Flight Engineer Salary 2024 & Job Description

A flight engineer (FE), sometimes referred to as an air engineer, is a member of the flight crew responsible for maintaining and operating the plane’s intricate systems. The term “air mechanic” was used to describe this professional category in the early days of aviation.

Typically earn between $47,000 and $150,00 per annum based on their job requirements.

A flight engineer’s primary responsibility is to keep an eye on the plane’s instruments while in the air. Most of your time will be spent monitoring fuel consumption, communicating with ground control, maintaining comfortable cabin pressure, and providing assistance to the pilot.

You’ll need prior flying experience and a valid Flight Engineer (FE) certificate from the FAA to enter this field. Extra credentials, like a bachelor’s degree in aviation, are typically needed to work for a commercial airline. Maintaining your license requires ongoing training over the course of your career.

So, we will quickly take a look at flight engineer duties, flight Engineer salary, flight engineer educational requirements, how to become one, and other information you need to know about this profession.

Flight Engineer Salary 2024 & Job Description

The flight engineer’s primary responsibilities include the operation and monitoring of all aircraft system, as well as the diagnosis and, whenever possible, elimination, of any faults that may arise. 

The flight engineer (FE) is responsible for controlling the power of each engine during takeoff, climb, cruise, and go-around, and whenever the pilot in command requests a particular power setting to be set during the approach phase of flight in a multi-engine aircraft.

In the United States of America, a Flight Engineer can expect to earn a median salary of $87,422 per year. With a little help from a simple salary calculator, that comes out to about $42.03 per hour. To put it another way, that’s $7,285 per month or $1,681 per week.

Salary ranges for Flight Engineers in the United States typically fall between $67,500 (25th percentile) and $103,000 (75th percentile), with the highest earners making $119,500 (90th percentile) per year. Since Flight Engineer salaries can vary widely (by as much as $35,500), there may be numerous promotions and pay raise opportunities depending on an individual’s specific set of skills, geographic location, and amount of experience in the field.

The job market for flight engineers is robust in the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas. Your average Flight Engineer earns $94,161 a year, which is $6,739 (or 8%) more than the average salary across the country of $87,422. To be more specific, salaries for Flight Engineers in the District of Columbia are the 50th highest in the country.

Flight Engineer Duties

As part of their pre-flight duties, Flight Engineers check the plane’s engines, wiring, hydraulics, and fuel. You’ll have to keep an eye on the loading process to make sure that everything from passengers to fuel to cargo is distributed evenly and doesn’t exceed the allowed weight. The flight plan and weather reports will be checked.

During the flight, you are responsible for keeping tabs on the plane’s vital systems and fuel consumption, adjusting the engines as directed by the pilot, and communicating any issues to the captain and first officer. You conduct a post-flight check of the aircraft’s components after it has landed.

Fuel, pressurization and air conditioning, hydraulic, electrics (engine driven generators, auxiliary power units), gas turbine compressor/air turbine motor (APU, GTC, ATM), ice and rain protection (engine and nacelle anti-ice, window heat, probe heater), oxygen, fire and overheat protection of all systems, liquid cooling system, draw through the cooling system, forced air cooling system, powered flying controls, and other major systems are all set and monitored by the FE.

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Additionally, FEs are accountable for performing both pre- and post-flight checks on aircraft, as well as calculating the aircraft’s weight and balance to keep the CG within safe parameters.

All western three- and four-man deck airplanes have a flight engineer (FE), and their station is on the flight deck, just aft of the two pilots, so they can keep an eye on the aircraft’s heading, speed, and altitude. They spend a lot of time comparing and contrasting candidates for pilot roles.

Since the FE has in-depth mechanical and technical knowledge of aircraft systems and performance, he or she is the plane’s go-to expert on such matters. The flight engineer (FE) in some military aircraft (such as the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, Boeing E-3 Sentry, and McDonnell Douglas KC-10) sits in the cockpit behind the co-pilot and faces outward or forward, depending on whether he or she is in charge of the throttles, lights, or other flight controls. The Tupolev Tu-134’s FE is located up front.

The flight engineers (FEs) in other Western military planes like the Lockheed P-3 Orion and Lockheed C-130H Hercules sit between and slightly aft of the pilots.

In order to conserve fuel during extended missions, the FE of a P-3 Orion, E-6B Mercury, or E-3 Sentry is in charge of starting and stopping the plane’s engines before and after every flight.

FEs in some militaries are also responsible for certifying repairs made to an aircraft while it is deployed. If this is the case, technical repair crews won’t have to go on short-term deployments with the plane.

The flight engineer’s (FE’s) seat in a civilian aircraft can move forward and aft and swivel laterally 90 degrees, allowing the FE to face forward and set the engine power, then move aft and rotate sideways to monitor and set the systems panel. The FE also has a clear view of the pilot’s selections and the thrust levers located on the center pedestal.

The flight engineer (FE) is the aircraft’s resident systems expert, responsible for calculating takeoff and landing data and assisting with emergency situations and technical anomalies that may arise during the flight. The FE’s seat in modern aircraft can be adjusted in every conceivable way (side to side, forward to aft, swivel, up and down) to allow for the wide variety of positions needed to monitor and operate the aircraft’s systems.

