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8900.1 CHG 589

VOLUME 3  General technical administration

CHAPTER 25  OPERATIONAL CONTROL FOR AIR CARRIERS

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Section 2  Part 121 Domestic and Flag Dispatch Systems and Part 121 Domestic Fuel Requirements

3-1946    GENERAL. This section contains information and policy regarding Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 domestic and flag dispatch systems and operations conducted by part 121 certificate holders under domestic operating rules. Additional information regarding flights operated under part 121 flag rules is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 4. The operational control system required by part 121 for domestic and flag operations is commonly termed a dispatch system. Certificate holders conducting domestic and flag operations must use certificated Aircraft Dispatchers to directly control flight operations. A pilot in command (PIC) may not initiate or continue a flight unless both the PIC and the Aircraft Dispatcher agree that the flight can be conducted safely as planned under the existing and forecast conditions. Once a flight is initiated, the Aircraft Dispatcher must continually monitor the flight’s progress and inform the PIC of conditions that could affect the safe operation of that flight.

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3-1947    FAMILIARITY WITH WEATHER CONDITIONS AND AIRCRAFT DISPATCHER INFORMATION TO THE PIC. In accordance with part 121, § 121.599, no Aircraft Dispatcher may release a flight unless he or she is thoroughly familiar with reported and forecast weather conditions on the route to be flown. Section 121.601 requires the Aircraft Dispatcher to provide the PIC with all available current reports or information on airport conditions and irregularities of navigation facilities that may affect the safety of the flight. Section 121.601 applies to every phase of flight.

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A.    Preflight Briefing. Before dispatching any flight, an Aircraft Dispatcher must be thoroughly familiar with the reported and forecast weather conditions (including adverse weather phenomena) and the status of communications, navigation, and airport facilities. Section 121.601(a) and (b) requires that the Aircraft Dispatcher provide the PIC with information on each of these items. This necessitates a preflight briefing between the dispatcher and the PIC. The dispatcher should actively brief the PIC and communicate this information directly, whenever possible.

1)    The preflight briefing should be delivered verbally, but it may also be delivered in writing. Communications facilities must be available for the Aircraft Dispatcher and the PIC to communicate directly by voice if direct communication is required or desired.
2)    The intent of § 121.601(a) and (b) is that the Aircraft Dispatcher and the PIC have adequate and identical information for planning. The PIC and the Aircraft Dispatcher must be thoroughly familiar with, and consider all aspects of, the situation. For example, inoperative navigation aids and shortened runways, as well as weather conditions, can affect the selection of alternate airports. For this reason, the briefing by the Aircraft Dispatcher is not optional for either the dispatcher or the PIC under these rules.
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B.    Flight Monitoring. An Aircraft Dispatcher must monitor the progress of each flight under that dispatcher’s control until the flight has landed or passed beyond the dispatcher’s area of control, or until the dispatcher is properly relieved by another Aircraft Dispatcher. Flight monitoring, at a minimum, must consist of the monitoring of each flight’s fuel state, flight time remaining, destination and alternate airport weather trends, en route winds and weather (including pilot reports), air traffic control (ATC) constraints, and the status of airport and navigational facilities.

1)    Section 121.601(c) requires that the Aircraft Dispatcher report to the PIC any additional information that could affect the safety of the flight. This information may be delivered by voice message or by other means, such as the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS).
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2)    Section 121.99 requires that reliable and rapid two-way communications between each flight and the Aircraft Dispatcher be available at any point in the flight, including overwater portions of international flights.

3-1948    GENERAL OPERATIONS MANUAL (GOM). Section 121.133 requires each certificate holder to prepare and keep current a manual for the use and guidance of flight, ground operations, and management personnel in conducting its operations. This manual is commonly referred to as a GOM. The required contents of a GOM (or comparable manual as titled by the certificate holder) are set forth in § 121.135. Inspectors must ensure that the certificate holder’s GOM contains policies and procedures for flight dispatching and operational control as well as in-flight monitoring and providing information to the PIC. The full requirements of § 121.135 are extensive. Principal operations inspectors (POI) and aviation safety inspectors (ASI) must familiarize themselves with these requirements and verify that each certificate holder’s GOM includes at least the information required in § 121.135. It is important to note that § 121.137 requires that a certificate holder furnish (provide) a copy of the manual (or applicable parts) to Aircraft Dispatchers and flightcrew members. The manual must be accessible during the performance of their duties.

