Five Basic Reasons an Aircraft Dispatcher Has an Important Job

Though many people do not know that the job exists, an aircraft dispatcher is equally as important as a pilot. In fact, some may argue that they have one of the most important jobs in the flight industry. Dispatchers have many responsibilities, which is why it happens to also be one of the top paying jobs in the flight industry, especially after experience has been gained or once hired by a major airline. Not only does a dispatcher have to monitor and be responsible for one flight, but one dispatcher will likely be looking at multiple flights at once, sometimes dozens at a time or throughout a 8 to 10-hour shift. The following are five of the basic responsibilities that make the aircraft dispatcher so important.

Flight Planning – An aircraft dispatcher is the one who works up the flight plan for every flight before they ever leave the ground. Weather plays an important role in the flight plan, as does a variety of non-routine issues such as national crises, volcanic ash, and more. The plan will include weather reports, conditions in the field, PIREPs, TAFs, METARs, and NOTAMs. Also included will be the maximum allowable weight for landing and takeoff. Once the flight is completely planned, the dispatcher provides the flight plan and release to the captain for a signature or electronic “sign off.” In some rare occasions, the captain will make a modification, but in most cases, it is signed, showing that the two agree that the plan is the safest for that particular flight. The signatures give authorization for the departure and dispatch of the flight.

Fuel Planning – Another major responsibility of an aircraft dispatcher is the computation of the fuel amount. The dispatcher has to consider the distance of the flight, the weather, winds, ATC constraints, limitations on maintenance, and other affecting factors to determine how much fuel each particular plane will need, and to be sure that it lasts them until their next stop. FAA guidelines, including minimum required fuel, as well as individual company guidelines must be followed.

Postponement – Many times that a flight gets delayed, diverted, or even cancelled, it is due to the recommendation of the aircraft dispatcher. Because the dispatcher views and monitors everything about the flight, they know when there is an unsafe condition that will be threatening to the flight itself, the cargo, any passengers, or the pilots.

Advisement – As a flight is en route, the dispatcher is responsible for communicating with the pilot to advise them of any changes in the flight plan. Sometimes unexpectedly, factors that are out of anybody’s control will cause the flight to change. This does not always, but could possibly include an emergency landing.

Fulfilling Requests – In some situations, the pilot may make a request for certain information or landing advice. Before the request, they may enter into a holding (delay) pattern. Dispatchers are able to see the holding pattern from their monitor using aircraft situation display or other flight monitoring tools, and can begin to gather the information they need before the pilot even asks for it. This increases efficiency with the entire process.

As you can see, an aircraft dispatcher is an extremely important person in the industry of flight and transportation. Without the dispatcher, there would be a lot of information in regards to safety and efficiency that would slip through the cracks. If you are interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher, look into your schooling options today.

Sheffield School is the world’s oldest aircraft dispatcher school and was established in 1948.



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    “Going to Sheffield prepared me for the real world challenges of Aircraft Dispatching. I certainly believe that the method Sheffield used is one not only for success in a real world career, but also one that prepares students to correctly dispatch aircraft.” T.Z. Sidebar TZ
    “I wanted to tell you I got the job offer from Expressjet, and start next month! I think a couple others from class were hired as well. It just shows the Sheffield reputation when I see graduates from other schools complaining that they can’t get an interview – I wasn’t even back home to Minneapolis […] Dan Gustafson
    “Eric Morris is one of the most if not the most knowledgeable and experienced authorities on Aircraft Dispatching in the United States. He strives constantly to make the industry better.” DH sidebar DH
    “My experience at Sheffield and my exposure to other aircraft dispatchers that did not go to Sheffield has resulted in an awareness of the superior depth and quality of the training provided by the Sheffield instructors.” CD Sidebar CD
    “While touring my company’s dispatch department before I had my license our OCC manager pointed out that 7 of the 10 dispatchers on shift had come from Sheffield. The overall consensus was that Sheffield grads were able to hit the ground running as they were better prepared.” K.O. Sidebar K.O.
    “As a graduate of the aircraft dispatcher program at the Sheffield School of Aeronautics…My training was intense and thorough and furnished me with the requisite skills for performing my current job as a Flight Dispatch Supervisor.” N.S. Sidebar NS
    “I am so glad they are like this because it made me a better dispatcher and I really appreciate their high standards. I would highly recommend Sheffield to anyone who is willing to study hard and is serious about obtaining a Dispatcher Certificate.” MC MC
    “now that I’ve been in an indoctrination class with students from other schools, I know I made the right choice with Sheffield.”   Kindest regards,  A.R.  All schools are created equal?! yeah…sure ;)
    “I entered my profession, with more knowledge and information than dispatchers who have been practicing their craft for more than ten years. Not only has Sheffield provided a top notch education, but they have also instilled in me the confidence to succeed.” A.Z. Sidebar AZ
    “If you want to be the best, first you need to be trained by the best!” P. Hill P.Hill – DHL
    “Their reputation of excellence amongst the industry is second to none. Sheffield School of Aeronautics should be seen as the standard of how it can be done and how it should be done. I was hired at a major airline with no dispatch experience.” A.Z. Sidebar AZ
    Good afternoon Eric, I wanted to reach out to let you know that training at (airline) is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier that I chose Sheffield. My classmates, while very smart, definitely had subpar training and that has been very evident. I have waited to write a full scale review of the […] Attending Sheffield School benefits airline new hires in preparation for airline training
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    “This school came highly recommended by multiple past students and EVEN OTHERS FROM OTHER SCHOOLS. Reputation is fantastic from multiple companies that I have worked for.” A. – September 2020
    “This was an amazing class! Always interesting! It was like drinking from a fire hose, but I have never enjoyed a course more than this one. Thank you for a great 5 weeks & EWINS!” R.S. R.S. Testimonial – 5-weeks & EWINS
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