Flight Instructor Rating


Successfully completing the Instructor Rating Program earns the applicant a Class IV Instructor Rating. The holder of a Class IV Instructor Rating may exercise the privileges of a Flight Instructor in accordance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

Transport Canada Requirements to Obtain the Instructor Rating

1. Prerequisites:

  • A valid Commercial or Airline Transport Pilot Licence – Aeroplane;
  • A valid Class I Medical Certificate;
  • Not less than 20 hours instrument time, of which at least 10 hours must be instrument flight time.

2. Knowledge

The candidate must have completed a minimum of 25 hours Instructor Rating ground school instruction which must include:

  • Practical application of the basic principles of learning and techniques of instruction;
  • Preparation and use of lesson plans;
  • Procedures for planning and presenting preparatory ground instruction, pre-flight briefings, in-flight instruction, and post-flight debriefing;
  • Theory of flight required to teach the air exercises;
  • Aircraft flight manuals and aircraft operating limits;
  • Presentation of pilot decision-making concepts, and
  • The use of the Transport Canada Flight Instructor Guide, Flight Training Manual, Canadian Aviation Regulations – Part IV, and the appropriate Flight Test schedules and guides.

The candidate shall obtain a minimum of 70% in the written examination Flight Instructor Rating – Aeroplane Class 4 (AIRAF).

Prior to writing the AIRAF, all of the ground school requirements must be completed as well as 50% of the flight requirements.

3. Experience

The candidate shall complete, in aeroplanes, a minimum of 30 hours of dual flight instruction on overall pilot proficiency and the presentation of all exercises set forth in the Flight Instructor Guide and shall include a minimum of 5 hours of training in the teaching of instrument flight skills.  A maximum 5 of the 30 hours may be conducted on an approved aeroplane simulator or flight training device.

4. Skill

The candidate shall successfully complete a flight test, as pilot-in-command of an aeroplane, for the issuance or renewal of a Flight Instructor Rating – Class 4.

Class IV Instructor Rating Overview

The program consists of two aspects: a ground school portion and an in-flight training portion.

Ground School

During the ground school portion of the training, candidates will work with a Class I instructor to master the principles of learning as it applies in a flight training environment. The Instructor will assist the candidate in the development of a full set of Lesson Plans and materials covering all aspects of the Transport Canada approved flight training program.

To achieve this, candidates will review and expand on the knowledge acquired during their Commercial Pilot Licence program. They will develop an in-depth knowledge of the principles of aerodynamics and theory of flight and learn to apply this knowledge to the process of flight training.

Candidates will learn and practice the process of developing Lesson Plans – including Preparatory Ground Briefing, Pre and Post Flight Briefings – and master the skills involved in analysis of student performance.

A sound knowledge of the licensing requirements for the various aviation licenses a Class IV instructor will be qualified to teach will also be required. Candidates will study the Air Law associated with flight training, become familiar with the duties and responsibilities of an instructor working within a flight training unit and develop a detailed knowledge of the Flight Test Standards for the RPP, PPL and CPL licenses and the requirements for the Night and VFR-OTT Ratings.

Flight Training

Dual in-flight training will initially provide an opportunity for candidates to become proficient in flying an aircraft from the right seat. From there, they will learn and master all of the exercises required during flight training leading to the RPP, PPL, and CPL licenses (Aeroplane) and the Night and VFR-OTT Ratings.

As mastery is acquired in the execution of each exercise, the candidate will learn to develop the skills and ability to provide instruction during flight as per their Lesson Plans on those exercises.

Lesson planning and flight training will include a focus on Human Factors and Pilot Decision Making.


Transport Canada requires a candidate for the Class IV Instructor Rating to pass a written examination (the AIRAF) and a flight test.

The written exam may be taken at a Transport Canada Centre in Abbotsford, Richmond or Vancouver by appointment following the completion of all the ground school requirements (25 hours) and at least 50% of the required flight time (15 hours).

The flight test will be conducted by a Transport Canada Inspector following the completion of all the requirements for the Class IV Flight Instructor Rating (Aeroplane).

Course Structure

The Class IV Instructor Rating program consists of four sections:

Section 1

The first part of the program is focused on ensuring each candidate meets commercial standards in flight skills, which will be measured with an evaluation flight with a Class I instructor. The candidate may also be required to write an in-house exam.

The student will fly the aircraft from the left seat and demonstrate proficiency in all the private and commercial exercises required of candidates for those licenses. Any deficiencies in flight skills will be rectified through training prior to moving on to the next phase.

Section 2

The next part consists of 10-15 hours of ground school instruction. During this phase, the candidate will review Theory of Flight and, from the Flight Instructor Guide, they will learn and master instructional Learning Factors, Oral Questioning techniques, Teaching Methods, Individual Differences among students, the Student-Instructor Relationship, Analysis of Student Performance, and Human Factors and Pilot Decision Making.

Section 3

During the third part of the program, candidates will begin their in-flight training with a focus on developing proficiency in flying the aircraft from the right seat. They will then move on to the review of all the various flight exercises required for students working toward PPL and CPL licences which will be done under the direct supervision of a Class I instructor.

Simultaneously, the candidate will work with the Class I instructor to develop his or her Lesson Plans and materials. They will have a opportunities to observe and practice teaching the various exercises in a classroom environment and in the air.

Preparation for the written exam will also be a focus for the candidate during this phase of the program. It is expected that the candidate will take and pass the written exam prior to moving to the last section of the training program.

Section 4

The last phase of the program will focus on preparation for the flight test. The candidate will complete the full set of Lesson Plans and materials and practice applying those materials in a practical way as aids to teaching in a flight training environment.  

The flight portion of this phase will focus on giving the candidate opportunities to practice in-flight training and on honing flight skills. They will also focus on the analysis of student performance, application of Human Factors during training, and teaching techniques.

Candidates may also have opportunities to participate in and provide instruction during ground school for PPL and CPL students.