Getting Started

Flying is fun and it’s easier than you think. With aircraft on wheels, skis or floats, the sport flying destinations in Canada are boundless. Flying in Canada offers challenges and freedoms not found in the rest of the world. Piloting an aircraft is a satisfying hobby, a skill testing sport, a new source of friendships and a great way to travel. Canada has 60,000 pilots flying 30,000 aircraft from 2,000 airports and aerodromes. With aircraft on wheels, skis or floats, the destinations are limited only by the imagination.


Through our COPA Neil J. Armstrong Scholarship Fund, COPA provides funding support to worthy candidates pursuing their Pilot License.

Visit the COPA Foundations website to learn more, including how to apply.


Piloting an aircraft offers Canadians unique challenges and freedoms. Aviation cuts across boundaries of race, affluence and sex. Even a single flight can be a mind-flexing learning experience. Flying an aircraft is available to most people in Canada. Becoming a pilot requires a certain level of fitness, some money, a measure of academic capability and a keen desire. The physical standards for pilots are not much more demanding than those of driving a car. The minimum ages vary with the type of licence but you are never too old to learn how to fly. The cost of flying lessons varies with the type of aircraft but many schools offer pay-as-you-go lesson plans paced to fit a budget. You just have to decide when you want to start. The sooner the better.

Student pilots don’t have to be rocket scientists. The knowledge required covers navigation, weather, basic aircraft mechanics, theory of flight, air regulations and general airmanship. The material is diverse and interesting. Specialized textbooks and organized courses break it down into easy-to-learn small steps. Aviation is a challenging, worthwhile hobby.

Some people get into flying via learning to fly PC-based Flight simulators. While it definitely isn’t the same experience as actual flying, that approach can give you exposure to some of the technical aspects of flying as well as the terminology all at a lower entry cost.