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CaptRenault_64576 karma

So one thing I love is that I have no responsibilities outside of my work hours. Before I come in and after I leave my work does not contact me nor is anything required of me. When I walk in I take over a desk that has some flights in the air and others planned up and getting ready to roll. My turnover (the previous dispatcher) gives me a breakdown of everything going on with the flights on this desk, the weather in the area we are flying, and anything out of the ordinary. I take control of the desk and throughout the day I will be monitoring flights that are in progress and making plans for the upcoming flights. During planning I focus on routes, weather, fuel, payload, ATC restrictions, maintenance issues, and anything else that could require me to have to alter the plan to keep things legal and safe FAA Regulations. Might sound boring but it is a bit like a puzzle with a handful of little problems that you solve in order to get flights where they need to go efficiently. At the end of my shift I give the next dispatcher a turnover and he takes control.

The pilot shows up a bit before push time and looks over my plan to decide if he/she will accept it or not. If he/she doesn't agree with something or wants to change something they call me and we work out a plan that we both like. They can't leave unless we both agree that the plan is legal and safe. Most of the time I don't hear anything but occasionally they make requests or want to understand why we planned things a certain way.

Most days I roll in and chill while flights fly across the country with no need for my services beyond having created the plan by which they fly. Other days the weather is causing problems and I am handling constant calls from diverting flights and delayed flights trying to figure out what the game plan for continuing is. Every day is different and while things are mostly quiet it is rewarding when you manage a crisis and keep the operation moving.

There is a lot; hopefully that covers enough. If you have anything you want me to expand on let me know!

CaptRenault_64324 karma

Not at all! I had 2 people that started at the same time as myself that were in their mid 50s. Never too late to get in as there is no required retirement age. It is a desk job so you will have to be able to manage being at a desk for 8-10 hours. We have a guy that is partially blind and he uses software to be able to see the computers. If you can handle phone/ radio calls and use a computer you can do this job. There can be stressful busy days/ times but mostly it is a pretty chill job so as long as you don't lose your head when things get hectic you can do this job!

CaptRenault_64303 karma

There are 2 difficult parts in getting into this field and the license is one of them. There are many schools across the US that offer Aircraft Dispatch Certification courses; a quick google search will help you find one near you or you can travel and Airbnb during. I can make a personal recommendation over DM, but wherever you go they can be a bit costly. It is $5,000-$8,000 for the full course that lasts around ~5 weeks. There are shorter classes that are partly online that can be cheaper but they are a little more intense and require good self discipline. After the course you are ready to work (unless you are under 23).

CaptRenault_64217 karma

You want to be fully invested in the course (no job, no responsibilities) because it requires your full attention for 5 weeks. There are a handful of exams and they can be quite difficult but the schools want you to succeed so they have many resources aimed at helping you pass.

The other major hurdle is getting hired at a mainline airline (American, United, Delta, Southwest, etc.) where the pay and benefits are incredible. You can fairly easily get hired at a regional airline (Frontier, Skywest, Republic, etc.) where after a year of experience you can start applying to move up to a mainline. This is very competitive, but being a regional employee, while a bit rough around the edges, is great experience. The pay at a regional isn't amazing (~$15/hour) but you still have flight benefits and it's only temporary for most.

CaptRenault_64216 karma

I wander in to start my shift and take turnover from the dispatcher currently at the desk. There are flights that are in progress and some that are planned up and others untouched. The dispatcher there tells me what’s going on with weather, flights, maintenance, airports, whatever anything relevant to the operation of the desk. After that I take over and assume control of the desk. I am now responsible for the monitoring of these flights. I will keep an eye on things, communicate with crews, plan up later flights that don’t leave for a couple hours. I take phone calls from crews regarding the flight plans or we three way with maintenance to handle issues. I message crews enroute about weather, turbulence, destination conditions. It’s quite varied. Some days I could be getting bombarded with calls and messages because of weather and problems. Other days I may get next to nothing because everything is just running smooth.

As far as affecting customers the route of flight and altitude affects turbulence and how the flight is planned could mean a smooth ride or a bumpy mess. Also a V poorly planned flight may end up having to divert because they don’t have enough fuel to hold out due to weather which means delays and other issues. How quickly you can communicate with maintenance, crews, and scheduling can reduce delays meaning more on time passengers. I don’t have a lot of direct control but poor dispatching can definitely negatively affect the operation.