thoughts on “How Do You Keep It?

  1. If you go on and get your instrument rating you’ll have to redo the flight test every two years anyway, so that will fit your criteria nicely.

  2. David has a point…personally I think those currency requirements are a little slack. The fact is I can not fly IFR or at all for that matter for 5 months and then go up in solid IMC and complete my 6 and 6 and be perfectly legal. I go 2 weeks with no IFR and it takes a few minutes to get back into the groove.
    I would highly recommend Flight Sim for the IFR work on a regular basis and use VATSIM network to get real ATC while doing it. I didn’t fly for 3 years and did my first PPC ride and did all right. It helped with the holds, frequencies, and tracks which help kick rust off the old brain.
    Congrats on the PPL, many more years of great flying experiences ahead of you.

  3. If your going to continue renting and flying with Toronto Airways you’ll be doing a checkout flight every 6 months irregardless of how much (or little) flying you actually do. They cover much of what you expressed concerns over during this checkout – stalls, spiral dives, forced approach, and a few other things.
    Its part of their insurance regulations there, as it is at CFA in Oshawa.

  4. Mark, I figured as much… but I haven’t actually asked yet. Thanks for the heads up.
    Of course, if I owned my own airplane, I’m unsure what kind recurrent training I would need to satisfy the insurance company, if any.

  5. I have sent comments to the Chief Flight Examiner at Toronto Airways about putting together a retraining syllabus for pilots who want to get their post license edge back. There needs to be a combination of ground school and flight training to get up to speed on changes in air regs and relearning forgotten skills.
    Having experienced spacial disorientation during an under the hood training exercise, I know that some under the hood flight time would really be beneficial (I also found myself unintentionally over the top on a recreational flight to Newmarket that caused a little anxiety).
    I am coming up on a 2 year recurrancey and know that while I could pass the flight test I am not so sure that I would be able to pass an in flight emergency.
    I have spun and stalled Cessnas, Marchettis and ZLINs but I am not so sure I could survive the many other in flight emergencies I could tackle as a freshly minted pilot.
    Anyone have any muscle with the forces at Toronto Airways?

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