Reserve flight engineers recruit at local college

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shayna Hodge
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Flight engineers assigned to the 709th Airlift Squadron, visited Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, Delaware, to speak to aviation maintenance students about the Air Force’s flight engineer career field April 20.

The squadron, a component of the 512th Airlift Wing here, flies airlift missions on C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft and is currently hiring. The goal of the visit to Del-Tech was to recruit graduates from the school’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program to fill its flight engineer vacancies. 

“We’re looking for individuals who are interested in aviation and who have a desire to understand how mechanical and electrical systems function,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas LeJeune, the 709th AS assistant superintendent of flight engineers. “Recruiting flight engineers is critical, because they’re required to complete our global airlift mission.”

Flight engineers ensure aircraft are airworthy before, during and after takeoff. They control, monitor and regulate aircraft systems, observe warning indicators, report abnormal conditions to pilots and record aircraft performance data.

“We’re the system experts,” said Senior Airman Stephanie Garber, a 709th AS flight engineer who earned an aviation degree from Del-Tech. “If something goes wrong on an aircraft, we need to know how to fix it and how to mitigate future problems.”

Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Bachman, a senior reserve recruiter for the 512th AW who also attended the visit to Del-Tech, said he and his team of recruiters have a goal to recruit new flight engineers every year.

To enlist as a flight engineer, candidates must score a 60 on the mechanical and general aptitude sections of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, pass an Initial Flying Class III physical and meet the AF depth perception standard for flight engineers.

“Successful candidates are eligible for a $15,000 signing bonus and can take advantage of full time benefits while training to become a qualified flight engineer,” said Bachman.

This training includes Basic Military Training; the Basic Flight Engineer Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Training; and on the job training.

“It takes about 18 months to complete all required training,” said LeJeune. “Engineers also complete ancillary and continuation training every quarter to maintain their qualification.”

LeJeune, who's recorded over 5,000 flight hours and traveled to over 20 countries during his almost 30 year flight engineer career, said Del-Tech aviation maintenance technology students are excellent candidates to join the 709th AS and successfully complete the training required to become a mission qualified flight engineer. 

Students at the school study airframe and power plant maintenance and also learn about the fabrication, inspection, maintenance, repair and testing of aircraft. Graduates of the aviation maintenance program can become Federal Aviation Administration certified airframe and power plant maintenance technicians, lead technicians, aircraft inspectors and maintenance controllers.

Garber, who said she became interested in the flight engineer career field after the 709th AS made a recruitment visit to the school when she was a student, attested to how her education at Del-Tech prepared her for working on the Super Galaxy.

“I learned about hydraulics, pneumatics, fuel, oil and lubrication, sheet metal, engine repair and landing gear,” she said. “This helped me understand how airplane systems work, which made working on C-5s easier.”

Since enlisting as a flight engineer, Garber said her favorite parts of the job are the unique challenges of each mission she completes, the opportunity to fly to different countries and the family dynamic of the 709th AS.

Individuals interested in joining the squadron as a flight engineer can contact a Dover reserve recruiter at 302-677-6913.