Less than fifty years have elapsed since the first flight of a power-driven aircraft. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made their now historic flights in an aircraft which they had designed and built themselves; at the fourth attempt on that day a distance of 852 feet was covered during a flight which lasted 59 seconds 1. Unparalleled technical advances followed those first hesitant steps, with the result that aviation has developed into a factor influencing practically every field of society I. The complex mechanism of modem commercial aviation can only function through the combined efforts of countless people. The inspiration of aircraft constructors, the insight and perse verance of air pioneers and the conscientious work of the ground personnel all play their part. Among those who share in this joint task, however, the aircraft commander occupies a special place. He finds himself at the head of a small but comparatively isolated community, which may come under different jurisdictions within a short space of time. From a purely academic aspect he is therefore an interesting figure. Moreover, it may also be useful to examine his legal status for more practical reasons. After all, the aircraft commander holds a key position in aviation, as the safety, economy and regularity of the flight often depend on his skill and judgment.