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FLIGHT ENGINEER The mystery man exposed

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FLIGHT ENGINEER The mystery man exposed

Old 21st Oct 2012, 06:15
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onehunglong
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FLIGHT ENGINEER The mystery man exposed

Generally, for the majority of those in aviation, the role of the FE was fuzzy.

2 books separately trace the FE's history.

The Purple Stripe - A history of Flight Engineers in Australia by Brian Hill
900 pages.
Not available from bookstores, the book can be purchased from
Southern Cross Publications, PO Box 420 Bulleen, Victoria 3105,

or contact Brian Hill at

[email protected]






The Purple Stripe not only provides a comprehensive account of Flight Engineers in civil aviation in Australia, through the archives of the Australian Airline Flight Engineers Association, but this book also provides interesting details of the aircraft they operated and the companies in which they were employed. Many of these details have never before been presented to the general public.
Beginning at the early days of aviation during the First World War, engineers were an early important part of the crewing of many of the balloons that were used for spotting and observation. During the latter part of that conflict, aircraft grew enormously with multiple engines which necessitated that a specialist engineer oversee their operation and thus allow the pilot to concentrate on flying.
Following that terrible conflict, the huge civil aircraft that quickly came on the scene also needed a specialist engineer to oversee the increasingly complicated engines and systems that were being incorporated into these large aircraft. The big flying boats that came into operation to span the globe became the first aircraft to regularly carry a Flight Engineer and it was in these that Australia first used dedicated Flight Engineers in both civil and military aircraft just prior to the Second World War.
During this war aircraft developed enormously, with most of the larger aircraft utilising the services of Flight Engineers. After the war the large airliners developed from wartime experience continued to use Flight Engineer Officers, as they became known, as part of the crew. In Australia, the purchase by Qantas of the US Lockheed Constellation in 1947 saw the Department of Civil Aviation issue licences for Flight Engineers for the first time. Other operators to use FEOs in the early days were ANA in DC-4s on overseas flights and the DC-6s as well as British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines in its DC-4s and DC-6s.
Soon after this time, engineers who began operating as FEOs began to form an industrial organisation known as the Australian Airline Flight Engineers Association, and after incorporation of the domestic FEOs, became a registered union body in 1961. By this time Qantas were operating Super Constellations, Boeing 707s and Lockheed Electras, while Ansett and TAA were operating DC-6Bs and Lockheed Electras. For the next four decades the AAFEA would have to fight continuously to keep the FEO as part of the crew of new types as pilots wanted an all-pilot crew.
The author of The Purple Stripe, Brian L. Hill, takes the reader meticulously through the many battles that the AAFEA fought - some successfully - many not so successful. Part of the appeal of this book will be the frankness that comes through as a 'warts and all' presentation of what really went on in Australian civil aviation during the second half of the 20th Century. Aviation buffs will be fascinated as to why the airlines chose the aircraft they did and how the manufacturers developed these aircraft. Brief technical details are provided on all of the major types that carried Flight Engineers.
Episodes like the Abeles Agreement with the Ansett FEOs and the split in the union over the Qantas B767 as well as the long TAA fight that followed, are explained in the context of the day. The long drawn out battle to have an FEO on the Airbus A320 is detailed with many of the twist and turns that have never been explained to the general public before. Similarly, the 1989 Pilots Dispute is laid out from the Flight Engineers point of view along with their efforts to mediate on this tricky conflict


Finished with Engines - The story of Qantas longhaul flight engineers by Colin Lock

[email protected]



Basically in two parts, the first details the development of the FE position within Qantas through to its redundancy in 2009. It consists of 345 pages covering aircraft types flight engineers flew on, incidents and accidents, crewing issues as well as the general Qantas operation from a flight engineers' perspective. There is however a great deal of general Qantas operational history to interest a wider readership. A considerable amount of the research came from files in the National Archives of Australia which had not been accessed previously. The second part consists of short biographies on, I believe, every Qantas flight engineer dating back to 1941.



Last edited by onehunglong; 1st Nov 2015 at 12:01.
 
Old 21st Oct 2012, 12:41
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"the role of the FE was fuzzy"

What crap and I only had to read 2 lines............

Anybody that's ever sat in a FD with a FE knows exactly what he was there for...... nothing fuzzy about the vital role he played..

Last edited by nitpicker330; 21st Oct 2012 at 12:42.
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 13:00
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 14:36
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Jaba, you've excelled yourself - that's just awesome
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 19:42
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GOLD!!
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 22:51
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I would love to take all the credit, 99.999% goes to the posting author Baleka.

0.001% to me for remembering where to find it and post it here for your enjoyment.
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 23:59
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So what happened to Ansett and TAA's flight engineers on the 727 after that type was retired? I know some airlines in Asia trained their FEs to become pilots because their time on the flight deck was valuable experience. Did the same happen to Ansett and TAA's flight engineers?
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Old 26th Oct 2012, 05:20
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Pilot training was an option that was available and taken up by some FEs, mainly the younger ones, many of whom are now captains.

The older, senior ones were happy to take redundency which was years of service based for payout calculations.

A third option, redeployment to other areas such as operations, training or maintenance, proved impracticable due to opposition from the affected unions and lack of will.
 
Old 27th Oct 2012, 11:10
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The Qantas FEs had an option to train as pilots and a number did from 1989. This was one reason why the Qantas FEs who were by that stage members of AIFEA, merged with AIPA.

