Are you fit to fly?
With so much information to wade through figuring out the first step in your flight training journey is one of the hardest parts. With flight training there are a couple of different things you can do first, but we always recommend starting with your medical exam. This exam is a mandatory part of getting - and keeping - your license and if anything shows up, it's good to know before you start training. As it takes a couple of months to have that processed and returned to you, the sooner you get the medical scheduled the sooner we can get you up in the air.
To get your medical booked you need to see a doctor trained to provide aviation medicals. These doctors (called Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner's - CAMEs) are located across Canada and in several countries around the world. If you are overseas look to see if you can access a doctor able to sign off on Canadian medicals to streamline your arrival in Canada.
You can search a full list of approved doctors on the Transport Canada website here: https://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/saf-sec-sur/2/came-meac/l.aspx?lang=eng
The CAMEs for the BFC training area are listed below for your convenience!
Dr. Nichol (204) 571-7132 English
Dr. Plewes (204) 571-7131 English
Dr. Cram (204) 483-2147 English
Dr. Bretecher (204) 638-6445 English
Dr. Scott (204) 638-6445 English
Dr. Warrian (204) 638-6445 English
What if I need glasses?
Contrary to popular belief you do not need perfect vision to be a pilot. As long as you have healthy eyes and your vision can be corrected to 20/20 you are typically fine. If you have night blindness you may be eligible to hold a daylight restricted license and some cases of color blindness can be treated with special glasses, so don't give up on your dreams before talking to your optometrist.
What if I am too tall/short?
Typically general and commercial aviation don't have restrictive size requirements , but you may see this in military aircraft where the equipment is more precisely designed to fit a narrower range of sizes. Having said all of that there is NO height requirement as part of the licensing standards for Transport Canada, so as long as you can reach the rudder pedals you are fine. We have taught students from 4'11" all the way to 6'5" without any problems. If you are taller or shorter than that, don't worry, we have you covered. Brandon Flight Centre uses two different styles of training aircraft, not only to expand our students skill base, but also to allow us to find the fit for our pilots. The Cessna 172's provide a little roomier fit for pilots who are on the taller or broader size, while the Cherokee 140's are a great option for those of shorter stature. If that's still not enough for you, we have seat cushions available to give you a couple of extra inches.
What if I am too old?
Never! As long as you are healthy enough to hold a medical you can still fly. Did you know our fastest growing segment of new private pilots are over 55? You haven't missed your chance, come and get started with us today.
What about cannabis use?
While both recreational and medical use of Cannabis and its byproducts is legal in Canada, you are not able to operated an aircraft for at least 28 days after its use, and many companies and flight schools, including BFC have set even stricter standards to ensure everyone's safety.
Brandon Flight Centre has a strict 0 tolerance policy for any mind altering substance, legal or otherwise with the exception of alcohol which is a minimum of 24 hours from your last drink.
What if I have a chronic health condition?
That depends on what you are dealing with. Some conditions like epilepsy are simply too unpredictable and the risks so high that you would simply not be awarded a medical. Others like Asthma may be accepted as long as you can prove that your symptoms are mild and well managed. Transport Canada may want further tests so make sure that you complete your medical before you start applying to flight schools just to make sure that you are in the clear.
I failed the medical, now what?
Depending on why you may be able to appeal the decision and provide more evidence that you would be safe to fly though failing a medical usually makes it harder to get one in the future its not impossible. If your medical is permanently revoked or denied your days as a pilot may be done, but that doesn't mean that you can't find employment in the industry. There are many support roles that have lower or no medical requirements at all. Consider airport management, customs agent, customer service personnel, dispatcher or depending on the issue become an aviation maintenance engineer or air traffic controller.
As long as you have the mobility we also offer sightseeing flights year round, so even if you can't hold a license you are still able to enjoy the trill of flight.