Canada/U.S. quiz #1: VFR operations

The allowed answers for each question are “Canada“, “U.S.“, “both“, or “neither” (for the sake of this quiz, “U.S.” refers only to the continental U.S., excluding Alaska and Hawaii). I’ll post the answers in a comment later.

  1. Which country requires pilots to have a clearance to enter class C airspace?

  2. Which country requires pilots to file a flight plan for all VFR flights?

  3. Which country misuses “class F” in a non-ICAO-standard way to refer to restricted airspace?

  4. Which country requires pilots to enter the downwind leg of an uncontrolled airport at a 45-degree angle?

  5. Which country requires pilots to have a clearance to fly along (or cross) most Victor airways at or above 12,500 feet?

  6. Which country’s controllers will issue landing clearances for more than one aircraft (not flying in formation) landing on the same runway?

  7. Which country requires private aircraft to carry liability insurance?

  8. Which country levies a fee for customs services for private aircraft?

  9. Which country publishes updated VFR charts on a fixed schedule?

  10. Which country requires VFR pilots to have copies of current charts on board the aircraft?

  11. Which country has a standard, nationwide VHF radio frequency that pilots can use to obtain weather updates and file PIREPs?

  12. Which country requires pilots always to use supplemental oxygen at a cabin pressure of 12,500 feet?

  13. Which country publishes traffic circuit/pattern direction information on its 1:500,000 VFR charts?

  14. Which country plans to require private aircraft to carry 406 MHz ELTs?

  15. Which country would charge a Cessna 172 pilot/owner a fee for each IFR flight?

  16. Which country has class G airspace above 18,000 ft?

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About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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13 Responses to Canada/U.S. quiz #1: VFR operations

  1. Viennatech says:

    Ok, at the risk of looking stoopid to all of the internets… I’ll bite.

    1. Both
    2. Neither, Canada requires a flight itenerary/plan but only if 25 NM from home. So if I just went to shoot circuits, I’d not need one.
    3. Canada
    4. US
    5. US
    6. Neither (I hope!)
    7. Canada (We’re quasi-socialist eh!)
    8. Both
    9. US, Canada likes to act like they do but I’ve heard plenty of “oh this one is close enough!”
    10. Both (I hope!)
    11. Both (122.2 in US and 126.7 in Canada but I’ve not used either so I could be off on that one!)
    12. Both
    13. Neither
    14. Canada
    15. Canada
    16. Both (But only at insanely high altitudes, so you would have to go thru a class A to reach it)

    So how did I do, am I ready to file direct to Boston? or should I go directly to ground school without passing CYRO?

  2. Paul Tomblin says:

    1. Canada. (The US requires two way radio communication only)
    2. Neither.
    3. Canada
    4. Neither (The US AIM advises it, but it’s non-regulatory)
    5. Neither
    6. US controllers will do this, but they’re not supposed to.
    7. Canada.
    8. US
    9. US.
    10. Canada. US requires “all pertinent information”, but you could argue for a short flight that you don’t require the chart.
    11. Both.
    12. Canada. US only requires oxygen above 12,500 after 30 minutes.
    13. Neither.
    14. US.
    15. Neither. Canada has a quarterly charge, not a per flight charge.
    16. US, but only around a couple of high mountains in Alaska.

  3. david says:

    OK, here are my answers, but I may also be wrong, of course:

    1. Canada only — the U.S. requires only two-way radio contact for class C (making it more like Canadian class D, while Canadian class C is more like U.S. class B).

    2. Neither. Canadian pilots have the option of a flight plan or a flight itinerary (basically, someone promising to call if you don’t show up) for flights over 25 nm.

    3. Canada. The official ICAO class F definition is completely different (as paraphrased by Wikipedia): “Class F: Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR. ATC separation will be provided, so far as practical, to aircraft operating under IFR. Traffic Information may be given as far as is practical in respect of other flights.”

    4. Neither. The U.S. AIM recommends a 45-degree entry, but the only requirement in the FARs is that all turns in the pattern be made to the left (or right, with a right-handed pattern). Canadian publications recommends crossing midfield from inactive side to join the mid downwind, but again, it’s not in the CARs.

    5. Canada. In Canada, all controlled airspace except airport control zones becomes class B at 12,500 ft — that applies to class E airways as well as class C and D terminal areas. In the U.S., you can fly uncontrolled over New York city at 7,500 ft, but you can’t do that over Toronto, because terminal airspace reaches right up to the flight levels.

    6. U.S. It scared the crap out of me the first time I flew to a U.S. airport. Controllers will routinely issue landing clearances to more than one airplane at once, assuming that we’ll follow each-other and land in sequence. You might get your landing clearance when you’re five miles back and number 3 to land.

    7. Canada. I think the minimum requirement is $1M in liability insurance. Technically, U.S. private planes also have to have that coverage to fly in Canada, but I’ve never heard of anyone checking.

    8. U.S. Customs services for private aircraft are free in Canada, while the U.S. charges an annual fee of $27.50 for a sticker that you have to put on your plane. You can pay for extra service in Canada by joining Canpass (allowing you to land at smaller airports like Rockcliffe), but it’s not required.

    9. U.S. The U.S. republishes all of its charts, directories, and approach plates every 7 weeks. Canada republishes the IFR material and the CFS on the same schedule, but VFR charts come out only as needed. Most 1:500,000 VNCs are updated every couple of years, but the 1:1,000,000 WACs haven’t been touched since the mid 1990s(!!)

