VFR OTT Rating

Without VFR OTT rating, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) require that pilots flying VFR must maintain visual contact with the ground at all times.  This precludes flight above any cloud layer that constitutes a ceiling (broken or overcast).  In some cases this may prevent the completion of a VFR flight, despite the fact that prevailing weather at both the departure and destination aerodromes is VFR.

The VFR OTT (Over-the-Top) rating allows a rated pilot to transit above a broken or overcast layer provided that certain conditions are met.  These conditions relate to the minimum weather requirements as well as essential equipment that must be carried and serviceable.


The candidate must hold a valid and current Canadian Private Pilot Licence- Aeroplane.


The candidate must complete a minimum of 15 hours of dual instrument flight instruction (this could include 5 hours from PPL training and 5 hours from a Night Rating if applicable) prior to being granted the VFR Over-the-Top Rating.

Skill and Knowledge

There is no flight test or written examination required.   The candidate must demonstrate to a licensed flight instructor that he/she has adequate knowledge and skill to:

  • control and operate the aircraft under simulated instrument conditions; and,
  • navigate using radio navigational instruments or GPS as supplementary navigational aids

The flight instructor may then recommend the candidate for the VFR Over-the-Top Rating.

Ground Instruction

While Transport Canada has not established a ground school requirement for the VFR Over-the-Top Rating, there is a knowledge requirement for issuance of the rating that is best met through ground instruction.  Ground instruction will consist of a two-hour multi-media classroom session that covers the following topics:

Instrument Flying Review Required Equipment
VFR Over-the-Top Rating Requirements Weather Limitations
VFR Over-the-Top Limitations Emergency Options

Flight Instruction

The training program will provide the required dual instrument flight instruction as well as instruction in the use of radio navigation aids and/or GPS for cross-country navigation without visual reference to the ground.  The amount of training required will be dependant on the amount of previous dual instrument training, the recency of such instruction, as well as individual ability.