What Do Pilots Think of Aircraft Dispatchers?

pilots talking aircraft dispatchers

If you are studying to become an aircraft dispatcher or you’ve recently graduated from an aircraft dispatcher school, you’ll likely be wondering what you can expect from the job. Sheffield has a detailed aircraft dispatcher job description that provides insight into your duties, but there is not a lot of information regarding a dispatcher’s interaction with pilots.

Aircraft dispatcher’s talk to pilots all day long. The communication between a dispatcher and pilot is ongoing throughout the flight. One pilot refers to dispatchers as ‘mother’ in his blog Flight Level 390. That should be an indication of the relationship between a dispatcher and a pilot.

The technical speak between pilots and dispatchers is something you’ll learn at aircraft dispatcher school, but it usually takes time to understand what a pilot is communicating between the lines.

We have compiled a list of some of the most common stories and comments that pilots have about dispatchers that we hope will shed some light on this vital relationship.

One pilot on reddit had a view on lazy aircraft dispatcher and said:

“Some dispatchers are lazy and just use the same canned routes over and over again. This doesn’t work when there are giant storms right across the route and now we either have to work a complete reroute or if the storm is close, we may not even be able to get out. Which means we are right back to you, getting new numbers/routes. Having not been a dispatcher, I imagine life is pretty hectic up in ops. Just don’t cut corners for the sake of cutting corners.” (link to answer here)

This is a great insight! The aircraft dispatcher job description always praises planning and attention to detail. If you are using the same routes over and over again, you could be endangering pilots and passengers. Remember to not get bored or lazy on the job.

Another pilot on reddit had a similar comment regarding lazy dispatchers and said:

“The best dispatcher at OO puts a one paragraph synopsis of what to expect throughout the us during the day in the remarks. He writes it once then copies and pastes it to all his flights. The worse ones are the ones that use a canned route on thunderstorm days and expect us to find our own way around, or, worse yet, routing us around a storm as it exists right now…and right through where it’ll be in an hour or two. Here’s a hint: if you have the choice to route us downwind or upwind of a system, choose upwind.” (link to answer here)

Communication is important. Sometimes even just an acknowledgement is all you need. One pilot put it best and said:

“Please don’t disappear. If we send you an ACARS message, please send something back. Even if it’s just ‘COPY’.” (link to answer here)

It’s easy to fall into a routine and if your routine is well thought out and takes variables into consideration, then you have what it takes to be a good aircraft dispatcher. All the best dispatchers are alike, they pay attention.


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