Local HAGAR information
A thorn in our side as free-spirited, free-flight pilots! It's our only government mandated test so just buckle down and get it done! For me personally, as an instructor, I really like seeing students embrace the information and pass the exam. It shows their dedication to the sport and I think it really helps them grow as a pilot.
PRACTICALLY, I don't think it helps you necessarily be a better hang glider pilot but it opens your eyes to the air traffic that is all around us, especially in the dense airspace we fly in in South-Western Ontario.
Who needs the HAGAR? All pilots do. All of the soaring airspace in Ontario is Class E which is why we need the HAGAR. A lot of training airspace needs it too. At Instinct and High Perspective, Air Vision & East Point, Class E starts at 700' above ground level so if you are flying above that without your HAGAR, you are not doing so legally. If you are flying up there without it, you are putting that school at risk should something happen...regardless if they have a NOTAM in place or not. At the aerotow parks, Class E starts at 2200' AGL. It isn't fair for the pilot to pressure the tow pilot to tow you into airspace you aren't legally supposed to be in. And soaring up into after release isn't cool either - it could put the club in jeopardy if an issue arrises as well.
How to Study for it - I can provide you with a checklist of what we arm our students with to prepare it. In summary, study the HPAC HAGAR Study Guide, get some map reading help and go write it. The HPAC Guide is pretty much a re-write of the dry CARs but put into hang gliding terms and relates it to what we need to know as hang/paraglider pilots. It's the least dry document.
Cat4 Medical - Instinct now gets you to sign the Cat4 medical before starting lessons. It is the medical you need to pass before being allowed to fly in Class E Airspace anyways so if you aren't deemed fit to do that, you may as well not even start to take lessons as all of our pilots in Ontario soar in Class E airspace. Getting your HAGAR to get legal is the responsible thing to do.
It is EASIEST to send off your medical to TC and wait for it to be returned to you so you have that in hand when you go in to write the exam but you DO NOT NEED THIS done ahead of time. If you don't have it back (as it sometimes takes 8 weeks or more and they have been known to lose what you send them) you can still walk in and write the exam. BUT you need to call the Transport Canada office ahead of time to warn them that you don't have the medical back. They will get some info off of you to get your name in the Transport Canada system so they can allow you to come in and log in to do the exam. Don't show up and expect them to do this for you, it needs to be done ahead of time.
How to write it - for the easiest and cheapest way, you just go into a TC centre and write it. They don't charge for it at the TC offices. However, their times to write it are not convenient. They have to be done either downtown Toronto or Hamilton on certain days and at certain times (see below)
Methods of writing it
- At the downtown Toronto TC office - call Debbie Fyke 416-952-6243 ahead of time to get your file number set up. You can write it on Mon, Wed, Fri. No appointment is necessary. Get there by 2:30 to allow enough time to write it before they close. There is no fee. Bring ID, passport, and Cat4 medical filled out
- At the Hamilton Airport TC office - call Sharon Chandler 905-679-3477 to make and appointment and to get your file number set up. You can write it Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri at 10AM or 1:30PM. There is no fee. Bring ID, passport, and Cat4 medical filled out. If you don't have your Cat4 medical back, you need to make sure Sharon is there when you go in to write it so she can approve your medical onsite.
- At another authorized testing centre - private operations that will have their own rules and fees. WWFC (Waterloo Airport) had times on Sunday but also charged about $120 to write it....at least it is a weekend option.
- Group Writing the exam. We can arrange Transport Canada to come to us! A minimum of 10 people need to be grouped together. It still has to be done during business hours so a Friday afternoon will be our target. There will be a small fee. Email Mark and we'll try to keep a list together.
What do I do after I write it? You have to send a copy of your passing letter into HPAC. TC doesn't inform HPAC that you took the exam (pass or fail) so you need to let the office know. A simple picture of your passing confirmation emailed in is sufficient.