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Categories of Certified Aircraft

Next let’s have a look at the different categories of aircraft that are available in Canada to own and fly as certified aircraft. These basically fall into four groups:

  • Aeroplanes

  • Gliders and Powered Gliders

  • Helicopters

  • Balloons and Airships

There are currently no certified gyroplanes in Canada.


Aeroplanes, or “airplanes” as most people outside TC call them, are obviously the most popular type of aircraft to own and fly. In January 2014, airplanes accounted for 91.5% of the private aircraft flying in Canada. There were 28,844 private aircraft registered in Canada, of which 16,293 (56.5%) were private certified aircraft.

Airplanes may be powered by one, two or more engines. These can be any type of certified engine - gasoline, diesel, turboprop, turbojet or turbofan engine.

They can have wheels, floats, skis or amphibious landing gear. Certified aircraft range from single seater to large airliners with hundreds of seats, but certified “small” aircraft are limited to 12,500 lbs and below.

The complete Canadian certification standards for these aircraft are found in CAR STD 523. The equivalent US standards to which most Canadian registered light airplanes were certified is FAR 23.

Gliders & Powered Gliders

Certified gliders, or sailplanes as most people refer to them, have enjoyed steady popularity over the years and currently account for 3.7% of Canadian private, certified aircraft.

Canadian glider certification standards are found in CAR STD 522. This standard also covers “powered gliders” or motor gliders, as well.

Sailplanes have been flown on many long soaring flights in Canada, when the conditions are right. While most unpowered gliders or “pure sailplanes” are flown strictly for recreational purposes, motorgliders can be flown like airplanes on cross country flights, even when the weather doesn’t allow soaring flights.

COPA Guide to Certified Aircraft 9

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