There are three different types of flight engineer jobs: systems monitoring, troubleshooting, and system maintenance. Flight engineer jobs were first created to assist the pilot and co-pilot in the operation of large planes. Their primary role was to monitor the equipment, manage the processes required and make sure that the passengers were safe and comfortable.
The role of flight engineer has been phased out with advanced computer equipment. There are very few commercial flights in North America or Europe that require the services of a flight engineer. However, this role is still found in military flights and in nations using older equipment.
System monitoring forms a major component of flight engineer jobs. In this role, the engineer is responsible for checking engine speed, air pressure, internal heat, automatic functions, air quality, and other major functions. A specialized console is used by the engineer to manage and monitor these systems.
In case of equipment problems or issues during the flight, the flight engineer is responsible for the preliminary investigation. If the problem escalates, standard procedure is for the co-pilot to take control of the plane. The pilot and flight engineer work together to resolve the issue. In this scenario, the pilot manages the process and the engineer completes the tasks necessary to try and resolve the problem.
In the pre-flight routine, one of the flight engineer's jobs is to check and maintain all primary and secondary systems. This includes a specific set of maintenance tasks and other functions designed to ensure the plane is safe.
People who report the greatest satisfaction in flight engineer jobs enjoy working with technology, problem solving, and working independently. The level of positions available vary by industry and level of eduction. It takes a minimum of three years of post-secondary education to qualify for a position in flight engineering.
Most flight engineer jobs have a broad range of career advancement opportunities available. Regardless of the industry where initial experience is obtained, all skills are transferable to other areas. The only restriction to promotion is based on working experience.
Many flight engineers completed retraining programs as part of the transition. They learned new skills and found new jobs. The vast majority stayed in the airline industry, but now work on computerized system maintenance and management teams. These roles build on the skills learned as a flight engineer.