timh4000
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Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:18 am

[Not sure if this is the correct forum, but for pilots with many years or retired pilots, and former engineers, do you miss those days, or glad they are gone. Btw, this is not in any way a question based on pilots abilities or amount of time hand flying. For those still driving the planes, do you feel its easier or harder with/without the engineer?
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:03 pm

Once airliners were built and certified to fly with a 2 man crew and not a FE position, then training reflected that and it was no harder to fly the 2 pilot aircraft or no easier as far as that goes. The major changes I remember was now the FO did the walkarounds, augmented crews came about (2 pilots and FE aircraft could fly 12 hours with no augmentation), and having a drink at the bar on a layover was just more quiet and lonely.
Edit: Having 2 more eyeballs when going in and out of airports was a definite plus, but later on TCAS and more stringent airspace rules around airports helped lessen that anxiety.
 
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tb727
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:14 pm

I for one miss my FE. 3 sets of eyes are better than 2 and the further away from the instrument panel you are, the smarter you get lol.

I also thought it was a lot easier working on problems. One guy flew, typically the FO, while the Captain and the FE would work on the problem.

It was also nice to split up jobs when loading freight. One guy could do the paperwork, one the weight and balance and the other would be back telling the loaders what to do and keep an eye on the strapping. My airline kind of wanted the FE to do all that, not when I was Captain though. We all divided the jobs up to who was best at what and got it done.

Just yesterday I had another Captain jumpseating on the 321 I was flying and it was just nice knowing there was someone else there. We had a medical emergency that ended up being minor but just having that extra set of eyes up front while I made some phone patches over the radio eased my workload.
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fr8mech
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:41 am

Meaning no insult, but the FE, at least those without front seat aspirations, were much more knowledgeable about aircraft systems. He, and the occasional she, would typically provide very detailed and concise write-ups when the aircraft was doing something strange.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:09 am

fr8mech wrote:
Meaning no insult, but the FE, at least those without front seat aspirations, were much more knowledgeable about aircraft systems. He, and the occasional she, would typically provide very detailed and concise write-ups when the aircraft was doing something strange.


Of course.

The engineer was "replaced" by advanced aircraft systems such as ECAM and EICAS, which tell pilots concisely what is going on. Another aspect is telemetry. Engineering for most large operations is only a satcom call away and they can diagnose many things in real time while we are airborne.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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CCA
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:48 am

Loved flying with professional flight engineers, I've even got a reasonably large photo of the 747 FE panel on my wall reminding me of those good times when one was required to look back and cross check certain aspects of the panel with the FE.
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fr8mech
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:17 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Of course.

The engineer was "replaced" by advanced aircraft systems such as ECAM and EICAS, which tell pilots concisely what is going on. Another aspect is telemetry. Engineering for most large operations is only a satcom call away and they can diagnose many things in real time while we are airborne.


Agreed, but telemetry has taken us down a rabbit hole many times. And, some aircraft, and operators, are better at it than others. I can diagnose a B767 bleed problem with astounding accuracy from the telemetry. In fact, we can see a problem coming before the flight crew does. Not so much so on the A300, while the MD11 lays somewhere in between.

In just about all cases, all we’d get from the flight crew would be something along the lines of “BLEED light illuminated, with zero or low pressure”. In the days if the PFE, we may have gotten a lot more parameters and conditions that would help us narrow the problem down quicker.

Big fan of telemetry...I use it all the time at work, and has increased our reliability and reduce MEL span time. Sometimes, a systems knowledgeable person cuts through the chaff.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
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You are not entitled to a public safe space.
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BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:38 pm

Thought the additional set of eyes, and ears were great. As others have noted, the view from 3 feet behind the pilots was always informative and educational. Sometimes it could hilarious as well. Great place to start your airline career as long as it didn't last for more than a few years.
 
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tb727
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:45 am

The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:52 am

tb727 wrote:
The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.


:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

"Wherever you like, Captain"
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:39 am

tb727 wrote:
The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.


In a 3 man cockpit, you could always deny, deny on the question "who farted". That fell apart with the 2 man cockpit.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:03 am

RetiredWeasel wrote:
tb727 wrote:
The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.


In a 3 man cockpit, you could always deny, deny on the question "who farted". That fell apart with the 2 man cockpit.



As long as you use the correct callouts...

"Beaver loose!"
"Roger beaver!"
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
timh4000
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:44 am

Were the FE's pilots as well, or at least could take over a front seat if needed? Or were they just the technical guys who knew everything the plane was doing?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:35 pm

Depends on the carrier and the contract. After the 1962 FEIA strike nearly all engineers were pilots except some lines grandfathered the old ones
 
BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:22 pm

You can look up the Feinzinger Report and read how this debacle came to its final conclusion.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:26 pm

tb727 wrote:
The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.