In many flight operations utilizing a three-person flight deck, the captain will delegate control of the aircraft to the first officer in the event of an abnormality or emergency (co-pilot). Together, the captain and FE evaluate the situation and take corrective measures.

This disperses the labor and ensures a cross-checking system that boosts security. The captain is in charge of the flight and makes all the necessary decisions (PNF), while the first officer (co-pilot) is the one who actually flies the plane (PF). The first officer (FE) is responsible for reading the checklists and carrying out the captain’s instructions.

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The roles of the pilots may need to be switched in the event of an emergency, with the copilot taking over as PNF and the captain switching to PF duty. This occurred during a complete loss of generator-supplied electrical power on an A300 B-Series aircraft, which meant that the only powered standby instruments were on the captain’s side of the cockpit.

About Flight Engineer Jobs

Larger aircraft, both rotary and fixed-wing, still employ flight engineers. Some spaceships have crew members in a similar positions. The role of the flight engineer has been rendered obsolete by the widespread use of electronic microprocessors and computers in today’s aircraft.

Most historical large aircraft included a cockpit station for a flight engineer. U.S. civil aircraft that carry a flight engineer must have the FE hold a valid FAA Flight Engineer Certificate with the appropriate ratings for the plane’s propulsion system (reciprocating, turboprop, or turbojet).

After the four-engine Douglas DC-4, flight engineers became mandatory for the FAA type certificates of all subsequent four-engine reciprocating engine airplanes (Boeing 307 and 377, DC-6, DC-7, Constellation) and early three- and four-engine jets (Boeing 707, 727, early 747, DC-8, DC-10, L-1011). There was never a need for a flight engineer on smaller twinjets like the DC-9 or 737, and later large two-, three-, and four-engine jets like the Airbus A300, MD-11, 747-400, and later were built with enough automation to do away with the job.

Training RequiredFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved programs in flight and ground instruction
Key ResponsibilitiesInspect and monitor various plane systems before, during and after flights; monitor weight distribution and limits; assist the pilot and co-pilot; adjust engine controls
LicensureProfessional flight engineering license from the FAA
Job Growth (2020-2030)8% (aerospace engineers)*
Average Salary (2020)$186,870 (airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers)*

How to Become a Flight Engineer

Flight engineer training is not commonly offered in academic settings, but can be obtained by completing flight and ground instruction programs that have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Working as a mechanic on planes, being a pilot, or serving as a flight engineer in the military are all viable alternatives to completing a formal education program in order to qualify for a flight engineer license from the FAA.

Private aviation schools, 2- and 4-year colleges, and universities all offer a variety of air and ground training programs. The fundamentals of flight, as well as more advanced topics like instrument flying, altitude control, navigation, weather data interpretation, and night flying, are taught to students in a formal flight training program.

There are many topics covered in the ground school, including federal aviation regulations, weather, airport operations, flight dynamics, and navigation. Flight engineers can benefit from training in aircraft propulsion, electrical systems, and airframes. Assuming you’ve finished your training, you can take the FAA’s written exams for piston-engine, turboprop, and turbojet aircraft.

A commercial pilot’s license and an FAA-issued “flight engineer” (FE) certificate are both prerequisites for working in the aviation industry. You also need a bachelor’s degree in aviation, strong leadership skills, and at least 1,500 hours of flight time. Maintaining and operating an aircraft requires a comprehensive understanding of its various controls and instruments. Both military and commercial airlines are good places to look for employment.

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An aircraft is not flown by a flight engineer. Instead, you provide assistance to the pilot by keeping an eye on the plane’s instruments and fixing things as needed. Before every flight, you must check the engine and all other mechanical systems for basic functioning.

To be a flight engineer, you need a commercial pilot’s license and 1,500 hours of flight time, even though you won’t be the plane’s pilot. If you’re going to be flying multiple different types of planes, you’ll need to prove that you can safely take the helm of each one.

Where Can Flight Engineer Work?

Most aviation engineers work for large commercial airlines. Other potential employers include regional airlines, major corporations, the United States Air Force, government agencies, and air cargo companies.

In May of 2020, there were approximately 83,550 civilian pilot and flight engineer jobs, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes, however, that advancements in technology have resulted in increased responsibilities for pilots and co-pilots and the automation of previously human tasks. Because of this, many planes no longer need a flight engineer on board.

Flight Engineer Salary Near New York NY

Current salaries for Flight Engineers in New York, NY range from $80,788 to $103,057, with an average salary of $91,756.

Flight Engineer Salary Near New Jersey

Currently, an Aircraft Engineer can expect to earn a salary of $74,616 in the state of New Jersey, with a range typically encompassing $67,514, up to $85,318.

Flight Engineer Salary Air Force

A Flight Engineer in the US Air Force can expect to earn a yearly salary of $98,506.

Flight Engineer Salary Per Hour

the average salary of flight engineer per hour is close to $43.

Flight Engineer Salary In Florida

In Florida, a Flight Engineer can expect to make $65850 annually. Most jobs pay between $55908 and $85312 per year. This information is vital because many people tend to ask frequently about aircraft engineer salary in Florida


Working in the aviation industry comes with loads of perks, and the flight engineer is not excluded from these bonuses. We have detailed write on flight engineer salaries, aircraft engineer job duties, how to become a flight engineer, educational qualifications to become a flight engineer, and all you need to know in this content.

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