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jetjack74
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The Professional Flight Engineer

Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:15 pm

FEs for US carriers were rated pilots(at least in my lifetime when I began my career at NWA). But FEs for foreign carriers were a separate job classification, if I understand it correctly. Was that always the case for US carriers or were FEs in the US PFEs only and later the requirement came that the FE become a rated pilot or were they always rated pilots?
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flymia
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:04 pm

I think it was a mix. Certainly there was a time in the U.S. where there are some Professional FE's even though IIRC they still needed some type of pilot rating. But as two cockpit crews became more popular I think the airlines realized that it was best to bring in new hires and some of them would be ATP rated pilots but sit FE. So many current AA UA and DL captains, and even some FOs started out at those airlines in say the 727 FE seat.

Also, others could be retired pilots but still wanted to fly. IIRC the FE on TWA-800 was over 60 years old, but FE did not have the same mandatory retirement rule.
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tb727
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:04 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 1):
FE did not have the same mandatory retirement rule.

As long as they can hold a Class 2 medical. I flew with lots of FE's in their 70's in recent years. Some were PFE's, most of whom had an A&P license, some were younger guys that moved into the right seat and started flying the plane and some were just FE's that got into it late in life and wanted to do it. Kinda crazy. We had an old retired EA guy in his late 70's that had flown the plane in all 3 seats that was a great guy and had a wealth of knowledge, he wasn't a back seat driver either!

The PFE's were in their 50's and 60's and had either been in the military or flown all over the world on A300's, DC-8's, 747's and DC-10's. They had great stories and had been on a long and winding road through many carriers in their career. It was a pleasure and an honor to share the skies with those guys, it bettered my career being able to spend the time I did with them for 5 years. I miss them every day.
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charlienorth
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:03 am

When the flight engineers became a requirement most U.S. airlines made this a position as a promotion from mechanic, in the late 50's it became a jurisdictional dispute about having 2 different unions in the cockpit, some airlines used it for new hire pilots and never had a dispute but as jets were being ordered the dispute kicked into gear at airlines that had mechanic/flight engineers, tehere were quite a few strikes and it went to eventual arbitration...some airlines stuck with PFE's (National) others kept their PFE's but made the seat for new hire pilots (AA) The rest followed the arbitrator, which required the FE's to qualify as pilots,at company expense and go on the pilot seniority list, go back to mechanic at your original hire date, or leave the company with severance, I knew NWA pilots that bristled at the term "flight engineer" they would say "second officer,we have no flight engineers"
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L-188
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:50 am

Quoting Jetjack74 (Thread starter):
Was that always the case for US carriers or were FEs in the US PFEs only and later the requirement came that the FE become a rated pilot or were they always rated pilots?

A lot of charter operators that operated aircraft away from their own facilities prefered to have A&P's with the FE license rather than pilots with FE licenses. The former had a shot a possibly fixing a mechanical issue at a remote location.

That being said I worked for a company that had a number of F'E's who after reaching the then retirement age of 60 switched to flying as FE since the age rule didn't apply to those that sit sideways in the cockpit.
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FoxHunter
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:45 pm

There has never been a FAA requirement that a FE be a certified pilot. The rule was a union issue. When jets arrived ALPA demanded three pilots in every jet cockpit. The PFEs were represented by another Union FEIA. The rule played havoc with the B737 because all ALPA carriers required 3 pilots. Wien Alaska suffered a very nasty strike over the issue. The pilots at American left ALPA over the issue. EAL locked their PFEs out, offered the striking FEs a position on the pilot seniority list if they crossed the picket line and EAL paid for their FAA Commercial and Instrument.
 
BravoOne
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:18 pm

Quoting FoxHunter (Reply 5):
The pilots at American left ALPA over the issue
Quoting FoxHunter (Reply 5):
The pilots at American left ALPA over the issue

The American pilots were long gone from ALPA prior to this event and while it did impact them, their absence from ALPA was a prior series of events.
 
FoxHunter
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:39 pm

BravoOne, I would suggest you check your history. APA was established in 1963. ALPA had refused to sign the contract they had negotiated. The EAL FEs were locked out for a strike in 1962. I have no idea what event you are talking about. What year is the event you are referring to?
 
