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Import of a Foreign-Built Amateur-Built Aircraft

Author: Gerry Haliburton, Office Manager, MD-RA Inspection Service D'Inspection

Since 2006, the administration of the import and inspection of foreign-built amateur-built aircraft has been handled by the Minister's Delegates - Recreational Aviation (MD-RA). In the following paragraphs, I will explain the process and point the readers to our website where they will find the actual documents referred to.

The Rules

An aircraft, to be eligible for inspection, hence the issue of a Canadian Special Certificate of Airworthiness-Amateur Built, must meet the following criteria:

  • The aircraft must be certified as an amateur-built aircraft in its country of origin (State of construction).
  • The aircraft was constructed in accordance with the standards of the State of construction, and the Minister finds them to be equivalent to Canadian standards. (*See note below)
  • The aircraft was issued a permanent Flight Authority pursuant to the regulations of the State of construction, and has subsequently completed not less than 100 hours air time.

*Note: The Minister has deemed that the standards of construction for amateur-built aircraft in the United States are equivalent to ours. All other cases must be referred to TC for consideration and ruling.

Note also that the category or designation "experimental" does not always mean the aircraft is an amateur-built. On the C of A issued by the FAA, there is a second line stating "Purpose." The purpose must be "Operating an Amateur-Built Aircraft." If it is registered for any other purpose, it cannot be registered as an amateur-built aircraft in Canada.

Once imported, the aircraft is considered to be a new Canadian amateur-built aircraft, and must therefore undergo a complete import inspection for compliance with Canadian standards. This inspection must be performed by an accredited MD-RA delegate.

The Process

This starts with the prospective Canadian owner - the importer - who files a letter of intent with the MD-RA head office in London, Ontario. In response, MD-RA will send out the information to start the documentation process, which is explained below.

Step 1: The Document Review

In order to establish that the aircraft meets the eligibility requirements (points 1 to 3 above), the importer must submit the "Report on the Eligibility...for Import" and include the following:

  • Photocopy of the foreign certificate of registration.
  • Photocopy of the foreign flight authority (C of A).
  • Photocopy of the foreign operating conditions/limitations sheet. Note: This is not the operational data according to the designer of the aircraft. This is a document from the foreign Civil Aviation Authority, which forms a part of the C of A.
  • Photocopy of the aircraft's journey log (if available), or other logs or documents to prove the accumulation of air time. This must include the page of the logs showing the aircraft data - make, model, serial number, etc.
  • Photo of the aircraft identification plate. This must show, at a minimum, manufacturer, model designation, and serial number.

Reference: Aircraft Maintenance & Manufacturing Staff Instruction

You also need:

We have compiled all the above in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manual that is available from the office via e-mail or 877-419-2111. (This is not yet on the website, as it is still out for translation. We will post it as soon as possible.)

Please submit documents electronically as good quality scans, preferably in Adobe PDF format. Facsimile is acceptable, if you are working with good quality originals (except photos). If you cannot do either of the above, please send good copies by mail.

Please use black pen on all handwritten documents.

The submission is checked for completeness and consistency of information among all the documents, and compliance with requirements. It is then sent electronically to an accredited MD-RA delegate for official sign-off.

When the aircraft is found eligible for inspection, a copy of the Report on Eligibility will be sent to the importer, who can then proceed to import the aircraft if it hasn't been already and proceed to the next step.

If the aircraft fails the review, the importer will be advised of the reason.

Note: There is nothing to prevent you from importing an aircraft prior to the review. However, the review is designed to provide you with a level of comfort, knowing that the aircraft has met the legal requirements for registration and inspection as an amateur-built aircraft in Canada.

Step 2: Preparation for Inspection


MD-RA import procedure document

The Minister's exemption for amateur-built aircraft

MD-RA website

Now is the time to bring your aircraft into compliance with Canadian airworthiness requirements, obtain a Canadian Certificate of Registration, and have your aircraft inspected. In order to obtain your registration, you will need to submit a copy of your Report on Eligibility, TC form 26-0522, a photo of your aircraft ID plate, and payment ($110) to the Receiver General.

Note that you must obtain the C of R in advance of the import inspection.

Step 3: The Import Inspection

When you send in your Inspection Request, we will send you all the information required to prepare your logbook, weight and balance, and other papers. When you are ready, call the inspector (whose contact information is in the package) to set the appointment.

Upon successful completion of the inspection, the special C of A will be issued with the only operating conditions being: VFR only and Aerobatics Prohibited. If your aircraft was qualified for IFR flight or aerobatics in its State of construction, please call us for further information.

We hope this has been informative and helpful. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at 877 419 2111 or send us a message by e-mail to md-ra@md-ra.com.


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