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Changes to Special Flight Authorization Proposed

By Tom Charpentier, EAA 1082006, Government Relations Director

November 2019 - For the past several years, EAA’s Oshkosh staff has been working alongside the EAA Canadian Council to reform the language of the special flight authorizations (SFAs) for Canadian amateur-built aircraft and advanced ultralight vehicles. In particular, the SFA for amateur-built aircraft is ambiguous as to whether Canadian recreational pilots may fly amateur-built aircraft in the United States. The SFA for advanced ultralights clearly states that recreational pilots may fly these types in the United States. EAA has made significant progress on clarifying these documents, but the publication of a revision has yet to occur.

Tom Charpentier

Tom Charpentier, Government Relations Director

EAA is also trying to find a way for Canadian recreational pilots to fly other types of aircraft in the United States. For complicated regulatory reasons, it is actually easier to authorize these pilots to fly homebuilts and advanced ultralights in the United States than it is to allow them to fly type-certificated aircraft.

EAA is coordinating with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) to move this project forward. We are working together to determine the most effective next steps and look forward to continuing our work.

The Canadian recreational pilot permit is similar to the recreational pilot certificate in the United States, with a key difference being that the Canadian version has a simplified medical requirement (a “Class IV” medical certificate). With the institution of BasicMed in the United States, we feel that the time is right to allow Canadian recreational pilots to fly south of the border in any aircraft they are appropriately rated to operate. Together with COPA, AOPA, and other GA groups, we also hope that this will help build the case to allow BasicMed pilots to fly in Canada.

Additionally, EAA continues to raise the issue of aircraft certified under the Canadian owner-maintenance category, which remain barred from entry to the United States.


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