Required HAGAR Catchup for H3/P3-rated Pilots without HAGAR

Announcement: H3/P3 Requirements Update

In 2020, the H3/P3 rating prerequisites were changed to require H3/P3 pilots to have passed the HAGAR exam. This requirement was added to recognize that as pilots move into this stage their XC flying becomes more ambitious, with increasing responsibility to stay both safe and legal. Even at well- established sites, knowing and understanding the relevant airspace limitations, as well as being able to access Class E airspace, can be critical.

The HPAC Board has recently determined that: As of January 1, 2023, all pilots holding an H3/P3 rating must have successfully written the HAGAR (or equivalent). New candidates for H3/P3 have been subject to this requirement for the last year. The change being announced now specifically affects pilots who received their H3/P3 rating prior to the change in requirements and had so far been grandfathered into the rating. If you are currently an H3/P3 pilot and have not completed your HAGAR, you will need to do so during 2022 to renew as an H3/P3 rated pilot going forward. Renewing H3/P3 pilots who have not written the HAGAR will be recorded as having an H2/P2 rating until they register their HAGAR.

Amongst the questions this may raise is: “Can an H2/P2 pilot fly XC without a HAGAR?” The relevant portions of the rating requirements as outlined in SOP 410-8 [PDF]  (similar wording for both H2 and P2) are…

“Novice rated (i.e., H2/P2) pilots have the knowledge and basic skills necessary to fly and practice without direct instructor supervision. The pilot understands the HPAC/ACVL rating system and recommended operating limitations. Pilots must demonstrate Student level skills and knowledge before obtaining the Novice rating. All witnessed flights must be pre-planned by the pilot and discussed with the instructor/apprentice Instructor.

Recommended Operating Limitations for H2/P2 Novice Pilots…

  • Should not fly in thermal lift exceeding your ability to maintain control
  • Keep landing zone within a safe glide
  • Avoid advanced maneuvers such as spirals, wingovers, stalls without guidance of a certified instructor
  • Fly a glider recommended by the manufacturer as suitable for beginner or Intermediate pilots.
  • Avoid flying in wind speed that exceeds ⅔ of your glider’s trim speed.”

So, the answer is, “Yes, an H2/P2 pilot can fly XC without passing the HAGAR”, so long as they…

  • Fly cautiously, always having an appropriate landing zone within safe glide, in thermal lift that does not exceed their ability to maintain control, and in wind speeds that do not exceed 2/3 of their glider’s trim speed.
  • Avoid controlled airspace. H2/P2s are free to fly XC in Class G airspace up to 18,000 ft ASL unless it is capped by controlled airspace. You are responsible for understanding and stringently adhering to any airspace limitations along your planned route, whether you have HAGAR or not. (As an example, see the intricate airspace limitations for flying south of Golden [PDF], as explained by Stewart Midwinter).

This does not mean every H2/P2 pilot should fly XC on any given day or at all sites. As an H2/P2 pilot, you are responsible for assessing conditions prior to launch and during your flight to ensure you stay within the recommended operating limitations and most important, your own capability. We highly recommend you discuss your XC plans with your instructor. They are best positioned to know your skill level and may recommend more restrictive limitations for your flying to ensure you stay both safe and legal. And, whenever you can, seek out the advice of more qualified pilots prior to setting off on any XC flight to help you properly assess conditions and clarify the airspace limitations you will encounter.

If you have questions regarding this policy change and/or H2/P2 operating limitations generally, please feel free to contact…

Some Related Questions and Answers

1. Will my H3/P3 rating be deleted if I do not complete the HAGAR?

No. Your rating as an H3/P3 pilot will be retained in the system until such time as you do complete the HAGAR. Until then though, our public data and your rating card will indicate that you have an H2/P2 rating.

2. If HPAC is requiring the HAGAR, why isn’t HPAC paying for me to get it?

The requirement to have HAGAR (or equivalent) to fly in controlled airspace is a Transport Canada regulation. The requirement for HAGAR was added to the H3/P3 rating because pilots at this level are typically interested in, and should be qualified for, XC flying where they are likely to encounter controlled airspace. Because of your choice to fly, you are responsible for ensuring you have the training, equipment, and other qualifications to do so safely and adhering to all applicable regulation. That responsibility includes paying your own way.

3. Will we require HAGAR of foreign pilots visiting Canada, either long-term or short-term?

Transport Canada regulations apply to anyone using Canadian airspace. Visiting foreign hang glider and paraglider pilots choosing to fly in controlled airspace need HAGAR or equivalent as required by Transport Canada, just like Canadian pilots. Foreign pilots choosing to become full HPAC members are subject to the same rating requirements that apply equally to all members. Members pursuing an H3/P3 or H4/P4 rating, regardless of residency, will need the HAGAR or equivalent.