Common Myths About Aircraft Dispatchers

myths aircraft dispatcher


Being an aircraft dispatcher is far from a glamorous job. The general public doesn’t usually know that they exist, mistaking their roles for air traffic control or pilots. The job of an aircraft dispatcher is a very important one. Sheffield School of Aeronautics is here to clear up a few myths about the work that aircraft dispatchers do every day.

Myth #1: Aircraft Dispatchers Work in the Tower at Airports

Aircraft dispatchers are not air traffic controllers. There are a number of differences between the two positions, but the major one is that air traffic control simply directs traffic based on flight plans and timing. Aircraft dispatchers do the calculations for the flight plan from start to finish. From fuel, weather, aircraft dimensions, flight path and more, the aircraft dispatcher works in tandem with the pilots to ensure the flight is safe and efficient.

Myth #2: Aircraft Dispatchers Are Hired by the FAA

While certified aircraft dispatchers are licensed by the FAA, they are employed by airlines. Every airline uses a specific brand, type, model of aircraft. The aircraft dispatcher must learn the ins and outs of the aircraft, policies, rules, etc., to ensure that they can create the most efficient flight plans possible. Therefore, aircraft dispatchers don’t work at the tower in the airport. They work with their specific airline to create efficient and cost saving flight plans for their company. 

Myth #3: Pilots Do All the Heavy Lifting for Flights

False. While pilots are the ones in charge of flying the plane, the plan comes from your aircraft dispatcher. Pilots are the ones who execute the plan, and if something does go wrong, they use their experience to make an educated decision from the data that their aircraft dispatcher put together. Pilots and aircraft dispatchers work so closely together that some in the business call aircraft dispatchers the pilots who stay on the ground. This also means that typically it’s the aircraft dispatchers that cancel or delay flights based on the information they have and data that are in front of them.

Most importantly: Aircraft dispatchers share responsibility with the flight crew for the safety of the flight. Should something go wrong, the dispatchers are considered the surviving crew members, and coordinate the emergency ground support if there’s a crash. You may not ever notice your aircraft dispatchers, but just know that they’re here to help make sure your flight is as safe and efficient as possible. If you are interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher, consider enrolling in one of our dispatcher courses at Sheffield School of Aeronautics.

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