9 Reasons to Get a Flight Dispatcher License
A flight dispatcher in most cases is a licensed airman that specializes in flight planning and flight following (staying in contact with and tracking flights) which involves large scale weather interpretation, aircraft performance calculations, understanding airspace restrictions, regulations and airport conditions, giving pilot briefings and coordinating available resources from the ground for a safe and efficient flight.
Dispatchers share 50% legal authority over a flight and shares this with the captain. They exercise operational control which is the authority to initiate, delay or terminate a flight. They are often known as the captain on the ground.
A good dispatcher tends to think of things the pilots may need before they realize they need it. They would then use the resources at their disposal to provide the crew with whatever information or support they need.
Here are 9 reasons to get a Flight Dispatcher License:
- No medical required — Unlike a pilot license you do not need to pass a medical to work as a dispatcher. Many pilots get a dispatcher license to increase their backup career options. If they lose their medical for any reason they’d still be able to work closely in flight operations.
- Makes you highly adept at flight planning — Most of what you do as a dispatcher is planning flights. You can rest assured that should you decide to get a pilots license you’d always plan your trips meticulously.
- Increases your value and allows you to work in more areas of airline operations besides dispatching. You can often find operations and station managers, crew schedulers, load and fuel planners also holding dispatcher certifications.
- Makes you very skilled in interpreting weather — Dispatchers usually have a bigger picture of the weather compared to the pilots. They aren’t limited by an aircraft’s onboard weather radar that only shows weather up to a certain distance. Much of flight planning is finding the smoothest, safest and most efficient ride around inclement weather.
- You learn most of the same theory that airline transport pilots also study — When studying to become a dispatcher you become familiar with many of the terms and situations that airline pilots have to deal with whilst in the air. This helps you be their best ally whilst they fly.
- You get to go on multiple observation flights yearly — Dispatchers are required by regulations to go on a certain amount of flights where they sit in the jumpseat (seat in the flight deck behind the pilots) and observe what the pilots do and what they have to deal with.
- Dispatchers usually get similar jumpseat benefits just like pilots do meaning you can catch a ride to a destination without worrying about space in the cabin. Of course this depends on the country you live in and their respective regulations.
- Earning a flight dispatcher license requires much less time and money than a commercial pilot license— Approved flight dispatcher programs can cost anywhere between $3k-$5k and usually takes about 5–8 weeks.
- Airlines and operators highly value dispatchers. They greatly increase the level of safety and can save the operation a lot of money on fuel through effective, efficient flight planning.
The knowledge gained as a dispatcher can and would be useful in almost any aviation environment.
The knowledge learned gives one a good understanding of operations, aeronautics, airspace, regulations and meteorology. All of which are crucial to any aviation operation.