As the second member of a three-person crew, the flight engineer is responsible for monitoring and assisting the pilot during their flights. They also perform maintenance on the aircraft and help with any in-flight repairs.
The average salary for a flight engineer is $98,272 a year in the United States. This is a high salary and can be increased by taking on more senior roles, gaining an advanced degree, or changing employers.
Qualifications for this career include a flight engineer certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and an FAA commercial pilot's license. Typically, training to become a flight engineer takes about four weeks.
During their training, flight engineers learn the ins and outs of each system in an aircraft. They are then able to use that knowledge to determine how to fix malfunctioning equipment.
They are also trained to help the pilot handle emergency situations in a way that keeps both the aircraft and the passengers safe. When an issue arises, the flight engineer must remain calm and work to find solutions that are accurate and practical.
The flight engineer must have excellent physical capabilities and cannot have any health conditions that may worsen when flying at higher altitudes. They are also required to lift heavy machinery and components throughout their workday.
Once they have completed their training, flight engineers are assigned to a crew base and schedule according to their seniority within the company. Usually the more senior the crew, the better the assignment.