There are a huge number of GA aircraft in Canada and they fall into these main cateogries.
Ultralights are aircraft which are lighter than your regular Cessna-type airplane. They are one or two place machines which weigh no more than 430 lbs (for a 2-seater, a single-place is less at around 360 lbs). There are other regulations determining the size and loading of the wing, but in essence, they are the smaller hang-glider-type and parachure-type aircraft you see flying out of smaller grass strips. For a proper definition see here: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/tp13301-tp13301-368.htm#definitions
2. Advanced Ultra Lights (AULA)
This is an interesting section of GA and one destined to increase. It comprises of a definitive list of makes and models from Transport Canada but basically they are 1 and 2 place piston-driven aircraft that look very like the smaller certified aircraft (like a small Cessna etc.). Pilots reading magazines will know about the Americal category of LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) and AULA’s are somewhat comparible for Canada. There are several aircraft in the AULA category you would think are certified (and several certified aircraft that can be re-registered as AULA’s). The AULA category usually has less expensive aircraft, licensing and costs. Canada makes some awesome AULA’s
Eligible Makes & Models T.C Link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/general-ccarcs-advancedullist-2036.htm
3. Certified Aircraft
These are your Cessna, Piper, Cirrus, Mooney, Aeronca, Bellanca, Diamond, Beechcraft etc. (there are lots of makes) – single and twin-engine aircraft you see at your local airfield. This section also includes gliders. They live in hangars and tie-downs at the airport and are flown by pilots having at least a recreational license, all the way up to airline pilots and jet-jockeys. This also covers helicopters like the Robinson R22/R44 and the Hughes/Schweizer etc.
4. Homebuilt/Experimental Aircraft
It’s sometimes hard for people outside general aviation to comprehend, but a large number of aircraft aircraft flying in Canada are homebuilt (sometimes incorrectly in Canada called “Experimental”) aircraft. These are often built by the owner/pilot from plans and kits available from manufacturers – of which Canada has some of the best. Kits come in many forms from basic plans only to comprehensive kits with every part needed to complete the aircraft. This is an exciting area of aviation, speaking to builder-pilots and can be reward you both with achievement and in your wallet! Find out a little more on our introduction to homebuilt aircraft feature.
5. Historic (certified)
There is a great market for older aircraft making it possible to knock on the door of historic aircraft ownership. It’s perfectly possible for example to own a WW2-era aircraft (not a warbird) for under $30,000, a 1950’s 2-seater for around $20,000 and even 1930’s classic bi-plane for less than the price of a decent new car. These aircraft are often fabric-covered, tail-wheel configuration and require some special attention to maintenance, but bring a whole other dimention to your GA flying. Imagine, flying in the aircraft that a WW2 ace learned-in – it’s all possible.
6. Airships, Balloons, gliders, auto-gyros and other
There are also several other types of aircraft in the Canadian skies including balloons and airships – often grouped into “lighter-than-air aircraft”. You will also see other vehicles such as helicopters and autogyros but these usually fall into the other classes of certified and homebuilt aircraft. Gliders are also usually certified aircraft, requiring substantial and comprehensive testing and certification by the manufacturers.
7. Fixed-wing and Rotorcraft
Not really “types” as above but often-used terms in aviation are fixed-wing and rotorcraft. It’s pretty obvious that fixed-wing have wings which do not move about the aircraft (they do have moving parts on them, like flaps and ailerons) and rotorcraft are (for example) helicopters and autogyros.