Ground and Flight Training Program Information

When does self-paced (non-diploma) ground school start?

Our self-paced Private and self-paced Commercial ground school classes use an online, self-paced delivery system, so you may start during any day.

What is the self-paced (non-diploma) ground school schedule?

The online format allows for course delivery 24 hrs per day.

What are the prerequisites for each program?

Prerequisites for each program are available on the applicable program page on this site..

I don't have a pilot licence but have been around aircraft a lot with friends/family members who have licences. Will this help reduce costs with my training?

Unfortunately there is no way to predict the benefit, or hindrance, this will have until your training is well underway or even finished. While exposure to aircraft and flying is typically a good thing for general understanding, many untrained individuals can learn bad habits or incorrect procedures from people who have been flying for many years. Current training procedures and flight test standards have also changed significantly over the years.

Can I train on my own aircraft?

Possibly. Contact SIFC for the the application and insurance requirements for privately-owned aircraft.

What are the hours of operation and when can I get my flying in?

Our office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm seven days a week, but we can conduct flight training between the hours of 6:00 am and 11:00 pm seven days a week in order to fit your schedule.

General Course Questions

What is the difference between the Commercial Aviation Diploma program and self-paced commercial course?

The Commercial Aviation Diploma (CAD) program not only provides the basic Commercial Licence, but also the Multi-Engine Instrument Rating. Also included are approximately 200 additional aviation theory ground school hours aimed at preparing the student for the IATRA and ATPL exams. The CAD program also provides a Business based Diploma in conjunction with Okanagan College which allows students to obtain employment with major airlines around the world when they meet the particular flight time requirements.

The basic self-paced Commercial program provides the minimum 80 hours of Commercial ground school and the training required to hold the basic Commercial licence. The Multi-Engine and Instrument Ratings must be added on individually. The self-paced course is a shorter program and is ideal for students who already have a diploma or degree in business or sciences that may be accepted by the airlines.

Should I do the self-paced CPL or Commercial Aviation Diploma?

We explain the different benefits of the two programs HERE.

Do you provide other courses?

Our main programs are listed on our Programs page. We always endeavour to provide the most up to date training to our customers. At SIFC we are continually looking for additional training programs and opportunities to enhance safety and increase knowledge in the aviation community. Contact us if you have particular training needs or wish to be contacted for our weekend training seminars.


At what age can I start training?

Technically speaking, as long as an individual is old enough to reach the controls, they can start flight training.  However, students cannot fly solo until at least 14 years of age. 

To add in another consideration, flight training needs to be conducted in the shortest calendar timeframe possible if you wish to keep costs down.  Flight training is based on continual skill advancement with each lesson advancing from the previous lesson based on the individual’s ability to retain the knowledge, muscle memory and hands-on skills from the previous lesson.  If you space out the lessons too far, each subsequent lesson needs more of a review component and there will be less ability to progress; basically, you end up paying for additional review time instead of moving forward in your training.

Individuals who start their flight training at the legal solo training age of 14, will always see increased expenses in training as the lessons have to be spaced out more, resulting in more review flights instead of efficient advancement.  The Recreational Pilot Permit requires the individual to be 16 years old, and the Private Pilot Licence requires the individual to be 17 years old, so having to space the training out over 2 to 3 years becomes quite costly.

We recommend students fly consistently, 3 to 4 times per week, to ensure skill development is continual and there are fewer review flights. This schedule means that in 3 to 6 months, the individual completes their training.

If someone young is keen to fly and you don’t mind spending the extra money to keep them interested, you can plan on occasional flights (one per month perhaps) initially, then roll into a regular training schedule as they approach the age required for the Permit or Licence.

Can I start PPL ground school before I start flight training?

Yes, however there are a few considerations.

The online ground school must be completed within 270 days of commencement.  At the end of ground school, the individual needs to challenge practice exams to reach a benchmark score (80%) on multiple exams in order to be issued the Letter of Recommendation to challenge the actual Transport Canada Written exam.  However, once issued the Letter of Recommendation is only valid for 30 to 60 days at the discretion of the provider, and the other prerequisites required at the same time to write the exam are: Valid Transport Canada Medical Certificate Appropriate to the Permit/Licence, and 10 hours of flight training time with an instructor.

