Recreational Pilots Flying in the United States
Canadian recreational pilots face an unfortunate regulatory catch when it comes to flying in the United States. If they are flying a basic or advanced ultralight aircraft, they may obtain a blanket Special Flight Authorization (SFA) that allows them to fly that aircraft in the United States. Similarly, blanket SFAs are available for Canadian amateur-built aircraft in the U.S., with language that suggests that recreational pilots would be legal to fly these aircraft as long as the aircraft meets the recreational pilot certificate's limitations. This language is somewhat vague, and EAA is working to get it clarified.
But, there is a third group of Canadian recreational pilots who are unequivocally left out: Those who fly type-certificated aircraft are currently unable to cross the border. EAA is working to fix this. At the annual EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit in Oshkosh in February, the issue was brought up in discussion with FAA flight standards staff, who expressed a willingness to look into the issue and what it would take to correct it. The EAA advocacy staff plans to follow up with an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C. on this and other issues next month. Look for updates in a future edition of Bits and Pieces.