Sheffield School of Aeronautics Blog

A Reply to Ignorance

October 16, 2017

This is our response to a statement found within the minutes of a meeting in May 2017 of the GALDA (German Airline Dispatcher Association), which included an opinion and generalizations regarding USA FAA Part 65 training and trainers made by the Chairman of the German Airline Dispatcher Association. The link below includes the entire statement. Our response follows.

One statement that we find particularly troublesome is

“The FAA Dispatch license is reduced to a business model and cash machine for FAR 65 training provider. The issue any form of license without a complete and proofed qualification and competence is simply wrong. If there are shortcuts like the FAR 65 license, all other professional competence development concepts for FOO are endangered, also the new Competency Based Training Concept for FOO.”


I’m unsure if this is stupidity, ignorance, or a hybrid of both.

The FAA does not issue a ‘dispatch license’, it issues a certificate, which means the individual is eligible to apply for a job – period. It is not a license to dispatch. It is the airline’s responsibility to rigorously interview the applicant, and if hired, put them through a training period that acclimates them to do the actual job, all of this typically occurs during a 3-12 month probationary period in the USA.

It is best and most advisable not to lump Sheffield School of Aeronautics into any category with any other FAA Part 65 schools, of which there are likely 50+ approvals. I doubt having students self-study a 1500+ ADX-test question bank, that is in constant flux, would be considered ‘fast and easy.’ This is required study before even entering our school. Other schools may incorporate some or all of this standardized test material into their curriculum, much of it being nonsensical and not applicable to an actual OCC/NOC of any regional or major airline within the USA or outside the USA, but Sheffield does not use ADX subject material as the core focus of their courses.

Why have so many carriers, including international airlines, sent people to Sheffield School of Aeronautics (est. 1948) as well as some other schools? In our case, this includes major European carriers such as KLM, Air Berlin, Lufthansa, etc.. If there is no value to the USA/FAA certification, why has this occurred and continues to occur? Most international carriers don’t technically need the training and yet they send their people anyway. So, is the author calling those companies plus Virgin Australia and dozens of others, including Delta and United, et al. stupid, then? 

This sounds to me like someone is using that “US Part 65 training sucks” line to further their own work project. I also find it interesting that, to the best of our knowledge, there are only three countries in the world who share operational control, and the Part 65 certificate works for that – but their own training he speaks of still won’t allow that in other countries. If our process is good enough to give us that authority legally, then, obviously the FAA sees it as sufficient and continues to do so since there appears to be no rewrite of Part 65 in the works. 

If you believe USA FAA Part 65 Aircraft Dispatcher training is insufficient, then I challenge you to block all US air carriers from entering other countries’ airspace as being unsafe since they are insufficiently planned and released. At least Delta’s operations, since they run their own program in-house under Part 65… 

The blog/piece seems to focus on US regulations, many of which are mirrored in one way or another internationally. The author also fails to note that there is more to a Part 65 USA course than regulations. There’s weather theory, non-graphic weather, graphic weather, ATC, navigation, aircraft performance, flight planning, and aircraft systems, in addition to decision-making and situational awareness. Do European turbojet engines work differently? Is weather theory, not climatology, different across the Atlantic? I could go on forever…

FAA Part 65 training in the USA was described in the blog link as ‘Fast and easy’, which is utter nonsense. At least, not at Sheffield School of Aeronautics. Ask anyone who has ever attended this FAA Part 65 school of hard knocks. This is no “shortcut”, and if any US Part 65 school sells a ticket, so to speak, any airline inside or outside of the U.S. with half a brain stem, will simply dismiss that applicant during the interview process. Yet our graduates who return to their homes all around the world, be it USA, Germany, or various European or Asian countries, seem to have little or no problem assimilating into the international standards of other airlines. Why is that? Perhaps the international community should reexamine their own ‘standards.’ Or in the least coordinate and communicate with US Part 65 trainers as to what is lacking in order to make improvements to training. The FAA does not seem to fathom that communications-for-improvement concept at times, but perhaps others around the world can simply communicate what is good and what is lacking –Sheffield would certainly listen.

These “Operations/Dispatch” Federations who are trying to attract young, motivated individuals, yet communicate ignorance, should be admonished, if not shunned entirely. We’re not big into patronizing  ignorance. 

