aircraft captain, aircraft commander

The air-crew member designated by a competent authority as in command of an aircraft and responsible for its safe operation and accomplishment of the assigned mission. In most air forces, a pilot is designated as an aircraft captain or a commander. However, another crewmember may also be appointed as a captain of the aircraft, but this is not a common practice. He or she is responsible for operation of the aircraft in accordance with the rules of the air but may depart from the rules in the interest of flight safety. This is irrespective of whether the aircraft captain is manipulating the controls or not. The aircraft captain has final authority as to the disposition of the aircraft while in command.

Aviation dictionary. 2014.

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