The 10 Most Commonly Contravened Regulations

by Jean-François Mathieu, LL.B., Chief, Aviation Enforcement, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Legislative provisions may be enabling, administrative, informative or offence-creating. Only the latter—offence-creating provisions—can be subject to enforcement actions. There are two types of offence-creating provisions: those that mandate a certain form of conduct and those that prohibit certain conduct. Offence-creating provisions are easy to recognize because they contain words such as “no person shall”, “an operator shall”, and “the pilot-in-command shall”. Non-compliance with these provisions is a violation that can result in judicial or administrative enforcement action.

There are two types of deterrent actions: judicial and administrative. Judicial action involves the prosecution of an alleged offender in the criminal courts and is applicable to only a few provisions of the Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Administrative penalties are the measures that may be assessed by the Minister pursuant to the provisions of the Aeronautics Act and include assessment of monetary penalties and the suspension of documents. There are over 1 200 offence-creating provisions in the CARs, the violation of which can result in an administrative penalty.

The Aviation Enforcement Division conducts over 2 000 investigations annually, some of which result in penalties being issued to individuals and corporations in the aviation community. Over the years, the Aviation Enforcement Division has noticed that only a few of these offence-creating provisions are contravened on a regular basis. Knowing which regulations are contravened most often may increase awareness of the regulations and the risks associated with them, motivating individuals and corporations to avoid these violations and sometimes-costly penalties in the future. The 10 most frequently contravened regulations, in descending order, are as follows:

  1. CAR 602.31(1): failure of the PIC

    (a) to comply with an acknowledge ATC instructions directed to and received by the PIC,

    (b) to comply with clearances received and accepted by the PIC
  2. CAR 602.01: to operate an aircraft in a reckless or negligent manner
  3. CAR 605.03(1): to take-off when

    (a) flight authority is not valid,

    (b) the conditions set out in flight authority have not been met and

    (c) flight authority is not carried on board
  4. CAR 602.14(2): to operate an aircraft

    (a) over built-up area/open-air assembly of people at less than the specified height,

    (b) elsewhere at a distance of less than 500 ft from an object/person
  5. CAR 606.02(8): to operate a private aircraft without prescribed liability insurance
  6. CAR 601.04(2): to operate in Class “F” Special-Use Restricted airspace without authorization
  7. CAR 605.94(1): failure of the responsible person to make specified entries in the journey log
  8. CAR 700.02(1): to operate an air transport service without an air operator certificate (AOC)
  9. CAR 602.96(3): failure of PIC operating at/in the vicinity of an aerodrome to:

    (a) observe traffic to avoid collision,

    (b) conform with/avoid pattern of other aircraft,

    (c) make all turns to the left unless specific in CFS or by ATC,

    (d) comply with any airport operating restrictions specified in CFS,

    (e) land/take-off into wind,

    (f) maintain continuous listening watch on appropriate frequencies/keep watch for visual signals,

    (g) obtain clearance to taxi, take-off and land when aerodrome is controlled
  10. CAR 601.08(1): to enter Class C airspace VFR without having received a clearance prior to entering

Another available option of deterrent action is “oral counselling”. When Civil Aviation safety inspectors detect a violation, they are to exercise their delegated authority to make decisions with respect to the contravention. All available facts should be considered in order to determine whether oral counselling would be appropriate to promote compliance from the alleged offender in the future. This action may be used to provide the alleged offender with the knowledge required for future compliance.

Where violations may have a more serious impact on safety, they will be addressed either by the assessment of a monetary penalty or by suspension of the offender’s Canadian aviation document (CAD). Suspension of the CAD is appropriate when a monetary penalty is considered insufficient to achieve compliance or the document holder is a repeat offender against whom monetary penalties have previously been assessed. Some of these violations could have been avoided if individuals and corporations had a better understanding of the regulations and if pilots carried out proper flight-planning procedures, paid extra attention to detail, and used common sense and good airmanship.

The Aviation Enforcement Division encourages and promotes voluntary compliance with Canada’s aeronautics legislation and is committed to enforcing the regulations in a fair and firm manner.

Have a safe flight!

Source: Transport Canada's Website, Safety Letter 3, 2010.