Commercial transport aircraft will, for the foreseeable future, require highly skilled human pilots. This requirement is based on broad legal, fiscal, and physiological precedents mandated in the form of Federal Aviation Regulations.The commercial pilot's goal is, and always has been, the safe operation and completion of the planned flight. The pilot's role is to utilize any or all of the resources available to achieve this goal as effectively and efficiently as possible.To achieve the goal of safe flight, the pilot requires a vast set of tools and resources. Aviation system complexity, operating costs, political and economic pressures, public interest, and pilot capabilities all demand nothing less than optimized system design solutions.Aircraft design must be based on clear, concise principles developed from, and centered upon, the requirements and capabilities of the pilot. Aviation system design must be centered upon the pilot-air traffic controller team. The primary criterion for incorporation of new technology and automation into commercial aircraft and the aviation system must be the extent to which that technology and automation extend or enhance the many unique capabilities of the pilot and other humans so vitally necessary for safe commercial flight.This paper examines, from a pilot's perspective, the environment that the commercial airline pilot and aircraft operate within, and the design principles that can be derived from the role of the pilot as the critical integrating link between the aircraft and that environment.