Dispatchers serve as a a crucial component to the entire airline operation. Aircraft dispatchers are licensed airmen certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Dispatchers must undergo extensive testing and training to earn this certificate, and must pass both an extensive oral examination and the comprehensive written Aircraft Dispatcher test. These tests are equivalent to the Air Transport Pilot (ATP) written and oral examinations that airline pilots must successfully complete.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of an Aircraft Dispatcher:
- Responsible for economics, passenger service and operational control of day-to-day flight operations.
- Prepare and sign the dispatch release to provide legal authorization for a flight to depart according to government and company regulations to expedite and ensure safety of flight.
- Analyze and evaluate meteorological conditions, aircraft position reports and aeronautical navigation charts to evaluate the progress of flight, determine potential hazards to safety of flight, and select the most desirable and economic route of flight.
- Compute the amount of fuel required for the safe completion of flight according to type of aircraft, distance of flight, maintenance limitations, weather conditions and minimum fuel requirements prescribed by federal aviation regulations.
- Prepare flight plans containing information such as maximum allowable takeoff and landing weights, weather reports, field conditions, NOTAMs, and many other informational components required for the safe completion of flight.
- Update the pilot in command of significant changes to weather or flight plan, and recommend flight plan alternates, such as changing course, altitude and, if required, enroute landings in the interest of safety and economy. This may include delaying or canceling flights if unsafe conditions threaten the safety of the dispatcher's aircraft or passengers.
- Originate and disseminate flight information to others in the company including stations and reservations.
- Participate in yearly recurrent training courses covering aircraft systems, company operations policy, meteorology and Federal Air Regulations as required by the FAA. Also complete yearly operations familiarization or “jumpseating” for each aircraft the dispatcher is qualified in.
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