An Air Force flight engineer is responsible for monitoring all aircraft engine and control systems during pre-flight, post-flight inspections, and when flying. They must also act as a jack of all trades when not at the home station and accomplish many of the aerospace maintenance, loadmaster, and other functions that other Air Force specialists would normally do.
Military Job Code for Air Force Flight Engineer
The military job codes for flight engineers fall under 1A1X1.
A flight engineer performs aircraft visual inspections and in-flight duties. The engineer also operates and monitors engine and aircraft systems controls, panels, indicators and devices, and manages flight engineer functions and activities. The related Department of Defense occupational subgroup is 050.
Duties and Responsibilities
Flight engineers in the Air Force are responsible for performing the following duties:
- Inspecting aircraft
- Conducting visual inspection of aircrew
- Performing non-scheduled aircraft maintenance
- Conducting pre-flight, through-flight, and post-flight inspections
- Maintaining aircraft forms and records during flight, and while aircraft is away from home station
- Computing aircraft weight, balance, and performance data
- Computing of hover, take-off, climb, cruise, and landing data
- Monitoring engine fuel consumption using airspeed, atmospheric data, charts, computer, or electronic calculator
- Recording aircraft performance data and aircraft system status for maintenance debrief and aircraft usage analysis
- Operating and monitoring engine and aircraft systems controls and indicators
- Assisting pilot on performing engine starts
- Monitors run-up, flight operations, and engine shutdown
- Operating engine controls to provide desired efficiency and economy
- Monitoring engine instruments throughout period of operation
- Controlling, monitoring, and regulating some or all of the following aircraft systems: hydraulic, pneudraulic, fuel, electronic, air conditioning, pressurization, ventilation, auxiliary power unit, lubrication communication, navigation, countermeasures, radar, and depressurization and system failure
- Observing warning indicators and light for fire, overheat, depressurization, and system failure
- Reporting abnormal conditions to pilot, and recommending corrective action
- Planing and organizes flight engineer activities
- Organizing flight engineering standardization, qualification, and other requirements of flight engineer logs, reports, and records for accuracy, completeness, format, and compliance with current directives
- Coordinating with other agencies and organizations to conduct flight engineer activities
- Directing flight engineer activities
- Administering qualification flight to personnel engaged in flight engineer activities within flight test and operations organizations
- Directing standardization of flight engineer performance in conjunction with aircraft performance engineering, engine conditioning, and preventive maintenance programs
- Ensuring conformance with prescribed aircrew procedures.
- Resolving technical problems encountered by operating units
- Rendering advice and technical assistance to agencies engaged in functions associated with flight engineer activities
- Advising organizational commander or staff agencies on status of flight engineer activities and adequacy of equipment
- Maintaining qualification in aircraft.
Additionally, helicopter-qualified personnel may be required to perform duties as aerial gunner, rescue hoist operator, hover coupler operator, fast rope and rope ladder deployment or recovery operator, scanner, and cargo sling operator.
Air Force flight engineers must possess the following qualifications in order to be considered for this role:
The candidates must have knowledge of electrical, communication, navigation, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems applying to aircraft and related systems; flight theory; minor in-flight maintenance; personal equipment and oxygen use; aircraft emergency procedures; and using and interpreting diagrams, schematics, aircraft performance charts, loading charts, technical publications and flight manuals.
The Air Force looks for candidates who have completed high school with a course in mechanics and mathematics.
Completion of the following training is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:
- 1A131B: Completion of a helicopter flight engineer course
- 1A131C: Completion of the basic flight engineer course
- 1A151: Completion of an appropriate flying training course
The following experience is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated (Note: See Explanation of Air Force Specialty Codes):
- 1A151: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 1A131B/C (also, experience is mandatory in functions such as aircraft and performance weight and balance computations, aircraft records maintenance, and aircraft systems maintenance and inspections)
- 1A171: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 1A151 (also, experience is mandatory in performing or supervising functions such as flight engineer activities)
- 1A191: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 1A171 (also, experience managing flight engineer functions and activities)
This job used to be closed to new recruits, unless they already possessed a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Engineer Certificate. However, the Air Force has changed this policy. The job opportunity is now open to new recruits (1A131C only).
Entry, Award, Retention
For entry, award, and retention of these AFSCs, the following is required:
- Physical qualification for aircrew duty according to AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards, Class III medical standards
- Qualification for aviation service according to AFI 11-402, Aviation and Parachutist Service, Aeronautical Ratings and Badges
- For award and retention of AFSC 1A131X/51X/71X/90/00, eligibility for a Secret security clearance according to AFI 31-501, Personnel Security Program Management
- For 1A131C: Prior qualification at the five- or seven-skill level in the 1A0, 1A2, 1A5, 2AXXX, or 2M0 career field ladder, or possession of a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Engineer certificate, FAA private pilot license, or valid FAA aircraft and power plant license or Aircraft Maintenance Technician license.
Required Appitude Score:
- 1A1X1B: M-44 or E-33
- 1A1X1C: G-55
- Enlisted Aircrew Undergraduate Course, Lackland AFB, Texas (17 days)
- Combat Survival Training Course, Fairchild AFB, Wash. (17 days)
- Fixed-Wing Flight Engineers: Water Survival-Parachuting Course, Pensacola NAS, Fla. (four days)
- Helicopter Flight Engineers: Non-Parachuting Water Survival Course, Fairchild AFB, Wash. (two days)
Basic Flight Engineer (BFE) Course, Lackland AFB, Texas (about six months)