Balloons, like any other aircraft, are licensed and registered with Transport Canada. Balloon Pilots all hold a special pilots’ license that allows them to fly balloons in Canada.
The following requirements refer to a Canadian citizen, at least 16 years of age, who does not hold
another aviation licence. (If you are not a Canadian citizen, or hold another aviation licence, please
contact the Chief Instructor of the Calgary Balloon Club named at the end of this article.)
- Medical: You must pass a medical exam by a physician recognized by Transport Canada.
We recommend you complete the medical prior to starting your training. A list of medical
examiners is available, or we can recommend one.
- You must be trained by a licensed balloon pilot with an instructor rating. We have a list of
instructors and will do our best to match you with one based on your and the instructor’s
- You require at least 10 hours of ground school training which includes:
- Canadian Air Regulations (CARS)
- Meteorology (Weather)
- Propane Handling
- Aircraft Radio Operation
that you have successfully completed the training and that they recommend you be allowed
to write your first written exam. This exam (PSTAR), focuses on air law and regulations, but
does not specifically pertain to hot air balloons. You must pass the PSTAR exam before you can
includes at least 11 hours of untethered flight. The untethered flight training must include at
least 6 dual instruction flights, including one ascent to over 5000 feet and 2 solo flights of at
least 30 minutes each.
from a Transport Canada Authorized Person. Your Instructor will help you with this. You will
need the original documents and 3 copies of each of:
- Identification showing your nationality, age and full name.
- Proof you have satisfied the medical criteria: either your Licence Validation Certificate or a Medical Assessment Letter.
- A copy of your results of the PSTAR exam, showing a passing grade.
- A letter of recommendation from your instructor stating that you have completed the requirements, have demonstrated sufficient competence in the operation of a hot air balloon and that you should be allowed to fly solo.
- Your Student Pilot Permit.
- A current Licence Validation Certificate.
- Your certified log book showing you have satisfied the requirements of the licence.
- Your letter of recommendation from your instructor.
Obtaining a balloon pilots’ license can take some time to complete due to availability of all involved as well as weather restrictions but once you have your license its well worth the effort!
Being a member of the Calgary Balloon Club gives you favourable balloon rental and instruction
rates. To answer any questions you may have regarding licensing or costs please contact:
Del Michaud, Calgary Balloon Club Chief Instructor