If you dreamt of flying like a bird when you were a little kid then a career as a flight engineer is waiting around the corner for you. A flight engineer is a preferable degree whether you are looking for a career in the armed forces or in the commercial arena. A flight engineer is a highly trained professional whose responsibilities would be both on the ground and, while aboard, on the aircraft. The road to becoming a flight engineer is not easy and a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical/mechanical/electrical engineering is the first step that you ought to be looking at. Flight engineers should also be license-holders accredited by national aviation institutes. Since a flight engineer accompanies the flight crew as a member of the cabin crew, having a pilot’s license could be always an added advantage to the career profile. Read the following section to learn more about becoming a successful flight engineer.
Becoming A Flight Engineer
A Bachelor’s degree in engineering (specializations include Mechanical, Electrical or Aeronautical) or in subjects like mathematics or Physics is mandatory. Flight Engineer Certificate from a reputed aviation institute is also obligatory and passing the medical test is crucial. The medical test checks an individual’s fitness levels for various health related problems and also the eyesight. Obviously, a fear of heights is not entertained in a profession like Flight Engineer.
Clearing the flight engineer knowledge test and completing the two-year course in engine and aircraft maintenance is a good idea if you are aiming to become a flight engineer. Clearing written examinations that cover flight theories, aircraft performances, weather effects and related subjects is a must to get a required licence in this field. These tests check your ability to execute normal and emergency tasks and can give your resume an added advantage.
Demonstrating acute knowledge in electrical, mechanical and the other related fields and having a strong passion for numbers and problems is a compulsory requirement.
Crucial expertise in hydraulics and machinery systems within the aircraft and a good understanding of flight theory, flight maintenance etc is another major skill you can’t afford to ignore.
The ability to understand and interpret diagrams, charts, publications and flight journals is highly preferred.
Like in all other jobs, the ability to work under pressure, determination, dedication, hard work and perseverance is also important here.
Roles And Responsibilities
Flight engineers are responsible for checking the aircraft to make sure that the engine, instruments and all controls are in perfect working condition before the flight takes off.
They also make sure that all the baggage or cargo has been loaded correctly.
They confer with the flight dispatcher and aviation weather forecaster to check up on the weather conditions. Based on this information they plan the route, altitude and speed for the aircraft en route.
The flight engineer also assists the pilot during the journey with the company, air traffic control and the cabin crew. The engine speed of the aircraft is maintained according to the instructions of the pilot. Also, the monitoring of control panels to verify aircraft performance is also a part of the roles and responsibility of a flight engineer.
In case of emergencies, they make in-flight repairs such as replacing fuses, adjusting instruments and even fixing jammed flight control cables with the help of using hand tools. A flight engineer is required to take emergency measures to compensate for equipment failure and also report the required repairs to the maintenance department.
Thus, as you can see, from pre-flight to post-flight inspection to even maintaining the right balance and altitude during the flight and checking up on the fuel level, the job of a flight engineer is certainly not easy and not something to be taken lightly.
Although, with the rumours of computerised flights gaining momentum and the older planes being replaced with the newer ones, the demand for flight engineers might seem dwindling but the fact is that they will still be required for the pre flight and post flight inspections. Depending upon their interests, flight engineers can become pilots or co-pilots and even flight instructors as they generally have the required qualifications and experience. Only obtaining the license to fly from the reputed institute and the requisite amount of flight hours would be the possible hurdle which they can easily crack. In the armed forces, the army or the navy and obviously the air force, a flight engineer has endless prospects and tremendous chances of growth.
The mental stress of being exposed to constant danger and the risk of losing one’s life makes this job commendable and appreciable!