FoxHunter
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:06 am

From the book "Flying the Line"


Ironically, the AAL split of 1963 came just when the crew complement policy was all but settled industrywide. Put simply, the AAL negotiating com­ mittee lost its nerve and succumbed to management blandishments. A further irony is that the committee did so in the name of “saving our old friends, the professional flight engineers, and a fraternal union, the FEIA.” But once the AAL group had bolted, they essentially turned their backs on FEIA, and AAL’s management hired only pilots as flight engineers. In return, management of­ fered the AAL negotiating committee a “sweetheart” contract as a reward.
How was the AAL negotiating committee able to “run away” on crew complement and sign a contract that was in total violation of a policy that ALPA had risked bankruptcy to uphold? The first reason was timing; the second reason was conspiracy.
Almost at the same time that Clancy Sayen announced his intention to resign in 1961, the AAL negotiating committee secretly decided to disregard ALPA crew complement policy. In a transitionary time, with the prolonged Southern Airways (SOU) strike still unsettled and the relations between Sayen and the AAL group strained generally, it is not surprising that nobody would be watching the shop carefully. But, in addition, a staff member allegedly assisted the AAL negotiators’ deception of ALPA’s national officers. Some­ time during his detached service, this staff member ceased informing ALPA headquarters of the course that AAL negotiators were taking on crew comple­ ment. In November 1962, as the dimensions of the AAL group’s breach with ALPA policy became clear, the Executive Committee directed Ruby to fire the staff member forthwith. (He later went on the Allied Pilots Association [APA] payroll.)
As we have seen, Charley Ruby came to office in July 1962 with no real understanding of the advanced state of the betrayal being perpetrated by the AAL negotiators. “I had only a very skimpy knowledge of the thing,” says Ruby, “but the American MEC spelled it out to me pretty quickly. My only rejoinder was that if every airline member of the Association had the same philosophy, we would be split up into separate airline representations, none of which would have muscle. I told them they’d either have to learn to live with a unified effort or suffer the consequences, and that my job was to en­ force ALPA policy.”
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:08 am

Slightly OT, but why didn't the early 2 engine aircraft like the DC9 and 737 have F/E positions? Does it depend on the weight of the aircraft or complexity with the extra engines?
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FoxHunter
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:59 am

The B-737 did have a FE. It was not a FAA requirement, it was a union requirement. I believe the reason the DC-9 did not have the union requirement was the weight of the aircraft. Recip powered aircraft over 84,000 lbs MGW required a FE FAR 121. The DC6 only required a FE when operating 121. UAL took delivery of their 737s in 1969-1970 only to discover ALPA required a FE. When the first DC9s I believe they were under 84,000 lbs and as the weight and length increased the were governed by the original weight on the type certificate. Remember this was a union rule, not a FAA rule.
 
BravoOne
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:37 pm

FOX HUNTER,

You may be correct as I was under the impression that AA had pulled out of ALPA much earlier due to the dispute in regards over 8 hours flight time (domestic), when they started flying the DC7's coast to coast non-stop. I thought they had left ALPA in the late fifties.
 
AAR90
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:48 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 11):
You may be correct as I was under the impression that AA had pulled out of ALPA much earlier due to the dispute in regards over 8 hours flight time (domestic), when they started flying the DC7's coast to coast non-stop. I thought they had left ALPA in the late fifties.

1963, but the disputes between ALPA National HDQ and AA-ALPA was ongoing with increasing friction since early 1950's. "Flying The Line" is but one perspective of what happened. "The History Of APA, Why We Left ALPA In The First Place" provides the other side of the story.

As usual, the truth is somewhere in between these two extreme storytelling versions. Having grown up a "Pan Am Brat" I can attest that the "Flying The Line" version of events at Pan Am is not how Pan Am employees view things. As a long-time AA pilot, I can attest the same is true concerning American Airlines.
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BravoOne
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:41 pm

Agree. After spending a little time at Pan Am in the 60's it was not uncommon to have two FE's and as many as four pilots on trip that was long by those days standards, but nothing like today's ULH. Things were bound to change.

