The Canadian aviation regulations

July 1, 1998

The Canadian Aviation Regulations

A user-friendly approach

By Tony Soulis

July / August 1998

Tony Soulis is Transport Canada's chief aircraft maintenance engineer, licensing & training, with the Aircraft Maintenance & Manufacturing Branch of Transport Canada in Ottawa, Canada. His area of responsibility is policy development and standards control for AME Licensing & Training.

In October 1996, Canada introduced the new Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) to the aviation industry without a great deal of fanfare or hoopla. For Canadians, the event was greeted with mixed emotions, as regulatory change is generally viewed with some degree of pessimism or caution. However, after some five years of review and a substantial amount of purging and rework, the newly adopted rules are starting to make their mark. The final product may not be perfect or please everyone, but it does reflect a consensus view of the industry—an industry which played a major role in establishing its structure, format, and content.

Let's take a few moments and review some of the basic characteristics of the redesigned rules to become familiar with their features and content. However, before we do that, we must first understand some of the principles that guided the architects through the rewrite process. The first big change was to move away from a directive based control document to one which embraced the concept of regulation by performance objective. The difference between the two approaches are quite distinct in that the directive model generally calls for a particular way of meeting requirements. For example, the standby compass must be swung every twenty-four months, as opposed to the objective model, which might read: an operator must ensure that the standby compass is in proper operation for the type of operation being conducted. One model details when you must perform, while the other establishes broader criteria. Both methods control — but one is more restrictive, or less flexible than the other.

The next feature built into the CARs is an easier, user-friendly approach to the numbering system. In that regard, and with few exceptions, the format chosen is such, that all regulations include a zero digit in the middle of the three digit numbering system; standards use a two, and advisories a four. For example, a regulation dealing with Commuter Operations in Part VII dealing with Commercial Air Services, would appear as 704.xx, the standard supporting the regulation would take on a 724.xx look, and the advisory material complimenting the standard, formatted as 744.xx. Thereafter, the breakdown of content follows traditional numeric, or alpha-numeric logic. Not all regulations are supported by standards, but all standards must be linked to a regulation. On the other hand, an advisory may, or may not be, developed for a standard. As a convenience to the reader and wherever possible, the maintenance standards, include italicized information notes immediately following a topic area. These notes are suggestive in nature, and do not form part of the standard, but do provide some insight into the intent of the subject matter.

Individuals engaged in aviation maintenance should become familiar with those Parts of the CARs which apply to their function or activity. Of particular interest: Part IV - Personnel Licensing dealing with issues relating to Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) licensing and training; Part V- Airworthiness, which is key, as it addresses topic areas regarding aircraft design, manufacture, parts distribution, general maintenance, approved maintenance and training organizations; as well as Service Difficulty Reporting and Airworthiness Directives. From a maintenance perspective, these are the most important topic areas which technical personnel deal with on a day to day basis.

In addition to the maintenance rules, individuals engaged in aircraft operations should also become familiar with maintenance requirements from an operational viewpoint, especially the applicable areas of Part VI — General Operating and Flight Rules, and Part VII — Commercial Air Services. Both of these parts include significant maintenance related content which is influenced by environmental or operational specific requirements.

Now that we are familiar with the format and layout of the CARs, let's look at the listing in its entirety:

Part I — General Provisions: addresses areas such as Interpretation, Application, Administration and Compliance, and everybody's favorite - Charges.

Part II — Identification, Registration and Leasing of Aircraft: is self-explanatory.

Part III — Airdromes and Airport: focuses on the controlling aspects of these types of facilities.

Part IV —- Personnel Licensing and Training: covers permits, licenses, and ratings relating to Flight Crews, Air Traffic Controllers, and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers. This part also deals with Medical Requirements, and Flight Training.

Part V — Airworthiness: In addition to the topic areas alluded to earlier, this Part addresses the Annual Airworthiness Information Report, Flight Authorities, Export Airworthiness Certificates, Type Certificates, Design Approval, Airworthiness Design Standards, Aircraft Equipment Requirements, and Miscellaneous Standards.

Part VI — General Operating and Flight Rules: addresses Airspace, Operating and Flight Rules, Special Flight Operations, Private Operator Passenger Transportation, Aircraft Requirements, and Miscellaneous.

Part VII — Commercial Air Service: includes Foreign Airline Operations, Aerial Work Operations, Air Taxi Operations, Commuter Operations, Airline Operations, and Aircraft Maintenance Requirements for Air Operators.

Part VIII — Air Navigation Services: This part of the CARs, while very important to flight crews and individuals engaged in airspace activities, contains subject matter which is of less significance to maintenance practitioners. But, for the record, it includes regulations and standards relating to: Air Traffic Services, Aeronautical Communications, Aeronautical Information Services, Aviation Weather Services, Safety Management Programs, Levels of Services, and Aviation Occurrences.

In summary, I believe that the new rules are very user-friendly; certainly much more than was otherwise the case when regulations, standards, and advisory material were often intertwined in a mass of reference documents which were often difficult to read, let alone follow. There are many advantages to the new CARs, not the least of which is the ability to isolate distinctive areas of maintenance responsibility — without having to thumb through areas of collateral interest. The CARs are readily available in both hard and electronic copies (CD-ROM). For more information regarding their availability, contact your local Transport Canada office. As well, remember that the CARs, and much more are available for viewing and access at our Transport Canada web site at