In 2002 the B747 Classics went from 13 aircraft to 6 remaining B747 300s and a large number of FEs took voluntary redundancy based on a years for service formula. The rest soldiered on to the end. In most but not all cases they went beyond their planned 55 age retirement so most were happy.

The forgotten FEs were those on the B727 freighters who got the chop when the B727s were banned as too noisy just prior to a Federal election.That was coincidence I'm assured.

With the exception of the RAAF Orions FEs and the few remaining C130 H FEs the only remaining FEs in Australia are the 4 on the HARS L1049/C121.

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Old 27th Oct 2012, 17:10
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Surprisingly few Qantas FEOs took up the retraining option in 1987. I can't remember how many applied, but it was nowhere near the more than 100 eligible. In the event, only 27 went to Bankstown for the retraining package starting in 1989. There were a few more who did a different scheme some years later.

This retraining option was not the reason AIFEA joined AIPA - FEO numbers were projected to fall through the floor and we simply couldn't afford to "go it alone" any longer.
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Old 27th Oct 2012, 18:23
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The best thing about flying with FE's was relieving them in cruise as a Second Officer. Learned more about the aircraft than you would ever do as a straight through pilot. Always valuable knowledge further down the track. Thanks to all the FE's I flew with.
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Old 27th Oct 2012, 23:24
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I acually said it was one of the reasons that AIFEA and AIPA merged and it certainly was why the timing of the merge occurred when it did.

At the time AIFEA was being courted by a number of unions who wanted a foot in the aircrew door under the then minimum 10,000 union members rule.

As Brian Hill explains in his soon to be released book, it was a very successful move for both parties.

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Old 28th Oct 2012, 02:10
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Nice one Jaba! Made my Sunday
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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 14:13
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The HARS cat is 3 crew. There is the FE spot just under the wings.
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Old 30th Nov 2012, 20:17
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Having just looked at the FE's position on the Cat I would think that it was a pretty uncomfortable place to be, good view of the engines I suppose through the windows.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 02:22
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Having spent some fifteen years flying various models of the 747 Classic I can say without any reservation that the F/E was a valuable member of the crew. As to be expected, some were better than others, but their contribution to the ease and safe operation of the aircraft was invaluable.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 04:26
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What a great video, Jaba - talk about bringing back a flood of memories!

Interesting to see the -200F's horrible retractable flight-deck access ladder gets a viewing too. It never felt very secure, and after a friend fell down it and broke his leg I was even warier of this contraption! The -400F had a fixed ladder on the side; a much better arrangement. One of Cathay's -200F's was the second last one off the line at Boeing; if you wanted to wind up the FE you'd tell him he "was sitting in the second last FE seat built in the Western world". It always produced a reaction!

I'm looking forward to reading Brian's book. I flew with FE's in Ansett for a year (on the B727), I confess as a group they really didn't make much of an impression. As part of the B737-300 intro ("bringing EFIS to the masses") I also did a fair bit of jump seating on the B767 to see how they did it - having a FE on that aeroplane was a black joke if ever there was one.

When I got to Cathay though, it was very different. Their FE's were totally integrated into the operation and were very much "a third pair of eyes". They were invaluable, and with one notable exception, an extremely professional bunch of guys indeed. It was a privilege to have flown with them....
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 05:52
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Excuse my ignorance

I was always under the impression that to be an FE you had to have a CPL and a type rating on the aircraft being flown. This doesn't appear to be the case. Can someone please explain to me what used to be the system for training as an FE and when did it change to the CPL type rated system?

Cheers
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 08:40
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It was never a CPL system in Australia for FEs.

There were two different beasts in the 3rd seat in some parts of the world. The FE known as a Professional Flight Engineer (PFE)and the Second Officer.
The distinction came about in the USA after US ALPA decided that they didn't want another union on their flight decks.That situation flowed on to US influenced countries such as the South American region. However at the same time some airlines maintained the PFE system. This was particularly true for freight because a lot of their FEs also had a A&P ground license.

The Europeans especially the Poms went the FE way.In Australia you did a Flight Engineers license through an airline with in house training. Most were selected from LAMEs. There was no requirement for pilot time although most had some.It is a specific FEs license, not a Pilots license.Type rating was done with the Pilots. Normally all practical training was done as a 3 person team from ground sim to endorsment.We all did the same theory although sometimes the FE got a bit more engineering theory. Later it was all the same.

We never had any formal IFR training but we were pretty good on the monitoring and in the sim we were often given flying. We were expected to be full bottle on the Jep charts and it wasn't unusual over Europe, especially Russia (in the early times there) to not only monitor INS loading, but often to load the INS

Over the years the airlines expectations changed. When I started my first sector under training was done by a Senior Check Engineer on his last trip. At 10,000' the headphones were taken away and I was told that the rest was pilot duties on the radio.By the time I finished on B747s we were fully integrated with the FE fully monitoring all the pilots actions and the pilots monitoring our duties. It was very much a 3 person team and we all had radio licenses. Our duties included all company coms if we didn't have a Second Officer. Even if we did we often did company coms if there were complex engineering requirements

Having now gone back 50 years on the Connie, I realise where the old FE was coming from. On the Connie you sit in dropped floor and its difficult to see out the window,you cant easily monitor the pilots and they can't see you. The B707 and DC8 for the better, changed all that.

Wunwing

Last edited by Wunwing; 4th Dec 2012 at 09:34.
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 00:21
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BOOK LAUNCH

The Purple Stripe will be launched by Graeme McMahon, previously Managing Director, Ansett, at a function in Melbourne next Friday.
 

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