Flight Dispatcher Paperwork Responsibilities

At Sheffield School of Aeronautics, an FAA certified flight dispatcher school, we realize that there are a lot of aspects to the average everyday life of a flight dispatcher. There is a funny, but true saying in the aircraft dispatching community that states, “When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the plane, only then you can go flying” said by Donald Douglas.

There are various forms of paper work that every aircraft dispatcher must complete before a flight can depart. Some of these documents are required by the individual airline, some are for the flight dispatcher’s company use, and others are legally required for each flight. Many of these documents are printed on dot matrix printers and telex rollers.

If you have ever seen a movie that bases the plot around a flight or a flight plays a major role in the movie, then you have probably noticed a highly dramatized cabin manager consult the passenger manifest looking for a doctor on board, or a pilot, or a marshal. In reality, most manifests do not give any more information than a passenger’s name, sex, and seat number, and may go as far as to contain other supplementary information such as medical conditions or dietary restrictions.

Once all of the passengers have been checked onto the flight, the passenger manifest is printed on three, ply carbonated sheets, where one copy will be retained by the flight dispatcher, one is kept by the cabin manager, and the third copy is given to the appointed individual at the destination, depending on immigration and customs. If you imagine a flight with 300 passengers, then the list can quickly end up at lengths of 5 to 6 feet in length, which can be quite difficult to maneuver.

There are also loading instructions, which documents and directs the crew members on how to load the passengers and cargo onto the plain, so that the flight remains within safe operating limits. This is a legally required document that must be signed by the loading agent and adhered to, if there are any absolutely necessary deviations made, these must be noted. The document details the weight and balance of the aircraft and contains information about the weight of the bags and cargo, how it is distributed, along with a breakdown of the passengers’ weight and distribution. The document factors in the aircraft’s operating weights and factors everything together. The captain of the aircraft must sign a copy showing acceptance, and then the flight dispatcher will retain a copy in their records. Depending on the airline, this document can have a variety of names.

Other pieces of documentation required to be kept by the flight dispatcher include the bags and cargo’s proof of security screening and acceptance for carriage by the government’s regulations, as well as the airline’s regulations. Paperwork that must be filed during the turnaround, which will help determine a delay, if any. And lastly, the certified flight dispatcher will receive paperwork that crew members are required to complete, such as security forms, crew names, or customs paperwork for incoming cargo or passengers. All of these documents must be kept on record for a determined length of time.

At Sheffield School of Aeronautics, you will learn everything that is required when becoming a flight dispatcher.

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