Eric Morris
Sheffield School of Aeronautics (established 1948)





Overbooked Flight Policies

It’s been a reoccurring theme for commercial airlines with overbooked flights for years now, and as it currently stands, there’s seemingly no solution in place to prevent it from happening. It does raise the valid question as to why it continues to take place. Considering the incident that happened on a recent United Airlines flight where security personnel forcibly removed a man from his seat in an effort to accommodate another passenger, one has to wonder whether these situations can be avoided. The gentleman who was pulled off the plane was allegedly a doctor who stated that he needed to go home to see patients. Regardless of whether he needed to be somewhere important or not, he was a passenger who purchased a planet ticket.

The unfortunate reality with overbooked flights is that airlines can and will remove a passenger if no one volunteers to get off the plane. While each airline has its own distinct overbooked flight policies, the one good thing is that the passenger is at least compensated for their inconvenience. The Department of Transportation outlines a list of rights that passengers receive when flying. Depending on what time the passenger arrives at their location after being booked, they may receive:

  • Less than one hour means you aren’t entitled to any money.
  • One to two hours on domestic flights gets you 200 percent the cost of your ticket up to $675.
  • Two or more hours on domestic flights gets you 400 percent the cost of your ticket up to $1350.
  • One to four hours on international flights gets you 200 percent the cost of your ticket up to $675.
  • Four hours or more on international flights gets you 400 percent the cost of your ticket up to $1350.
  • Passengers using frequent flyer award tickets get cash based on the lowest amount someone paid for that flight.
Learning from Flight Simulators

It happens all the time. Exciting individuals come to Sheffield Aviation School with the dream of working in the aviation industry. Like most people, they have all wished that they could fly and aspire to fulfill that dream in some shape or form. Some aspiring flight dispatchers have even utilized flight simulators on a regular basis. However, can flight simulators actually teach people to fly? Well, it depends. Some people approach flight simulator training as a game or a toy, while others take it seriously. It is arguable that those who use a flight simulator may have an advantage in real world flying over those who do not use a flight simulator. But how? Well here’s flight simulator training explained:


How a Flight Dispatcher or Pilot Benefits from Simulator Training

 If you are looking to attend training and certification from an aviation school, it may be a good idea to consider a flight school that has an FAA-approved aviation flight simulator. That’s because flight simulators (at least the advanced ones) can accurately simulate the conditions and features of an aircraft flight deck. The controls may not be an exact representation of each aircraft, but the experience alone can make the transition to operating a real aircraft much more seamless.

Disney’s Epcot has an example of an advanced flight simulation in an attraction called, “Mission Space.” The attraction features a centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate the speed and G-forces of a spacecraft launch and reentry. FAA approved aviation training devices are much more advanced, but the concept of simulating the flight environment is where the major benefit is.

Aspiring commercial pilots without the required hours to work for an airline can find flight simulators as a sharpening tool for their skills. Although flight simulators don’t offer an alternative for flying, they can be quite useful for learning.


What are the Different Classes on an Airplane

If you’ve ever flown anywhere in the world, you may be aware of the different seating classes on a flight. Airlines traditionally have three travel classes in which a passenger may be seated in. There include First Class, Business Class, and Economy Class. Each airline’s policies and regulations differ, but overall, the cabin configuration will determine how many classes of service are offered. Here’s a guideline of how the different airline classes are broken down and how they render services to passengers in each location: 


Different Airline Classes Explained

First Class

First Class service is typically the priciest of the classes. Passengers seating in the first-class section have more comfortable seating and are often given extravagant services. These sections are usually occupied by celebrities and wealthy passengers.

Business Class

Business class (also known as executive class) flight tickets are also expensive, but much more affordable than first class. The difference between the two is that business class has fewer perks, but for a passenger that fly’s economy regularly, this is not an issue. Some airlines have abandoned first class seating for this reason.

Economy Class

Economy Class cabins are broken down into two categories. “Regular Economy” and “Premium Economy.”

Economy Class seating is the most basic of accommodations. Economy passengers receive standard service with no real perks. Economy services range from airline to airline, but essentially, you’re flying Economy (also known as flying coach) to get from point A to point B.