My earlier post regarding APA break away from ALPA was in reference to UAL and AA' transcons in the DC7, This was the first flight times that exceeded 8 hours by a wide margin and the AA pilots did not want to loose any market advantage they had over UAL by adding more crews to the flight deck. Or, at least that't the way I understood it. Maybe your history can shed some light on that?
 
AAR90
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:30 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 13):
Maybe your history can shed some light on that?

From: "The History Of APA, Why We Left ALPA In The First Place"....

Quote:
The 1953 contract negotiations on AAL headed by Wylie Drummond, as Chairman of the Committee, secured improvements for copilots. They were tied directly to first pilot pay in all respects, by a fixed percentage. This would make future negotiations easier. The Company could no longer play one group against the other. There were improvements for all pilots in working conditions and benefits; pay for all exceeded industry standards.

1954 brought another crisis down on AAL. We had the DC-7 nonstop coast-to-coast flight which could not be flown westbound under eight hours. The eight hour rule stemmed back to 1931. The Company was flagrantly violating the rule, as did TWA and UAL. When American and the industry attempted to get the rules changed in Washington and continued to operate the trips over eight hours with no consideration of the pilot concern over violation of long-standing rules, the pilots revolted. Although all three airlines took strike votes, it was scheduled only on American. The strike started on August 1. AAL pilots were rock solid. This was the first strike on AAL and we lost it. The Company brought actions in court against ALPA. There was the weak link. The strike was terminated by Headquarters on August 21, which led to the submission to the Neutral, David Cole, of the issues raised in this controversy. Reference his Interim Report and Preliminary Recommendations of October 25, 1954:

1. For all flight hours scheduled in excess of eight, the pilots be given a credit for all purposes as to both pay and flight time, of twice the amount of these excess hours;
2. That an additional pilot be assigned to such flights qualified to relieve part of the time the captain, the copilot, and the flight engineer.

These were listed as two of the possible terms or conditions to be applied to the nonstop flights scheduled in excess of eight hours. Neither one of these recommendations were included in the settlement. Only the time over eight hours was paid on the basis of $1.50 an hour for first pilots and $1.00 an hour for copilots. One and one half pay for overtime versus the two for one recommended. There would be no additional crew member. Pilots thought the principle had been sold out for a pittance, after such a strong stand by AAL pilots.

A letter to the President of ALPA, by a TWA pilot sometime later, expressed it well: "When the eight hour nonstop agreement was signed on AAL a number of years ago, many of AAL's pilots felt they had been sold down the river. There were pilots on other carriers who felt equally strong about the eight hour rule. For reasons which you know as well as I, we lost the eight hour fight."
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BravoOne
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:53 pm

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 14):

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 13):
Maybe your history can shed some light on that?

From: "The History Of APA, Why We Left ALPA In The First Place".

Thanks for the quality post. I knew there was flight time issue in there someplace but did not realize the actual separtion came at a much later date.
 
dfwjim1
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:47 pm

How did the second officers/flight engineers who were also professional pilots keep their rating current and their piloting skills
sharp? Would they get to fly a certain amount of take offs and landings per year?
 
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tb727
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:03 pm

Quoting dfwjim1 (Reply 16):
How did the second officers/flight engineers who were also professional pilots keep their rating current and their piloting skills
sharp?

The guys I knew didn't do any flying until it was time to move into the right seat. Maybe once in a while one guy would fly a 172 around just to do it. One gal did that once in a while and was offered the right seat finally and had to go get her Multi-engine commercial and moved into the right seat of the 727 with just over 1500 hours, a damn fine FO too.
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Max Q
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:16 am

Quoting dfwjim1 (Reply 16):
How did the second officers/flight engineers who were also professional pilots keep their rating current and their piloting skills
sharp? Would they get to fly a certain amount of take offs and landings per year?

Good info from TB.


After working as a professional Pilot for years I was hired by Continental and my first position as Second Officer was
B727FE.


I did that exclusively for four years and didn't touch the controls of an aircraft once, then I upgraded to the right seat (First Officer) position on the B727.


I was a bit rusty at first but after a few sim sessions, no problem, of course I was a lot younger, only 27, had a decent amount of experience and had been watching the other two pilots for four years on the same aircraft so that helped a lot.



