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Flight Time Vs. Air Time Personal Logbook

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Isn't that your goal Freewheel?

I agree flight time and air time are not the same. I like when companies have separate air and flight time columns in their logbooks.

My goal is to get Transport Canada to do their job and enforce the regulations equally and to be accountable when issues are identified by stakeholders. This is just one example of a much larger issue has been identified for many years.


1) this is the fundamental right of all Canadian citizens. (Charter of rights)

2) it leads to confusion amongst pilots and TC Inspectors, making it very difficult for both to do their jobs legally and effectively

3) this confusion leads to a decrease in compliance

4 ) this confusion results in a decrease in safety

5) it also leads to an increased risk of the pilot being found non compliant and liable after an accident



In this particular case a finding (that was not valid) was made and we completed a root cause analysis that identified industry wide confusion. After two years of dealing with TC, the Director of Operations East acknowledged (8 months ago) this confusion stems from a statement TC placed in all of our COM's yet he has done nothing (as far as meaningful corrective actions go).


It's obvious by posts in this forum that pilots are still confused.

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First off, way to go Freewheel ! You must be giving the guys at TC nightmares ! LOL
As for keeping track of Air Time (skids up to skids down) that in my case has always been with a watch or clock. End of day, divide the total number of minutes by 60 to get a decimal. I too was not aware that there was another way to do that. If i miss any up or down times i can access the GPS log at the end of the day and tidy things up.

For Flight Time i simply add a 0.1 to each flight. If i have a 20 minute flight with 5 stops i just add a 0.1 for the whole thing not a 0.1 for each leg but if i don't power down such as in a toe in or on soft ground then the air time keeps counting. If i shut down even on a short leg i count a 0.1 for Flight Time. If the trip legs are longer (5 landings but not shutdowns in an hour or so) i might add a second 0.1 to my flight time, with the lack of any firm rules or guidance from up high i kind of "feel my way" through this and do what i think is "fair".


What are you guys doing for Air Time of less than a 0.2 if it is the whole "flight"? If you have let's say a 0.1 Air Time "flight" do you still charge it as a 0.2? Looking at this from an economic point of view...



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The goal is not to give guys at TC nightmares.


Here is an HAC newsletter from 2005 that explains the issue that has been identified for many years. It seems to be getting worse not better.


Volume 2, Edition 9 Monday, April 4, 2005



Tribunal Decision

Puts Regional Disparity

On Track for National Uniformity



CARs and their incorporated standards are made by Transport Canada National Authorities, with industry input through the Co-operative Rule Making Process called CARAC. The result is very often Regulation by Objective which allows for different solutions in different operations.


Unfortunately, regional TC officials find CARs imperfect and/or difficult to enforce. Intent on making the rules better/safer/simpler, they sometimes impose better/safer standards that frequently negate the subtleties gained through Co-operative Rule Making. Simpler standards for their part usually means one size fits all which contradict the principles of Regulation by Objective.


Regional Disparity doesnt just challenge national objectives, it is contrary to principles that sustain our system of government. First of all because the Canadian Charter of Rights guarantees that every individual in Canada is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law no matter where they are. Secondly, because the regulations impose on regional authorities the obligation to issue or amend documents based on compliance with CARs, as written.


Regional Disparity is frustrating for operators who must deal with different rules in different regions, with the competitive disequilibrium that often ensues and with the added costs that frequently generated by better/safer/simpler standards. The phenomenon is also frustrating for TC Functional Authorities who put a lot of work into developing national standards.


After years of unsuccessful attempts by Ottawa to discourage Regional Disparity, operators have recently been empowered to do the job themselves. Since June 30, 2003, the Aeronautics Act allows for Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (TATC) review of a refusal to issue or amend a Canadian Aviation Document. Faced with the obligation to explain their decisions before an independent third party, Regional Officials will now find that withholding their approval is no longer an effective tool for imposing local standards.


In December 2004, for the first time, HAC appeared before the TATC representing an Air Operator whos operations manual amendment did not receive TC approval. Local officials found the Transportation of Dangerous Goods amendment to be unacceptable because it was not identical to the Generic TDG Manual. Among many deficiencies of similar nature the manual lacked a section specifying that Cabin Crew Procedures are Not applicable to the operation of a Jet Ranger.


