Flight engineers play an important role in the safe transport of passengers and cargo. Flight engineers monitor electronic equipment and instruments that track the mechanical health of the aeroplane. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for flight engineers and pilots is expected to increase by 12 per cent from 2008 to 2018. The bureau also notes that the median salary for flight engineers was £72,592 as of May 2008. Flight engineers must undergo extensive training due to the important and dangerous nature of their job.
To work as a flight engineer, you must typically obtain a minimum of an associate degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that most airlines now require a minimum of two years of college and that many are moving toward making a college degree the standard minimum qualification. A common path to a career in this field is a degree program in aviation technology. Typical courses include areas of study such as electrical systems in aircraft, aviation communications and navigation and aviation and aerospace science.
Flight engineers typically obtain hands-on training as part of their education en route to obtaining their flight engineering credentials. Some of that additional training is obtained through flight training. Flight training can be obtained as part of an undergraduate education like the program offered at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Would-be flight engineers can complete their classroom training while gaining flight experience outside of the school by taking FAA-approved flight training courses and gaining the necessary clock hours of flight training.
Flight engineers typically need some level of practical training before they will be hired by an airline. One way to do this is to complete an internship with an airline. An internship will require a combination of classroom experience and in-flight training. For instance, the internship offered by Phoenix East Aviation, Inc. in Daytona Beach allows you to work as a paid member of an airline crew for approximately one-year and gain about 500 hours of additional experience before moving up to greater positions of responsibility and assuming a full-time permanent role with the airline.
Testing and Certifications
Flight engineers typically need to pass a practical knowledge exam and written engineering knowledge exam in order to obtain their license. You must be at least 19 years old in order to qualify to take the practical knowledge test. Flight engineers must posses their commercial pilot's license and must also pass a medical exam to obtain a second-class medical certificate. The exam is conducted by an FAA approved medical professional.