Airplanes are used to transport people and cargo quickly from one location to another. Thousands of flights depart and arrive at their destinations every day. The involvement of experienced and dedicated individuals is required to ensure the safety of the flight, the cargo, and the passengers. The flight dispatcher is one of the most important people involved in keeping flights safe. A flight dispatcher assists pilots and flight crews in emergency situations assisting them in planning flights, coordinating plane turnaround, and assisting them in emergency situations.
A flight dispatcher, in many cases, is just as responsible for a flight’s safety as the captain. He should be familiar with the airport’s procedures and have a basic understanding of meteorology and navigation. The dispatcher must also maintain composure under pressure and assist the flight crew if a problem arises on board. A dispatcher may be responsible for more than one flight at a time, so he must be well-organized. In addition, he must be able to prioritize and take command of another flight in the event that a fellow dispatcher is called away to deal with an emergency.
Before releasing the flight for takeoff, the dispatcher usually looks into any issues that may arise and develops a plan to present to the captain. Before the plane can take off, both the captain and the dispatcher must sign off on an appropriate flight plan. The dispatcher is usually required to inform the captain of the plane’s load so that he can determine whether the plane is balanced and is not too heavy. The dispatcher may also assist the captain in determining how much fuel the plane will require for the journey.
The flight dispatcher usually keeps in touch with the captain once the plane is in the air. This means that the dispatcher may have to coordinate multiple flights at the same time. If a problem occurs on one flight, the dispatcher is usually required to give that flight top priority. Other flights he may be coordinating could be passed to other dispatchers in such cases. During an emergency, the dispatcher usually collaborates with the captain to safely land the plane.
A dispatcher should keep an eye on his flights at all times so that he can inform the captain of any pertinent information during the flight. If there is a storm or turbulence in the air, the dispatcher can advise the captain on the best altitude or route to avoid it. In the event of a problem, the dispatcher usually has the authority to divert flights. For example, if there is a reason for the plane to arrive early, the dispatcher may be able to assist the captain in landing at a different airport. If there is a problem on board, he can also connect the captain with the appropriate professional.
Normally, the flight dispatcher coordinates the plane turnaround after landing. In general, a plane turnaround entails ensuring that the plane is properly cleaned and fueled, that all cargo and passengers are safely on board, and that the flight crew has completed all necessary checks. This must be completed quickly in order for flights to depart on time. Flight dispatchers often have the authority to cancel or delay a flight if there is a problem. As a result, the dispatcher must be aware of everything that could affect his flight from start to finish.