“When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the plane, only then you can go flying” -Donald Douglas.
Paperwork is almost always viewed as such a burden because it’s usually tedious, time-consuming, messy, and occupies prime real estate in any office. The benefits of all the information in an organization or individual’s paperwork doesn’t seem tangibly rewarding. Despite its reputation, paperwork that’s been accurately and fully completed is invaluable. Accurate information is vital when you’re responsible for people’s lives, like the passengers and crew of an aircraft. At Sheffield School of Aeronautics, an FAA certified flight dispatcher school, we realize that aircraft dispatchers have numerous responsibilities. Before you decide to go for your FAA aircraft dispatcher license, you should be aware of the flight dispatcher paperwork responsibilities.
What Paperwork Does a Flight Dispatcher Fill Out?
Aircraft dispatchers have multiple factors to review before a flight and it’s important to document these things in order to efficiently communicate with the team that everything is good to go for take-off. Some of these documents are required by the individual airline while others are for the flight dispatcher’s company use. There are also documents legally required for each flight. Many of these aircraft dispatcher forms are printed on dot-matrix printers and telex rollers.
One important document that falls under the aircraft dispatcher’s paperwork responsibilities is the manifest. A manifest lists information regarding the passengers or the cargo the plane is carrying. Typically, a manifest will include each passenger’s name, sex, and seat number. It may also contain other supplementary information such as special medical conditions or dietary restrictions.
Once all of the passengers have been checked onto the flight, the passenger manifest is printed on three-ply carbon paper. One copy will be retained by the flight dispatcher. The other two copies will be distributed to the cabin manager and the appointed individual at the destination, depending on immigration and customs. If you imagine a flight with 300 passengers, the list can easily be 5 to 6 feet in length, which can be a bit difficult to manage. Luckily, flight dispatcher paperwork is going digital, making these documents more accessible.
The flight dispatcher paperwork responsibilities will also include the loading instructions. This document for the crew members details how to load the passengers and/or cargo onto the plane so that the flight remains within safe operating limits. The loading instructions will include the weight and balance of the aircraft, the aircraft’s operating weight, the weight of the cargo, and how the weight is distributed.
The loading instructions are legally required and must be signed by the loading agent. They should be adhered to exactly and any necessary deviations must be noted. The captain of the aircraft must sign a copy to approve these changes, and the flight dispatcher will retain a copy for their records. This document is referred to by several different names depending on the airline.
Other Aircraft Dispatcher Paperwork
The flight dispatcher is also required to carry documentation for various particulars such as:
- Proof of security screening for bags and cargo
- Proof that all cargo adheres to the government and airline regulations
- Paperwork for turnaround (will help determine any delays if necessary)
- Crew member paperwork (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 enjoy learning about how to become an air traffic controller along with the aircraft dispatcher paperwork responsibilities and how to fill out these flight dispatcher forms accurately to ensure a successful flight.