For individuals with a passion for aviation and a goal to have a career with the airlines your
absolute best investment is in FAA approved Flight Dispatcher training and certification.
One of the most significant human factors contributions to airline flight safety has been the skill
and flight supervision each Flight Dispatcher provides to each airline flight. Airlines without Flight
Dispatch supervision have accident rates up to five (5) times greater. Therefore, airlines in the
United States, Canada and many overseas nations are required by the FAA or their CAA to employ
Flight Dispatchers or Flight Operations Officers.
With most airlines, the Flight Dispatcher has responsibility and authority above the Airline Captain to delay or cancel flights before severe weather or other dangers are encountered.
Hours before each Airline Captain checks in for their flight, the Flight Dispatcher has prepared a weather forecast briefing, selected the route and altitude to be flown, has determined the safe fuel load and maximum passenger load for their Airline Captain. The Flight Dispatcher prepares the required flight documents the Flight Plan and the Dispatch Release. By this teamwork, where the Flight Dispatcher has the authority pre-flight and the Airline Captain has the authority inflight the highest level of aviation safety in the world is maintained. In this relationship each flight decision is made by joint agreement between the two, representing the FAA required collaborative decisionmaking (CDM) between the Airline Captain and Flight Dispatcher.
In terms of Aviation Meteorology, Air Traffic Control coordination, Flight Economics and
Passenger Coordination, the Flight Dispatcher has knowledge and practical ability typically
beyond that of the Airline Captain. Conversely, the Airline Captain has mastered airmanship far
beyond the ability of the Flight Dispatcher. Safety is optimized by the joining of these abilities.
September 11th, 2001 was a day that provided the greatest witness to the value and ability of
Flight Dispatchers. That morning with about 4,500 airline flights in the sky over the USA, the FAA
ordered all of those 4,500 flights to divert and land outside the USA immediately. Airline flights
that did not comply within 3060 minutes would be considered as hostile aircraft.
How did each Airline Captain get these orders? 90% of those flights did not have data covering
flying into Canada or Mexico. How would the Captain know the safest place to land in this crisis?
At least 1,000 of those flights were jumbo jets not just any runway would be sufficient to safely
Because FAA Air Traffic Control is tied into Flight Dispatch and because each Flight Dispatcher
must monitor the weather, airspace conditions and each airport within 500 miles of each flight,
every Flight Dispatcher had a rapid response or emergency plan ready. There were no midair
near misses, no conflicts, no landing incidents none. Every one of the 4,500 flights with
somewhere near 90,000 total passengers was on the ground within the hour safely.
Collectively, the success of this emergency response by Flight Dispatchers in the United States
amidst this tragic event was medal of honor worthy.
You can be this; you can do this. You can be the safety critical asset known as the Flight
Dispatcher, required by the FAA, working with the Captain, for every airline flight.
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