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EAA/FAA Solution on Flight Currency a Win for Warbird Operators

February 22, 2017 – Warbird flight engineers will now be able to maintain currency through a scenario-based tabletop exercise, thanks to a plan that was unveiled at last week’s 14th annual Recreational Aviation Summit in Oshkosh.

In many of the larger, multi-engine warbirds of the past, such as B-29s, Constellations, C-97s, and DC-6s, a flight deck crew would consist of three members — pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer, the latter of which would sit at a station behind the pilot and co-pilot.

Previously, the currency requirements were to fly 50 hours as a flight engineer over a six-month period. In today’s world, the limited availability of such airplanes and their operational costs, often in excess of thousands of dollars per flight hour, creates a situation where a flight engineer can no longer meet the archaic currency requirements.

The new tabletop exercise will present different scenarios to a flight engineer that are designed to prove the engineer’s familiarity with the systems and his or her ability to manage the engines.

“Not only is this a win for heavy warbird operators, this is a win for the broader aviation community,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “This tabletop exercise will allow more flight engineers to stay current in a reasonable fashion, and ensure that our nation’s warbird operators can continue to safely tour their aircraft and share aviation history for years to come.”

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