With 3 people, you could have a majority vote, though.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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tb727
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:50 pm

vikkyvik wrote:
tb727 wrote:
The worst part about having an FE though is that it was one more person that couldn't make a decision on where we were going to go eat.


With 3 people, you could have a majority vote, though.


"I don't care" or some variation of that always had 3 votes :lol:
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Apprentice
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:54 am

BravoOne wrote:
You can look up the Feinzinger Report and read how this debacle came to its final conclusion.



Bravo one, Good Morning, I was unable to Google “Feinzinger Report” , any help please?

Appreciate
“An4; IL18; IL6; Tu5; D10; MD11; MD83; B32; B34: B37; B744; B748; B752; B763; B772; B773; B77W; A320; A332; A333; A342; A343.
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747classic
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:28 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Depends on the carrier and the contract. After the 1962 FEIA strike nearly all engineers were pilots except some lines grandfathered the old ones


This maybe valid in the US, in the rest of the world most major airlines had dedicated, professional engineers.
On many airlines these professional F/E's also held a (limited) ground engineer licence and some were loadmaster certified (freighters).
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:12 pm

Apprentice wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
You can look up the Feinzinger Report and read how this debacle came to its final conclusion.



Bravo one, Good Morning, I was unable to Google “Feinzinger Report” , any help please?

Appreciate



This will lead you to other references as well.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... RbuUIwqtvw
 
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longhauler
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:00 pm

When I started in the airline business, (far too long ago), the airline for which I flew had non-pilot PFEs in the third seat of a three man airplane. 747-100/200s, DC-10s and A300s. The 707s and 727 had been retired when I was hired. Further, they were also AMEs rated on the type as well. We carried a Fly Away Kit in one of the cargo hold containers, so just about anything we encountered when away ... they could handle!

It was a pleasure having them in the cockpit.

During the mid to late 1980s, with the order of the A310s, the writing was on the wall for the PFEs. The airline no longer trained/hired PFEs and hired pilots and placed them in the third seat instead. Only on the A300s, we called them FE2s. Eventually, they became F/Os then Captains. They were pilots with thousands of hours and an ATPL.

The non-pilot PFEs though, were offered an amazing deal. If, on their own time, they achieved the ratings, the airline would give them a shot at the F/O position. I can't imagine how tough that would be, but ... about 6 or 7 took the offer and made it! A couple very recently retired as 777 Captains!
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:40 pm

EAL did the same for the ex-FEIA PFEs—get the commercial, IR and ME and on the pilot list. I flew with one who was an artist in the 727. Great guy, too.

Yes, I was aware of PFEs being the majority outside the US.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:37 pm

I believe all the major US airlines were committed to providing Comm, Instrument rating to their PFE's at company expense. The FE to Comm took about 90 days at an approved school, after which they went back to their airline training departments and got a few hours as F/O in the their respective sims. I seem to recall the TWA & Pan Am FE's getting landings in the airplane as well before returning back to their respective FE duties. Some of these FE's adapted well to this program while others fought it to the end. The younger guys eventually moved up to F/O and in some cases Captain. This was not a perfect solution, but it beat the alternative.

The airline I worked for fired all their professional FE's. Those that crossed the line were allowed to stay on, eventually making their way to the left seat.
 
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akoma
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:15 pm

longhauler wrote:
When I started in the airline business, (far too long ago), the airline for which I flew had non-pilot PFEs in the third seat of a three man airplane. 747-100/200s, DC-10s and A300s. The 707s and 727 had been retired when I was hired. Further, they were also AMEs rated on the type as well. We carried a Fly Away Kit in one of the cargo hold containers, so just about anything we encountered when away ... they could handle!

It was a pleasure having them in the cockpit.

During the mid to late 1980s, with the order of the A310s, the writing was on the wall for the PFEs. The airline no longer trained/hired PFEs and hired pilots and placed them in the third seat instead. Only on the A300s, we called them FE2s. Eventually, they became F/Os then Captains. They were pilots with thousands of hours and an ATPL.

The non-pilot PFEs though, were offered an amazing deal. If, on their own time, they achieved the ratings, the airline would give them a shot at the F/O position. I can't imagine how tough that would be, but ... about 6 or 7 took the offer and made it! A couple very recently retired as 777 Captains!



This place sounds all too familiar, except that we did not have 747-100s. Oh, the FAK is still present in most of the planes today.
 
