Commercial Pilot Program

Successful completion of the Commercial Pilot Program at Acadia College will lead to to qualification as a Commercial Pilot Licence issued by Transport Canada.

The prerequisite for entrance into the Commercial Pilot training is the Private Pilot Licence.  Private Pilot Students can enroll in the Commercial Pilot Groundschool at any time, but cannot begin the air instruction for their Commercial Pilot Licence until they have qualified as Private Pilots. 

Commercial Pilots may act as Pilot-in-command of any aircraft that is engaged in commercial air service where the aircraft operated requires only one pilot–this is typical, for example, with air taxi services.  Commercial Pilots may also act as the First Officer (Second-in-command) of any aircraft in a commercial air service where two pilots are required—typical for airline or commuter operations—provided the additional training for the aircraft type has been completed.

Overview of Training

Like the Private Pilot Program, training for the Commercial Pilot Licence has two parallel components–classroom training (groundschool)–which leads to writing the Transport Canada qualifying written examination, and air training–which leads to completion of the qualifying Transport Canada flight test.  This two events have time limits–the flight must be completed within two years of completing the written examination, or the written examination must be completed within a year of completing the flight test.

Acadia College runs a regular cycle of groundschool classes though out the year.  The full time Commercial Pilot Groundschool follows the completion of the Private Pilot Groundschool, with classes typically beginning the second week of April, and the first week of September, while the part-time evening classes begin the first week of February, the first week of June, and the first week of September.  Here are the Commercial Pilot Groundschool start dates for 2023 and 2024:

Start Dates

Full-Time Start Dates

    • April 15, 2024 (Spring Semester)
    • September 9, 2024 (Fall Semester)
    • April 14, 2025 (Spring Semester)

Part-Time Start Dates

    • February 6, 2024 (Spring Semester)
    • June 4, 2024 (Spring Semester)
    • September 3, 2024 (Spring Semester)
    • February 4, 2025 (Spring Semester)

To register for the groundschools, simply contact Acadia College approximately three weeks before the start date to reserve a seat.


Student can begin the Commercial Pilot Groundschool at any time.  However, to meet the requirements necessary to write the qualifying Transport Canada written examination for the Commercial Pilot Licence, student must hold a Category 1 Medical Certificate, must have completed 100 of flying time, and must have received a letter of recommendation.  Once the written examination is successfully completed, students have one year to complete the qualifying Commercial Pilot Flight Test.

The following is a proposed change to this program’s prerequisites, pending approval from StudentAidBC: “Students seeking financial aid from StudentAidBC  must have graduated from grade 12 or equivalent (B.C. high school diploma, B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma, General Educational Development) or an equivalent secondary school completion from another jurisdiction; or a minimum of 19 years of age or older before the start of classes and has demonstrated evidence at the appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, comprehension and/or written skills to enable successful completion of the program.”  Please contact the CFI if you have any comments or questions.

Student can begin their air instruction for the Commercial Pilot Licence once they qualify for their Private Pilot Licence.  

In accordance with requirements established by Transport Canada, all pilots must demonstrate English language proficiency.


Commercial Pilot students must complete 200 hours total flying time as a student pilot (receiving dual instruction) or as Pilot-in-command.  Of this 200 hours, 100 hours must be as Pilot-in-command–this part of training is call “time-building”.  

Importantly, time-building is cumulative from both the private pilot and commercial pilot phases of training.  Typically, Private Pilot students complete about 20 hours of solo Pilot-in-command flying.  Commercial Pilot Students must complete a minimum of 30 hours Pilot-in-command.  If this is the case, and the student has 50 hours solo flying, they must complete an additional 50 hours of solo flying.  The cost of this time-building is discussed below.

Transport Canada’s Minimum Requirements for Completion

Knowledge Requirements—Ground School Instruction

Candidates shall have completed a minimum of 80 hours private pilot aeroplane ground school instruction including at least one of the following subjects:

Canadian Aviation Regulations,
Aerodynamics and Theory of Flight,
Airframes, Engines and Systems,
Flight Instruments,
Radio and Electronic Theory,
Flight Operations,
Licensing Requirements, and
Human Factors, including pilot decision-making.