3-1949    FACILITIES AND STAFFING. Sections 121.107 and 121.395 require each certificate holder conducting domestic and flag operations to provide enough dispatch centers and qualified Aircraft Dispatchers to ensure adequate operational control of each flight.

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A.    Facilities. Section 121.107 requires a certificate holder to provide enough dispatch centers for adequate control of the operations conducted.

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1)    Certificate holders have wide latitude in meeting this requirement. With modern communications and technology, operational control can be effectively exercised worldwide from a single dispatch center. However, any number and placement of centers is acceptable, provided the certificate holder can show that organizational and communications arrangements are effective.
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2)    Many certificate holders have chosen to automate some dispatcher duties and routines. Many functions which were previously performed manually are now performed by automation. For example, flight plans are typically generated and filed by computer based on information input by the Aircraft Dispatcher. While automation may be labor-saving, it can also introduce unintended problems, such as data corruption and failure by the automation to account for items such as route closures and flight restrictions caused by inoperative airplane instruments and equipment. POIs must ensure that the certificate holder’s automated systems contain adequate safeguards. For example, the certificate holder must be able to ensure that a flight plan with a routing identical to the one filed with ATC is delivered to the PIC.
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B.    Staffing. Section 121.395 requires certificate holders to provide enough qualified Aircraft Dispatchers to ensure the adequate operational control of all flights.

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1)    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 [or she] exercises dispatch jurisdiction.” Inspectors must ensure that certificate holders have established a means of qualification to satisfy this rule. The rule also allows a dispatcher who is qualified to dispatch airplanes through one segment of an operation to dispatch airplanes through other segments of the operation after coordinating with dispatchers who are qualified to dispatch airplanes through those other segments. Certificate holders who use this provision must ensure that staffing allows for adequate coordination between dispatchers without causing undue distraction.
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2)    Aircraft Dispatchers commonly dispatch and monitor flights simultaneously. Inspectors must ensure that certificate holders provide enough dispatch personnel to fully accomplish both tasks. Certificate holders must ensure that dispatchers are not neglecting flight monitoring duties due to the pressure of their duties of preflight planning and preparing flight plans and dispatch releases. Priority should be given to those flights that are airborne and en route, versus those that are on the ground and not yet departed.
3)    The time required for an Aircraft Dispatcher to preflight plan, prepare a dispatch release, and monitor the progress of flights already en route varies according to the geographical area the Aircraft Dispatcher is working, the complexity of the operation, and the degree to which the process is automated. Depending on the operation, an Aircraft Dispatcher could effectively accomplish all of these tasks for several flights simultaneously. However, for complex operations, such as those involving long-haul flights, Extended Operations (ETOPS), and special fuel reserves, it could take an Aircraft Dispatcher several hours to dispatch a single flight. Certificate holders must staff accordingly, based on the nature and complexity of their operations.
4)    For most if not all operations, workloads tend to be cyclical, with peaks and valleys. Certificate holders should continually monitor Aircraft Dispatcher workloads at peak periods to ensure that the dispatchers are not overloaded. One acceptable means of controlling routine workloads is to assign Aircraft Dispatchers to specific geographic areas and to regulate the number of flights an Aircraft Dispatcher is scheduled to work in each hour and in each shift. Although dispatcher workloads fluctuate, and what constitutes too great a workload is somewhat subjective, inspectors should be alert for signs of workload saturation which can lead to a loss of situational awareness and possibly even a loss of operational control. Signs of workload saturation include, but are not limited to:

    Failure to notice or otherwise respond to alerts provided by flight planning and operational control systems (e.g., weather alerts);

    Failure to notice and/or respond to incoming communication from en route aircraft;

    Failure to answer the telephone or other company communication in a timely manner;

    Failure to adequately monitor the progress each flight and to know the approximate location of an aircraft en route;

    Failure to monitor the conditions along the route of each flight and to provide the PIC of each flight with information related to the safety of flight; and

    Failure to dispatch or redispatch a flight in a timely manner, in accordance with the most current weather reports and forecasts.

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5)    A certificate holder must have adequate contingency plans for dealing with foreseeable nonroutine operations. For example, when a major storm system moves across an area and ATC begins rerouting traffic, an Aircraft Dispatcher’s workload can increase to several times the routine level. One acceptable means of dealing with this problem is for the certificate holder to add more Aircraft Dispatchers during periods of nonroutine or irregular operations. The contingency plan may require the reassignment of flight monitoring responsibilities to reduce the number of flights being handled by the affected Aircraft Dispatcher.
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6)    Certificate holders conducting “hub operations” could be especially challenged by the combined requirements of § 121.107 or § 121.395; § 121.99; and § 121.601(c). For example, if weather conditions unexpectedly restrict operations or close a hub while flights are inbound, the certificate holder must maintain the capability to communicate with, and effectively control, a large number of flights in a short period of time.
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7)    POIs will ensure that certificate holders using automated systems have published procedures for maintaining operational control after an unexpected loss of an automated system. These procedures should be published in the GOM.

3-1950    AIRCRAFT DISPATCHER DUTY TIME LIMITATIONS.

A.    Establishing a Daily Duty Period. Section 121.465 requires each certificate holder conducting domestic or flag operations to establish the daily duty period for an Aircraft Dispatcher so that it begins at a time that allows the dispatcher to become thoroughly familiar with existing and anticipated weather conditions along the route before dispatching any airplane. An Aircraft Dispatcher must remain on duty until each airplane dispatched by that individual has completed its flight or has gone beyond the dispatcher’s jurisdiction, or until the dispatcher is relieved by another qualified dispatcher. These requirements necessitate a changeover (briefing) procedure between the oncoming Aircraft Dispatcher and the Aircraft Dispatcher being relieved.

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B.    Limitations. Section 121.465 sets forth the duty time limitations for Aircraft Dispatchers. Inspectors must ensure that certificate holders limit aircraft duty time accordingly.

1)    Except in cases where circumstances or emergency conditions beyond the control of the certificate holder require otherwise:
a)    No certificate holder conducting domestic or flag operations may schedule a dispatcher for more than 10 consecutive hours of duty;
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b)    If a dispatcher is scheduled for more than 10 hours of duty in 24 consecutive hours, the certificate holder shall provide him or her a rest period of at least 8 hours at or before the end of 10 hours of duty; and
c)    Each Aircraft Dispatcher must be relieved of all duty for at least 24 consecutive hours during any 7 consecutive days or the equivalent thereof during any calendar-month.
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2)    A certificate holder conducting flag operations may, if authorized by the Administrator, schedule an Aircraft Dispatcher at a duty station outside the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia for more than 10 consecutive hours of duty in a 24-hour period if that Aircraft Dispatcher is relieved of all duty with the certificate holder for at least 8 hours during each 24-hour period. Prior to authorizing this scheduling practice, POIs must ensure that this provision is only used to comply with local work customs and that it does not provide for less personnel than required to maintain adequate operational control.
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C.    What Is Considered Duty. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has consistently interpreted the word “duty,” with respect to 14 CFR parts 121 and 135 flight and duty time limitations, to mean “actual work for a certificate holder, or the present responsibility for work should the situation arise.” A dispatcher’s duty typically consists of preflight planning, dispatch release, or the exercising of operational control and joint authority over initiating, conducting, or terminating a flight, in accordance with the requirements set forth in §§ 121.533 and 121.535. Beyond these typical duties, there could be other work assigned by the certificate holder that would also be considered duty. Refer to the legal interpretation of § 121.465 dated March 17, 2015 (FAA legal interpretation memorandum, Aircraft Dispatcher Duty Time, from Mark W. Bury, Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulation, to John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service).

3-1951    AVIATION WEATHER REQUIREMENTS. Detailed information and policy regarding aviation weather regulatory requirements, approved weather sources, aviation weather information, and aviation weather information systems is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 26. Inspectors must familiarize themselves with this information and policy and ensure that certificate holders are meeting their regulatory responsibility to meet or exceed the regulatory requirements for weather.

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A.    Dispatch Under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Section 121.611 prohibits an Aircraft Dispatcher from releasing a domestic flight for VFR operations unless the ceiling and visibility en route and at the destination is VFR and will remain above applicable VFR minimums until the aircraft arrives at the airport or airports specified in the dispatch release.

B.    Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Takeoff Weather Minimums.

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1)    In accordance with § 121.651, no pilot may take off an airplane under IFR when the weather at the departure airport is reported to be less than the takeoff minimums specified in the certificate holder’s OpSpec C056.
2)    In accordance with § 121.617, if the weather conditions at the airport of takeoff are below the landing minimums in the certificate holder’s OpSpecs for that airport, no person may dispatch an aircraft from that airport unless the dispatch release specifies an alternate airport for departure. The weather conditions at the designated takeoff alternate at the estimated time of arrival (ETA) must meet the requirements of the certificate holder’s OpSpec C055. An alternate for departure must be located within the following distances from the airport of takeoff:
a)    For a two-engine airplane, an alternate airport is available which is not more than 1 hour from the departure airport at normal cruising speed, in still air, with one engine inoperative.
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b)    For an airplane with three or more engines, an alternate airport is available which is not more than 2 hours from the departure airport at normal cruising speed, in still air, with one engine inoperative.
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C.    Destination Weather IFR Operations. Section 121.613 prohibits an Aircraft Dispatcher from releasing a domestic flight under IFR or over-the-top rules unless weather reports and/or forecasts indicate that the weather will be at, or above, minimums required in the OpSpecs at the destination airport at the ETA. Category I minimums are specified in OpSpecs C052 and C054. Category II and III minimums are specified in OpSpec C060. For information on weather requirements for flag and supplemental overwater flights, refer to § 121.615 and Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 4.

D.    Alternate Weather. Section 121.619 prohibits an Aircraft Dispatcher from releasing a domestic flight under IFR or over-the-top rules unless at least one alternate airport is listed for each destination airport in the dispatch release and at which the weather exceeds the alternate airport requirements of the table in OpSpec C055. An alternate airport does not have to be designated, however, when for at least 1 hour before to 1 hour after the ETA, the appropriate weather reports, forecasts, or any combination thereof, indicate the following:

    The ceiling will be at least 2,000 feet above the airport elevation.

    The visibility at that airport will be at least 3 miles (refer to § 121.619(a)).

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E.    Designation of Two Alternate Airports. When weather conditions at the destination airport and the first alternate airport are marginal, § 121.619(a) requires that at least one additional alternate airport be designated. The term “marginal,” as applied to domestic alternate minimums, is not defined by regulation. To some extent this is because the definition of what constitutes “marginal” depends on the nature of the weather phenomena, the operation conducted, and the equipment used. POIs should ensure that the definition of marginal and of the conditions under which a second alternate airport must be designated are clearly stated in the certificate holder’s GOM.

3-1952    FUEL SUPPLY—DOMESTIC OPERATIONS. Inspectors need to be aware of the fuel requirements for dispatch under domestic rules (see Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 4 for fuel requirements applicable to flag operations). The fuel planning provisions of §§ 121.639 and 121.647 apply to all domestic flights, whether turbojet, turbopropeller, or reciprocating powered.

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A.    Required Fuel Supply. No person may dispatch a flight, or take off an airplane in a part 121 domestic operation, unless, considering winds and forecast weather conditions, the flight carries all of the following increments of fuel:

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1)    En Route Fuel. The fuel necessary to fly to the airport to which the airplane is dispatched and to conduct one instrument approach (refer to §§ 121.639(a) and 121.647(c)).
2)    Alternate Fuel. The fuel necessary to fly from the destination to the most distant alternate airport (where required) and land. POIs should ensure that certificate holders use realistic routings between destination and alternate airports.
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3)    Domestic Reserve Fuel. The fuel necessary for a flight to continue for 45 minutes at normal cruising fuel consumption. It is important to note that the 45-minute regulatory requirement is specific. Fuel less than a 45-minute supply (i.e., a lesser amount of fuel rounded up to 45 minutes) does not meet the requirement.
4)    Required Contingency Fuel. In addition to the fuel required by § 121.639, § 121.647 requires fuel to be carried on board the airplane to compensate for certain conditions that could be encountered during flight. This fuel is referred to as contingency fuel, which is required to be on board the airplane at any phase of flight during which it may be necessary. Required contingency fuel must be carried in addition to any unusable fuel. Specifically, § 121.647 requires the following:
a)    Fuel to account for wind and other forecast weather conditions;
b)    Fuel necessary to conduct one instrument approach and a possible missed approach;
c)    Fuel for known or anticipated traffic delays; and
d)    Fuel for any other conditions that may delay the landing of the aircraft.

NOTE:  The certificate holder’s GOM should contain policies and instructions to Aircraft Dispatchers and PICs for computing the appropriate amount of contingency fuel based on the conditions likely to be encountered during flight (including taxi).

B.    Departure Fuel.

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1)    Fuel for Engine Start and Taxi. Fuel for starting the engines and taxiing the aircraft into position for takeoff must be accounted for in the overall fuel supply. In accordance with § 121.647, fuel for taxiing must include consideration of any anticipated departure delays (due to wind, weather, traffic delays, etc.).
2)    Fuel Required for Takeoff. Section 121.639 specifies the fuel that is required at takeoff. This fuel is also discussed in subparagraphs 3-1952A1) through 3). Any contingency fuel required by § 121.647 that is intended to compensate for conditions encountered inflight and prior to landing must also be on board the aircraft at takeoff. The amount of fuel required for takeoff is considered to be the minimum fuel supply, which must be specified and clearly displayed on the dispatch release. A certificate holder’s GOM should contain clear policies and procedures for pilots, Aircraft Dispatchers, and load planners regarding the minimum fuel supply and its depiction on a dispatch release.

3-1953    DISPATCH RELEASE. A flight conducted under part 121 domestic or flag rules may not depart from the point of origin unless a dispatch release contains specific authorization for the flight between specified points. The dispatch release may be for a single flight or for a series of flights with intermediate stops.

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A.    Required Dispatch Release Elements. In accordance with § 121.687, each dispatch release must contain at least the following information concerning each flight:

    Aircraft identification number;

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    Trip number (flight number);

    Departure airport, intermediate stops, destination airports, and alternate airports;

    The type of operation (IFR or VFR);

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    Minimum fuel supply required by regulation at the start of each takeoff (does not include taxi fuel); and

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    For each flight dispatched as an ETOPS flight, the ETOPS diversion time for which the flight is dispatched.

B.    Required Dispatch Release Attachments. Section 121.687 also requires each dispatch release to contain, or have attached to it, available weather reports or weather forecasts (or a combination thereof) for the destination airport, intermediate stops, and alternate airports that are the latest available at the time the release is signed by the pilot.

1)    The term “available reports” includes pilot reports.
2)    Any additional weather reports or forecasts that the PIC or the Aircraft Dispatcher considers necessary or desirable must be included.
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3)    The certificate holder must establish procedures to ensure that, when a flight has been dispatched but is unable to depart as scheduled, the weather information is updated and is the latest available at the time of actual departure (takeoff).
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4)    The certificate holder must include procedures in the GOM to have the Aircraft Dispatcher forward to the flightcrew any new weather information which may be operationally significant as soon as practical after the aircraft departs, and while it is en route. Providing updated information to the PIC is a requirement of § 121.601, and the additional information provided should be attached to the dispatch release in accordance with § 121.687(b).

C.    Dispatch Release Time Limits. In accordance with §§ 121.593 and 121.595, no person may start a flight unless an Aircraft Dispatcher specifically authorizes that flight.

1)    Domestic Operations. In accordance with § 121.593, when an aircraft is dispatched for a series of domestic flights, the aircraft may remain on the ground for no more than 1 hour at the intermediate airport. If the ground time exceeds 1 hour, a new dispatch release is required regardless of the scheduled ground time.
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2)    Flag Flights. In accordance with § 121.595, no person may continue a flight from an intermediate airport without a new dispatch release if the airplane has been on the ground for more than 6 hours.

D.    Required Signatures on a Dispatch Release. The information regarding the requirements for signatures on a dispatch or flight release is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 1, which is a basic requirements section that applies to part 121 domestic, flag, and supplemental operations. POIs and ASIs must refer to Section 1 and become familiar with the requirements.

3-1954    DESTINATION AIRPORT. In accordance with § 121.631, a certificate holder (through an Aircraft Dispatcher) may specify any regular, provisional, or refueling airport authorized for the type of aircraft as a destination for the purpose of original dispatch. A certificate holder lists regular, provisional, and refueling airports in OpSpec C070. When a flight is dispatched to or from a provisional or refueling airport, the requirements applicable to dispatch from regular airports apply.

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3-1955    TAKEOFFS FROM UNLISTED AND ALTERNATE AIRPORTS. In the event of a diversion that results in an airplane landing at an alternate airport, or at an airport not otherwise listed in C070, § 121.637 requires the following criteria to be met:

    The airport and related facilities must be adequate for the operation of the airplane.

    The operation must be in compliance with the limitations of the flight manual and OpSpecs.

    The airplane must be dispatched according to those rules applicable to dispatch from an approved airport.

    The weather conditions for takeoff are equal to or exceed that prescribed in 14 CFR part 97. Where minimums are not prescribed for the airport, one of the following is required: a ceiling of 800 feet and 2 miles visibility, a ceiling of 900 feet and 1½ miles visibility, or a ceiling of 1,000 feet and 1 mile visibility.

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3-1956    AMENDMENT OF A DISPATCH RELEASE. In the absence of an emergency, a flight must proceed as originally dispatched. If the flight is unable to land at the original destination, and an alternate has been designated in the dispatch release, the flight must proceed to the designated alternate unless the dispatch release is amended and/or the flight is otherwise re-dispatched. Section 121.631 allows for a dispatch release to be amended while the flight is en route. An amendment may become necessary or desirable because the conditions under which the flight was originally dispatched have changed.

A.    Destination Weather Requirements While En Route. Section 121.601(c) requires an Aircraft Dispatcher to notify the PIC of any information on weather and facilities that may affect the safety of flight while flights are en route.

1)    When weather conditions deteriorate while a flight is en route, part 121 does not prohibit a flight from continuing toward a destination when the weather has gone below landing minimums. Part 121 also does not prohibit a flight from continuing to a destination when the weather forecast has changed after the flight has departed and the new forecast indicates that weather will be below landing minimums at the ETA. When situations such as these occur, the PIC and dispatcher must determine the appropriate course of action. It is possible that the actual weather at the destination airport could be at or above the required minimums by the time the aircraft arrives in the vicinity, or it is possible that there could be enough fuel on board to hold overhead the destination until the weather improves, thus avoiding a diversion.
2)    It is important to note that § 121.627(a) does prohibit the PIC from continuing to the destination when, in the opinion of either the PIC or the Aircraft Dispatcher, it is unsafe to do so. POIs should verify that the certificate holder’s GOM provides guidance to both PICs and Aircraft Dispatchers for dealing with these circumstances.

B.    Alternate Weather Requirements While En Route. Section 121.631(b) prohibits the flight from continuing to a destination airport unless the weather conditions at the alternate airport (specified in the dispatch release) are forecast to be at or above the required alternate minimums at the ETA at the alternate airport.

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1)    An alternate airport may be designated which is below alternate minimums at the time of dispatch, but which is forecast to be above minimums at the ETA. POIs should verify that the certificate holder’s GOM contains specific procedures for Aircraft Dispatchers to notify the PIC and to continuously monitor the weather at the alternate airport. These procedures should include the consideration of designating a second alternate airport and/or adding contingency fuel to account for the possible need to amend the dispatch release to change the alternate airport while the flight is en route.
2)    Factors other than ceiling and visibility, such as Navigational Aids (NAVAID), runway lighting, and snow removal operations, can affect airport minimums. Aircraft Dispatchers must monitor these factors at designated alternate airports, as well as ceiling and visibility.
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3)    When weather conditions permit, a certificate holder may dispatch a flight without an alternate airport. This is allowed by § 121.619 for part 121 domestic operations and § 121.621 for flag operations. A certificate holder’s GOM should contain policies and procedures for PICs and Aircraft Dispatchers regarding what to do should the situation arise where the destination weather deteriorates to below what was originally forecast at the time the flight departed, and to the point that an alternate airport would have been required. The dispatch release may be amended while the flight is en route to include any airport as an alternate that meets the following:

    Has authorization for that type of aircraft.

    Is within the fuel range of the aircraft.

    Has alternate airport landing weather minimums.

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C.    Requirements to Amend a Dispatch Release. Prior to amending a dispatch release, both the PIC and Aircraft Dispatcher must jointly agree to the conditions of the amendment. Each person who amends a dispatch release must record that amendment. In addition, § 121.631(f) states that no person may change an original destination or alternate airport that is specified in the original dispatch release to another airport while the aircraft is en route unless the other airport is authorized for that type of aircraft and the appropriate requirements of §§ 121.593 through 121.661 and § 121.173 are met at the time of re-dispatch or release amendment. Some of the requirements of these regulations are outlined below. However, POIs and ASIs should familiarize themselves with all of the regulatory requirements of §§ 121.631 and 121.593 through 121.661, and the performance requirements that are set forth in § 121.173. Additionally, POIs should verify that the certificate holder’s GOM contains clear policies and procedures regarding all of the regulatory requirements associated with amending a release and/or re-dispatching a flight.

1)    In accordance with §§ 121.599 and 121.601, the Aircraft Dispatcher must be thoroughly familiar with reported and forecast weather conditions (including adverse weather) and the status of communications, navigation, and airport facilities, and must provide that information to the PIC.
2)    In accordance with §§ 121.613, 121.615, and 121.619, the destination and alternate airports specified in the amended release must be forecast to be above the weather minimums specified in the certificate holder’s OpSpecs for the destination and alternate airports, respectively, at the ETA.
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3)    In accordance with § 121.631(b) and (f), the aircraft must have sufficient fuel on board at the time and point that the release was amended to complete the flight in compliance with the applicable fuel requirements.

D.    Planned Re-Dispatch. Planned re-dispatch operations are conducted to conserve fuel, to complete flights at ranges which would otherwise be beyond the aircraft’s fuel capacity, and to solve weather-related operational problems. A certificate holder may only conduct a planned re-dispatch for fuel conservation and subsequent range extension when specifically authorized by OpSpec B044. OpSpec B044 applies only to part 121 flag and supplemental operations. It does not apply to any amendment or re-dispatch for part 121 domestic operations. For detailed information regarding planned re-dispatch or rerelease in accordance with OpSpec B044, see Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 4.

3-1957    LOAD MANIFESTS. Before each flight, a load manifest must be completed as follows.

A.    Content of the Manifest. Each part 121 certificate holder must prepare a load manifest containing the following:

    Weight of the aircraft, fuel and oil, cargo, baggage, passengers, and crewmembers.

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    Maximum allowable weight at which the flight can comply with the requirements of § 121.693(b)(1)(4) and part 121 subpart I. (See also Volume 4, Chapter 3.)

    Actual weight at takeoff.

    Evidence that the aircraft is loaded within Weight and Balance (W&B) limitations.

    Passenger names (unless this information is maintained by other means).

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B.    Disposition of Flight Documents. Volume 3, Chapter 25, Section 1 contains policy and information related to the disposition of documents.

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3-1958    EN ROUTE TERRAIN CLEARANCE. Part 121 subpart I contains limitations on weights at which aircraft may be dispatched due to terrain clearance requirements. While these limitations apply to all types of aircraft operated under part 121, they are particularly restrictive to two-engine aircraft operated in the western part of the United States. Inspectors should be aware that, to meet the limitations of subpart I, a certificate holder may be required to limit takeoff weights or list en route alternate airports on the dispatch release (see Volume 4, Chapter 3).

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RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-1959 through 3-1970.