I am currently a Boeing 707 Air Force flight engineer, and I am looking to hopefully put my years of experience to good use upon expiration of my contract. I started off as an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician then transitioned to be an FE. It made sense, mainly because of my extensive knowledge on the majority of systems used on aircraft. Being that the FE position is a rapidly diminishing career field around the world, I would like to continue my aviation career as a pilot. Of course I have my apprehensions about this transition, because a flight engineer is everything but a pilot. I have no experience flying a plane, however just from watching pilots for years I feel as though I could fly the plane myself. Granted it would be a very rough flight at first, it just doesn’t seem to be that hard. I am curious to see, if there are any other previous engineers here that made the transition, and if they could shed some light on what they went through and any difficulties they faced.
Go through the ATP program you will be fine.
Not sure you’ll find any flight engineers on this forum. Best way to find out how hard it actually is is to schedule an intro flight.
I actually had a student once who had been an FE on the L-1011. When that airplane was retired, he began the process of becoming a pilot. It was a very difficult transition for him and he ended up not completing the program. This is not to say that you would have a similar experience, just a caution to not be overly confident about it.
Do you recall the general areas your student struggled in? Also, in regards to training intensity how fast paced would you say the training is? My FE training was zero to 100 instantly, and within 6 months I was 100% qualified. Each day was a new system, and each week we had two full 4hr simulator events.
ATPs program is highly accelerated. You’ll earn your Private, Instrument, Commercial, Multi and all 3 CFIs is only 9mos, something that normally takes years to accomplish. The idea is to prepare you for the pace of actual airline training.
For a general idea, from when I started, I got my PPL2 months after starting at ATP, then 2 months after that I got my instrument , and again 3 months after my instrument I did my commercial single engine which usually comes quick after instrument but there was lack of DPEs so I was waiting. My typical day atleast when I was training, currently waiting to go to CFi, so not flying right now but anyway, I’d study at the TC for about 4 hours a day, then a 2-3 hour flight 4 days a week. Sometimes those 4 hour days would be a lot longer if I was studying with a group, then I’d also spend some time studying at home, making flash cards, reading books for flying etc.
He struggled with being a pilot, in other words, it was all areas. He thought that being an FE would make him prepared to be a pilot. While he had a very good grasp of systems, he struggled when it came to understanding the fundamentals of flight and the IFR system. This is in no way to suggest that you will have these problems, just saying that being an FE is no guarantee of success.