Sheffield School of Aeronautics Blog

The FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Knowledge Exam – Part 1

Sobering fact for the day: Reading on social media how these mills out there are peddling their school by citing ADX test score averages and NOTHING about true (non-standardized) school exams that go towards “successfully completing” a Part 65 dispatcher course. Passing a big memory ADX ‘test’ is NOT a student’s ticket to the practical certification exam and is NOT what this profession is about. But many schools appear to equate this ADX ‘test’ nonsense to success and getting a ticket to the FAA practical exam.

What might be more upsetting, since I receive the emails begging us for help, is that many of these ‘ADX experts’ – so-called graduates – will trail behind or fail during airline initial training. That is, assuming they even pass a real FAA AD practical exam (I’ll leave that subject for another post) and pass the interview. Gee, I wonder how many course operators can cite the 200+ errors, incomplete statements, or misleading questions from within the ADX question bank. (i.e., how do you graph Pressure Altitude for takeoff without an altimeter setting/QNH??)

The ADX test should have been abolished decades ago (more about this in future posts.) Schools would actually have to create and hopefully make students think. Airlines could then interview qualified applicants who won’t utter nonsense that BR is ‘baby rain’ or that ALS is some disease and not a lighting system that affects landing minimums when inoperative.

And, last but not least, why the ADX does not reflect reality: the FAA dropped complete flight logs (a very basic attempt at flight planning) from the ADX test. I thought flight planning was the essence of the Aircraft Dispatcher’s responsibilities per Part 121. So keep ‘acing’ your bogus test – it means nothing.

I cannot fathom charging an aircraft dispatcher student $4,000 to $5,000 plus, then spending a vast majority of the 200-hour course prepping for this standardized nonsense. When you’re seated in front of an airline interview panel, the better airlines will throw scenarios at you and ask you to prioritize. They will not provide 3 answer choices for you in ADX fashion, 1 or 2 of which are obviously incorrect. What will that prove, in terms of ‘knowledge’ later on, when you’re on the operational control center floor trying to contact the crew with possible dispatch release amendments, weather routing changes, or even a potential emergency situation!?

What Makes a Good Aircraft Dispatcher?

In the above editorial, Eric Morris points out some qualities that prospective dispatchers need to have to be successful. These qualities are much more complex than simply passing a memory-based test like the ADX exam. Aircraft dispatchers need to be fast on their feet and able to work efficiently under pressure. A skilled aircraft dispatcher embodies a fusion of unwavering diligence, acute analytical prowess, and an adept understanding of meteorological intricacies. These traits are hard to measure through a written test but can be learned and honed if one is enrolled in a proven academy like Sheffield School of Aeronautics. 

Do FAA Dispatchers Need a Medical?

Another facet of the career that is hardly touched on in written exams, like the ADX exam, is the medical standing of the candidate. Aircraft dispatchers do not have a minimum health level requirement they need to pass. However, prospective dispatchers need to realize they must learn how to manage stress and the negative repercussions that it can have on their health. While they do not need a medical exam, and this does not have a place in the ADX or practical exam, it is a crucial element that candidates need to be aware of. 

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Flight Dispatcher?

FAA flight dispatcher license requirements include the person must:

  1. Be at least 23 years of age
  2. Be a high school graduate or international equivalent education
  3. Have the ability to read, write, and communicate in the English Language
  4. Have received a minimum of 200 hours of instruction
  5. Have a passing score on the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Practical Test

You can read more about the qualifications needed to be a flight dispatcher by viewing this related blog on our website.

How Long Does It Take to Be an Aircraft Dispatcher?

Embarking on the journey to become an aircraft dispatcher is a commitment to a well-structured educational timeline. The duration to attain certification typically involves completing an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher Certification Course, which commonly spans between four and six months. The overall timeframe to obtain certification may vary based on individual pacing, program structures, and external factors. The process is designed to ensure a thorough understanding of the multifaceted responsibilities inherent in the role, preparing dispatchers with the proficiency and confidence necessary for success in the dynamic field of aviation operations.

What Is the Aircraft Dispatcher Written Test?

The aircraft dispatcher’s written test is known as the ADX exam. The ADX test is 80 questions long and covers topics such as meteorology, aircraft systems, regulations, and operational decision-making. The test was created to ensure that aspiring dispatchers possess the depth of understanding required for their role in aviation. The exam, which is composed of a series of multiple-choice questions, demands a thorough grasp of complex scenarios, emergency procedures, and the ability to interpret meteorological data. The ADX is an exam taken on a computer terminal. A person has 3 hours (or up to 3 hours and 30 minutes, depending on FAA policy) to complete this written test and must get a score of 70% or higher to pass.

More About Sheffield School of Aeronautics

Sheffield School of Aeronautics is here to provide our customers with the finest airline dispatcher training in the world. No matter what your past career choice was or where you are currently, our aircraft dispatcher school is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Aviation Education Programs

Individuals are drawn to aviation education due to their passion for flight, be it piloting or other aviation-related careers. Becoming a pilot allows them to turn their fascination with flying into a profession, including those related to recreational or commercial flying. Beyond piloting, aviation offers diverse career paths, such as aircraft maintenance, air traffic control, and aviation management, offering opportunities for job stability and global travel. No matter what career path you are choosing to take part in, there are certainly many education programs for you to choose from. What are some of the most interesting aviation education programs? Our aircraft dispatcher school explains more in the following article. 

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Does Aviation Have a Future?

