As you probably know, I am converting my FAA commercial pilot license to the Canadian one – TCCA. The next step after getting the first medical is booking the written exams. Ontario’s branch of Transport Canada responded the email unexpectedly quick – in a day, and it was possible to book the exams next week.
The both exams (FAACA and FAAIA) are 20 multiple-choice questions. The pass rate for FAACA is 60%, and for FAAIA is 70%. Mostly the questions were related to air law, and in overall the exams were relatively easy.
Most people recommend pilottraining.ca for studying, and it is really not bad. It is not just a question bank – it is an online ground school with lots of videos, presentations and tests. Actually there are not a lot of options in Canada, definitely less than in Europe or the US – I really miss the interface of AviationExam, but I am probably quibbling.
Basically I needed to refresh what I’ve already known from FAA and EASA exams, and learn the differences with Canada. I believe it could be done in a week, but better to dedicate a month or even more, especially if you want not just pass the exam but to learn the material.
I got 95% in FAACA and 75% in FAAIA. It is still a pass rate, but I will definitely review my weak areas. I am not instrument current anyway, so I have some time.
What to expect on the exam?
A lot of questions were about minimum equipment for VFR day, VFR OTT and VFR night, airspace structure, duty time, visibility and cloud distance in different airspace, frequencies, altitudes, legal commercial requirements.
I missed the question about commercial flight requirements, it was phrased like what should you use as a primary reference – Commercial Operations Manual, SOPs, Safety Management and something else, but I don’t remember the exact wording.
Anyway, there was nothing special, and with a proper ground school the exam is pretty easy.
This exam seemed more complicated for me. I met a lot of questions about airspace types and requirements, mandatory equipment (which differs from the FAA requirements), ATC/ATS, flight planning, altimeter settings. Actually nothing special, but you should remember a lot of stuff.
Which questions were the most difficult?
In my top it is IFR 1000-ft-on-top. It is a Canadian-specific rules, and better to know it.
Minimum altitudes in mountainous terrain differs across the country. In Canada there are 5 mountainous regions with different requirements.
I remember the question about a flight plan after 60 minutes from the time of departure if you did not take off.
It’s also a good idea to learn the frequencies. For example, even in the IFR flight on the approach to the uncontrolled airport you should use UNICOM, not 123.2.
Winter and low temperatures are another areas to know about in Canada. Some altitudes must be corrected for low temperatures, some should not – for example, altitudes while radar vectoring are given with the correction already applied by ATC.
Anyway, I passed both, and now I can send the documents for license conversion. I am getting closer.