If you complete the ground school without having the 10 hours of flight time or the valid medical, your letter of recommendation for the exam may lapse before you can attempt the exam and you will be required to pay an administrative fee to re-activate the ground school and take additional practice exams to re-qualify for the recommendation again.


Can I start training before I receive my medical certificate?

Technically, yes.  However we do not usually accept individuals to start training without their medical certificate for a number of reasons designed to protect you:

  1. If you are ultimately rejected by the Transport Canada regional office for the appropriate Medical Certificate, you will have incurred significant training costs that are non-refundable.  Even if the Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner you see for your appointment deems you fit for the medical, the Transport Canada Regional Aviation Medical Examiner can veto that decision and may refuse to issue the certificate. 
  2. Typically, between 15 and 20 hours of flight training time, you might reach a level of proficiency to begin your solo practice, flying on your own.  In order to fly solo you must hold a Student Pilot Permit, and that will require you have received the actual Medical Certificate from the Transport Canada regional office, not just the ok from the Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner.
  3. Once you start your training, you want to make yourself available consistently for training to ensure your skill development does not regress.  If you must pause your training because you have not received your actual medical certificate, you will require additional review flights which will increase your overall training costs significantly.  
Which category of medical do I need?

The prerequisites for each program are listed on the applicable program page. In general, the Recreational Pilot Permit requires a Category 4 and Private Pilot Licence requires a Category 3 Aviation. The Commercial Pilot Licence requires a Category 1 Medical Exam.

NOTE: If you are starting Private Pilot Training with the end idea to go Commercial eventually, we encourage you to go straight to the Category 1 Commercial Aviation Medical to ensure you will be able to meet your goals; the Category 1 covers you for PPL flying as well.

Where can I get a medical?

A list of Transport Canada approved Aviation Medical Examiners can also be found by using the search engine at: Transport Canada - Civil Aviation Medical Examiners.

When should I get my aviation medical done?

Before you complete the appropriate medical exam AND receive the medical certificate from Transport Canada, you have no guarantee that you will be able to hold a student pilot permit or the applicable licence. Regardless of where you might train, we recommend students complete the medical exam AND receive the medical certificate before they spend any money in aviation, other than perhaps a Discovery Flight to see what flying in a small aircraft is like.

If you are in high school and considering aviation as a career choice, you should get your first Category 1 Commercial Aviation Medical before you count on it as a career choice.

How long does it take to receive my medical certificate from Transport Canada?

The typical time from the appointment with the Canadian Aviation Medical examiner to receipt of the Medical Certificate, or rejection thereof, is two to three months in the Pacific region.  Other Regions may be much longer or a bit shorter, depending on staffing and workload.

How does the medical process work for Category 1 and 3 medicals?

You will have to book and attend an appointment with a Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner to undergo the medical assessment required for the category of medical you are applying for. At the end of the appointment the doctor may advise if he/she believes you to meet the required level of medical fitness for the medical you wish to hold.  However, the doctor must then forward the assessment results to the Transport Canada Regional Aviation Medical Officer (RAMO), for the formal assessment to be completed.  The RAMO may issue the medical certificate, or may veto the decision of the doctor you visited and reject your application.

How does the medical process work for Category 4 medicals?

You must download and complete the Transport Canada Medical Declaration Form , then have a licenced physician complete the appropriate section of the form.

Upon completion, the form must be forwarded the Transport Canada Regional Aviation Medical Office to review and issue your Category 4 Aviation Medical Certificate.

Tuition and Funding

Can I use my RESPs for SIFC programs?

Our Commercial Aviation Diploma Program offered through Okanagan College qualifies for student financial aid and RESP use.

For our other programs, Southern Interior Flight Centre has been registered with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada since 1973 - HRSDC file 7009/1587. Depending on the requirements of your financial institution, our internal programs may qualify for the use of RESPs, including the Private Pilot Licence.

Why does my Tuition and Education Receipt for my taxes not show all of my expenses for training?

