DISPATCHER – FOR OUR BENEFIT

That period before and by December 1903, Orville and Wilbur did not know what they were getting themselves into as the Wright brothers invented an equipment heavier than air being suspended in the air. It was a feat, even though it did not spell out much then. Would they know what would follow especially in the area of safety, width of acceptance and use? Now, down the line, very numerous branches have shot out of that trunk all in the name of sustenance of that original dream. If safety was not in their mind then, if no thought of mass haulage of humans and items from place to place, if no element of commerce and business and the like, all of these, now, safety is the bedrock. It is that simple.

One cannot begin to enumerate the offices safety had opened in flying, concerning the machine as the principal object, the causal factor, the paraphernalia of activities within this machine to lift it balanced up in the air, the mechanical inputs that will sustain the seamless, so it seems, continuity of the project, the paths the machine follows, ground and air, the conditions that must be attained and not overshot to effect buoyancy, the numerous human and mechanical skill requirements that will be engaged, the effects that will guarantee confidence in the operators and clientele stork and many more. Flying sounds simple but can we really take a moment to consider how a mini village in a particular location can just lift into the air and not only so, remain for a good time there in a stable condition and suddenly find itself relocated to another location all within a short time.

That is what the magnanimity of activities that have dovetailed from that invention capped in Dec. 1903 is experiencing today and in anticipation of many more to come. Activities to structure and standardize aeroplane commuting have called for the establishment of organizations that will initiate, administer, control, monitor events that will secure the safety of aeroplane operations world- wide. Such organizations include the United Nations (UN), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), various Regional and national civil aviation authorities (CAAs), to mention a few. The involvement of these offices is a drop down procedure. A challenge is identified, a concern develops, a grouping is convened, deliberations come up, decisions taken, eventually dropped down to the next level below to the point where rules will be formulated, adapted to individual domains of operation, administered, enforced, monitored and perfected. It has to get to the point of perfection because vessels for air transportation are the only ones of all the means of transportation that cannot take time to park on their way of journeying to attend to faults. What it then connotes is that the vessel should be made very path-worthy before releasing it on its way.

A bicycle can stop and check on faults on its track, a car can park and be attended to, a ship can let down smaller boats to look around it on its track at sea. I cannot imagine an airplane in the air, stopping still, opening its door for personnel to come out to attend to a suspicion, it just has to land to receive attention. The process ascertaining aeroplane’s safety in transportation anywhere follows a standard structure to avoid conflict of mechanisms. In ensuring this eventual safety, there is positioned in every region or country an administering establishment empowered to shoulder this function.

These are the regulators. They initiate, advice, propound, follow, enforce to see all is well with flying. They regulate the passenger and load even from home because they will tell you what you can take along and what not, the aerodrome or airport because it has to be in a condition conducive for safe embarkation and disembarkation, the passenger because the condition of the passenger has to be such that he or she can go through the flight without being a problem to himself, herself or fellow passengers, the load such that it will not jeopardize the smoothness of the flight, the path the aeroplane passes through so that it will not miss in the air, the personnel working for the operator airline so that they will do their jobs as specified to make for the eventual safety and delivery of their reason for engagement and so on. These organizations are the individual CAAs. In Nigeria, it is the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Aeroplane users may know little or nothing about this body. They work behind the scene. They are very meticulous, attend to the minutest detail, correct where there is need, assertively enforce, uncompromisingly work out safety. As it is in Nigeria, so it is in every other nation.

Internally, it is so structured that personnel go after every operator with seamless access to their books, offices and equipment as empowered by law, to ensure there is no hiccup in aeroplane operations. What this then infers is that such personnel should know his or her onion concerning his/her terms of work before being deployed to such spots where required. He is expected to even know more than the personnel he attends to or else he may be outplayed where faults may be covered that could eventually lead to accident. There now comes the element of knowledge, emphasizing training. Aviation Authorities are grounds for trained personnel pertaining to individual scopes of oversight. This then suggests also that, so as not to be caught pants down and so as not to jeopardize her operations, the operator will also have to equip herself with corresponding personnel that will match the requirement of the authority. Admittedly, even with all these precautions in place and active, things still go wrong though seldom as air voyage is still acclaimed the safest means of transportation world-wide (even safer than “trekking” I presume). If the Wright brothers did not project this present outcome then, as at present, thank God they at least started something we are now enjoying.