Visual Flight Rules Guide 2023

Pilot in command

Necessary Steps

As a pilot in command, it’s important to take some necessary steps before starting your flight. Firstly, you need to make sure that the instruments and equipment required for the type of operation you’ll be doing are in good working condition and installed properly in your aircraft. This can be found in CASR 91.095, CASR 91 MOS and AIP GEN 1.5.

Next, you’ll want to make sure the weight of your aircraft is within the limit set by CASR 91.550 and that the flight performance is possible under the current conditions.

Fuel and Maps

It’s crucial to have enough fuel for your flight, and the fuel quantity must be checked and maintained as per CASR 91.455 to 91.515 and AC 91-15. Make sure you have all the necessary crew members on board and they’re fit to perform their duties. Also, comply with any applicable air traffic control instructions.

It’s important to ensure that your aircraft is safe for flight and the latest aeronautical maps, charts, and information are on board and easily accessible to you.

Your Responsibility

In terms of responsibility, the operator (owner, flying school, or hiring organization) needs to designate a pilot to act as the pilot in command. You, as the pilot in command, are responsible for the entire flight – from start to end – and for the operation and safety of the aircraft, as well as the safety of the people and cargo on board. You need to comply with all information, instructions, and directions from the CAA, CAR, and CASR. The operations manual provided by the aircraft operator, if applicable, should also be followed. You have the final say in the disposition of the aircraft and for maintaining discipline among all those on board.

As pilot in command, you have some powers too. You can take action, with necessary assistance, to ensure compliance with the CAA, CAR, and CASR in or in relation to the aircraft. This includes removing someone from the aircraft or placing them under restraint. A person who is committing, attempting, or about to commit an offence against the CAA, CAR, or CASR can be arrested by the crew of the aircraft.

Lastly, you can’t advertise any commercial operations unless you have an air operator’s certificate authorising those operations. Simply put, if you want to advertise your commercial operations in an Australian registered aircraft, you need to have an AOC for that type of operation.