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Second Officer – Glossary Definition

Second Officer – Glossary Definition

Summary:

Want the definition of a second officer? Learn the meaning of second officer, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

Wondering about the definition of a second officer? Keep reading to learn the meaning of second officer, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

pilot in training 2 stripes on uniform airline
The person on the left is a pilot-in-training (2 stripes) being trained by the captain on the right (4 stripes). Marieke Dekker/shutterstock.com.

What is the Second Officer?

In aviation, the second officer is the title for a pilot who is third in command, usually holding a relief role on flights of longer time and distance. The second officer, when the role exists, is often a flight engineer who is also licensed to pilot the aircraft.

In commercial aviation, a second officer is an airline pilot who wears 2 stripes on their epaulettes and sleeves.

More on Second Officers

On long-haul flights, second officers are third in command, taking the right seat if the pilot-in-command (PIC) goes for a rest break (when the first officer moves over to the left seat). However, sometimes the 2-stripe pilot uniform designation is given to a pilot in training.

On almost all short-haul flights and many medium-haul flights, there is no second officer on board, as there is no need for the pilot in command and the first officer to take rest breaks. However, the definition of second officer is more ambiguous than the others, as their role and utilization may vary airline to airline.

In addition to the 2 stripes on their blazer, the second officer usually also sports a qualification badge which is a pair of wings.

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