Pilots fly a range of Canadian Forces aircraft in a variety of roles: Search and Rescue, Fighter, Transport, Tactical Helicopter, or Maritime Patrol.
The primary responsibilities of a Pilot are to plan communicate, coordinate and execute tactical missions in support of civil authority or military objectives, such as humanitarian and disaster relief, and air intercept operations. They work with sophisticated technology for precision tactical navigation systems, advanced communication systems, sensor systems, counter-measure systems and weapon delivery systems.
Pilots work in a variety of areas, ranging from northernmost parts of Canada to duties supporting the Royal Canadian Navy. The working environment depends on the military role assigned to the Pilot. Search and Rescue Pilots are deployed anywhere in Canada to rescue people in distress and emergency situations. Fighter Pilots protect Canadians and defend our interests abroad. Transport Pilots deliver humanitarian aid to people around the world. Tactical Helicopter Pilots support aid distribution and peacekeeping missions. Maritime Patrol Pilots protect Canadian coasts.
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 14 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Second language training is available following basic officer training; depending on your ability in your second language, it may take from two to nine months.
Pilots attend Primary Flying Training at the Canadian Forces Flying Training School in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. This course introduces you to the military flying environment and procedures. Continued training depends on successfully completing this course.
The next phase is the Prerequisite Training Course which introduces you to various effects of flying on the human body, air safety procedures, and basic survival techniques in the event of an emergency on land or over water. The course includes:
- The effects of high “G” forces
- The effects of high altitudes
- Operation of oxygen supply
- Operation of ejection seat
- Basic Land Survival
Basic Sea Survival:
- Parachute landing techniques
- Water entry
- Sea survival skills
Basic Flying Training takes place at the NATO Flight Training Centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for 8 months. Pilots are trained to fly aircraft in a military environment through classroom, simulator and in-flight instruction. As well, you will receive leadership development training to prepare you for your responsibilities to and for your aircrew. Based on flying performance, academic standing and leadership evaluation, you will be assigned to one of three Advanced Flying Training paths:
- Rotary Wing Training: offered at Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba, you will complete the Basic Helicopter Course on the Jet Ranger helicopter.
- Multi-Engine Training: offered at Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba, you will train on the Beech Raytheon King Air C-90A.
- Fast Jet: offered at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, you will train on the Harvard II as a Fighter Pilot and an Instructor Pilot
At the end of the Advanced Flying Training, you will receive your Pilot’s Wings and proceed to an Operational Training Unit for training with the aircraft and in the role you have been assigned before being posted to an Operational Squadron.
Applicants who wear glasses, contacts, or have had certain types of laser refractive surgery to improve their vision may apply for the Pilot occupation. However, Radial Keratotomy or corneal reshaping procedures are not approved for Pilots.
If you already have a university degree, the Canadian Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a university degree, the Canadian Forces will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Canadian Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the Canadian Forces is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Canadian Forces and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, click on Paid University.
If you have a high school diploma from a school recognized by a Canadian provincial or territorial education ministry, you may be eligible for the Canadian Forces’ combined degree and pilot training program. This unique training program enables Officer Cadets to obtain a Bachelor of Aviation Technology and their Pilot’s Wings over a four-year period, as opposed to earning a four-year degree prior to starting pilot training. The program begins with Basic Officer Training in July, followed by two-and-a-half semesters studying full-time at Seneca, then one year of Pilot Training at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Students continue the program with an additional two-and-a half semesters at Seneca, then specific flight training to the type of aircraft they are selected to fly. Graduates of this program are required to serve seven years as a Pilot with the Canadian Forces.
In addition to having your high school diploma or Sec V in Québec, you must also have achieved or be on your way to achieving high school academic level (university/college level) credits with minimum 65% average in:
- English (ENG4(U))
- Mathematics: Calculus and Vectors (MCV4(U), or Que 536)
- Mathematics: Advanced Functions (MHF4(U))
- Physics (SPH4(U))
- One additional science course/credit
If you would like to apply to the combined degree and pilot training program, select “CEOTP – Pilot” when filling out the online application.
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
It is also possible to set up an “Individual Learning Plan” to take courses leading to a university degree related to this job, and upon successful completion, be reimbursed for up to 50% of tuition and other mandatory costs. Education fees for successfully completed courses are reimbursed as long as the student was a Reservist during the entire duration of the course.
This position is available through the Reserve Entry Training Plan. Through this program Reservists attend the Royal Military College, and are eligible for tuition reimbursement up to $2000 per year. They are paid as a part-time officer cadet for any additional military training required.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.