    10. Neither. VFR pilots have to have all required information for their flights, but they don’t explicitly have to have current charts, as far as I know. Of course, they could be accused of reckless behaviour for not having them, but that’s another story.

    11. Both — 126.7 MHz in Canada (which is also the common FIC frequency and the enroute advisory frequency) and 122.0 MHz in the U.S. (which is a special service, FlightWatch, used only for weather and NOTAMs, not filing flight plans, etc.).

    12. Canada. In the U.S., you can fly at 12,500 ft (and on up to, but not including 14,000 ft) for up to 30 minutes without supplemental oxygen.

    13. U.S. U.S. sectional charts include “RP” in the airport info to indicate “right pattern”. They also include the three-letter airport identifiers, which makes them more useful for GPS navigation, and they include full airspace info for terminal airspace around big cities (in Canada, you have to use the 1:250,000 VNCs to fly in Toronto, Montreal, etc.).

    14. Canada. This is a very controversial decision, and will also affect U.S. pilots who plan to fly to Canada.

    15. Neither. Canadian small private aircraft owners pay a fixed annual NAV Canada fee of about $75, whether they fly IFR or not. In the U.S., the airlines have been pushing for an IFR user fee for general aviation, mainly for turbine aircraft, but have met stiff resistance in congress.

    16. Both. Both countries have class G above 60,000 ft, but more practically, Canada also has a lot of class G above 18,000 ft in the north, where the flight levels start higher. (I had forgotten about the airspace above FL600, so I would have had this one wrong — thanks to Viennatech for the right answer).

  4. Paul Tomblin says:

    In the US, there are a couple of mountains where you could be above 18,000 but below 1200 AGL, which counts as class G.

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  6. 1. Both
    2. Neither
    3. Canada
    4. US
    5. US
    6. Neither
    7. Canada
    8. Both
    9. US
    10. Both
    11. Both
    12. Both
    13. Neither
    14. Canada
    15. Canada
    16. Both

  7. Matthew says:

    I beleive that canada is now issueing landing clearences to multiple aircraft landing on the same runway. I was a little thrown off when i heard it, but i think it’s a new concept up here.

  8. lowaltituderecord says:

    You only get multiple clearances to land once you’ve communicated to the tower that you have the traffic ahead of you in sight. Sharp pilots save time by telling the tower, when they call downwind, that they have (for example) the cessna turning base in sight. Otherwise, they won’t clear you till the other guy lands, at least around Boston Delta’s it’s that way.

    So if I understand this correctly I would have to get clearance from Toronto approach to go flying north of the city (Vaughan and King). It looks like you can’t stay under the C and remain 1000 AGL for much of that area. Anyone know how are they for that sort of thing on a Sunday morning when it’s not too busy? If you take off from Buttonville, can you tell ground your intentions, get a squawk code, and have them hand you off to Toronto approach?

    Otherwise if you have to have clearance before you enter their airspace I guess I’ll just hold somewhere in Buttonville’s airspace, call, and see if they’ll let me in. Otherwise forget about it and just fly north where I can get under the C and just get flight following.

    I grew up around there and wanted to do some sight seeing. Trying to find out how they do things before I go up, any help would be appreciated.

  9. lowaltituderecord says:

    Oh yeah another question, they still use feet and knots, for altitude and airspeed, right?

  10. david says:

    lowaltituderecord: we use exactly the same aviation measurements as the U.S.: knots for speed, feet for runway length, elevation, altitude, etc., statute miles for visibility, and degrees Celsius for temperature.

    Like in the Boston terminal area, getting clearances depends on what runways are in use at the big airport, how busy ATC is, and whether you sound like you know what you’re doing. I think you’d probably be able to get clearances into terminal airspace as far north as Vaughan and King City, though you would have (just) enough space below the shelf if you wanted to do it in class E. You might have to take a roundabout way to get there from Buttonville, though, if Pearson’s using 24L/R or 06L/R — just draw lines from the runways on your map, and you’ll get a good idea what you’ll be up against.

  11. lowaltituderecord says:

    Thank for the info David, I often fly between 1000agl and the bottom of Boston at 3000msl but it looks like it’s a lot tighter up there, I think 200 feet in places around Woodbridge. If it was the case that I’d wind up getting vectored around, then I wouldn’t bother them with such a request, I’ll check the winds, and see if they favor those runways before I ask them, thanks for the heads up.

    Regardless, I’ll have a sectional as well as my GNS430, to fly into CKYZ from the east, and I’ll pick up a terminal chart, and do some asking around when I get there before I take off on my sight seeing excursion.

    One other question while I’m at it if you don’t mind. I was looking at the restricted area over Niagara Falls, they show a pattern of flight over the falls that crosses the border and comes back. I know you can do that in the US, across the ADIZ, but you tell ATC your intentions and get a squawk code so customs radar knows what your up to. Have you ever done that flight (Niagara Falls)?

    Thanks for your help.

    Steve

  12. david says:

    lowaltituderecord: unfortunately, I don’t have any experience flying around Niagara Falls, but COPA or AOPA might have some resources.

  13. Niagara Falls, they show a pattern of flight over the falls that crosses the border and comes back. I know you can do that in the Canadian side .

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