But no, as TB points out, the Airline, doesn't help you stay current, its all up to you, personally I didn't see the point of hiring a light aircraft to stay current , it's so completely different from flying a large jet the benefit would be dubious.


Besides on the money I was making then, with a family and two small children to support I couldn't afford it.



I upgraded from FE to FO in four years but I knew some pilots in my class that waited 8-10 years to do the same, for seniority reasons or example, many of them did not make the grade, they had waited too long and were not able to cope.


I envy todays pilots in some respects in that they will never have to serve this non flying 'apprenticeship'
Otoh they didn't get to fly a very special generation of jets.



I couldn't get off that panel soon enough, I did not enjoy life as an FE, you get the blame for everything, make the least money and worst of all, you don't fly the plane !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:46 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 18):
I couldn't get off that panel soon enough, I did not enjoy life as an FE, you get the blame for everything, make the least money and worst of all, you don't fly the plane !

I didn't find that the case at all at the red tails while spending 7 years as a 747-2 FE. In fact, many of us choose to sit there instead of becoming a DC9 FO. The hourly rate was almost the same and, with international overide pay, was slightly more as I recall. And if you commuted you frequently could get 12-14 day trips which would fill out your month and come home and keep mama happy for 2 weeks or so. The DC9 had no parings like that.

Ya, you kind of missed handling the 'stick', but after 20 years of AF flying, I was content to watch the panel and relax a bit. Eventually, I made the right seat of the 742 and yes, that was much more leisurely and satisfying.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:56 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 18):
I envy todays pilots in some respects in that they will never have to serve this non flying 'apprenticeship'

At airlines with dedicated cruise pilots we still get this apprenticeship. No take-offs or landings for a few years until you upgrade to the right seat.

You can learn a massive amount of stuff by observing the guys in the front seats before your upgrade.

Quoting dfwjim1 (Reply 16):
How did the second officers/flight engineers who were also professional pilots keep their rating current and their piloting skills
sharp? Would they get to fly a certain amount of take offs and landings per year?

Cruise pilots today have the same problem. They go in the sim every month or two for currency and training. It doesn't keep you as fresh as take-offs and landings while line flying of course.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 18):
personally I didn't see the point of hiring a light aircraft to stay current , it's so completely different from flying a large jet the benefit would be dubious.

   It's like night and day. The multi-crew cooperation aspect especially makes things so different.
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Max Q
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RE: The Professional Flight Engineer

Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:43 am

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 19):
I didn't find that the case at all at the red tails while spending 7 years as a 747-2 FE. In fact, many of us choose to sit there instead of becoming a DC9 FO. The hourly rate was almost the same and, with international overide pay, was slightly more as I recall. And if you commuted you frequently could get 12-14 day trips which would fill out your month and come home and keep mama happy for 2 weeks or so. The DC9 had no parings like that.

Ya, you kind of missed handling the 'stick', but after 20 years of AF flying, I was content to watch the panel and relax a bit. Eventually, I made the right seat of the 742 and yes, that was much more leisurely and satisfying.

I can understand that completely.


Flight Engineer on a wide body, especially the 747 flying international trips is far more appealing, as you know it's a completely different way of life and far more enjoyable than flying the panel from Houston to Philadelphia on a narrowbody, as good as the 727 was, the engineer position for me was not fun and not well paid but I wanted to fly, that was most important.



You had to have very good seniority to hold an FE slot on a wide body at Cal, high enough you could be a line holder FO on any narrowbody, so while I envied the S/O's on the A300 / DC10 and B747 for their lifestyle and higher pay during my 'apprenticeship' on the 727 panel it wasn't something that appealed to me at all once I was in the right seat.



In fact it was mostly these guys that washed out in the upgrade to the right seat, they had stayed back there so long enjoying the life their flying skills had atrophied and they just couldn't cope.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
At airlines with dedicated cruise pilots we still get this apprenticeship. No take-offs or landings for a few years until you upgrade to the right seat.

Good point, glad I didn't have to do that.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
ou can learn a massive amount of stuff by observing the guys in the front seats before your upgrade.

I couldn't agree more, I learned an enormous amount by watching other guys do it right, and wrong..
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg

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