What’s the PIC?

Print anything with Printful

The pilot-in-command is legally responsible for the operation of an aircraft, overseeing safety, coordinating with the flight crew, and supervising emergency situations. They may not necessarily control the aircraft personally, but are responsible for any pilot error and ensuring the health and safety of all persons on board. In the event of an accident, investigators will interview the pilot in command and they may face penalties if pilot error is determined to be at fault.

The pilot-in-command is a person legally responsible for the operation of an aircraft while it is moving under its own power, including taxiing on the runway and flying. On small aircraft, only one qualified pilot can be present, in which case he is the pilot in command. On larger aircraft where multiple pilots are part of the flight crew, one of them is designated as the pilot in command, and she is known as the captain. If something happens while the aircraft is running, this person will have legal responsibility if pilot error was at fault.

When acting as pilot in command, the pilot does not necessarily have to personally control the aircraft. Other pilots may fly the plane or take turns on long-haul flights, with the pilot-in-command supervising, making decisions on safety issues, and coordinating with the flight crew to make sure the flight runs smoothly and safely. The captain may take charge of an emergency situation to personally supervise the response.

Individual pilots flying small aircraft are in control of their aircraft at all times, and must also communicate with the flight crew, if present, interact with air traffic control towers, etc. In a large aircraft where the flight crew contains multiple pilots working in shifts, the captain sets a schedule and makes sure everyone understands their duties, the flight plan, and any special instructions, depending on the aircraft and the purpose of the flight. .

As responsible, the pilot-in-command must oversee the health and safety of all persons on board the aircraft. With cargo planes, this person is responsible for making sure cargo reaches its destination safely, working with ground crews to load it properly, stow it safely, and identify any special handling needs. When situations arise, the pilot-in-command works to resolve them and files a report on the ground discussing the situation and how the crew responded.

Following an accident, investigators will determine the cause. This includes interviewing the flight crew to learn more about flight conditions. The pilot in command is an especially important interview topic. If investigators determine pilot error to be at fault, she may face civil and criminal penalties, depending on the nature of the situation. It is possible to lose a pilot’s license in case of serious health and safety violations.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content