The aviation industry encompasses commercial and general aviation, including airlines, aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and associated services. While the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges, the long-term outlook remains positive. These include increasing global travel demand, emerging markets, and advancements in electric and sustainable aviation technologies that are driving growth. Some still wonder, does aviation have a future?

Although challenges like regulatory changes and economic volatility persist, the aviation industry continues to be a vital part of global transportation. Its future is promising as it strives to become more efficient and environmentally responsible. Continue reading below to learn more from our flight dispatcher training school. 

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What Do Pilots Use to Communicate?

Communication is crucial for pilots as it ensures safe and efficient flight operations. Effective communication enables pilots to coordinate with air traffic control, relay critical information about weather, navigation, and emergencies, and maintain situational awareness. It also aids in preventing misunderstandings, potential collisions, and airspace violations. Clear communication enhances teamwork within the cockpit and with ground personnel, promoting informed decision-making. In emergency situations, concise communication helps execute timely responses. So, what do pilots use to communicate? Our airline dispatcher school explores the topic more in the following article. Continue reading below to learn more. 

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What Are the 4 Ws of Aviation Communication?

Communication is absolutely critical in aviation due to the complex and high-stakes nature of the industry. This is mostly because of the safety of everyone involved. Effective communication ensures that pilots, air traffic controllers, ground personnel, and other relevant parties can exchange crucial information in real time. This includes sharing information about weather conditions, flight paths, clearances, and potential hazards. Misunderstandings or errors in communication can lead to accidents, and clear communication protocols help mitigate this risk. What are the 4 Ws of aviation communication? Our flight dispatcher training school explores more below. 

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Airline Safety Procedures

Airline safety procedures are crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of passengers, crew, and the aircraft. They are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate risks, and handle emergencies effectively. By following strict protocols, such as pre-flight checks, emergency drills, and safety briefings, airlines can minimize potential hazards and respond promptly to any unforeseen situations. Safety procedures instill confidence in passengers, promote a culture of preparedness among crew members, and comply with regulatory requirements, creating a safer and more reliable air travel experience for everyone involved. Prioritizing safety is fundamental to maintaining the airline industry’s reputation and preventing avoidable incidents. If you would like to learn more about the role of dispatchers and what they could do to aid safety, continue reading below. 

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Parts of Aircraft Landing Gear

Landing gear is crucial for airplanes, as it enables safe takeoffs and landings by providing necessary support and stability. It absorbs the impact during landing, maintains balance on the ground, and allows smooth taxiing. Without it, landing and ground operations would be extremely hazardous and impractical. If you are interested in learning how to become a flight dispatcher, you are going to need to learn about the different parts of an aircraft and how they interact with each other. Continue reading below to learn more about the parts of aircraft landing gear. 

Parts of Landing Gear of Aircraft 

The parts of aircraft landing gear make up a complex system of numerous components designed to support the aircraft during takeoff, landing, and ground operations. Some of the key components of landing gear include the following: 

  • Landing gear struts – These are the main structural components that connect the aircraft’s fuselage to the wheels. They absorb the impact of landing and provide flexibility during taxiing.
  • Wheels and tires – The wheels allow the aircraft to move on the ground during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. Tires are designed to withstand heavy loads and high speeds, ensuring safe ground operations.
  • Brakes – The brakes are attached to the landing gear and controlled by the pilot. They are essential for slowing down the aircraft after touchdown and during taxiing, ensuring it stops safely on the runway.
  • Shock absorbers – Incorporated within the landing gear struts, shock absorbers are hydraulic or pneumatic devices that dampen the impact forces during landing, preventing damage to the aircraft structure.
  • Retraction Mechanism – Many modern aircraft have retractable landing gear to reduce drag during flight, improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. This mechanism allows the landing gear to be stowed inside the aircraft’s fuselage or wings after takeoff.
  • Doors and fairings – Landing gear doors cover and protect the retracted landing gear when not in use. Fairings are aerodynamic covers that streamline the landing gear components during flight.
  • Hydraulic system – Most landing gear systems are operated hydraulically, using fluid pressure to extend or retract the gear. Hydraulic systems are reliable and provide the necessary force for smooth operation.
  • Locking mechanism – When the landing gear is fully extended or retracted, a locking mechanism ensures it stays securely in place during flight or ground operations.
  • Indicator lights – Aircraft have lights to indicate the status of the landing gear. Green lights show that the gear is safely locked in the down position, while red lights indicate an unsafe condition, such as partial or full gear retraction.
  • Landing gear control systems – The pilot uses a control lever or switch in the cockpit to operate the landing gear. Depending on the aircraft’s complexity, the system may be manually operated or automatic.

How Does The Aircraft Landing Gear Brake System Work? 

The aircraft landing gear brake system uses hydraulic pressure to apply friction between brake pads and the wheels. Pilots activate the brakes through the cockpit’s control system, slowing down the aircraft during landing and taxiing on the runway.

Are There Different Aircraft Landing Gear Designs? 

Yes, there are various aircraft landing gear designs, including tricycle, taildragger, tandem, and retractable configurations. Tricycle gear is most common, with a nose wheel and two main wheels, while taildraggers have two main wheels and a tail wheel. Retractable gear can retract into the aircraft to reduce drag during flight.

More About Sheffield School of Aeronautics 

Aside from detailing aircraft landing gear components, Sheffield School of Aeronautics is a flight dispatcher school that can help you or a loved one receive their dispatcher certification and other programs like ETOPS training. To learn more about flight dispatcher training and how you could go on your way to earning a flight dispatcher salary, do not hesitate to contact us today. 

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