Certified Flight Instructor Rating, Multi-Engine Rating and Flight Engineer Requirements

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Certified Flight Instructor Rating (CFI) Requirements

You must take two written tests for a basic instructor's rating (CFI-Airplane, Fundamentals of Instruction and Flight Instructor Airplane (and dynamics) exams. A third test is required to become an instrument instructor (CFI-Instruments). In order to instruct in single-engine aircraft, you must take your flight test in a single-engine aircraft. To instruct in a multi-engine aircraft, you must take another flight test in multi-engine aircraft. Before you can instruct in a multi-engine aircraft, you must have 15 hours of multi-engine flight time. In other words, you need three separate instructor endorsements and two written tests for the categories in which you wish to instruct (aircraft instructor and instrument instructor).


a. Minimum age, 18.

b. Medical certificate, Second Class.

c. Written test:

" Fundamentals of Instruction.

" Flight Instructor, Airplane (aerodynamics).

" Flight Instructor, Instruments (to become an Instrument instructor).

d. Commercial Pilot license, Instrument rating.

e. Oral exam and practical test (Flight Instructor flight test).

Multi-Engine Rating Requirements

Notice that, while the apparent requirements for this rating are minimal, you must obtain the endorsement of your instructor certifying your competence; then you must pass the flight test. Multi-engine flying calls for a higher degree of skill than your previous ratings required, so your training must be thorough. Although multi-engine training can be expensive, you must have it to qualify for higher-paying jobs. Most multi-engine qualification courses require five to 10 hours of flying.

You must now obtain as much flight time in multi-engine turbine-powered aircraft as you can get while working toward your Airline Transport Pilot license, with a multi-engine land rating. Today, this license is virtually a "must" for anyone seeking an airline career. In any case, fly whatever you can to build time. You also will be more competitive if you take the written tests for the various ground instructor ratings and the Flight Engineer-Turbojet written examination.


a. Minimum age, as required for license held.

b. Medical certificate, as required for license held.

c. Written test, none.

d. Oral exam and practical test.

Flight Engineer (FE)-Turbojet Written Exam Requirements

If you do not complete your full FE rating, these are the only test scores a prospective employer will ever see. All others, for every other rating, are collected by your examiner when you get your license or rating. You must pass the FE in order to be considered for major airline employment. A few corporations operate large jet equipment that requires a flight engineer, and if you want to fly these aircraft for them, you will need the FE. This examination will test both your knowledge of large aircraft systems and your fluency in normal and emergency procedures for operating the systems.


a. Minimum age, 21.

b. Commercial Pilot license with Instrument rating.

c. Written test: Flight Engineer Basic (FE) and Turbo jet (FEJ).

Flight Engineer Requirements

Flight Engineer license requirements call for a brief explanation. There are essentially three separate Flight Engineer ratings. Many large aircraft built during and after World War II mandated a third crew member, not to fly the plane, but to operate the aircraft systems. The technology available at the time did not allow a two-pilot crew to operate aircraft systems and fly the aircraft at the same time, hence the need for a "flight engineer." As powerplants evolved from reciprocating to turboprop and then to turbojet or turbofan, separate categories of the Flight Engineer license were established.

Currently, the most common turboprop aircraft using flight engineers are the civilian versions of the C-130 and the Lockheed Electra. The Boeing B-707, B-727, B-747, Douglas DC-8, DC-10 and some versions of the Airbus A-300 series are turbojet aircraft using flight engineers. Flight engineers are seldom used today in reciprocating aircraft, and we do not recommend that you pursue the reciprocating aircraft FE rating.

An aviation mechanic also may get a Flight Engineer rating. The only difference between a mechanic's and a pilot's obtaining an FE rating is that the mechanic must obtain a minimum of five hours of instruction in the actual airplane (rather than a simulator) at the flight engineer's station. Turbojet aircraft cost $2,000-$6,000 per hour to rent, so getting the required training on your own is very expensive.

There are a few corporate jobs available for flight engineers. Most of these jobs require the flight engineer to have an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license. Since most corporations have no maintenance department, the flight engineer-mechanic serves as an alternative to the expensive investment required for complete in-house maintenance capability.

Most flight engineer positions available today are offered by the major airlines. FE is a new-hire pilot position with these carriers; you eventually will move into the pilots' seats. A few airlines and air freight companies (turboprop and turbojet) have professional (non-pilot) flight engineers.

A few airlines require the full Flight Engineer rating; most require only the writtens. Some other airlines have no aircraft utilizing flight engineers; in fact, the trend in the aircraft industry is to build airplanes for two-man crews. By the year 2000, the number of aircraft still flying that utilize flight engineers will have decreased dramatically .The full FE rating is expensive (see chart on pages 140-141). Therefore, you should target the portion of the aviation industry that you wish to pursue and then decide if the full rating is for you. If you decide to obtain the full rating, get the Flight Engineer-Turbojet. The B-727 is the most common airline aircraft that requires a flight engineer.


a. Minimum age, 21.

b. Medical certificate, First or Second class. Written tests:

1. Flight Engineer, Basic.

2. Flight Engineer

a. Propeller

b Thrbo-propeller

c. Thrbojet

c. Required licenses:

1. Commercial Pilot license with an Instrument rating or

2. Airframe and Powerplant (mechanic's) license.

d. Oral examination, simulator check ride, and air craft check ride.

* See FAR Part 63 for additional ways to meet the experience requirements for the FE Certificate.

The Airline Transport Pilot License Requirements

It is recommended that you obtain this license in a light multi-engine aircraft. A single-engine Airline Transport Pilot rating is good only to prevent your written exams from expiring (two years from exam date) because very few companies transport passengers in single-engine aircraft.

Once you have obtained the Airline Transport Pilot license, your marketability in the aviation industry will be greatly enhanced. There is no higher rating.
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