The best seat in the house

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Mark Hartnett
  • 96th Airlift Squadron
Shortly after take-off, I often invite flight deck visitors sitting on the bunk to look out the windows. On a clear day, the view of our Twin Cities is spectacular. To be able to share this view with a flight deck guest is a pleasure. It is easy enough for an aviator to take it for granted.

I am a 96th Airlift Squadron flight engineer and my office is the FE seat behind the pilot and co-pilot. I have a panoramic view of the flight deck as well as the scenery outside. As an enlisted flyer, once airborne my duties include running checklists, constant monitoring of all the aircraft engines/systems, scanning outside for traffic/ towers, terrain and, most importantly, working with the aircraft commander and crew to complete our mission safely. Ground duties include aircraft performance calculations, pre-flighting and occasionally servicing/repairing the mighty C-130 Hercules.

Approaching retirement, several of my senior flyer's careers are winding down. Are you interested and motivated to fly, fight and win in their place?

To become a 96th AS flight engineer you must hold a five level in one of the following air force specialty codes: 1A2, 1A3, 1A5, 2A (most), or 2M0. Or, regardless of AFSC, if you possess a Federal Aviation Administration pilots license or related aviation tickets, this may be your opportunity to excel.

For an informal discussion concerning the FE training requisites and expectations, contact the FE noncomissioned officer in charge, Senior Master Sgt. Matt Welage, at (612) 713-1725. I would also be happy to re-direct wing members interested in the pilot, navigator and loadmaster career fields to those section representatives in the 96th AS.
One side note, the FE career field is not a "boys only club". I encourage all qualified Airmen to learn about this interesting and rewarding career field.

With more than 27 years of experience as an enlisted flyer, I can honestly say this is the best enlisted job, in the best wing, in the Air Force! Come join us.