Canada Revenue Agency allows Flight Schools to issue tuition and education receipts for flight training. There are limitations as to what is allowed to be claimed on the receipt. Only the minimum hours required to obtain the licence or rating are part of the calculations. Groundschool fees, ground-briefing instruction, some taxes, and simulator fees are also included. All other costs are not included in the calculations. Also of note the column for part-time or full-time credit is not filled in due to the fact that the programs don't require attendance for a minimum of 12 hours per week each month.
Flight Hours used for Calculation for each Licence or Rating:

  • Private Pilot Licence: 45 hrs
  • Commercial Pilot Licence: 65 hrs
  • Night Rating: 10 hrs
  • Multi-Engine Rating: no limit
  • Instrument Rating: no limit
  • Instructor Rating: 30 hrs
  • The above information is subject to change based on CRA regulations.
How much will my course cost?

With the exception of the Commercial Diploma Program, the prices we quote are based on Transport Canada minimum training requirements. All training is skill based and students must demonstrate proficiency before being recommended for a flight or written test. Study habits, aptitude, dedication and following the advice of our experienced staff will all affect your abilitity to meet the requirements in the minimum timeframes. The prices for the Commercial Diploma Program are an average, which is also affected by the number of 'build hours' the student needs to meet commercial requirements.

Do I have to pay anything in advance?

Ground school fees are required as a single fee prior to commencing the ground school course. The cost of books, materials and all training are due upon receipt. You may pay for your flight and simulator training as you go, but you do need to have a valid credit card on file with us.


Which written exam services do you provide?

Southern Interior Flight Centre is an authorized Exam Facility for Transport Canada and Industry Canada for the following exams:



– Glider Pilot Licence
– Gyroplane Pilot Licence
– Class ‘E’ Airspace (Hang Glider) Air Law and Procedures
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Aeronautics – General Knowledge
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Air Law
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Meteorology
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Navigation
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Alternate Category
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) Aeronautics – General Knowledge
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) Air Law
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) Meteorology
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) Navigation
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) Alternate Category
– Balloon Pilot Licence
– Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane)
– Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter)
– Student Pilot Permit or Private Pilot Licence For Foreign And Military Applicants Air Regulations
– Recreational Pilot Permit (Aeroplane) Aeronautics – General Knowledge
– Recreational Pilot Permit (Aeroplane) Air Law
– Recreational Pilot Permit (Aeroplane) Meteorology
– Recreational Pilot Permit (Aeroplane) Navigation
– Recreational Pilot Permit (Aeroplane)
– Pilot Permit (Ultra-Light Aeroplane)

- Industry Canada Restricted Radio Operator's Certificate - Aeronautical


Please consult our FAQ below for information regarding exam fees, conditions and requirements.

Note: For exams requiring a Letter of Recommendation, you MUST have your recommendation letter in hand to book the exam.

What do I bring with me for admission to a Transport Canada written exam?

You must bring ALL of the following with you for the written exam:
- Valid Medical Certificate you received from Transport Canada
- Valid Government Issued Photo ID (Driver's Licence or Passport or other official document bearing a photo AND signature of the candidate)
- Letter of Recommendation - proper format showing total ground school and flight times, dated and signed by recommending instructor within preceding 60 days (or less if restricted by the FTU or recommending instructor).  Please make sure your instructor includes the flight training unit code. Some exams do not require the Letter of Recommendation - ask your instructor if you require one.
- Pilot training record showing ground school and flight times (pages must be signed by instructor and student)
- Logbook
- The tools you would normally use: E6B or other approved Flight Computer, basic calculator (not scientific, and nothing made by Texas Instruments), Pencils, Pen, Flight Ruler and Protractor
- Fee is $175 +GST, payable with VISA, MC, AMEX, DEBIT (no cash).

To avoid being declined admission to the exam please make sure you bring all of the above with you and confirm that they are all valid.


- Food, drinks, hats, jackets, cell phones and anything else not required for the exam will not be permitted in the exam room
- Bathroom breaks are not permitted during the Exam
- The exam is done on the computer. See the FAQ link below to download the sample software onto your PC to make sure you are comfortable using the interface
- Exam candidates who cancel an exam booking within 48 hrs, or no-show, will be required to pre-pay the full exam fee (non-refundable) for subsequent bookings.


