Flight Redemptions

What is PICUS in Aviation? (Pilot In Command, Under Supervision)

Updated: March 07, 2024

Pilot In Command, under supervision (PICUS): An Essential Role in Aviation

In the world of aviation, the role of the Pilot In Command (PIC) is of utmost importance. The PIC is responsible for the safe operation of an aircraft and the well-being of everyone on board. However, there are situations where a pilot may not have the necessary experience or qualifications to act as a fully autonomous PIC. In such cases, the pilot may operate as a Pilot In Command, under supervision (PICUS). This article explores the significance of the PICUS role in aviation and the responsibilities it entails.

Understanding the Pilot In Command, under supervision (PICUS) Role

When a pilot is designated as a PICUS, they are allowed to operate as the Pilot In Command of an aircraft, but only under the direct supervision of a fully qualified and experienced pilot. This arrangement allows the less experienced pilot to gain valuable flight experience and develop their skills while still adhering to strict safety standards.

While the PICUS role provides an opportunity for learning and growth, it is crucial to note that the supervising pilot remains ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the flight. The PICUS pilot must follow the instructions and guidance provided by the supervising pilot at all times.

Responsibilities of a Pilot In Command, under supervision (PICUS)

A PICUS pilot has several responsibilities that must be fulfilled to ensure safe and efficient flight operations. These responsibilities include:

Compliance with regulations: A PICUS pilot must be familiar with and adhere to all applicable aviation regulations and guidelines. They must ensure that the flight is conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by the aviation authority.
Pre-flight planning: Before each flight, the PICUS pilot, under the guidance of the supervising pilot, must thoroughly plan the route, calculate the fuel requirements, assess weather conditions, and review any relevant NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen). This comprehensive pre-flight planning helps ensure that the flight is conducted safely and efficiently.
Aircraft operation: During the flight, the PICUS pilot is responsible for operating the aircraft in a safe and controlled manner. They must maintain situational awareness, monitor the aircraft's systems, and make necessary decisions under the supervision and guidance of the supervising pilot.
Communication: Effective communication is crucial in aviation. The PICUS pilot must maintain clear and concise communication with air traffic control, other aircraft, and their supervising pilot. This helps ensure coordination and enhances safety during the flight.
Emergency procedures: In the event of an emergency, the PICUS pilot must follow the guidance of the supervising pilot and execute the appropriate emergency procedures. This may include actions such as declaring an emergency, performing emergency landings, or handling system failures.
Continuous learning: As a PICUS pilot, it is essential to strive for continuous learning and improvement. The pilot should actively seek feedback from the supervising pilot and take the opportunity to learn from their experience. This will help enhance their skills and knowledge, ultimately leading to becoming a fully qualified PIC.

The Importance of the PICUS Role in Pilot Training

The PICUS role plays a vital role in pilot training and development. It allows aspiring pilots to gain practical flight experience under the supervision of experienced pilots before assuming the full responsibilities of a PIC. This gradual transition from being a student pilot to becoming a fully qualified PIC helps ensure safety and competence in aviation operations.

The PICUS role also provides an opportunity for pilots to apply theoretical knowledge gained during ground training in real-world scenarios. It allows them to develop skills such as decision-making, risk assessment, and problem-solving in a controlled and supervised environment.

By operating as a PICUS, pilots can gradually build their flight hours and experience, which are essential for career progression in aviation. Airlines and aviation employers often require a minimum number of flight hours before considering pilots for more advanced positions. The PICUS role allows pilots to meet these requirements while still benefiting from the guidance and oversight of experienced pilots.

Furthermore, the PICUS role promotes a culture of mentorship and knowledge transfer within the aviation industry. Experienced pilots have the opportunity to pass on their expertise and share valuable insights with the next generation of aviators. This helps maintain high standards of safety and professionalism in the industry.

It is important to note that the transition from the PICUS role to assuming full autonomy as a PIC requires meeting specific requirements and obtaining the necessary qualifications and flight experience. Each aviation authority or regulatory body may have specific guidelines and criteria for pilots to progress from the PICUS role to becoming a fully qualified PIC.

In conclusion, the Pilot In Command, under supervision (PICUS) role plays a crucial role in aviation training and development. It allows aspiring pilots to gain valuable flight experience under the guidance of experienced pilots, ensuring safety and competence in aviation operations. The PICUS role promotes a culture of continuous learning and mentorship within the industry, fostering the growth of future aviation professionals. By fulfilling their responsibilities and adhering to strict safety standards, PICUS pilots pave the way for a successful career as a fully qualified Pilot In Command.

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