Flight dispatchers are an integral part of any flight operation center. Aircraft Flight Dispatchers are FAA, ICAO or Local Authority licensed and certified airmen. All Part 121 airlines are required to have licensed Aircraft Dispatchers. To obtain an Aircraft Dispatchers Certificate, a student must pass two extensive examinations--one written, and one oral/practical.
The Aircraft Dispatcher is equally responsible along with the Captain to insure that each flight under his/her control is planned and operated safely and in accordance with all applicable regulations. The Dispatcher is responsible for pre-planning, in-flight monitoring, including the forwarding of pertinent weather information, and assuring that each flight reaches its final destination in a safe and timely manner. The dispatcher has been described as the "Captain on the ground." Both the Captain and the Dispatcher must sign a dispatch release before a flight can legally operate.
The first and foremost responsibility of the Aircraft Dispatcher is SAFETY . This is accomplished through coordination with and agreement of the Captain of each flight under his/her control. Next on the Dispatcher's list of responsibilities is the efficiency of the operation, passenger comfort and convenience, the maintenance of the airliner's schedule, and accommodation of payload.
Dispatchers ensure that all factors affecting safety are considered and plan the flight along the most efficient route available. Each flight is different and requires the dispatcher to carefully review all of the available information before a flight may be released.
Preplanning of the operation is the first step in the process used to ensure these responsibilities are met. The Dispatcher must be constantly aware of the changing conditions which effect the operation. He/she must be prepared to react to these changing conditions and modify the plan in an appropriate way to maintain safety. Once the planned flight is under way, the Dispatcher is required to maintain vigilance over that operation to be sure it remains safe and within the bounds of regulation and company policy.
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