In the phrase "the flight crew," is flight crew a combined term to form a noun, or is the word flight an adjective?
Yeah, it's a good question. Here's what I know. It's definitely not flightcrew, but that doesn't rule it out as a compound noun. If we agree it's a compound noun, then we are left with a choice between "flight crew" and "flight-crew". At this stage, you can usually let aesthetics guide you because our two-word compound nouns are in a massive state of flux. Some are transitioning to one word (eyeopener), some are transitioning to hyphenated words (ice-cream), and some are not (peace pipe). Some exist in all three versions (chatroom, chat-room, and chat room).
So, do what looks best for you and fight like a dog if challenged!
"The flight crew".
This is a noun phrase with "crew" as head and the noun "flight" as attributive modifier.
There is no adjective present.
Steady on there, Paul.
I like your explanation, but that doesn't stop it being an open compound noun.
"An open compound is a combination of words so closely associated that they convey the idea of a single concept but are spelled as unconnected words."
I think the rigidity of your definitions is undoing you a little.