Proof of being Fully Vaccinated is required to enter our facility for any reason.

Please make certain you have all of the tools, and there are no additional marks of any sort on your tools.  For example, E6-Bs that have notes you have written on them will not be permitted. If you have a ruler with conversions or other information on the back, make sure the back is covered with duct tape so that information cannot be viewed.
We will only supply the exam, scrap paper, map and the appendix.

We will not be able to demonstrate the exam software, so make certain you review the demonstration video and/or sample software in the section below of the FAQ - your instructor will be able to help you.

Payment is only via credit card or debit card – absolutely no cash.

Prior to arriving at our facility, you must self-declare regarding pandemic information by visiting the link below and following the instructions there:

When you arrive at the SIFC parking lot, please call our main number so we can escort you in to the facility. 250-765-7776 ext. 5.  ONLY the exam candidate will be permitted in the building.

YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO BRING AND WEAR A MASK PRIOR TO ENTERING THE BUILDING AND FOR SOME OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PORTION, BUT YOU WILL BE PERMITTED TO TAKE THE MASK OFF FOR THE EXAM. You will also be asked to remove your mask temporarily so it can be inspected for notes, etc.  We clean the room between exam candidates.

Thank you for your patience while we make our best efforts to keep everyone healthy.

Is the written exam on the computer or on paper?

Written exams for Transport Canada are done electronically. You can watch a demonstration of the software HERE.

What do I bring with me for admission to a Restricted Operator Certificate With Aeronautical Qualification (ROC-A)?

You must bring these items:
- Pen AND Pencil
- Fee - $40 +GST, payable with VISA, MC, AMEX, CASH, DEBIT.
- Valid Identification (see below)
The following are acceptable forms of Identification:

- Valid Passport
- Birth Certificate with accompanying Valid Driver’s Licence
- Baptismal Certificate (Quebec issued only) with accompanying Valid Driver’s Licence
- Citizenship Certificate with accompanying Valid Driver’s Licence
- Permanent Residents Card with accompanying Valid Driver’s Licence

What are 'recommendations' for written exams of flight tests?

In order to challenge the Transport Canada written exam or flight test associated with a licence or rating, students must be recommended by the flight training unit and instructor responsible for their training. Transport Canada expects recommendation levels to be set so no candidate is issued a recommendation for a written or flight test without first proving consistent knowledge or consistent practical skill demonstration at a safe level. This decreases the risk of individuals getting through the required exams solely by luck, which would decrease overall safety. Also, when students do not pass the written exams and flight tests on the first attempts, the flight training unit and individual recommending instructors are held accountable for review by Transport Canada; this ensures required safety processes are being followed. Each attempt at an exam also remains on the individual's record indefinitely, so being well prepared will avoid blemishes in your training history.

What are SIFC's recommendation requirements?

To address Transport Canada requirements that individuals are assessed for consistent ability to meet safe standards before being recommended for a written or practical test, our internal recommendation requirements are:

  • For written exams: two practice exams with no less than 80% in each of the four sections on each exam
  • For practical flight tests: two pre-flight tests with no exercises scoring less than a 3
Can I re-do a Transport Canada exam or flight test for a higher grade if I have already passed it?

No.  If you have passed the exam, you cannot re-write it.  Being properly prepared by putting in more than the minimum effort, and having high recommendation standards set by your flight training unit, will help you to have grades you can be proud of. 

Licencing Questions

What is the difference between a Private Pilot Licence and a Recreational Pilot Permit?

There is significantly less training in the Recreational Pilot Permit (RPP) than the Private Pilot Licence (PPL). This imposes major restrictions on holders of a Recreational Pilot Permit including: maximum number of seats in aircraft - 4, maximum of one passenger carried on board (even though you can have 4 seats), daylight flying only, flight within Canada only. In addition, some aircraft rental facilities, such as SIFC, will not rent to holders of the Recreational Pilot Permit. If you are looking at owning your own aircraft, you may want to enquire with the insurance company to see if there are penalties for only holding the RPP as well.

What does the Commercial Pilot Licence allow me to fly?

