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Do flight engineers also have to earn their pilot's license in case the pilot can't fly the plane?

I want to become a flight engineer, but I'm not sure if I want to fly a plane in the case of an emergency. Would it be the flight engineer's responsibility to fly the plane if the pilot can no longer fly it? This question was posted by a CareerVillage administrator on behalf of the students of CareerVillage. #aviation #airline-industry

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Richard’s Answer

Flight engineers are a dying breed in most airlines all over the world these days. Most air carriers all over the world have upgraded aircraft to where the engineer position is no longer needed as both pilots can handle duties formerly delegated to the engineer.
When I was hired, I was a fully qualified pilot but was given training by my carrier to become a turbojet flight engineer.
The airlines today always hire on the basis of a pilot being able to move up eventually to the Captain position. If memory serves, Pan Am and Eastern (now history) and perhaps others hired flight engineers as a permanent position with little chance to move up to a pilot seat. Many of those people were hired on their maintenance background and weren't required to hold a pilot certificate. There are likely still a few aircraft in the business world that still employ an engineer but very few. I would pursue my pilot ratings and add the engineer certificate only if you want to bolster your marketability.(a very expensive rating with few schools offering that rating training) It is not a rating airlines are looking for these days.

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Denny’s Answer

In business aviation, a “flight engineer” is basically a mechanic that travels with an aircraft when going on a long trip. Their job is to supervise the maintenance, because usually, if they aren’t licensed in the country where the issue arose, they can’t fix the airplane. Sounds silly, I know, but when we fly into another country’s airspace, we willingly submit to their rules and regulations. I can not think of a single modern business aviation aircraft that requires a third flight crew member.

Almost all commercial aircraft are two pilot setups. They may carry extra pilots on board for relief positions on long hauls, but that’s about it. The days of a sideways crew member are long gone, I’m afraid.

So chase those flying dreams!!! Go get your license! There’s a very real shortage out there, of which you could fill a need
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