The Association argued that the Ministers refusal to approve the amendment, as submitted, was non-compliant with article 6.72 of the Aeronautics Act, in as much as:


i) the Generic TDG Manual is not an officially incorporated CARs standard;


ii) withholding approval of the amendment was tantamount to a refusal to amend;


iii) the operator was not provided written notice detailing the grounds for refusal;


iv) the operator was not advised that the refusal to approve the ops manual amendment could be contested before the TATC.


In its recent decision the TATC concluded that it is not necessary for a dangerous goods chapter to adhere exactly to the generic chapter. Rather, an operations manual is required to contain procedures for the carriage of dangerous goods that are applicable to the companys operation.


The Tribunal also found that by insisting that the applicant follow the generic chapter, the Minister for all practical purposes refused to issue or amend a Canadian Aviation Document without providing sufficient grounds for doing so.


The Tribunal referred the matter back to the Minister for reconsideration in the light of its findings and with the warning that should the Minister decide to maintain his refusal he is obliged to indicate, in writing to the applicant, the conditions that are not met or fulfilled.


In practical terms the TATC decision puts Regional Disparity on track for national uniformity. With sufficient impetus through operator complaints, TATC benchmarking will eventually take a load off the shoulders of regional authorities who felt obliged to make CARs better/safer/simpler.



We proudly salute our 2005 Corporate Sponsors

ACROHELIPRO Global Services, Agusta Aerospace, Aon Reed Stenhouse,

Bell Helicopter Canada, Eurocopter Canada, Marsh Canada,

Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce, Standard Aero, Turbomeca Canada Inc.



This is exactly what is going on in this case, as well as the case of Carry-on Baggage Requirements being given by TC Cabin Safety Ontario region (as discussed in the following forum: http://forums.verticalmag.com/index.php?showtopic=21819&page=1


Inspectors are trying to enforce better/safer/simpler rules. They have no right to do this and are doing more harm than good. There are processes in place to improve the rules if they feel it is needed. They are trying to bypass this step. Much like a cop handing out speeding tickets based on what he feels us safe(despite what the speed limit says)

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Here is former president of HAC discussing this issue in Helicopters Magazine:


One-on-One: Brian Jenner, H.A.C. president

The industry is on an upswing as Canadas industry gathers in Vancouver for the HAC annual convention and trade show.


Is everything working on the regulatory front?


I sit and wonder sometimes. From 1992 to 1997 I worked with Transport Canada to develop CARs. All that work kept a lot of public servants busy too. Today there are still as many public servants in the Department as there were when we started on that massive endeavour. You have to ask yourself, what are they doing now that the new regulatory structure has been in place for 9 years?


You also have to wonder what the CARs process was for. All that work so operators could write manuals to allow their employees to do their job safely in the context of their own operation. But the first thing Transport Canada did after writing CARs was to write generic manuals that would make all operations equally easy to evaluate and control. That contradicts the process.


A common complaint from both rotary and fixed-wing operators is the inconsistency with which Transport Canada operates in different parts of the country. Does that still exist?

The phenomenon is generally referred to as Regional Disparity. One region is enforcing the rules differently to another. In fact, it happens within regions from one office or one inspector to another. It also happens on a national scale where a new generation of public servants sometimes establishes Policy Letters and Staff Instructions that contradict the standards incorporated into CARs. I call it CARs Plus. And depending on the region, the inspector, the subject, you can have CARs Plus, Plus.


So what is the solution?


There is some good news. We have just received a decision from the Civil Aviation Tribunal concerning an operators transportation of dangerous goods manual. Transport Canada had sent it back saying it couldnt be approved because it didn't match the general manual. Missing were things like a chapter on cabin crew for a JetRanger operation. There were about 20 differences of a similar nature that Transport Canada insisted needed correcting before approving the manual.


The operator allowed HAC to take the matter to court. The Tribunal told TC that an operations manual could not be evaluated based on its concordance with generic manuals but rather based on whether or not they provide sufficient guidance for employees to carry out their duties safely in the context of each particular operation.


The decision puts TC on notice that amendments can no longer be refused based on non compliance with CARs Plus. It was an indisputable win for Regulation by Objective and will serve as a tool for bringing Regional Disparity under control.


I think we have sent out a strong signal. The law is the law for the bureaucracy as well as the operator. From now on local, regional and national disparity will no longer be immune to review. So as an Association we will be encouraging operators to amend their manuals to get ride of some of the CARs Plus irritants. TC will have the choice between approving such changes and defending their refusals before the Tribunal.