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longhauler
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:48 pm

akoma wrote:
This place sounds all too familiar, except that we did not have 747-100s. Oh, the FAK is still present in most of the planes today.

Sadly, the airline has long since gone. Wardair.
We merged into Canadian Airlines in 1989, then Air Canada in 1999.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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tb727
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:59 pm

Oh man, the PFE's and the FAK. We had some ancient guys on the panel. Most were sadly working in their 70's because they had to. Some did it for fun though. Either way we had BOXES of oil in the belly for the stalwart JT8D's that you really only started to worry about when they stopped leaking oil. We had some ladders as well for servicing the engines. There was all kinds of stuff down there.

On a few occasions before we were put on our 1 in 7's if we were stuck away from base, the PFE's would be able to do a weekly maintenance check for something like $125(or maybe it was $200)it's getting fuzzy for an hour or so worth of work. Either way they wanted to make an easy buck and sometimes all 3 of us would go tiger team it and get it done. It beat sitting in a hotel room on a nice day. Why not go work on a dinosaur in the sun and take in the sites of ELP or LRD. We also wanted to get out there to cut the 75 year old off before he climbed up the ladder to dump 8 cans of oil in each motor, it was just better for him to watch us do it from the ground and tell us what we needed to do for him.
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BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:42 pm

longhauler wrote:
akoma wrote:
This place sounds all too familiar, except that we did not have 747-100s. Oh, the FAK is still present in most of the planes today.

Sadly, the airline has long since gone. Wardair.
We merged into Canadian Airlines in 1989, then Air Canada in 1999.


Wardair was great and the FA's were very attractive. Use to hang around with on HNL layovers.
 
greendot
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:57 pm

I'm glad those days are gone. Sure, it's nice to have another person in the cockpit, but we tend to remember only the good things. Back in those days, you didn't have sophisticated monitoring systems. You had to check systems over and over again religiously because of the lack of monitoring systems. Also, computer systems were non-existent meaning that you had to visualize systems in your head and try to understand what problem really exists. Training wasn't any simpler because you had a FE. You still had to know everything that a FE knows and your training would require it. With modern systems, much of the day to day knowledge has been reduced (e.g. oil pressure limits). Now you can focus on the bigger picture. So, having an FE wouldn't make it easier, it would just add another layer. Removal of the FE has forced systems to be more simplified. QRHs have become far more sophisticated as have airline training/job aids. Much of that stuff you had to commit to memory is now put into paper brains in a far more effective manner that reduces the overall knowledge requirement. Although systems are more complex now, and although there is technically more to know, modern operations have done a better job of shifting encyclopedic knowledge to a QRH or flight manual, easily referenced electronically. Lastly, FEs are one more moving part and mode of failure. I once flew an airplane with both a FE and Navigator and it was like flying a submarine. "Flank speed ahead", "Aye Aye, flank speed ahead", "Set MCT for flank speed ahead". Could you imagine flying a modern RNAV STAR with a runway change on 10 mile final going through a complex cockpit teamwork scenario? No thanks. I've lived in both worlds and the new world is much, much better.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Engineers, miss it or glad those days are gone.

Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:30 pm

greendot wrote:
I'm glad those days are gone. Sure, it's nice to have another person in the cockpit, but we tend to remember only the good things. Back in those days, you didn't have sophisticated monitoring systems. You had to check systems over and over again religiously because of the lack of monitoring systems. Also, computer systems were non-existent meaning that you had to visualize systems in your head and try to understand what problem really exists. Training wasn't any simpler because you had a FE. You still had to know everything that a FE knows and your training would require it. With modern systems, much of the day to day knowledge has been reduced (e.g. oil pressure limits). Now you can focus on the bigger picture. So, having an FE wouldn't make it easier, it would just add another layer. Removal of the FE has forced systems to be more simplified. QRHs have become far more sophisticated as have airline training/job aids. Much of that stuff you had to commit to memory is now put into paper brains in a far more effective manner that reduces the overall knowledge requirement. Although systems are more complex now, and although there is technically more to know, modern operations have done a better job of shifting encyclopedic knowledge to a QRH or flight manual, easily referenced electronically. Lastly, FEs are one more moving part and mode of failure. I once flew an airplane with both a FE and Navigator and it was like flying a submarine. "Flank speed ahead", "Aye Aye, flank speed ahead", "Set MCT for flank speed ahead". Could you imagine flying a modern RNAV STAR with a runway change on 10 mile final going through a complex cockpit teamwork scenario? No thanks. I've lived in both worlds and the new world is much, much better.


Hilarious!

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