Flight Engineer

Flight engineers sometimes called second officers do not usually operate airplane controls but they are essential to ensuring that a flight is safe and uneventful. They inspect the plane while it is still on the ground to make sure the tires are inflated and there are no fluid leaks that mechanics need to repair prior to takeoff. Flight engineers also help the pilot and co-pilot check the instruments gauges and indicators inside the aircraft to make sure they are in working order. Flight engineers also decide how much fuel should be loaded onto the plane. During the flight the flight engineer continues to monitor everything and advises the pilot and co-pilot of any impending problems and may make minor in-flight repairs. Once the plane has landed the flight engineer checks everything to determine if any repairs are needed and records the trip in a flight log. Most flight engineers work for the major airlines because the FAA requires that large planes have them. Jobs are competitive because there are many applicants and some of the work is now being handled by computers. According to the website www.education.com flight engineers must have a high school diploma but most airlines require two years of college and preferably a four-year college degree. They must pass a physical exam to verify they have good vision and hearing and normal color perception. They are required to have a commercial pilot's license and they must also have a flight engineer's certificate from the FAA. This certificate can be earned with a two-year course in aircraft and engine maintenance or after at least three years of experience after which they must pass written and in-flight exams. Flight engineers earn a median annual salary of approximately $130000.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $130000
High Salary: $140000
Low Salary: $120000
Tasks: Inspects aircraft while it is on the ground.
Decides how much fuel should be on a flight.
Works for major airlines.
Assists with military flights.
Also Called: Second Officer
Flight Safety Officer
Pilot Advisor
Airplane Safety Engineer
Additional Resources: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos107.htm