Career as a Flight Engineer
About Flight Engineer
If you are thinking about a career in aviation, but wish to do something a little different, then, you can opt for a career as a flight engineer. Flight engineers are often third in command of an aircraft, after the captain and first officer. They focus on monitoring mechanical systems and the engine during flight. If you wish to make your career as a flight engineer, then, you should be at top level of physical fitness, have an ability to work under pressure and make decisions quickly, and should have a capacity to lead and work as part of a team.
The job of a flight engineer is primarily concerned with the operation and monitoring of all aircraft systems, as well as engines and fuel management. They control the aircraft’s air conditioning, cabin airflow, engine power and main electrical system, carry out a thorough inspection of the plane once it has landed, ensure that all components are functioning properly and also fly the aircraft if needed.
Eligibility to become Flight Engineer
In order to become a flight engineer, one must demonstrate acute knowledge in electrical, communication, mechanical and the pneumatic fields, and develop a good understanding of flight theory, flight maintenance and other equipment within the aircraft. To start a career as a flight engineer, one must at least have two years of college education. Apart from that, physical exams are administered before applicants are hired as a flight engineer, therefore one must have good vision and hearing, and normal colour perception.
Following are the academic qualifications required for being a flight engineer:
Subject Combination – Science Stream (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) in class 12th.
Exam – All India AME Entrance Examination (AIAEE)
- To become a flight engineer, one should have completed class 12 with science (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) from a recognized board with at least 60% marks in aggregate.
After completing class 12, one must have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical, Electrical or Aeronautical Engineering from a recognised university with minimum 60% marks in aggregate. If a candidate does not have an engineering degree, then he/she should have a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics or Physics with 60% marks in aggregate. Also, for doing graduation, aspirants need to qualify an entrance test conducted by the concerned university.
- One should also need to obtain flight engineer certificate from any recognized aviation institute and pass the required medical test for checking eyesight and health-related problems. To qualify for this certificate, one must be 21 years of age and must have completed two-year courses in aircraft and engine maintenance or have three or more years of experience in this area of aviation.
- Candidates opting for this career will also have to pass the in-flight exams to assess their ability to execute normal and emergency tasks.
Types of Job Roles Flight Engineer
A flight engineer is a highly trained professional whose responsibilities would be both on the ground and on the aircraft. Although, with the rumours of computerised flights gaining momentum, the demand for flight engineers might seem dwindling, however, flight engineers will still be in need for the pre-flight and post-flight inspections. Also, as a flight engineer, one won't necessarily fly an aircraft, but one can use his/her experience to go on to become a pilot. Some of the job profiles that a flight engineer can opt for are mentioned below:
Air Traffic Controller: Air traffic controllers monitor and direct aircraft traffic in the air. They are responsible for managing all communications with the pilots and providing assistance in the event of an emergency.
Aircraft Manufacturing Engineer: He/she is responsible for instilling and developing different types of manufacturing systems for a certain type of aircraft, developing maintenance programs, and meeting production quotas.
Aircraft Electrical Installer/ Technician: He/she perform tests, troubleshoot equipment and systems, and develop/ modifying electric components. They typically work in an engineering department.
Aviation Maintenance Technician: Aviation maintenance technician has to comply with certain standards and perform various safety checks. These technicians are responsible for checking and preparing electric and mechanical components of an aircraft.
Airline Pilot: Airline pilots work their way through the system as a Captain, First Officer, and Flight Engineer. They know how to operate their aircraft and follow strict safety protocol.
Airport Operations Manager: Airport operations manager develops and enforce rules and regulations for the property, manage budgets, and train employees. He/she oversees all aspects of business management, economics, public relations, and personnel management.
Employment Opportunities for Flight Engineer
Career as a flight engineer offers many employment opportunities. Depending on one's qualification and experience in this field, one will have an opportunity to grow as a flight engineer. Flight engineers also have an opportunity to become pilots or co-pilots by obtaining the various licenses required for these positions. Some of the top sectors that require a flight engineer are listed below:
- Government organizations
- Commercial airlines
- Private manufacturing companies
- Military field
Top Recruiting Airlines for Flight Engineer
Listed below are some of the top recruiting airlines/companies where a flight engineer can find employment opportunities:
- Air India
- Jet Airways
- Flying clubs
- Hindustan aeronautics limited
- Air India Express
- AirAsia India
- Pawan Hans
Pay Scale/Salary of Flight Engineer
Salaries in aviation industry vary widely with higher-paying jobs available in the engineering and manufacturing sector. The salary of flight engineers usually increases with experience in this particular field.
Following are some relative salary figures for different job profiles of flight engineers:
Starting Salary per annum (in INR)
Mid Level Salary per annum (in INR)
Senior Level Salary per annum (INR)
Aviation Maintenance Technician
Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer
Note: The above figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.
Books & Study Material to Become Flight Engineer
A flight engineer is a career that requires practical hands-on experience. However, one should be aware of best books and reference material that can serve as a guide for a making a career as a flight engineer.
Few of the best books for a flight engineer are listed below:
- Flight Engineer Test Prep by ASA Test Prep Board
- Flight Engineer Training: Aircraft Performance by United States Air Force
Pros of becoming a Flight Engineer
- The salary and benefits of flight engineers are pretty decent.
- Flight engineers enjoy high job satisfaction, along with a feeling of accomplishment.
Cons of becoming a Flight Engineer
- For this profession, there are no fixed working hours. You will have to work long hours on long-haul flights and you can expect to work on any day of the year (including weekends, late nights and public holidays).
- The job comes with many health hazards that include jet lag, depression, radiation exposure and increased cancer risk.