Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mark's Been Living the Dream

Mark has been going to Jeppesen Flight Academy in Denver, CO for a 6 week grueling course to become a flight dispatcher. He will be licensed through the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the final exam is the same one that an airline pilot would take. So its a pretty intense course. A lot of people have been asking me what a flight dispatcher even does. I stole the following description from Skywest's career page::

As the former CEO and President of Southwest Airlines Herb Kelleher stated "Dispatchers are the heart of the airline." The Aircraft Dispatcher is a licensed airman certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorize, regulate and control commercial airline flights according to government and company regulations to expedite and ensure safety of flight. Responsible for economics, passenger service and operational control of day to day flight operations. Analyze and evaluate meteorological information to determine potential hazards to safety of flight and to select the most desirable and economic route of flight. Compute the amount of fuel required for the safe completion of flight according to type of aircraft, distance of flight, maintenance limitations, weather conditions and minimum fuel requirements prescribed by federal aviation regulations. Prepares flight plans containing information such as maximum allowable takeoff and landing weights, weather reports, field conditions, NOTAMS and many other informational components required for the safe completion of flight. Prepares and signs the dispatch release which is the legal document providing authorization for a flight to depart. Delays or cancels flights if unsafe conditions threaten the safety of his/her aircraft or passengers Monitors weather conditions, aircraft position reports, and aeronautical navigation charts to evaluate the progress of flight.
Updates the pilot in command of significant changes to weather or flight plan and recommends flight plan alternates, such as changing course, altitude and, if required, enroute landings in the interest of safety and economy. Originates and disseminates flight information to others in his/her company including stations and reservations. This is the source of information provided to the traveling public. Undergo extensive training to have earned the coveted Aircraft Dispatcher's certificate having taken and passed both an extensive oral examination and the comprehensive Dispatch ADX test, administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. These tests are equivalent to the same Air Transport Pilot (ATP) written and oral examinations that an airline captain must successfully complete. Participates in frequent and detailed recurrent training courses covering aircraft systems, company operations policy, meteorology and Federal Air Regulations as required by the FAA.


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