allstarflyer
Posts: 3264
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:32 am

Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 9:03 am

For those of you who are licensed Dispatchers, I've just placed a few hundred down for an airline class (AGS) and I'll be taking most of the course work via correspondence, after which I will be required to take 2 tests with an FAA instructor and then 6 days in CVG. The folks here in Dispatch and in management have given me tips, from small things like just to watch the Weather Channel to studying these FAR books and books on Aviation Weather and some book or two for the ATP exam. Any tips on what parts I should focus my attention? Thanks in advance.

-R
Living the American Dream
 
Goldenshield
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Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 10:44 am

The first thing to get out of the way will be the written. Study that book. It'll help you get to know the regulations, and a brief glimpse on the weather. My school used the Gliem's series of books, which has a structured format, and is easy to understand, as it builds up from what you last learned.

The ASA ATP written test prep book has something the Gleim's book doesn't have, which is a break down on the areas you will need to know, and questions that relate to that written, which will make it easier on you, as far as studying goes.

Weather plays a LARGE role in dispatching. While you don't need to memorize the book, it is a good idea to understand the basic concepts, mechanics, whys, and hows. As you progress in the weather book, you will start to understand what they are talking about on the Weather Channel. I'm not sure about the school you will attend, but my school made weather knowledge a priority. Besides regulations, this is a very critical aspect of dispatching.

Also, I have 4 very important words that relate to both regulations, and weather: Don't forget the NOTAMs.
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rsmith6621a
Posts: 1507
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:21 pm

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 10:50 am

Every part........

You will need to have a basic concept of how the ATC system works.

Weather........Better study and be able to read a TAF/METAR as well as some upper level PROG/Wind charts.Also understand how weather happens.

Mostly you will need to know your 121s and well the DE will spend alot of time on those,it will be 75% of the oral part of your test. You will also need to know how to put together a flight plan and justify it....better have a sharp pencil you'll be given about 500pd grace in your fuel CACL.

About 25% of your oral will entail weather/A/C systems and charts also an attempt to trick you up....be careful how you answer otherwise the day will be over.If you are not sure how to answer ask the DE for clarification. The DE is there to make sure you pass the test so lean on them if you are unsure...write the questions down if you have to and then answer.

See if the school will send you the systems manual before class starts it will really help you to formulate questions to ask....hopefully it is a 737-400.

Its a great feeling when he say you PASSED it even a better feeling when you put your first signature on a dispatch release,mine was on a flag flight with a 777 two weeks ago.

Best Wishes in advance.
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OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 11:19 am

>>>The DE is there to make sure you pass the test so lean on them if you are unsure...write the questions down if you have to and then answer.

As a former DE, allow me to state that the DE is there to assess whether or not the applicant possesses the requisite knowledge for the certificate. We are -not- there to "make sure you pass the test" (That's the -applicant's- job..) If you're unsure of a question, or need a clarification, by all means, ask the examiner.

Personally, I always did everything I could to put the applicant at ease and counter their "test anxiety" as best I could, but I also had no reluctance in failing someone if they failed to meet the criteria of the PTS (Practical Test Standards). Over 5-6 years, I only ended up failing about 10% of those that took the oral/practical with me, and that's about what other DEs I know had. With proper preparation, chances are that you'll pass, just don't expect it to be a given. Like I said, it's up to you.

In addition to the material others have mentioned, I'd also recommend reviewing Part 65 (the appendix) where they list the subjects covered. Likewise, the PTS for the dispatcher exam will also provide information on what's expected. You can find both of those on FAA's site.

One potential gotcha, not so much on the exam, but regarding the interview process. The FAA testing process uses (or did) only NOS/NACO approach and enroute charts for testing. Most airlines use Jeppesen. After getting your license, and -prior- to any interviewing, get familar with the Jepps as best you can. Many airlines ask you to read a Jepp plate/chart as a part of the interview process, and a "Well, my school didn't cover that" can hurt you. It may well be true, as courses are trying to cram alot into their 200-hour courses, but to an interviewer, it may be perceived as an excuse. If you can read NOS/NACO stuff, Jepps are not much of a transition.

On FARs, get initimately familar with: FAR 1.1 Definitions ("operational control") as well as 121.533, 121.557(a)(b), and 121.627(a). Know how they interact.

Know the difference betwee VFR, VMC, IFR, and IMC...

Good luck.
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allstarflyer
Posts: 3264
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:32 am

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 11:51 am

Thanks for all of the help, everyone.

Quoting Rsmith6621a (Reply 2):
Better study and be able to read a TAF/METAR

One of the managers just handed me a "how to read" on METAR's as well as on TAM's. Not long at all, but I still have to look over them.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 1):
The first thing to get out of the way will be the written. Study that book. It'll help you get to know the regulations, and a brief glimpse on the weather. My school used the Gliem's series of books, which has a structured format, and is easy to understand, as it builds up from what you last learned.

That's what the folks here have been telling me. First the written, then the practical then the oral. One of the managers was (earlier today) taking me through Gliem's website showing me their materials. He said there are 2, perhaps 3 companies that have all the FAA regs and such in book form for study. I'm supposed to be getting my materials in the next few days, so, hopefully, I'll have all the tools I need to get started.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 1):
I'm not sure about the school you will attend

It's Airline Ground Schools http://www.agschools.com. My first choices were among Sheffield (FL), Flight Control (AZ) and World Airliner (TX), but this was also a top recommendation from the dispatcher who gave me the list of schools he had. I've been to their website (and will be heading there often, I'm sure), and it seems like it's a pretty top-notch school.

Quoting Rsmith6621a (Reply 2):
About 25% of your oral will entail weather/A/C systems and charts also an attempt to trick you up....be careful how you answer otherwise the day will be over.

Yeah, the managers here told me to have my stuff in order for those oral's - said their's took about an hour apiece. They also said their practical (which sounded like the most challenging, and, perhaps, most fun part) took about an hour.

LOTS of good stuff you guys have mentioned here  thumbsup . I have the FARAIM and FARFC books handy, and, though I already know a few things from them being in Scheduling, I'll be pouring through these quite a bit, too.

And I'm sure I'll have more questions here. Big grin

-R
Living the American Dream
 
kellmark
Posts: 547
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2000 12:05 pm

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 12:21 pm

If they only took an hour for the oral and an hour for the practical, it doesn't sound like much of a test. Usually for the practical portion you have to do a manually computed flight plan, dispatch release and weight and balance and also there is usually an inflight diversion scenario that should be given as well. if done properly, it should take much more than 2 hours for both the oral and practical.
 
allstarflyer
Posts: 3264
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:32 am

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 12:33 pm

Quoting Kellmark (Reply 5):
If they only took an hour for the oral and an hour for the practical, it doesn't sound like much of a test.

Hmm, I'll have to ask them about it. They took their tests years ago, so maybe it's been too long. They did go go to the good schools, though (Sheffield and Flight Control), so. But I'll remember what you said - I should probably be looking forward to a long, thorough testing process.

-R
Living the American Dream
 
Goldenshield
Posts: 5015
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Handy Tips For Becoming A Dispatcher

Mon May 23, 2005 12:46 pm

I remember that I was in by 0500, and out by 0800, with no breaks.
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