Saturday, March 23, 2019

Co-Pilot Flight Time Credits

Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) 401.10 and 421.10 provide credits for co-pilot flight experience towards the issue of a Canadian pilot licence. Consistent with the international requirements of ICAO, these flight experience credits are applied at a rate of 50%. The following brochure provides additional guidance information for pilots with regard to the application of these CARs.

YES a pilot who is qualified on type, and who is acting as first officer, can legally log co-pilot flight time and credit it towards an ATPL.


  1. The aircraft is required to be operated with a co-pilot, according to CARs PartVI or VII and as stated in the Private Operators Certificate or Air Operator’s Certificate.


  1. The minimum flight crew is 2pilots, according to the aircraft Type Certificate. Refer to CAR421.40 AppendixA Type Designators for guidance material.

Required to be Operated with a Co-Pilot

The operational requirement for a co-pilot may be stated in the Air Operations Certificate (AOC) or Private Operator Certificate (POC) that has been approved by Transport Canada’s Commercial and Business Aviation (CBA).

If an AOC or POC states that aircraft are required to be operated with a co-pilot, then the operational requirement has been established and approved for the use of a co-pilot. Details on an approved AOC or POC, Operation Specifications (Ops Spec), and Operations Manuals can be provided by the company Operations Manager or the CBA Inspector responsible for the company.

Many companies have an Ops Spec for single pilot IFR which defines the criteria for operations without a co-pilot. The operations manager and chief pilot may be the only employees that have met the single pilot IFR qualifications (1000TT, 100multi, 50IFR, 50 on type) and have a Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) specifically for single pilot IFR. Other pilots employed by that company may not have a single pilot PPC, so a co-pilot is required by law. By way of example, in the case where an aircraft is dispatched in accordance with the ops spec for single pilot IFR, a co-pilot is not required and in fact is not permitted.

Please refer to Commercial and Business Aviation Policy Letter 141 for details.

In a separate situation, a company may hold the required Ops Spec to fly single pilot IFR, but the Line Captain does not have a single pilot PPC. Therefore a second-in-command is required to legally fly the aircraft according to the CBA approved Operations Manual.

The onus is on the ATPL applicant to provide Flight Crew Licensing with proof that the co-pilot time logged is appropriate to credit towards an ATPL. A letter from the operations manager or chief pilot stating company policy and quoting the company Operations Manual clarifies individual situations.

Minimum Flight Crew of 2 Requirement

The type certificate determines if an aircraft is to be operated with a minimum flight crew of 2. For example, large Boeing Aeroplanes (B737, 747, 757, etc.) are designated as minimum flight crew of 2 on the type certificate. Guidance material regarding minimum crew requirement is found in Section421.40 of the CARs - AppendixA Aircraft Type Designators. This chart is a guide only and, in the event of a discrepancy, the appropriate Aircraft Type Approval, Aircraft Type Certificate, Flight Permit, Aircraft Flight Manual or Pilot’s Operating Manual take precedence.

Note1: For an initial 2crew type rating, you must complete ground and flight training on the aircraft type, have 250hours TT, write SARON and SAMRA or IATRA, and pass a PPC for that type within 12months preceding the application date.

Note2: Canada designates the Beech 1900 Commuter as a minimum flight crew of 2. The FAA designates the same aeroplane as a minimum flight crew of 1.

Note3: The co-pilot flight experience requirements for the issue of the Airline Transport Pilot Licence - Aeroplane CAR421.34(4) is often misinterpreted by pilots. Specifically, subpara421.34(4)(b) requires 100hours as pilot-in-command or as co-pilot. In the context of this specific paragraph and as an exception to the normal 50% credit rule, a pilot must fly 100hours as co-pilot at night to get credit for 100hours co-pilot night. Note as well that the requirement of subpara421.34(4)(a) of 25hours of night cross-country must be pilot-in-command, not co-pilot.

Note4: Another way to credit co-pilot time is Pilot-in-command Under Supervision (PIC U/S). This program can be instituted by large and small air carriers, allowing co-pilots to credit up to 200hours co-pilot time as 100hours PIC U/S. This means that 50% of up to 200hours co-pilot time can be credited as PIC experience if approved and if completed within 12months of the application date. You can apply 50hours PIC U/S cross country night to meet the 25hour night PIC cross-country requirement.

For further information:


This article was published by Transport Canada - Please go to for current information - Reprinted with permission

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