Rules of the Air

Collision Avoidance—Right of Way (CARs)

No person shall operate an aircraft in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger the life or property of any person.

Right-of-Way – General

The pilot-in-command of an aircraft that has the right-of-way shall, if there is any risk of collision, take such action as is necessary to avoid collision, and where the pilot-in-command of an aircraft is aware that another aircraft is in an emergency situation, the pilot-in-command shall give way to that other aircraft. When two aircraft are converging at approximately the same altitude, the pilot-in-command of the aircraft that has the other on its right shall give way, except as that a power-driven, heavier-than-air aircraft shall give way to airships, gliders and balloons, an airship shall give way to gliders and balloons, a glider shall give way to balloons, a power-driven aircraft shall give way to aircraft that are seen to be towing gliders or other objects or carrying a slung load. When two balloons operating at different altitudes are converging, the pilot-in-command of the balloon at the higher altitude shall give way to the balloon at the lower altitude. Where an aircraft is required to give way to another aircraft, the pilot-in-command of the first-mentioned aircraft shall not pass over or under, or cross ahead of, the other aircraft unless passing or crossing at such a distance as will not create any risk of collision. Where two aircraft are approaching head-on or approximately so and there is a risk of collision, the pilot-in-command of each aircraft shall alter its heading to the right.

An aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way and the pilot-in-command of the overtaking aircraft, whether climbing, descending or in level flight, shall give way to the other aircraft by altering the heading of the overtaking aircraft to the right, and no subsequent change in the relative positions of the two aircraft shall absolve the pilot-in-command of the overtaking aircraft from this obligation until that aircraft has entirely passed and is clear of the other aircraft.

Where an aircraft is in flight or manœuvring on the surface, the pilot-in-command of the aircraft shall give way to an aircraft that is landing or about to land. The pilot-in-command of an aircraft that is approaching an aerodrome for the purpose of landing shall give way to any aircraft at a lower altitude that is also approaching the aerodrome for the purpose of landing. The pilot-in-command of an aircraft at a lower altitude shall not overtake or cut in front of an aircraft at a higher altitude that is in the final stages of an approach to land. No person shall conduct or attempt to conduct a takeoff or landing in an aircraft until there is no apparent risk of collision with any aircraft, person, vessel, vehicle or structure in the takeoff or landing path.

Finally, no person shall operate an aircraft in such proximity to another aircraft as to create a risk of collision.

Flight Priority

Normally, ATC provides control service on a first come, first served basis. However, flight priority is provided to:

(a) an aircraft that is known or believed to be in a state of emergency;

NOTE: This category includes aircraft subjected to unlawful interference, or other distress or urgency conditions that may compel the aircraft to land or require flight priority.

(b) a MEDEVAC flight;

(c) military or civilian aircraft participating in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and identified by the radiotelephony call sign “RESCUE” and the designator “RCU”, followed by an appropriate flight number;

(d) military aircraft that are departing on:

(i) operational air defence exercises,

(ii) planned and co-ordinated air defence training exercises, and

(iii) exercises to an altitude reservation; or

(e) an aircraft carrying Her Majesty the Queen, the Governor General, the Prime Minister, Heads of State, or Foreign Heads of Government.

Aerobatic Manœuvres – Prohibited Areas and Flight conditions

No person operating an aircraft shall conduct aerobatic manœuvres over a built-up area or an open-air assembly of persons, in controlled airspace, except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate issued pursuant to CARS 603.67, when flight visibility is less than three miles, or below 2 000 feet AGL, except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate issued pursuant to Section 603.02 or 603.67.

Aerobatic Manœuvres with Passengers

No person operating an aircraft with a passenger on board shall conduct aerobatic manœuvres unless the pilot-in-command of the aircraft has engaged in at least 10 hours dual flight instruction in the conducting of aerobatic manœuvres or 20 hours conducting aerobatic manœuvres, and at least one hour of conducting aerobatic manœuvres in the preceding six months.

Fur and Poultry Farms

Experience has shown that aviation noise caused by rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft flying at low altitudes can cause serious economic losses to the farming industry. The classes of livestock particularly sensitive are poultry (including ostriches and emus), because of the crowding syndrome and stampeding behaviour they exhibit when irritated and frightened, and foxes who, when excited, will eat or abandon their young. Avoid overflying these farms below 2 000 feet AGL. Fur farms may be marked with chrome yellow and black strips painted on pylons or roofs. In addition, a red flag may be flown during whelping season (February – May). This is mainly an issue with aerotowing glider operations.