VFR Over-the-Top Rating Program

Successful completion of the VFR On-the-top (VFR OTT) Rating Program leads to eligibility for a VFR OTT Rating issued by Transport Canada, and the issuance of a Certificate of Qualification—VFR On-the-top Rating by Acadia College.  The holder of a VFR OTT Rating may conduct flight above cloud where the ground is not visible in accordance with Section 602.611 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.  Credit for the VFR OTT rating may be transferred to Commercial Pilot Program.

CAR 602.611 states that an aircraft may be operated in VFR OTT flight during the cruise portion of the flight during the day if

    • the aircraft is operated at a vertical distance from cloud of at least 1,000 feet;

    • where the aircraft is operated between two cloud layers, the vertical distance between the layers is at least 5,000 feet;

    • flight visibility at the cruising altitude of the aircraft is at least five miles; and

    • the weather at the aerodrome of destination is forecast to have no broken, overcast or obscured layer lower than 3,000 feet above the planned flight altitude and the ground visibility is forecast to be five miles or greater with no thunderstorms or precipitation

        • where the forecast is an aerodrome forecast (TAF), for the period from one hour before to two hours after the estimated time of arrival, using the worst forecast condition together with any of the references TEMPO (temporary fluctuation), BECMG (becoming) or PROB (probability), and

        • where an aerodrome forecast (TAF) is not available and the forecast is an area forecast (FA), for the period from one hour before to three hours after the estimated time of arrival.


The VFR OTT rating is endorsed by Transport Canada on the Private Pilot Licence, and the Private Pilot Licence is the prerequisite for the VFR OTT rating.  The minimum age requirement for the VFR OTT rating is seventeen years of age

Transport Canada’s Minimum Requirements for Completion

Knowledge Requirements

The knowledge requirements are based on Transport Canada’s Instructor Guide–VFR Over-the-Top Rating, summarized as follows:

    • Canadian Aviation Regulations and Standards
    • Canadian Airspace Classification and Operating procedures
    • Aviation Weather Information and Interpretation
    • Instrument Flying
    • Radio Navigation

Experience Requirements

An applicant for a VFR OTT rating shall complete a minimum of 15 hours dual instrument time of which a maximum of 5 hours may be be conducted on an approved aeroplane simulator or synthetic flight training device.

Skill Requirements

An applicant for a VFR OTT rating shall have reached the level of skill specified in the Flight Instructor Standard – VFR OTT, applicable to the following instrument flying skills:

    • Full Panel
    • Partial Panel
    • Unusual Attitudes 
    • Radio Navigation

Flight Safety Rules and Procedures

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