The aircrew of a Jetstar Airways Boeing 787

Aircrew, also called flight crew, are personnel who operate an aircraft while in flight. The composition of a flight's crew depends on the type of aircraft, plus the flight's duration and purpose.

Commercial aviation

Flight deck positions

In commercial aviation, the aircrew are called flight crew. Some flight crew position names are derived from nautical terms and indicate a rank or command structure similar to that on ocean-going vessels, allowing for quick executive decision making during normal operations or emergency situations. Historical flightdeck positions include:

Bell 212 aircrew from Alpine Helicopters scramble on a medical evacuation mission.

Cabin positions

Aircraft cabin crew members can consist of:


USAF, RAF and RAAF aircrew and maintenance personnel with their C-17s

From the start of military aviation, additional crew members have flown on military aircraft. Over time these duties have expanded:

See also



  1. ^ UK Civil Aviation Authority CAP804
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Patrick. Patrick Smith's Ask The Pilot: When a Pilot Dies in Flight Archived May 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, website, 2013, which in turn cites:
    • Smith, Patrick. Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections, Sourcebooks, 2013, ISBN 1402280912, ISBN 978-1402280917.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lowery, John. Pan American Airways Conquers Global Travel, in Flying the World in Clipper Ships. Retrieved from
  4. ^ "Cathay Pacific - Cadet Pilots". Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "Flight Crew Alertness and Sleep Relative to Timing of In-Flight Rest Periods in Long-Haul Flights" (PDF). NASA Ames Human Systems Integration Division. 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  6. ^ "Relief pilot concept "cruising" down the wrong path?". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  7. ^ Stringman, D.C. (Flt. Lt.). The History of the Air Engineer: Training in the Royal Air Force, U.K.: RAF Finningley, 1984, pp. 39–43.
  8. ^ Cox, John. Ask the Captain: What does the flight engineer do?, USA Today, March 23, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Eldridge, Andrea. Confessions of a Flight Engineer: Flashlights, timers, and breath mints required, Air & Space Smithsonian magazine, November 2011.
  10. ^ Military Factory website, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2016
  11. ^ Law Officer Archived 2016-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, October 30, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2016
  12. ^ Grierson, Mike. Aviation History—Demise of the Flight Navigator, website, October 14, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "Technology Timeline: The First Air-to-ground & Ground-to-air Communication". AT&T Labs. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  14. ^ Ennis, E.E. Wireless Telegraphy from an Aeroplane, Journal of Electricity, Power and Gas, April 1, 1911, pp. 279–280
  15. ^ a b Harris 2001, p. 4.