General resources


Pilot responsibilities

Pilot in command

Responsibility of pilot in command before flight CAR 233

As pilot in command, you must not commence a flight if you have not received evidence, and taken such action as is necessary to ensure that:

  • the instruments and equipment required for the particular type of operation to be undertaken are installed in the aircraft and are functioning properly (see CAO 20.18 and GEN 1.5).
  • the gross weight of the aircraft does not exceed the limitations fixed by or under CAR 235 and is such that flight performance in accordance with the standards specified by CASA for the type of operation to be undertaken is possible under the prevailing conditions (CAR 235, CAO 20.7.4)
  • any directions of CASA for loading of the aircraft given under CAR 235 have been complied with (CAO 20.16.1, CAO 20.16.2 and CAO 20.16.3)
  • the fuel quantity is sufficient for the particular flight (CAR 234, CAAP 234-1(1))
  • the required operating and other crew members are on board and in a fit state to perform their duties
  • applicable air traffic control instructions have been complied with
  • the aircraft is safe for flight in all respects
  • the latest of the aeronautical maps, charts and other aeronautical information and instructions, are carried in the aircraft and are readily accessible to the pilot.

A pilot in command must be designated CAR 224

For each flight the operator (owner, flying school, or hire organisation) must designate one pilot to act as pilot in command.

The pilot in command is responsible for:

  • the start, continuation, diversion and end of the flight
  • the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight
  • the safety of persons and cargo carried on the aircraft (CAO 20.11, CAO 20.16)
  • the conduct and safety of members of the crew.

As pilot in command, you must discharge these responsibilities in accordance with:

  • any information, instructions or directions issued under the CAA, CAR or CASR
  • the operations manual provided by the aircraft operator, if applicable.

You also have final authority as to the disposition of the aircraft while you are in command and for the maintenance of discipline by all persons on board.

Powers of pilot in command CAR 309

The pilot in command of an aircraft, with such assistance as is necessary and reasonable, may:

  • take such action, including the removal of a person from the aircraft or the placing of a person under restraint or in custody, by force, as the pilot considers reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with the CAA, CAR or CASR in or in relation to the aircraft
  • detain the passengers, crew and cargo for such period as the pilot considers reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with the CAA, CAR or CASR in, or in relation, to the aircraft.

A person who, on an aircraft in flight, whether within or outside Australian territory, is:

  • found committing;
  • reasonably suspected of having:
    • committed
    • attempted to commit
    • about to commit

an offence against the CAA, CAR or CASR may be arrested, without warrant, by a member of the crew of the aircraft. This may be conducted in the same manner as a person who is found committing a felony may, at common law, be arrested by a constable and shall be dealt with in the same manner as a person so arrested by a constable.

Restriction of advertising of commercial operations CASR 117.010

A person must not give any public notice, by newspaper advertisement, broadcast statement or any other means of public announcement, to the effect that a person is willing to undertake by use of an Australian aircraft, any commercial operations unless the last-mentioned person has obtained an air operator’s certificate authorising the conduct of those operations.

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New rules came into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. This website is now out of date and will be switched off in the new year. A PDF copy of the VFRG is available for download.
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