In all fairness, I have to admit that CARs Plus is a natural and well-intentioned reaction of public servants who are not sure when to say approved. The review process will set some new bench marks that will make the decisions easier.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I sent a CAIRS on this subject in June. Received no response by October so I emailed TC to enquire and they apologized and gave me a date I would have a response by. Again the date passed with no response so 1 week after the date I filled another CAIRS and finally got a response. At least they admit the COM's have caused confusion among pilots, operators, and transport Canada inspectors. So here is the official response I received for those interested.


Dear Sir or Madam,

Within the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) where an obligation exists to log either “air time” and/or “flight time” they should be calculated in accordance with the meaning of those phrases within Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CAR.

Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CAR states in part:


101.01 (1) In these Regulations...

“air time”

“air time” means, with respect to keeping technical records, the time from the moment an aircraft leaves the surface until it comes into contact with the surface at the next point of landing; (temps dans les airs)

“flight time”

“flight time” means the time from the moment an aircraft first moves under its own power for the purpose of taking off until the moment it comes to rest at the end of the flight; (temps de vol)


GA Policy Letter 2005-02 conflicted with the CAR and was canceled. The canceled Policy Letter content is invalid relative to this discussion.

The generic Helicopter Company Operations Manuals (COM) provided by Transport Canada (TC) to helicopter air operators in the late 90s stated in part that: “…Flight time and Air time are the same for skid equipped helicopters; accordingly the recorded time shall be the same…” The statement is not always correct, and caused confusion and inconsistencies among helicopter pilots and operators, and Transport Canada Inspectors regarding the logging of Flight Time versus Air Time. This statement should be removed from all the COMs. The Transport Canada practice of making available Generic COM has been curtailed. Debating the intrinsic worth of these dated and flawed documents is of little value.

Student pilots that aspire to acquire Commercial Helicopter Pilot licences must receive a minimum amount of training as per the CAR. It is illogical to imply that a student will have an epiphany somewhere between 99.9 and 100 hours there by attaining the proficiency to be a “Commercial Helicopter Pilot”. It is more likely that a student pilot will require more than the minimum amount of training to attain the required level of proficiency. The Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) is the significant litmus test to verify that a student has acquired the required proficiency to be a “Commercial Helicopter Pilot”, rather than attaining the minimum amount of training (100 hours). The CAR obligation to complete “X” amount of “Flight time” or “Air Time”, as applicable, is the Minimum Standard. It shall be logged as per Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CAR.

How an air operator or flight training unit is compensated by a “customer” for services may, or may not, equate to the CAR defined “Flight time” and “Air Time”, relative to the contractual agreement between the parties. The CAR does not state that commercial flying, or flight training shall be compensated at any rate, only that “Flight time” and “Air Time” shall be logged as per Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CAR. “Hobs meter” time should not be confused with CAR defined “Flight time” and “Air Time”.

The meanings of “air time” and/or “flight time” within the CAR are applicable to all of Canadian Aviation, from the smallest aircraft to the largest aircraft. The flight characteristics of helicopters offer challenges for calculating “air time” and/or “flight time” relative to each operation. “...Accordingly, for flights where the skid equipped helicopter carries out a number of landings and take-offs during the conduct of operations, the air time “recording/logging” stops while the helicopter is resting on the ground. However, the flight time recording/logging shall continue with the pilot at the controls while the helicopter is resting on the ground. Both recording/logging stop with the last landing “at the end of the flight”. In such cases, air time will obviously be shorter than flight time. For flights where, following the initial take-off, the skid equipped helicopter proceeds without landing before its intended destination “at the end of the flight”, air time and flight time will be the same…”

To minimize confusion and maximize clarity the unique aspects of each flight should be evaluated against the meanings of “Flight time” and “Air Time” as per Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CAR and logged accordingly.

Thank you for your interest in Aviation safety.

Best Regards

Civil Aviation Inspector

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  • 3 weeks later...

An answer at last


Thanks for perservering Freewheel


Any chance of posting this again with the inspectors name

Doesn't it strike you as odd that they acknowledge there is industry wide confusion (amongst inspectors, stakeholders and pilots alike) as a result of their own organization applying the Regulations differently from what is actually written (by their own admission), yet they seem to have done nothing to rectify it?


