So, is the Recreational Pilot Permit any less of a license than the Private Pilot License?  Well, other than the published privileges for each licence, I don’t think so.  Is the skill of  A PPL any different than an RPP?  Well, let’s look at it.  Why do I even bring skill into the mix?  Well, in my experience, some flight schools seem to try and make you think that is the case.  

DA20-C1 front viewIn my brief pilot training experience, I have gone to 3 different flight schools.  Two of which absolutely made me feel that I should do a PPL or nothing.  In fact one school had implemented their own rule that if you only had a Recreational license, you could only rent and fly their aircraft within a very small area.  Are they even allowed to impose such restrictions?  I don’t know.  What I do know, is that there is nothing in the Transport Canada description of the Recreation Pilot Permit that limits time or distance of flights.  

The Private Pilot License is definitely the license that most people attempt to complete.  It is the stepping stone for any kind of career in aviation.  The Private Pilot License is also the license for you if you want to fly multi-engine, high-performance aircraft or fly longer trips with family for vacations.  Basically, use it as your main form of transportation.  

The Recreational Pilot Permit is the perfect license for those who just want to fly for fun or even want to just get started in aviation.  The cost is generally less as well.  

At my age (55), the RPP (Recreational Pilot Permit), is the perfect pilot license for me.  I can fly anywhere I want in Canada.  I only want to fly daytime in nice weather, and I don’t really care about flying bigger aircraft (The Diamond DA40 is an amazing aircraft that can be flown as an RPP).  While it is not a requirement, you can still do a ground school course to help you prepare for your exams.  There are both in-class and online options for this.  If you want to leave your options open to move past the RPP, you can write the exam for a PPL (PPAER).  This is excepted as a valid exam for RPP.  Within 2 years you can do the PPL flight test and upgrade without having to write another exam.

The flight training itself is pretty much the same.  In fact,  for at least the first 15Diamond DA20 wing – 20 hours where you are learning the basics of flight, it is exactly the same.  RPP, for some reason, doesn’t require a formal ground school or a solo cross-country.  The written exams are based on the same study material.  The RPP exam is slightly shorter at 80 questions.  

I don’t think for one second that you are any less of a pilot with any less skill if you initially receive an RPP or a PPL.  So, have a serious look at the RPP as a cost-effective way to introduce yourself to aviation. 

You are still a Pilot

Flight hour requirements for:

PPL – Aeroplane

Category 3 medical: Must be completed by an aviation medical doctor

45 hours total minimum flight hours
–** no more than 5 hours can be on an approved simulator

In the 45 hours :
-17 hours must be dual instruction flight time
-Must include 3 hours of cross-country (usually one dual and one solo)

-5 hours instrument time of which 3 hours max can be instrument ground time
12 hours of solo flight time of which a minimum of 5 hours cross-country (Min of 150 nm)     

RPP – Aeroplane

Category 4 medical: A medical declaration with any family doctor

25 hours Total flight training minimum

In the 25 hours :
-15 hours dual minimum
-5 hours must be solo
-2 hours dual navigation (Usually cross-Country)

Ground school is not required for Recreational Pilot Permit, but you still have to pass both a written exam and a flight test. I recommend you do some kind of Ground school.

NOTE : RPP (Recreational Pilot Permit) capabilities
Can only fly in Canada –
Fly aircraft with 4-seats or less, NON-High Performance aircraft
Only carry 1 passenger
Can only fly daytime VFR (Visual Flight Rules)
Unable to add any endorsement ratings to your license like Instrument, night flying, multi-engine, etc