Premium Economy, is slightly better Economy Class seating, but must less extravagant than Business Class or First Class. The name ranges with each airline, but the biggest difference between regular and premium is the spacing of the seating and the quantity of menu items available to you.


Related: Are Dogs on Planes an Aviation Safety Issue?

How to Become an Airline Dispatcher

Most people don’t know what an Aircraft dispatcher does on a day to day basis. Aircraft dispatchers are responsible for the safety of incoming and outgoing flights. Along with the captain, they coordinate the safe takeoff and landing of the plane, as well as work to ensure that all other safety procedures and regulations are observed. Anytime you take a flight and land on time, it is largely due in part to the dispatcher performing his job and assisting the flight crew with navigating the best route.

Airline dispatchers aren’t just limited to commercial and private airlines however. The military employs airline dispatchers as well, making them among the most well trained and knowledgeable members of the airline industry. Airline dispatchers are often sought out for their expertise and often become pilots.

Airline Dispatcher Responsibilities


Some of the responsibilities of an aircraft dispatcher include:

  • Monitoring weather conditions and deducing the ideal flight plan for the safe landing of commercial flights.
  • Overseeing the scheduling of all flights and determining if any flights need to be canceled or delayed for any reason.
  • Communicating with the captain and updating him/her with any developments in weather conditions or other situations that may affect the flight.
  • Rerouting aircraft if an event occurs that may prevent the safe landing of a flight or if a faster route is available.
  • Making sure that each plane is equipped with the necessary personnel, equipment and receives maintenance when needed.
  • Determining the best course of action during an emergency using FAA procedures and regulations.

High paying airline jobs are available. To apply for an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Certification, contact Sheffield Aviation School today. The age requirement of 23 is the same for both the Aircraft Dispatcher and the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.


Future Pilot Shortage Will Lead to Self-Flying Planes

We’ve heard of self-driving cars and the advancement that companies like Tesla Motors have made that have the auto industry buzzing. The first industry to really make an impact in self-driving cars is likely to be ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. But what about self-flying planes?

Unlike self-driving cars, self-flying planes will be borne of necessity, not convenience or advancement. Airline jobs continue to grow throughout the United States and aircraft dispatcher schools like Sheffield School of Aeronautics are training thousands of dedicated, career oriented people to join the airline industry as dispatchers. Air travel is increasing but available pilots are not. Instead, pilots are becoming increasingly harder to find.

The solution may come in the form of self-flying planes. Boeing is currently exploring the option of self-flying planes. The aviation company plans to test a certain element of a self-flying plane in a manned plane as early as summer 2018.

Any dispatcher can attest that most planning and execution of flight plans is performed before takeoff, during takeoff; as well as before landing and after landing. The bulk of the work is aimed at the fringes of the travel timeline and a lot of study at our aircraft dispatcher school focuses on those areas.

The auto-pilot does most of the actual flying, says Boeing. So, is it not the next logical step to go full auto-pilot, a self-flying plane?

What would change?

Most airline jobs would see slight changes. Aircraft dispatchers might enter code directly into flight AI, flight engineers may take on a programmer’s role etc.

For passengers, trust is a major factor. There are certain things people are comfortable allowing machines to control, however a switch from piloted to self-flying planes will be difficult for airline marketing departments to explain. We may very well see decades of self-flying planes manned by watchful pilots before a real switch is made.


Common Planes Aircraft Dispatchers See Everyday

Which Planes do Aircraft Dispatchers See the Most?

As an aircraft dispatcher, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the most commonly seen planes in the industry today. Sheffield School of Aeronautics shares the most common plans so you can know what to expect.

In order to recognize which planes aircraft dispatchers see the most, it is important to establish the planes that commercial companies purchase the most of, for those will be the most prevalent in the airports.

Of the U.S. commercial aircraft industry’s inventory, the most common manufacturers are Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier. However, there is a huge market leader, and that is Boeing. Roughly 41 percent of aircrafts are manufactured by Boeing, 17 percent by Airbus and 15 percent by Bombardier.

