DISPATCHING

WHAT IS AVIATION DISPATCH?

In 1955, the Air Navigation Commission of ICAO noted that, from time to time, requests had been received from air operators for clarification in the exercise of operational control. There was at that time a lack of universally established principles to govern the exercise of such control by operators although, in certain parts of the world, such principles and practices had long been in existence. For this reason, a circular was published which explained the concept of shared advice and responsibilities between the Pilot-in-command and ground personnel, the extent of cooperation depending on many factors such as the size of the operation, the facilities available and the system of operation set up by the operator. This concept varied from simple dispatching, where the ground personnel’s primary function was to assist the pilot-in-command in pre-flight planning, to en-route and post-flight assistance to the pilot-in-command, where many of the duties for the operation were shared by the ground personnel. Emphasis was placed on the responsibility for obtaining and providing information of interest to aircraft in flight. This first circular, therefore, formed the basis for consideration of this subject by the Third Air Navigation Conference of ICAO held in Montreal in 1956. The discussions were mostly related to the provision of meteorological information, and little clarification of the general concept and purpose of operational control resulted. Over the intervening years, however, many States concluded that, for the efficient and safe flow of air traffic, it was necessary to have supervision of flight operations. Flight Operations Officers, also known as Flight Dispatchers or Aircraft Dispatchers, were, therefore, introduced to provide such supervision and act as a close link between aircraft in flight and the ground services, and also between the crew members and the operator’s ground staff.
In time, as the nature of the requirement for flight operations officer/flight dispatchers (FOO/FDs) stabilized and the scope of their duties and responsibilities became more defined, it was deemed necessary to establish knowledge and experience requirements and licensing provisions and these are contained in Annex 1 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Although these officers are not issued with licenses or certificates in some States, the need for their appropriate training and qualification has been accepted throughout the world and has been provided for in international Standards and Recommended Practices. This Flight Operations Officers/Flight Dispatchers Training Manual, Part D-3 of Doc 7192, contains acceptable methods for approved courses of training, based on the requirements of Annexes 1 and 6 and on the generally accepted scope and nature of the requirements and duties of such officers.
Aviation dispatch is a vital aspect of the aviation industry. It is also known as flight following, flight dispatch, or flight operations (or “flight ops” within the industry.) Airlines, both regional and major, rely upon them to help individual flights safely depart and reach their destinations. Usually, they have the ability to delay or even cancel a flight. Aviation dispatch helps pilots work with multiple streams of data to make informed decisions about their routes and schedules. Becoming an aviation dispatcher is a good way to become involved in the aviation industry without becoming a pilot, flight attendant, or ticket agent.
Without aviation dispatch, flights would not run as efficiently, and pilots might not have as much information as they need in order to make the best possible decisions both on the ground and in the air. While passengers and non-commercial pilots might not be aware of the role of flight dispatchers as they move through their functions in the aviation industry, flight handling officers are the unseen monitors who work with air traffic controllers to help commercial flights take off, navigate, and land smoothly. They help save Captains and First Officers time in looking up information in the event of an emergency.
More than the Captain and the First Officer, who are handling the conditions in the aircraft, and the air traffic controller, who has the perspective of all the traffic in the skies, the flight dispatcher can see both of these viewpoints.
While the flight operations officer/flight dispatcher (FOO/FD) will spend most of his time and energy making flight plans that are safe, legal, and economically prudent, his most important task is flight monitoring. The FOO/FD is the only person on the ground who has the knowledge and resources available to provide the pilot-in-command with information necessary for the safe completion of the flight. While air traffic services are charged with traffic separation, they do not have the information or the means to evaluate changing operational conditions. These conditions are affected by changes to en-route and terminal weather and winds aloft, newly developed turbulence, changing airfield capability and availability, the unique equipment on board each aircraft, the fuel endurance based upon aircraft mass/balance and other aircraft-specific performance factors, the ramifications of en-route on-board equipment failures and other operational considerations

including engine-out drift down, en-route alternates, and ozone exposure, among others. No other person, including the pilot-in-command, has as much information or as many resources available to effectively evaluate changes to the original flight release as does the FOO/FD.

THE ROLE OF FLIGHT DISPATCHERS

Flight Dispatcher performs all flight planning required for operation of flights primarily on safe basis, and monitors the flight throughout the flight. 
Flight Dispatcher refers to the person who informs the flight crew at any phase of a flight in order to ensure that the flight is maintained on secure and safe basis in the light of the request of the Pilot-in-Command or the information received, who monitors the flight in order to ensure that the details in relation to the flight are forwarded to the concerned divisions, who enables that the details in relation to an emergency (sabotage, accident destruction, hijacking, etc.) are reported to the concerned divisions, and who have been licensed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 
Flight dispatchers work with pilots and their data streams to help plan a flight. A good flight dispatcher can work with a large amount of data rapidly and accurately. Flight dispatchers take into consideration any factor that might affect a commercial flight. This includes weather, the airplane’s maintenance status, type of aircraft, and reports of turbulence from other pilots. Flight dispatchers must work with this information while keeping in mind company policy, regulations, or any temporary flight restrictions.
When a pilot is preparing for his or her flight, the dispatcher is checking the weather, coordinating schedules, and evaluating data regarding the aircraft. They are working with information issued regularly from air traffic control, weather updates, and other pilots. He or she is usually doing so from the headquarters of the company running the airline or private flight service. Using this information, the flight dispatcher puts together a flight plan for the Captain and First Officer.
After providing the flight plan, the Captain might make minor adjustments or speak to the dispatcher about what he or she has recommended. If he or she agrees with the flight plan, the Captain signs it. The flight dispatcher then monitors the flight as it heads to its destination, watching flow rates and flight paths. He or she checks to see if the time and fuel consumption estimates provided to the flight crew will continue to accurately reflect the projected flight path. It’s important to remember that the flight dispatcher is often responsible for multiple flights.
On their end, Captains and First Officers continue to communicate with their flight dispatchers, alerting them to changing weather conditions or if a hold has been issued. This assists the flight dispatcher in adjusting their flight plans, projecting new landing times, and making flight plans for other crews.
Flight Dispatchers monitor any activities covering the processes for cleaning, refueling, and loading of baggage and cargo, get in close contact with the cabin crew and aircraft technicians to make sure that the aircraft is ready to take-off and act in unison with such persons.  
Flight Dispatchers utilize a series of technology ranging from the operational planning tools to electronic systems to enable that the contact is maintained with all of the various service providers. 
Moreover, such duty requires flexible working hours.  It, also, requires a shift working system as the flights may be operated at any time of the day, which means that you are expected to work early in the mornings, late at nights, at weekends, or on official holidays.

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