Knowledge Requirements—Written Examination

Candidates shall have obtained a minimum of 60% in each of the following four mandatory subjects areas as well as in the overall written examination Commercial Pilot Licence—Aeroplane (CPAER):

    1. Air Law—regulations, rules and orders, air traffic services, practices and procedures, and licensing requirements relevant to the licence,

    2. Navigation—navigation, radio aids and electronic theory,

    3. Meteorology, and

    4. Aeronautics—General Knowledge—airframes, engines and systems, theory of flight, flight instruments and flight operations.

Transport Canada’s qualifying written examination for the Commercial Pilot Licence is conducted in accordance with the Study and Reference Guide for Written Examinations for the Commercial Pilot Licence—Aeroplane.

Experience Requirements

Candidates for the Commercial Pilot Licence—aeroplane shall:

  1. complete a minimum of 200 hours of flight time, of which a minimum of 100 hours shall be as Pilot-in-command, including 20 hours cross-country Pilot-in-command flight, and

  2. following the completion of the Private Pilot Licence, complete 65 hours of commercial pilot flight training, consisting of a minimum of:

35 hours dual instruction flight time, under the direction and supervision of the holder of a Flight Instructor Rating, including:

    • 5 hours night, of which a minimum of 2 hours must be cross-country flight time;
    • 5 hours cross-country; and
    • 20 hours of instrument flight time—where a maximum of 10 hours of the 20 hours may be conducted on an approved aeroplane simulator or synthetic flight training device.

30 hours solo flight time including:

    • 25 hours solo flight time emphasizing the improvement of general flying skills, which includes a cross-country flight to a point of a minimum of 300 nautical mile radius from the point of departure, and will include a minimum of 3 landings at points other than that of departure; and
    • 5 hours solo flight time by night, with a minimum of 10 takeoffs, circuits and landings were completed.

Skill Requirements

Within the 12 months preceding the date of application for the license, a candidate for a Commercial Pilot Licence—Aeroplane shall successfully complete a flight test as Pilot-in-command of an aeroplane, in accordance with the Commercial Pilot Flight Test Guide.

Flight Safety Rules and Procedures

All Acadia College flight training operations are conducted in accordance with the Flight Safety Rules and Procedures.

Commercial Pilot License Estimated Cost

Ground School

Hours: 80 hours
Total: $ 675.00

Air Instruction

Dual Flying

Hours:  35 hours @  $264.00/hour
Total:  $ 9240.00

Solo Flying

Hours:  30 hours @ $194.00/hour
Total: $ 5820.00

Ground Briefing

Hours:  12.3 hours @ $70.00/hour
Total: $ 861.00

Total Flight Training Costs:  $16596.00

Total Flight Training Costs


Other Fees

    • Application Fee for Canadian Students:  $150.00
    • Applications Fee for International Students:  $350.00
    • Administration Fee for International Students:  $500.00
Courtesy Wikipedia. Work of Marek Ślusarczyk

Additional Information regarding Pilot Training Costs

Importantly, training costs vary with the frequency of training and each student’s skill, and the training time required for students to meet the qualifying performance standards vary.  Training costs can be substantially reduced in conjunction with regular flying and effective student self-study and preparation for flights.

 Prepayment of fees is not required.  Students pay tuition and aircraft unitizations at the conclusion of training flights, and pay groundschool tuition at the beginning of the session.  

All flight schools in the Province British Columbia are required by law to charge the Provincial Sales Tax (7%) to all dual training flights, and they must charge both the PST and the GST (5%) to all solo training flights.  Books and supplies are charged both GST and PST. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Debit Cards are accepted, but there is a 3% surcharge on credit card payments.

Effective January 1, 2023, the aircraft utilization rates for Acadia College students are as follows:

Cessna 152:  $194 per hour
Cessna 172:  $220 per hour

Importantly, Acadia College DOES NOT APPLY A “FUEL SURCHARGE”.   Owing to fluctuational fuel costs, aircraft utilization rates for students is subject to change without notice.

For additional information on pilot training costs, contact the Chief Flying Instructor.