Keep Your Feet on the Ground as an Aircraft Dispatcher
If you have a passion for the airline industry but are not too fond of spending weeks traveling through the sky aboard an airplane, you may find great satisfaction as an aircraft dispatcher. Described as ‘captains on the ground,’ dispatchers work to schedule and navigate many different flights at the same time. If you are interested in this engaging and potentially well-paying job, keep reading to learn about qualifications and available courses.
To work as an aircraft dispatcher you must complete a certification course that will train you in the requirements for the Federal Aviation Regulations. Before you can register for this program you must be at least 21 years of age and have earned a high school diploma or international equivalent. You must also have the ability to follow directions with confidence and know how to manage your time for your studies.
The topics covered in this course usually include the following:
- Graphic Weather
- Non-graphic Weather
- Procedures for Instrument Approach
- Basic and Advanced Aviation Weather Theory/Meteorology
- The Information Manual for Aeronautics
- Air Traffic Control
- Airway Manuals
- Limitations and Systems of large turbojet aircraft
- Engine Performance and Aircraft Systems
- Federal Aviation Regulations
- Manual and Computerized Flight Planning
About halfway through your training you will take the FAA Flight Dispatcher Knowledge Test, and after completing all your courses you will take the FAA Practical Exam. If you pass both of these tests you will earn your credentials to work as a flight dispatcher.
The Role of a Dispatcher
Once you can find employment as a dispatcher, you will have opportunities to play a critical role in aviation, keeping everyone on board an airplane out of harm’s way. As a dispatcher, you will be responsible for the flight plan, bearing in mind any factors that could impact the flight. These include weather, navigation facilities, maintenance or needed repairs and substitute airports. In fact, the airplane cannot leave the ground until both you and the captain sign the Dispatch Release.
During the duration of the airplane’s travel, you will stay in communication with the pilot and make them aware of any changes to their flight path. If serious weather or other navigational complications make the travels unsafe, it will be your responsibility to cancel or delay the flight, or if already en route, to direct the captain on a safe alternate route to another airport.
Benefits and Rewards
While working as a dispatcher can provide you with intrinsic satisfaction, a challenging career and excitement, there are other personal and monetary benefits to working in this position. Some of these include dental, health and life insurance packages, discounts on cruise lines and hotels, retirement plans and reduced or free travel costs. As a dispatcher you also earn the right for cockpit jump seat authority.
If you are interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher, take the time to start your search for courses in your area. If you are not able to attend courses at a training center, you may be able to take online courses and later attend five to seven days of training as part of a residency program. When you do earn your credentials to work as a flight dispatcher, you will have the ability to work at a variety of airports, keeping the world of aviation in check and in safe hands.