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:
- Be at least 23 years of age
- Be a high school graduate or international equivalent education
- Have the ability to read, write, and communicate in the English Language
- Have received a minimum of 200 hours of instruction
- 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.