Third officer (aviation)


Third officer is a lesser used civil aviation rank. It was primarily used by Pan Am, particularly on its Clippers flying boats during the infancy of extended range airline routes. The third officer served as a relief pilot and aircrew member, and could move between pilot, co-pilot, radio officer, and flight engineer positions to provide a rest period for the primary crews. Third officers in modern civil aviation are often not formally titled as such. Rather, these relief pilots take on a junior first officer rank or in some cases a second officer rank.

Notable third officersEdit

See alsoEdit




  • Harris, Tom. How Airline Crews Work, website, June 14, 2001. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  • Smith, Patrick. Patrick Smith's Ask The Pilot: When a Pilot Dies in Flight, 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.
  • Flying the World in Clipper Ships at, 2007.