The only reason you have your answer is because stakeholders are posting responses on this forum that were directed to them as individuals. Mr. Lemieux provided me with this very same explanation in January 2013....they have copied and pasted the exact text in some cases.


They discuss that this statement should be taken out of every COM. So what have they done to advise companies and stakeholders of this requirement and the proper way to log flight time?

Perhaps a Policy Letter or some sort of information distribution to the entire industry would be more effective than relying on posters on a public forum to spread the word. You know like GAPL 2005-02; the policy letter they always insist is invalid and not relevant. The one that was created and distributed by TC in an effort to dispel this confusion in 2005. The one that aligned Canada with the ICAO convention (which we are a member of, yet make no mention of differences with regards to the definition of Flight Time in our regulations ). The one that remained valid until it was cancelled in 2011 with no explanation to the industry. The one that said it would be valid until the CARs were amended to align with ICAO.


I am sorry, but GAPL 2005-02 seems quite relevant to me and is also likely a big reason why pilots are confused. Apparently, it isn't valid as per the CARs, so I guess that's twice now that TC has implemented policy that contradicted what the regulations actually say (with regards to the definition of flight time).


Right now their are many pilots still using air time for calculating their Flight Time Limits as per the CARs....this increases the risk of CARs violations and fatigue...


HHmmmm. I see a pattern. They beleive they are implementing better/safer/rules despite what the CARs state. The problem is they don't have the right to do this and in many cases they are actually increasing risk and don't realize it; that is why we have the CARAC process and Co-operative Rule making. Not only is this a violation of CARs 103.01, but also to the Values and Ethics Code for Public Servants



Respect For Democracy

  • Public servants shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:
  • 1.1 Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
  • 1.2 Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
  • 1.3 Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.


"Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of their level or position. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment."


The very same thing is going on with respect to topic being discussed in the Carry-on Baggage/Cargo in the Cabin forum and interpretations being offered by TC Ontario: http://forums.verticalmag.com/index.php?showtopic=21819&page=1

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The forum titled:"Use Of Trained Ground Staff/escorts To Complete Passenger Briefings As Per 723.39 demonstrates additional examples of TC creating rules that are not in the CARs. We advised a TC inspector (Janice Berling) that ground crew were capable of conducting passenger briefings because this was considered "audio or audiovisual means". She replied that she felt the regulation and 723.39 standard was a little weak...


We also advised our POI, that if required we would apply for an exemption'; he replied that he didn't think that would work in this case.


1) Technical Team lead Terry Long provided these definitions: audio or audiovisual" is quoted directly from 723.39(1): "Audio" means through the public address system, usually using pre-recorded announcements. "Audiovisual" is pre-recorded, is shown on a monitor/screen and includes at least those items required by regulation to be demonstrated to the passengers." Where does it say this in the CARs???? These definitions are not relevant to CARs 703 operations and are not in the CARs.


2) Terry advised, that use of ground crew was indeed legal, we just needed to amend our COM for procedures to use ground crew. She went on to advise that many operators had been approved for such operations a already and were operating as such...I questioned how this could be if this procedure wasnt't considered "audio or audiovisual means", since they obviously weren't flight crew members (there is a CARs defintion in this case).


Later they had to acknowledge that many of the operators they approved should not have received approval as this is not compliant after all. The end result, they scrambled to release a new exemption to allow these procedures and it was released this summer.


That's two more examples for the pattern of TC creating what they perceive to be better/safer/simpler rules than the CARs, despite what the law actually says (and I am sure there are many many more).


Here is a link to the forum that I am discussing: http://forums.verticalmag.com/index.php?showtopic=21578

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  • 2 months later...

Well it's been over a year since the the Associate Director of Operations at Transport Canada, Yves Lemieux stated (jan 2013 email):


"We agreed that the statement “Flight time and Air time are the same for skid equipped helicopter, accordingly the recorded time shall be the same.” included in the generic COM provided by TC to helicopter operators in the late 90s is responsible for the confusion and inconsistencies among helicopter pilots and operators and Transport Canada Inspectors. We agreed that this statement must be removed from every helicopter operators’ COM.


I committed to lead an initiative to clear for the industry and TC inspectors the confusion that currently exist with regards to the logging of air time and flight time for helicopters. I will consult with Directors in the other Regions and HQ to determine how this can best be accomplished."


I haven't seen any evidence that he has followed through on his initiative. Has anyone else?


On another note, I heard a rumour he was being "replaced". I wonder what that's all about...

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