The Commercial Licence is required before you can fly for hire or reward (pay). The basic Commercial Licence would allow you to fly a single engine aircraft during day or night, and VFR Over-The-Top for pay. The Multi Engine rating and Instrument rating are also required if you wish to fly larger aircraft under Instrument Flight Rules for most operators. We offer all ratings separately, or combined if you complete our Commercial Aviation Diploma Program.

I have a pilot licence but haven't flown in a long time. What do I need to do to make my licence valid?

Recency requirements are found at the Transport Canada web site Here. We always suggest that you make sure your medical and aviation document booklet are valid first, then start the recency process. We often assist licence holders to regain their licence validity by performing the required Flight Review and providing access to the PSTAR written exam. Make sure you complete the questionnaire in the back of the Transport Canada Aviation Safety Letter as well each time it comes out.

How do I convert my foreign licence to a Canadian licence?

Procedures for converting a licence are provided here through Transport Canada.

Instrument Proficiency Checks

What is an Instrument Proficiency Check, or IPC?

The Instrument Proficiency Check, or IPC, replaced Flight Tests for the renewal of an Instrument Rating. The event is similar to a flight test, with a few different items outlined in the following paragraph.

How can I prepare for my IPC?

Simple Answer: Study and go flying (aircraft or sim) to practice!

The ground portion of the IPC is fairly extensive, so after reviewing the Advisory Circular and Flight Test Guide, you should re-familiarize yourself with the CAP, CAP GEN, LO Charts, TAC Charts, CFS, and the AIM. The AIM has many sections related to IFR flying that are continually changing to meet current regulations and processes; it is a very relevant document to stay current with. You may also want to use the current INRAT written study guide to have a thorough review. Remember cold weather corrections and alternate minima calculations? What about approach bans for General Aviation aircraft? You get the idea...

Please consult the following documents to learn more about the actual IPC event:

  • Advisory Circular No. 401-004
  • Instrument Flight Test Guide.

General Policies and Procedures

Do SIFC rental prices include fuel?

Yes. We don't have any hidden fuel or insurance surcharges - they are all included in our aircraft rental rates upfront.

Where do I find rental policies and procedures?

All of our rental policies and procedures are contained within our Flight Training Operations Manual.


Does SIFC provide job placement or guarantees?

We do not guarantee employment. However, we have established a large network of graduates and program supporters across Canada who work with us to help find jobs for suitable candidates. Most graduates who have the right work ethics and are willing to relocate will find entry level aviation jobs very quickly. Check out our Testimonials page.

Does SIFC sponsor individuals for the Instructor Rating?

Students who complete the full commercial training program with us, may be offered instructor training through a bond process. This is offered only to a very select few who meet our high standards, and is usually restricted to students who have completed the full Commercial Aviation Diploma program. We do not sponsor non-SIFC students for instructor training, but we do provide instructor training at competitive rates for non-SIFC program graduates.

What are the experience levels of your staff?

At SIFC we strive to maintain an all-important balance of industry-experienced and new-to-industry staff. This ensures you receive 'real world' training from people who have faced the issues head-on, and also provides you with input and training from graduates who have just been through the same exams you are about to face.

Do you supply accommodations or transportation?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide accommodations or transportation. Commercial Aviation Diploma students have access to the Okanagan College dorms. We do have useful tools to help you find local accommodations. Kelowna City Transit services stop across the street from us, but the schedule may not match your class or flight and simulator booking times.

What do I get to do on the Free Day?

Everything from auditing a class, to flying the simulator, to a facility tour. Click here for our Free Day page.

How do I try flying to see if I like it?

Try starting with our Free Day at the school by clicking here. If you want to try flying first-hand, we offer a discounted Discovery flight which puts you at the controls of our aircraft for 30 minutes with one of our instructors.

I am terrified of heights. Should I bother to try flying?

Funny enough, some of the best pilots have a fear of heights. Many people with this phobia find it completely different when they are flying, especially when they are in control of the aircraft.

How do I get a tour of the school?

Give us a call between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm seven days a week to arrange a tour of our facilities. Come out anytime to watch the aircraft, talk to our students, staff and experienced pilots who visit us daily.