The most common planes that are commercially flown, and seen by dispatchers, are as follows:

  1. Boeing 737-800
  2. Boeing 757-200
  3. Boeing 737-700
  4. Airbus A320-200
  5. Bombardier CRJ200

As it is important to recognize each plane, the easiest way to distinguish between various planes is to focus on these three details:

  1. The Nose
  2. Engine Inlet Shape
  3. Tail Fin Shape

As Sheffield’s mission is to provide real-world training and leading aircraft dispatchers, it is important to keep everyone informed on the latest and most commonly seen planes that aircraft dispatchers can expect to see daily.

Ready to start your dispatcher training? Call Sheffield School of Aeronautics today for flight dispatcher courses from the world’s oldest & most reputable aircraft dispatcher school.


Congress Is Pushing Airlines to Adjust their Policy

Airline executives faced lawmakers’ questions during a Congressional hearing in early July, in light of the violent passenger removal from an overbooked United Airlines flight which provoked national outrage. President Donald Trump has been pushing to change up airline regulation which Republicans claim has affected business growth. After the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, flight travel became more affordable for Americans as the government no longer had control over the ticket sales and routes, but airlines have been forced to come up with new and innovative ways to bridge the gap of lost income. 

United Airlines reached a settlement with Dr. Dao after the release of a viral video showing law enforcement removing him from a plane after he had already been seated. They have changed their policies in response to the incident offering passengers up to $10,000 to give up their seats and reducing overbooked flights. United has also stated their commitment to avoid calling law enforcement if there is an overbooked flight.  Other airlines have followed suit such as Southwest airlines ending over-bookings altogether.

Congress is looking for specific actions from airlines on how they will continue to prevent future incidents similar to the one on United Airlines. They are asking for more transparency with fares and may also require transparency with baggage fees with a quoted fare. The U.S. Senate will hold a separate hearing later in July. President Trump has not commented on whether he feels the need for different airline regulation, although he is adamant about changing current regulation.  If customer service does not improve on airlines, there may be new legislation for airline regulation. 

For real world training and career networking in the aviation industry, call Sheffield School of Aeronautics today.


How the Aviation Industry Will Influence the New National Space Council

With President Trump reestablishing the National Space Council – which had been defunct since President Bill Clinton took office in 1993 – there will be many companies joining the US’s new 21st century space race. Two of the biggest names on that list are well-established aviation giants, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, under their joint space venture, United Launch Alliance (or ULA). ULA are currently NASA’s prime contractors developing a deep-space rocket – known as the Space Launch System rocket or SLS – intended to take astronauts to the moon and beyond, including the reaffirmed commitment to putting Americans on Mars. Because of this new vigor being put into space aviation, American aviation companies will be at the forefront of American policy regarding space travel.

While the newer commercial aerospace companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin will also be working to launch rockets into space, the National Space Council and NASA are working with not just ULA, but subcontractors like Futuramic Tool & Engineering Company, AMRO Fabricating Corporation, and Cain Tubular Products, just to name a few. When the president officially relaunched the National Space Council at the end of June, representatives from these longtime aviation industry staples were present. With so many aviation industry titans behind the National Space Council, they will turn to their own industry’s talent to train and staff for these new spacecrafts. If you are looking to join the great expanse, Sheffield School of Aeronautics can give you the tools you need to make your own place in the stars.


Drones in the Aviation Industry

There is no secret that drones are technology’s latest trend, and the aviation industry needs to be careful with sharing the sky. Drones must compete for space in an already crowded commercial sky and there can be many risks associated to this. The danger of crashing into a commercial flight is a real threat, and it has recently been reported that drones have come real close to planes coming in and out of London’s Heathrow Airport, and the pilots could identify the color of the smaller flying object.

With this danger so evident, there have been steps taken by aircraft dispatchers and other flight crew to figure out the precise location of a drone with fully equipped technology that is similar to what a commercial plane contains. These transponders help air traffic controllers track where planes are located always. Michael Huerta, an FAA administrator, stated that identification is one of the highest priorities right now. While he believes that automated systems hold great promise, there needs to be a plan put in place when the systems fail.

The aviation industry has been able to log 850,000 drones since the FAA opened a registry specifically for drones flown in the United States in the last 18 months. The standards for what technology drones should use to be identified will be constantly evolving as the aviation industry flourishes.

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