Deployed Forces: Flight engineer dedicates self to aircraft

| April 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Spc. Cassandra Monroe
135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment 

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Loyal and trustworthy are words rarely used to describe a relationship between a Soldier and an aircraft.

For Sgt. Alyssa Corcoran with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Brigade, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, that’s exactly how she describes working as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter flight engineer.

Sgt. Alyssa Corcoran, a flight engineer with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Brigade, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, is stationed at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. “It’s truly a very in-depth relationship,” Corcoran said. “It’s peaceful to sit in the back of the bird. It’s getting away from here and just flying, and everything is just quiet. It’s relieving.”

The Chinook is such a large and complex aircraft, she added. 

If one can work on a Chinook, one can basically work on any of the other helicopters because of the knowledge of both systems.

“A flight engineer can control the aircraft and control the passengers that they carry,” said Corcoran, who is stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield.

“You should be able to troubleshoot the aircraft,” she said. “The flight engineer is responsible for making the right call on what you should do if you have engine failure, a fire in flight or other multiple problems.”

As a flight engineer, Corcoran works in conjunction with pilots in command. 

She makes decisions for unexpected situations, such as unaccounted-for-cargo and weather conditions. 

The flight engineer also helps with planning a mission out properly and ensuring it gets done.

Corcoran is a self-proclaimed problem-solver and troubleshooter, which makes a great match for what it takes to be a flight engineer. 

This position, however, is not her first job in the Army.

“I first joined as a radio operator and was transferred to heavy radio systems,” she explained. “I worked on a very old system that is not in the Army arsenal anymore, so my military occupational specialty became obsolete. 

“I was almost forced to re-class as a computer systems analyst, and I didn’t want to do that,” she added. “I fought for a different MOS, and this one was available, so I took this job.”

The hard fight paid off for Corcoran, who believes she has a more hands-on grasp of missions as a flight engineer.

“You get to see a lot more of the mission getting accomplished whether you’re pulling personnel out of Iraq, taking cargo and personnel from base to base, or assisting with mass casualty evacuations,” she said. “You’re where the mission actually gets accomplished.”

Not only does Corcoran enjoy her job, but her crew members can’t help but notice the hard work she puts into missions.

“Sgt. Corcoran is a highly motivated and proficient worker,” said Spc. Joseph Keele, a Chinook crew mechanic with Company B, 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, and Corcoran’s crewmate. “She diligently studies the huge amount of crew manuals we have to be familiar with.”

“To be a good crew chief, you need to be humble, be able to take criticism, and you need to be able to study,” Corcoran said. “Having a good memory helps, because there’s a lot of stuff to remember. You have to be consistent in what you do, put 100 percent forward every day, and you need to be intrinsically motivated.”

According to Corcoran, the time she has spent as a flight engineer has been worthwhile.

“My favorite part of my job is owning the aircraft,” Corcoran said. “I’ve had my own aircraft for four years now, and I don’t think that I could find anything as loyal or as trustworthy.”

Category: Deployed Forces, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *