8900.1 CHG 94

Volume 3 General technical administration


Section 5  Safety Assurance System: Aircraft Dispatcher Qualification Curriculum Segments and Recurrent and Requalification Curriculums

3-1701    GENERAL. This section contains information, direction, and guidance for principal operations inspectors (POI) to use for the evaluation of aircraft dispatcher qualification curriculum segments for all categories of training and for the content of aircraft dispatcher recurrent and requalification training curriculums. This section is related to Safety Assurance System (SAS) Element 3.1.1, (OP) Training and Qualification of Dispatchers and Flight Followers.

A.    Initial Qualification. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121, § 121.422(b) requires that the aircraft dispatcher qualification curriculum segment of all initial qualification categories of training (initial new-hire, initial-equipment, and transition) must contain a competency check. However, only the qualification curriculum segment of the initial new-hire or initial equipment category of training requires operating familiarization. In addition, § 121.463(d) requires that an aircraft dispatcher be familiar with the essential operating procedures for each segment of the operation, such as area or desk, over which the aircraft dispatcher exercises jurisdiction. One means an operator may use to comply with this rule is to conduct a competency check on a representative area of the operation in which the aircraft dispatcher is qualified.

B.    Currency. Title 14 CFR requires that aircraft dispatchers complete both an annual competency check and an operational familiarization flight, and that they maintain a familiarity with the operating procedures for the operational segment over which they exercise jurisdiction.

1)    Section 121.433(c)(ii) requires that each aircraft dispatcher complete recurrent training and a competency check every 12 calendar-months.
2)    Section 121.463(c) requires that each aircraft dispatcher complete recurrent operational familiarization every 12 calendar-months in one type of aircraft from each aircraft group in which the aircraft dispatcher is qualified to dispatch.

NOTE:  A competency check, or operational familiarization completed in the calendar-month before or in the calendar‑month after the training/checking month, is considered to have been completed in the training/checking month. This three-month period is termed the eligibility period (see Volume 3, Chapter 22, Section 1 for further definition).

3)    Section 121.463(d) requires that each aircraft dispatcher be “…familiar with all essential operating procedures for that segment of the operation over which he exercises dispatch jurisdiction.”

C.    Requalification. Part 121 does not specifically address dispatcher requalification. When aircraft dispatchers lose qualification in accordance with part 121, they must requalify prior to operating as an aircraft dispatcher. Section 121.415(g)(1) requires that, in addition to initial, transition, and recurrent categories of training, each aircraft dispatcher be provided with the necessary training for maintaining proficiency on each airplane and operation in which the dispatcher serves. It is the operator’s responsibility to develop the requalification training curriculum to restore a previously qualified dispatcher to a qualified status. The direction and guidance of this section is provided to standardize POI approval of requalification training curriculums.

3-1702    COMPETENCY CHECKS. Section 121.422(b) requires that an aircraft dispatcher demonstrate both knowledge and ability to a supervisor or ground instructor during a competency check. The definition of supervisor is any person that the operator has designated to conduct the competency check. A supervisor does not necessarily have to be a person with a management title. Section 121.422(b) authorizes a ground school instructor to conduct a competency check. The instructor must be currently qualified as an aircraft dispatcher for the operator. During the competency check, the candidate only has to demonstrate knowledge and ability concerning those geographic areas for which the candidate is qualifying.

A.    Conduct of Check. The competency check must be a comprehensive evaluation in which the supervisor observes all aspects of the dispatch function. A portion of the competency check must consist of the aircraft dispatcher candidate releasing actual flights. If the candidate is not currently qualified, a fully qualified aircraft dispatcher must review and sign all required paperwork. The supervisor may conduct the remaining portion of the competency check in a classroom or other environment that enables the candidate to demonstrate knowledge and ability in those areas that may not occur during a routine duty period.

NOTE:  Flight releases under the special fuel reserves, as noted in Operations Specifications (OpSpecs) paragraph B043, and planned in-flight releases under OpSpecs paragraph B044 should be observed under actual conditions if possible.

B.    Differences in Competency Checks for Each Category. Inspectors should use the following guidance when evaluating competency checks in the following training categories:

1)    Initial New-Hire. Aircraft dispatcher initial new-hire competency checks should include all of the types of airplanes the aircraft dispatcher will be qualified to dispatch. The POI may approve a competency check of representative types when, in the POI’s judgment, a check including all types is impractical or unnecessary. Operators must make initial new-hire competency checks comprehensive enough to allow the aircraft dispatcher candidate to adequately demonstrate knowledge and ability in normal and abnormal situations.
2)    Initial Equipment and Transition. Aircraft dispatcher initial-equipment checks and transition checks may be limited solely to the dispatch of the types of airplanes on which the aircraft dispatcher is qualifying (unless the check is to simultaneously count as a recurrent check).
3)    Recurrent and Requalification. Aircraft dispatcher recurrent and requalification competency checks must encompass a representative sample of aircraft and routes for which the aircraft dispatcher maintains current qualification.
4)    Special Operations. When an aircraft dispatcher is qualified in Extended Operations (ETOPS), or in operations conducted according to OpSpec paragraphs B043 or B044, an appropriately qualified supervisor or inspector will observe and evaluate these functions.

C.    Required Proficiency Level. The aircraft dispatcher candidate must be able to successfully dispatch all flights in the time the operator normally allows a fully qualified aircraft dispatcher candidate to accomplish the same amount of work. Evaluators must determine that the candidate’s proficiency is of a level that the successful outcome of the dispatch work is never in doubt.

3-1703    OPERATIONAL FAMILIARIZATION FLIGHTS. Title 14 CFR provides little guidance for the accomplishment of operational familiarization flights except for the establishment of a minimum hour requirement. An aircraft dispatcher must accomplish operational familiarization in one aircraft type of each group when initially qualifying in that group of airplanes and annually thereafter. Section 121.463(a)(2) specifies that the substitution of 1 hour of flight time for each additional takeoff and landing may reduce the 5 hours of operational familiarization to 2 hours, 30 minutes.

A.    Training Objectives. POIs will ensure that operators make effective use of initial and recurrent familiarization flights to achieve valid training objectives as follows:

1)    The flights selected should take the aircraft dispatcher candidate through the representative areas in which the candidate is to be qualified. The flights should transit a major terminal area within the region. For operational familiarization flights in succeeding years, the operator should have a plan to systematically expose an aircraft dispatcher to different routes and terminal areas in the aircraft dispatcher’s area of responsibility.
2)    POIs should ensure that the aircraft dispatchers responsible for extended overwater routes are provided operational familiarization with those routes and with flightcrew procedures, as well as with domestic routes. Aircraft dispatchers with responsibility for ETOPS and operations according to OpSpec paragraphs B043 and B044 should observe these operations.

B.    Reduction of Hours. POIs will ensure that reduced operational familiarization hours do not forfeit the operator’s training objectives for aircraft dispatchers.

C.    Operational Familiarization in a Simulator. Title 14 CFR permits aircraft dispatchers to accomplish operational familiarization in a simulator. POIs should encourage operators to take advantage of this provision (after the aircraft dispatcher is qualified) to allow dispatchers to observe Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) and cockpit resource management training of flightcrew members. This training relates directly to aircraft dispatcher duties. POIs will ensure, however, that approval is not given for operational familiarization repeatedly conducted in a simulator in lieu of actual line flights. POIs must not approve use of a simulator in lieu of actual flights in the initial new-hire or initial equipment categories of training. If circumstances exist (e.g., medical or physical) that necessitate deviation from this policy, POIs may request such a deviation from the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200). POIs may request this deviation by memo, through the regional Flight Standards division (RFSD). Deviation requests may be submitted via electronic mail. All requests must include an explanation of the circumstances requiring the deviation.

NOTE:  Title 14 CFR does not allow for the reduction of hours in a simulator.

NOTE:  When an operator introduces a new group of aircraft into service, an aircraft dispatcher may serve for 90 days from that date without having completed the required operational familiarization.

3-1704    QUALIFICATION CURRICULUM SEGMENTS OF INITIAL NEW-HIRE AND INITIAL EQUIPMENT CATEGORIES OF TRAINING. Title 14 CFR clearly specifies the events of an aircraft dispatcher initial training qualification curriculum segment. Inspectors should ensure that the operator’s course outline submitted for initial approval contains at least each required module and the regulatory citation. Before granting final approval, POIs will ensure that supervisors are requiring adequate standards of proficiency on aircraft dispatcher competency checks and that aircraft dispatcher operational familiarization flights meet valid training objectives.

3-1705    QUALIFICATION CURRICULUM SEGMENTS IN THE TRANSITION CATEGORY OF TRAINING. Section 121.422 clearly specifies the events of a transition training qualification curriculum segment. The operator’s course outline submitted for initial approval only has to contain the specified aircraft dispatcher competency check. The aircraft dispatcher transition category of training does not require operational familiarization. If the competency check is to be simultaneously counted as a recurrent check, however, it requires operational familiarization as a training module of the recurrent category of training. Before granting final approval, POIs will ensure that supervisors require an adequate standard of proficiency on aircraft dispatcher competency checks.

3-1706    RECURRENT TRAINING. Sections 121.427 and 121.415 require that operators conduct aircraft dispatcher recurrent training to ensure that each dispatcher remains adequately trained and proficient in assigned duties and responsibilities in relation to each assigned airplane and type of operation. Section 121.415(g)(2) also requires aircraft dispatcher training in new equipment, facilities, procedures, and techniques.

A.    Training Requirement. Section 121.433(c)(ii) requires that each aircraft dispatcher complete recurrent training every 12 calendar-months. Operators also must conduct a competency check of each aircraft dispatcher and ensure that each aircraft dispatcher completes 5 hours of operational familiarization flights every 12 calendar-months, as required by § 121.463(c). The preferred procedure is for the operator to align the month in which the aircraft dispatcher training, the competence check, and the operational familiarization flight are due.

B.    Programmed Hours. Section 121.427(c)(4) specifies the minimum programmed hours of instruction for recurrent training curriculum segments. The objective of aircraft dispatcher recurrent training is to ensure that aircraft dispatchers remain proficient in assigned duties and responsibilities. The aircraft dispatcher meets this objective when he or she can perform at an acceptable level of proficiency immediately before entering the next cycle of recurrent training, which may require more training hours than specified by the regulation. The minimum required hours are as follows:

·    Group I reciprocating powered airplanes, 8 hours;

·    Group I turbopropeller-powered airplanes, 10 hours; and

·    Group II airplanes, 20 hours.

C.    Recurrent Training Course Content. Section 121.427 requires recurrent training be given in each ground training subject required for initial qualification. Sections 121.415 and 121.422 outline these subjects. Inspectors must ensure that operators have a means of identifying and correcting deficiencies in each aircraft dispatcher’s knowledge and proficiency in each of the required areas.

1)    Section 121.415(g)(2) requires training in new equipment, facilities, procedures, and techniques. Operators should allot a block of time in recurrent or specialized training each year for such topics. They should also address current problems and concerns. This block of recurrent training should undergo revision on an annual cycle.
2)    Recurrent training on each aircraft type, including differences training, must be conducted for aircraft dispatchers every year. This training must directly and specifically relate to aircraft dispatcher duties and may not be simply a repeat of the training given to flightcrew members. The amount of training given to the aircraft dispatcher must ensure the aircraft dispatcher’s continued proficiency in duties relative to each airplane type. Airplane training, however, cannot be given to the exclusion of the other required training.
Indicates new/changed information.

D.    Approval. The operator should prepare a course outline for initial approval which contains details of the proposed training hours and an outline of the broad topic areas to be covered. The POI shall evaluate the course content by using the job aids in Volume 3, Chapter 22, Sections 3 and 4 and by completing SAS Element 3.1.1, as appropriate.

1)    The training hours proposed for each year in the course outline should initially meet or exceed regulatory specifications, when required. Usually, the required recurrent training must be accomplished in the minimum hours specified by regulation for simple operations of one or two types of aircraft. The involvement of complex operations and several different airplane types normally requires more hours. Operators and POIs can only determine the actual training hours required by observing and assessing the effectiveness of the training provided.
2)    After final approval, the operator may vary the content of the blocks of training designated for current topics.

3-1707    AREA FAMILIARIZATION. Operators typically assign aircraft dispatchers to exercise authority over a particular geographic area, but may require that the aircraft dispatcher maintain familiarity over additional areas. Section 121.463(d) requires operators to ensure that each aircraft dispatcher is familiar with all essential operating procedures in a particular segment or geographic area before assigning the dispatcher jurisdiction over revenue flights through that area.

A.    Criteria. Operators must develop the criteria that identifies when an aircraft dispatcher is not current to work a segment and to develop the necessary procedures for familiarization. The means the operator may use to identify when a dispatcher is not current depends on many factors. These factors can include the complexity of the particular segment’s operation, the experience of the dispatcher, and the dispatcher’s length of time away from the position.

B.    Refamiliarization. Depending on the situation, the method the operator uses to reestablish familiarization may be as simple as a briefing by a qualified dispatcher, or as involved as a competence check by a supervisor.

3-1708    REQUALIFICATION TRAINING. Aircraft dispatchers (that fail to complete recurrent training, a competency check, or operational familiarization within the eligibility period) must complete requalification training before they can perform unsupervised in revenue service. The content and length of the requalification curriculum depends on the length of time the aircraft dispatcher has been unqualified. POIs must ensure that the requalification curriculum segment outlines contain specific program training hours, and events for approval (see Table 3-93, Requalification Training, for the guidelines for POIs to use for this purpose). Operators and POIs should understand that the basis for requalification is an aircraft dispatcher’s demonstration of individual proficiency through a competency check, and the accomplishment of delinquent training and checking events. An aircraft dispatcher must be given the amount of training required to reach an acceptable state of proficiency. The amount of hours for requalification training can never be less than the time required for annual recurrent training. If an aircraft dispatcher reaches a state of proficiency in fewer hours than programmed, the aircraft dispatcher does not have to complete the remaining programmed hours.

Table 3-93.  Requalification Training

Amount of Time Past Month Due

Ground Training Segment

Qualification Segment

Up to 3 calendar-months:

Recurrent training (if not accomplished in eligibility period).

Any module not accomplished in eligibility CC, or OF.

More than 3 and less than 6 months:

Eight hours remedial and (if not accomplished in eligibility period) recurrent training.

CC and (if not accomplished in eligibility) OF.

More than 6 and less than 12 months:

Eight hours remedial, recurrent training, and on-the-job training (OJT) proficiency.

CC and OF.

More than 12 and less than 36 months:

Sixteen hours remedial, recurrent training, and OJT proficiency.

CC and OF.

More than 36 months:

Initial training.

CC and OF.


CC = Competency Check.

OF = Operational Familiarization.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-1709 through 3-1725.