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Recreational Pilots Flying in the U.S. — A Step Closer?

July 2017 - EAA is meeting with the FAA on a regular basis, either in person or on conference calls, and one of the topics has been the special flight authorization for aircraft in the amateur-built category. The question of which Canadian licenses are accepted has always been a bit vague. The Canadian recreational pilot license specifically says it is only valid in Canada, but it would seem that the country in which you’re flying is the one to decide what it accepts as a valid license.

The special flight authorization (SFA) for amateur-built aircraft wording is a bit unclear in that it says, “The aircraft shall be operated only by airmen holding appropriate certificates or licences issued or validated by the United States or by the country of registry.” Since a recreational pilot can fly his or her amateur-built aircraft in Canada it would seem to fit the definition of “appropriate licences in the country of registry.” It doesn’t really spell out whether the recreational pilot permit is accepted or not. EAA is attempting to clarify the wording and hopes the recreational pilot permit can be specifically included in the wording of a reworked SFA. A logical next step would be for a new SFA to allow Canadian pilots holding the recreational permit to fly standard-category aircraft in the United States.

For the moment, there have been several interpretations on whether you can build your own aircraft and fly it to the United States as a Canadian recreational pilot permit holder. We hope to hear more information on any progress at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

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