Air Crew Member ... (Military - Enlisted)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Air crew members perform in-flight duties to ensure the successful completion of combat, reconnaissance, transport, and search and rescue missions. They perform inspections to ensure equipment is in working order. They operate and monitor engine and aircraft systems controls, panels, indicators, and devices. Their responsibilities may vary by type of aircraft, and include such tasks as operating mine sweeping, refueling, and electronic warfare systems.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Performs search and rescue (SAR) operations and Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) operations utilizing sonar, magnetic, mechanical, and acoustic mine sweeping systems and logistics support in support of tactical missions worldwide
  • Performs aircrew operations administration, flight and ground training, internal and external cargo movement, medical evacuations (MEDEVAC), passenger transport, aerial gunnery, small arms handling, and observer duties for flight safety
  • Conducts planning and execution of tactical missions such as air-to-air refueling, assault support missions, rapid ground refueling, low level flight, transporting hazardous cargo, aerial delivery, and battlefield illumination
  • Performs in-flight refueling aircrew duties; checks forms for equipment status; performs visual and operational checks of air refueling and associated systems and equipment
  • Supervises cargo/passenger loading and off-loading operations; directs the placement of material handling equipment to accomplish cargo on/off loading operations; ensures cargo/passengers are placed according to load plans
  • Computes and applies aircraft weight, balance, and performance data manually or electronically; determines and verifies passenger, cargo, fuel, and emergency and special equipment distribution and weight; computes takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing data
  • Provides passenger briefings to include the use of emergency equipment, evacuation procedures, and border clearance requirements
  • Performs aircraft inspections; conducts pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, guns, defensive systems, cargo/airdrop systems, aerospace ground equipment, and related aircraft equipment according to flight manual procedures
  • Uses night vision goggles (NVG) to perform scanner duties in relation to particular aircraft type and mission
  • Regulates aircraft systems such as electrical, communication, navigation, hydraulic, pneumatic, fuel, air conditioning and pressurization, ventilation, auxiliary power unit, and lubrication

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work