I am a Dispatcher. This will make quite some meanings to someone involved with the workings of a functional aircraft. Functional because, we see aircraft do what it is designed to do, oblivious of what had gone in to see it done. We travel by it, we move our consignments by it, we defend territories by it, we carry out surveillance by it, we take care of our agricultural set ups by it, we even do excursions by it and many more by it. We identify the Dispatcher as the nerve centre of the airline yet he is quite behind the scene.
The Dispatcher is like the CPU of a computer, the brain box of a car. Whatever happens in these equipment, all we see are functions, movements, accomplishments.
The Dispatcher is one person and by his training too, that is very time conscious, time disciplined. Whatever aspect of flying you are involved in, when you resume in the morning and you are looking at the Dispatcher already at his desk, you breathe a sigh of relief because the arranger and organizer is around. Not only is he timely, he also ensures other personnel involved in the operation are. The pilots should be seen at the reporting time to kick start the ground procedure for flying with the Dispatcher. The Dispatcher checks out the fitness of the pilot and cabin crew for the work of the day. Every step of this part of the job is timed so that the totality will bring forth a smooth, timely flight. There is a discussion here. During the pre-flight briefing, between the Dispatcher and the commander of the flight, an agreement has to be reached that will put confidence in all concerned for the flight.
Earlier, on resumption of duty for the day, this worker checks on all the equipment in his enclave to accomplish the task of the day. That includes the aircraft. He liaises with the maintenance wing for the status of the machine. Adequate information will afford him the opportunity of what and how to plan the flight. He will make necessary contacts to kit his information with the destination, other stations on the way of the voyage, possible disturbances on the way, find the best options to adopt. He it is in the first case that sought the permission for the flight and intimate the necessary outlets involved. Head knowledge, yes, but quite some gadgets are involved here.
Environmental factors play big roles in flights execution. The runway must just be right for the aircraft to take a good run for a lift or come back to ground. You cannot take air or wind out of the buoyancy factor of the aeroplane, so what affects the air and air in motion, wind, will surely affect flying. If the external is hot, the air will likely be light and such the aircraft will need so much of it, if such amount is available. On the other hand, if the air is cold, the tendency is for the air to be heavy, the engines need less. If the smooth body of the aircraft encounters ice settlement in the air, air flow over it becomes irregular so flight is rough.
The Dispatcher does not want this, he works round it. The Dispatcher and the pilot in their pallying come up with ways best to see the aircraft back on the ground after accomplishing the work. The flight has to be monitored from the initial movement to returning to park. During the pallying, decisions will be taken whether the flight should operate at all or not for the reason of safety. Technically, the aircraft must be sound. You don’t want to take an unsound aircraft with souls into the air where there is no parking for checking or repairs. Once in the air, the only time for technical attention is when the aircraft is back on ground.
There are ways, like roads, the aeroplane passes through in the air. It is not like on land that you can see or use the sun, moon, star or some other land marks to navigate. There are other tracking devices that assist a pilot to find his way in that blank space. These navigational facilities are well placed and spaced to guide the aircraft through from start to finish. Many they are, the pilot has the prerogative to choose whichever he deems fit at any segment of the flight.
Aircraft are so designed that they relate with navigational facilities both on the ground and in space with near precision. So aircraft are guided to fly through specific routes and heights. There is a controlling body that ensures aircraft, however many they may be at any given time in space, fly hitch free, not running into each other, double checking they are certain where they are at any given time. These are the Air Traffic Controllers. Their bases are on the ground anyway.
If, for any reason, a flight departs later than planned, it presupposes that all the subsequent flights to be undertaken by that airplane for the flight would have to shift for time but for the artfulness of the Dispatcher in most settings. He has to rearrange things in such a way that that gap is filled quickly. This is why this worker has to keep following the progress of each flight. Make prompt amends when necessary.
The Authority sets out regulations which follow procedures and practices. The Dispatcher is versed in these rules so that he can adopt it to see the airline does not violate any as the consequence may be dire. He administers these rules on every personnel concerned including himself.
You can’t give what you don’t have, so that presupposes the Dispatcher himself is under the same regulations.
What a joyful experience after a smooth flight, well taken care of in the air, you land and are ready to move on.
Can it be proper to ask then “will you mind being a Dispatcher”?