Canadian Student Pilot Resources

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This page contains links within my site and to other sites. If I told you to look on my website for a link, it's probably below. If you find a broken link, or you know of a site that would be of use to other student pilots, please let me know.

Getting Started | Weather | Transport Canada | Aerodynamics | Navigation | Exams | Suppliers | Airplanes for Sale | Bulletin Boards | Other

Getting Started

COPA logo The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association maintains a fantastic site on how to get started learning to fly. They are also the folks who lobby to keep airports open and to ensure aviation regulations don't make it impossible to fly recreationally. After you solo, ask your flight instructor to sign a form for you to get a free trial COPA membership, including a few issues of COPA's excellent newsletter.

Weather NavCanada banner

Nav Canada is the agency that provides weather information services to pilots. You'll need to learn how to read aviation weather reports and forecasts, and get into the habit of checking them before every flight.  

Weather Reports and Forecasts

It's difficult to find this information on Nav Canada's site, if you don't have a direct link. Start at and click on English, then Flight Planning (at the far left), and then Weather & NOTAM.

NavCanada Forecasts and Observations This page has lots of big blue buttons on it to chose the weather products you want.

NavCanada Route Data This page prompts for a starting point and a destination to give you weather along the way.

United States Weather Data  American METAR and TAF codes are almost identical to Canadian ones.

Worldwide METARs and TAFs
from the (USA) National Weather Service. Again, there are slight foreign differences.

Learning to Read Weather Reports

There are a lot of very detailed manuals online explaining how weather reports are coded, but not too many explains them simply to beginners. Let me know how you do with these ones.

Understanding Your Forecast from Environment Canada. Easy to read, explaining some of the terms used in civilian weather reports, but not METAR codes.

METAR Study Guide from the University of Montreal. Explains METAR codes pretty well, and includes some study

METAR/TAF Quick Reference Card  Lists and compares the codes for METARs and TAFs.

Manual of Standards and Procedures for Aviation Weather Forecasts This is the manual that weather specialists use to create METARs and TAFs. It's much more than you need, as a student pilot, but can be a useful reference.

MANAB - the Manual of Abbreviations used in Canadian weather forecasts. Don't try to memorize it or even read it all. Just use it to look up indecipherable abbreviations, like CSTLMTNS, DURGDEN or FROIN.

NavCanada Weather Web Site User's Guide Not a very good introduction to weather products, but more useful than hitting the refresh button over and over again while you're waiting for the weather to improve.

Boundary Bay

Boundary Bay weather is usually 3-5 degress colder, with a little more fog and a little less cumulus than reported by NavCanada for CYVR. While the tower is open, you can call 604-946-0180 to hear a recorded message called ATIS (say: eh-tiss). When the tower is closed there is no message at all on the Boundary Bay ATIS, just dead air. The ATIS gives you the conditions at the Boundary Bay airport, as of the last time they changed significantly and the controllers had a chance to update the message. Do NOT telephone the tower for weather information.


NavCanada Pacific Region METARs and TAFs  Check the boxes for Abbotsford (YXX) and Hope (YHE), and average the results, to get an idea of what to expect in Chilliwack.

Chilliwack Five Day Forecast It's not an aviation product, but it's good for predicting whether the weather will favour a lesson this weekend.

Transport Canada                 Canadian flag tclogo

Transport Canada is the agency that administers exams, issues medicals and licences, and enforces aviation regulations. To find anything here, you need to remember that flight training, recreational flying, and commercial flying all come under "civil aviation."

Transport Canada Civil Aviation - There's a wealth of information here. Don't get lost!


Civil Aviation Medicine - Aviation doctors, medical guidelines, the policy on eye surgery, and there's an FAQ here too.

Air Law

Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) - These are the rules you have to study and obey. Learn to understand the organization of the CARs, because the CARs search engine is so useless that I'm not even linking to it.


Transport Canada has a great sereis of video clips called Weather to Fly. They are short and easy to understand.


See How It Flies - John Denker has put a book online that explains many aerodynamics concepts. Some of the procedures and theories he mentions are described differently than in Canadian references, and you know which you need to know for your exams, but this may help you understand concepts that went by too quickly in ground school. - This is a site for those student pilots who are already engineers or aerodynamics geeks and are looking for details such as how aircraft perform above Mach 5 (no, that's not a new sort of razor).  


The current CFS is not available online, but CASARA Ontario pulled some strings to get access to the previous edition of the Canada Flight Supplement. Look under Manuals, then Reference Infomation.

Distances between points
Give it a latitude and longitude and it will tell you the surface distance between them.

Distances between airports
Enter two airport identifiers and it will calculate the distance between them. Other functions include endurance, mapping and links to weather. From, a US site with lots of information and links useful to Canadians.

E6B Simulator

An online version of the circular navigation computer. Use it to practice using your real E6B. With practice you can find answers faster on the real one than by using the web page.

Exam Preparation

Robyn's Improved PSTAR Study Guide to study for the pre-solo exam.

Off Training is a PSTAR answers page sort of like mine, but without the pictures and explanations. You may prefer it, if you have a slow connection.

K-werkx PSTAR software. Download a windows app that allows you to practice PSTAR questions. A little bit buggy.

Aerotraining - A Vancouver pilot shop hosts a free online Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Includes most groundschool subjects.

Links from my site to Transport Canada exam guides for the written and flight tests.

Exam preparation software sold by Dauntless Software.  I have never used this software, but I corresponded with the author while he was working on it, and he was concerned about getting it right.


Your school will tell you what books and supplies you need for flight training, and they probably offer you a package that includes everything you need. Sooner or later you'll start wanting more toys, though. Here are some suppliers I use.

Aviation World near Vancouver International Airport is a huge store that carries books, headsets, charts, gadgets and toys.

Lightspeed makes the headset I use, a 20XL. I love it. I have written a review of it, and some other headsets.

V.I.P. Pilot Centre does mail order and online orders, and they put out a nice little catalogue in which you can circle all the stuff you want, and leave it where your friends can see it before Christmas.

Unitransport e-mailed me to ask for a link. Their selection leans more towards aviation enthusiasts than actual pilots, and there are no pictures or descriptions for most products on the website. If you're in Montreal, check them out and report back to me.

Airplanes for Sale

Some of my students update me frequently on what kind of airplane they will buy when they finish their licence and/or win the lottery. After all, if you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?

West Wind Aviation

Okanagan aviation links

Bulletin Boards and News

AvCanada Forums Canadian pilots who have jobs whining about their jobs and Canadian pilots who don't have jobs whining about how hard it is to fnd a job. There's a student pilot forum too, but don't believe everything you read.

Canadian Aviation Classifieds, news, chat, foums. If you start to get the idea that it's always the same few people everywhere, you're beginning to understand Canadian aviation.  This site does have current new articles, but the real reason to visit it is for the amazing collection of aircraft pictures from all over the world, meticulously annotated and indexed.

Wings Magazine A must-read for commercial students, to know what is going on in the industry.

Additional Links 

DCAM Award  In 2004 I was nominated for this award without my knowledge, and won an honourable mention. Jane Abramson suggested that I place a link to the information on this site. You may wish to nominate your own flight instructor.

Ottawa Flying Club  has some good reference material for student pilots on their site. Some of it is out of date, however.

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This page created 11 December 2002 by Robyn Stewart. Last updated 2 February 2005.
Copyright 2003 Flying Start Initiatives