The engineers responsibility is to arrive at least one hour before the flight departs. He must familiarize himself with any DMI's (Defered Maintenance Items), or in laymans terms inop equipment that may affect the airworthiness and legality of the aircraft to be flown.
He will then get a copy of the flight plan and familiarize himself with the weather, and fuel required for the flight.
Performance calculations such as stabilizer settings, V1 VR V2 takeoff speeds, and engine takeoff power settings for the altitude and temperature will be calculated.
Then he will head out to the plane and perform his preflight which begins in the cockpit with things such as hydraulics, fuel system, anti-ice, fire detection-suppression, autopilot, and radar system checks.
The walkaround is self explanatory and is performed next.
Once back in the cockpit he will meet up with the captain and avise him of any problems that were encountered. If none are found then the thumbs up are given and were ready to run the before start checklist below the line.
At engine start it is the responsibility of the engineer to monitor the start up and make sure the engines parameters are not exceeded such as a hotstart, hung start, or rapidly rising EGT. It is also his responsibility to shut down the engine via the fire control handle should the start valve fail to close resulting in starter disintigration.
Once the engines are started the engineer goes from external power to ships power and check the operation of the electrical system and it's back up systems should a generator fail and leave it's perspective bus unpowered. In a DC8 the preferential system will assign that bus to another generator. This operation is checked. The fuel system is then setup for takeoff.
The after start checklist and all thereafter are performed by the engineer.
On the way to the runway the taxi/takeoff checklist is read to the line and flight controls are checked. All systems and annunciator lights are then scanned again to make sure everything is still operating correctly.
Upon entering the runway the checklist is completed below the line and we line up. On the TO roll it is the engineers responsibility to monitor the engines andmake sure the N1, N2, EGT limits are not exceeded. If they are the engineer pulls back the appropriate power lever (not throttle) till it is within limits.
Once reching 1000 feet the flying pilot will ask for climb power. It is the engineers responsibility to pull the power back to climb EPR's and trim the power every few thousand feet. He will turn on the bleeds and begin pressurizing the cabin.
At 10,000 feet the departure message will be called in over the radio to operations, and the engineer will begin to make a cruise performance card with engine settings, and fuel burn predictions from the perfarmance charts.
At cruise altitude he will setthe cruise power and monitor all the systems for normal operation.
He will monitor fuel consumption and compare it to planned fuel burn on the flight plan at every waypoint.
Upon descent the engineer prepares a landing card with flap manouvering speeds, and go around power settings should the plane need to abort the landing. Again monitoring the systems.
Upon landing the engineer sets flaps 50, and calls out #of engines in revese as the reverse lights light up andcalls spoilers deployed. Upon reaching 80 knots The crew will begin using wheel brakes, and he must call out "brake pressure normal" if it is. No surprises.
The engineer will then start calculating fuel remaining, and plan for a fuel upload for the return trip.
The engineer is requred to have a second class medical and be either a commercial pilot, or an A&P. Pilots are eligable for upgrade while the A&P is a proffesional engineer, and is able to perform maintenance and sign off the aircaft logbook on all work performed when not at a base. Some ailines hire only proffesional A&P's and some only hire pilot engineers that will upgrade.
There is no age limitation for engineers.
The job prospects look great for engineers. The planes requiring engineers aren't dissapearing. there just changing owners. All those L1011's, DC10's and 747's begining there second lives with smaller operators all need engineers to fly.