rising
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What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:41 pm

I was having a discussion with a colleague the other day about Flight Deck crews from years past, and it got me thinking.... what ever happened to all of those FEs? Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off? Let go through attrition?

And, in regard to the position itself, were they pilots that could fly the airplane in the event of an emergency? Did you go to school to become a FE, or was it a stepping stone to becoming a First Officer/Captain?

Come to think of it, it really was not all that long ago they went away, at least on long-haul flights.
If it doesn't make sense, it's because it's not true.
 
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ssteve
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:19 pm

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Come to think of it, it really was not all that long ago they went away, at least on long-haul flights.

The 727 had 'em, too.
 
B757Forever
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:25 pm

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off?



Yes and yes. Those who held an ATP license most likely moved up, those who did not went away. A lot of airlines had PFEs (professional flight engineers) who had moved into the position from mechanic but were not licensed pilots.
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ikramerica
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:33 pm

Would some have moved into management as well? Operations? Flight planning?
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Dalmd88
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:29 pm

Most US airlines stopped hiring PFE's a long time ago. Most required the FE's to have their ATP and it was used as the new hire pilot seat. Some were also aged out pilots. FE's could fly beyond the then 60 year mandatory retirement age.
 
BMI727
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 4):
Most US airlines stopped hiring PFE's a long time ago.

As I understand it, in the early days FEs were mostly promoted mechanics before the position evolved to a pilot's position. But as flight engineers became more rare as older planes were phased out, PFEs made a bit of a comeback, partially because of age rules.
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HAWK21M
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:34 am

Most moved on to seperate responsibilities within the company......in Flt ops.....this need not be flying only...
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:39 pm

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 1):
The 727 had 'em, too.

The 727 STILL has them!  
 
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tb727
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:11 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 7):
The 727 STILL has them!  

And we are STILL hiring them! We even had a couple do their FE test and checkrides a few months back!

Occasionally we move one up from the back seat to the right seat but next year there is a new reg requiring an ATP/1500 hours to fly so some of our FE's that also putt-putt around in a 172 on the weekends don't quite have enough time when we upgrade them to the front but we are trying to get them up there now to build time to be ready.

Right now we are still kinda looking for PFE's with A&P's, I'd say about 2/3's of our guys are PFE's right now and well into their 70's so they aren't eligible for upgrade.

I've said this plenty of times before on a.net, but ever since moving into a 3 man airplane a few years ago, it's the way to go and it's too bad FE's are a dying breed and a thing of the past.
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longhauler
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:23 pm

In the 1980s with the B747s and DC-10s, Wardair had PFEs. This made sense as they used to fly to places where they did not have a lot of staff, so it was handy carrying an AME rated on the aircraft type.

With the order of the A310s, the "writing was on the wall" so when the A300Bs were leased, they did not have the PFEs, but actual pilots hired into the FE position, with the intent of moving to F/O when the FE position was eliminated. They were referred to internally as "FE2s".

With the sale of the DC-10s and the eventual replacement of the A300Bs with A310s, the FE2s moved into F/O positions, but the PFEs were left hanging. In deference to the time they put into the airline, they were offered the opportunity to move to the F/O position if they were able to achieve the licencing and experience. To their credit ... 9 made it! While most have retired, there are still a few around today flying as B767 and A320 Captains!
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bueb0g
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:18 pm

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Did they go on to be First Officers? Were they laid off? Let go through attrition?

In some airlines, such as Lufthansa, they went on to become Second Officers or Relief Pilots. I believe LH only has about 11 dedicated cruise relief pilots, and these were all ex FEs.
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airbuster
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:59 pm

KLM retrained those suitable to pilots. Others went to work as ground mechanics and some even became cabin crew!
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B777LRF
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RE: What Ever Happened To All Those Flight Engineers?

Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:11 pm

Some retired, some left to continue flying sideways elsewhere, some - the younger ones - got an ATPL with the help of the company, some got a job on the ground and some left for other reasons. But we still have a number of them nursing the panel on the trusty old B4s and 72s.
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