They are less and less to be found, but they used to be indispensable in the cockpit: flight engineers, also known as flight engineers - the "third men" - only serve on older types. But is their area of responsibility actually and what training did they have to complete?
The flight engineer is a crew member on aircraft equipped with a three-person cockpit, such as older long-haul aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Flight engineer duties may vary by aircraft type and operator, but generally include:
Systems monitoring: The flight engineer is responsible for overseeing and operating aircraft systems such as hydraulics, electrical, compressed air, fuel, air conditioning, and other systems. He ensures that all systems are working properly and that any errors or problems can be resolved quickly.
Navigation: The flight engineer also assists the flight captain and co-pilot with navigation by monitoring the aircraft's course and speed and suggesting corrections to avoid deviations from the planned route.
Communication: The flight engineer is also responsible for communicating with ground staff and other aircraft. He can monitor radio traffic and also make passenger announcements over the on-board speaker system.
Fuel management: The flight engineer also monitors the aircraft's fuel consumption and ensures that the fuel is properly distributed to maintain the aircraft's balance and avoid overloading.
In modern aircraft, flight engineer duties are usually performed by other crew members or automated by computers and systems, making the flight engineer increasingly rare as a crew member. Flight Engineers were primarily found on older, long-haul, three-man cockpit aircraft such as the Boeing 707, 727, 747, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. There are no accurate statistics on how many flight engineers work worldwide, as this position has become increasingly rare on modern commercial aircraft. As previously mentioned, Flight Engineers were mainly found on older three-man cockpit long-haul aircraft manufactured in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Education in many countries at universities
A flight engineer working on older long-haul aircraft was usually required to complete an aircraft engineer's degree. This training usually includes a degree in aerospace engineering or a related engineering discipline from a college or university. The education also includes hands-on training where students work on aircraft maintenance, repair and inspection and develop their technical skills.
After completing the training, flight engineers had to undergo special training in order to be able to work on certain types of aircraft. These training courses were offered by airlines or flight schools and included theoretical lessons as well as practical exercises in flight simulators and on real aircraft.