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Flight Engineer


Description

Often times someone is eager about a trip, and when they finally get on the airplane, they just have to sit there for what feels like hours, waiting until take off. For much of that time, their plane may be being looked over by a flight engineer, who examines the aircraft before it can go anywhere. Flight engineers ensure that the technical aspects of the plane are in perfect working order before the plane can take off.

These technical experts are thoroughly familiar with the operation and function of various parts of an airplane. They inspect aircraft prior to takeoff for defects - they look for things like fuel or oil leaks and malfunctions in electrical, hydraulic, or pressurization systems. They ensure that the cargo and passengers are well balanced. On larger aircrafts, these engineers (who are also trained pilots) come along for the ride. In-flight, they monitors control panels and regulate engine speed according to instructions of the head pilot. They take care of repairs, replace fuses, adjust instruments, and free jammed flight controls. They are there to look after any technical emergencies that may arise in-flight.

They also keep records about fuel consumption, repairs needed, and malfunctions that ground personnel might be able to look after.

Today, however, these engineers are needed less and less. Their mechanical knowledge isn't as required when it comes to computerized aircrafts. This third pilot is often left off of planes that can fly and function with only two pilots. The future for this highly trained and skilled engineer/pilots is fading, but only just.
 
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Liberty University

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs Offered:
  • BS in Aeronautics

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$55,800
 
Median Salary:
$109,580
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$145,000

  Interests and Skills  
Flight engineers must be confident in their abilities, and work well with others. They must be level-headed, and be able to make decisions under pressure. They should enjoy flying, have good spatial perception, excellent motor skills, and good eyesight, with or without glasses. They need to have good hearing, be in good health, and, most importantly, they should have excellent mechanical abilities, which they can use in difficult and stressful situations.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Regular reviews of equipment, procedures, and safety programs
  • Check emergency systems, radios, fuel load, etc., before take off
  • Keep log of flight data
  • Monitor flight systems
  • Perform repairs, adjustments, and changes to mechanics while in-flight
  • Respond to any emergencies that arise
  • Flight engineers have many important tasks to complete every day. They are in charge of ensuring the safe travel of passengers and cargo. Each task is crucial to a successful flight. They check all mechanical aspects of the aircraft prior to the flight, and make repairs while in-flight, as well as keep accurate reports on flight progress. They don't work outdoors, and of course get to travel-but rarely do they get to do any sightseeing!

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Flight engineers spend their working hours in the air. They work in small, cramped cockpits, usually on huge cargo planes or planes full of travelers. They can fly around the world or across a state or two. They are employed by private airline companies, and fly alongside a pilot and co-pilot. They may also fly private or company jets. They often have to relocate at the beginning of their careers.
  • They spend time away from their families, and can be hard at work in evenings, on weekends, and holidays. While they are rare, they must be prepared for dangerous situations like storms, emergency landings, and crashes.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Flight engineers can work as pilots for small, charter companies, or fly with major airlines. They can fly personal jets or company planes, or become test pilots, flight instructors, or helicopter pilots. Some may choose to join the military and use their skills to deliver food, supplies, or other forms of relief aid, as well as weapons. They can stop flying, and become air traffic controllers, mechanics, or write about their experiences.
 

  Educational Paths  
Working with an aircraft can be learned either in private, civilian flying schools or in the military. Most people choose the private flight school route.

Flight engineers must be trained as pilots. The minimum licensing requirement for airline pilots is a commercial pilot's license with night endorsement, instrument flight rating, and a radio telephone (restricted) license. One can get these after many, many hours in the air, training with a recognized instructor. There are training programs offered by flying clubs and schools throughout the US. The cost varies from one organization to another, so it is important to check around.

Once that level has been achieved, the flight engineer must get some training in aircraft engineering, mechanics, or other related areas.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Liberty University

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs Offered:
  • BS in Aeronautics

 
University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside
Transforming Engineers into Leaders

If you’re seeking to elevate your technical expertise and take on leadership roles in today’s global workplace, the UC Riverside online Master of Science in Engineering can deliver the highly calibrated balance of scientific and business knowledge to help you reach your goals.

Programs Offered:
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The College of Engineering at Villanova University offers flexible, part-time, online and on campus graduate program options to meet your demanding schedule.

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ECPI University

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.

 

Programs Offered:
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Institute of Technology

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Programs Offered:
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Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.
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San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

Programs Offered:
  • Certificate - Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Degree - Industrial Maintenance Technician

 
Brightwood College

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
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