8900.1 CHG 757



Indicates new/changed information.

Section 6  Safety Assurance System: Aircraft Dispatcher Qualification Curriculum Segments

Source Basis:

    Section 121.400, Applicability and Terms Used.

    Section 121.401, Training Program: General.

    Section 121.403, Training Program: Curriculum.

    Section 121.415, Crewmember and Dispatcher Training Program Requirements.

    Section 121.422, Aircraft Dispatchers: Initial and Transition Ground Training.

    Section 121.427, Recurrent Training.

    Section 121.433, Training Required.

    Section 121.461, Applicability.

    Section 121.463, Aircraft Dispatcher Qualifications.

    Section 121.465, Aircraft Dispatcher Duty Time Limitations: Domestic and Flag Operations.

3-1695    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. 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.

1)    Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121, § 121.422(b) requires that the aircraft dispatcher qualification curriculum segment of initial new-hire and initial equipment must contain a competence check.
2)    In accordance with § 121.463(a), the qualification curriculum segment of the initial new-hire or initial equipment category must include operating familiarization.
3)    Section 121.463(d) requires that an aircraft dispatcher be familiar with the essential operating procedures for each segment of the operation, such as geographic area, over which the aircraft dispatcher exercises jurisdiction. One means a certificate holder (CH) may use to comply with this rule is to conduct a competence check on a representative area of the operation in which the aircraft dispatcher is qualified.

B.    Transition Qualification.

1)    In accordance with § 121.422(b), a transition qualification curriculum segment must include a competence check.
2)    If the aircraft dispatcher will have jurisdiction over a new area, in accordance with § 121.463(d), the aircraft dispatcher must also be familiar with the essential operating procedures of the new segments of the operation. See paragraph 3-1698 below for additional information.

C.    Recurrent Qualification. Title 14 CFR requires that aircraft dispatchers complete both an annual competence check and operating familiarization, and that they maintain a familiarity with the operating procedures for the operational segment over which they exercise jurisdiction.

1)    Section 121.433(c)(1)(ii) requires that each aircraft dispatcher complete a recurrent competence check every 12 calendar-months.
Indicates new/changed information.

NOTE:  A competence check 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 3-month period is termed the eligibility period (see Volume 3, Chapter 22, Section 1 for further definition).

2)    Section 121.463(c) requires that each aircraft dispatcher complete recurrent operating familiarization every 12 calendar-months in one type of aircraft from each aircraft group in which the aircraft dispatcher is qualified to dispatch.
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.”

3-1696    COMPETENCE CHECKS. Sections 121.422(b) and 121.427(b) require that an aircraft dispatcher demonstrate both knowledge and ability to an Air Transportation Supervisor (ATS) or air transportation ground instructor during a competence check. (See Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 1 for definitions and qualifications of ATSs and air transportation ground instructors.) During the competence check, the aircraft dispatcher only has to demonstrate knowledge and ability concerning those geographic areas for which the aircraft dispatcher is qualifying.

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

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

1)    Initial New-Hire. Aircraft dispatcher initial new-hire competence checks should include all of the types of airplanes the aircraft dispatcher will be qualified to dispatch. The POI may approve a competence check of representative types when, in the POI’s judgment, a check including all types is impractical or unnecessary. CHs must make initial new-hire competence checks comprehensive enough to allow the aircraft dispatcher to adequately demonstrate knowledge and ability in normal and abnormal situations.
2)    Initial Equipment and Transition. Aircraft dispatcher initial equipment competence checks and transition competence checks may be limited solely to the dispatch of the types of airplanes on which the aircraft dispatcher is qualifying (unless the competence check is to simultaneously count as a recurrent competence check).
3)    Recurrent and Requalification. Aircraft dispatcher recurrent and requalification competence 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 operations specification (OpSpec) B043 or B044, an appropriately qualified ATS or air transportation ground inspector will observe and evaluate these functions.

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

3-1697    OPERATING FAMILIARIZATION. In accordance with § 121.463, an aircraft dispatcher must accomplish at least 5 hours of operating familiarization in one aircraft type of each group when initially qualifying in that group of airplanes and every 12 calendar-months thereafter. During the operating familiarization, the aircraft dispatcher must occupy the forward observer’s seat. For airplanes not equipped with a forward observer’s seat, the aircraft dispatcher must occupy the forward passenger seat and must be provided with a headset or speaker to hear the flight deck communications.

A.    Objectives. POIs should encourage CHs to make effective use of initial and recurrent operating familiarization to achieve valid objectives as follows:

1)    The flights selected should take the aircraft dispatcher through the representative areas in which the aircraft dispatcher is to be qualified. The flights should transit a major terminal area within the region. For operating familiarization in succeeding years, the CH 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 encourage CHs to ensure that the aircraft dispatchers responsible for extended overwater routes are provided operating familiarization with those routes and with flightcrew procedures, as well as with domestic routes. Aircraft dispatchers with responsibility for ETOPS and operations according to OpSpecs B043 and B044 should observe these operations.

NOTE:  In accordance with § 121.465, a CH may not schedule an aircraft dispatcher for more than 10 consecutive hours of duty. Therefore, if a CH wants to schedule aircraft dispatchers for an operating familiarization flight that will exceed 10 hours, the CH must seek an exemption in accordance with 14 CFR part 11. See Volume 3, Chapter 2, Section 1 for additional information regarding exemptions.

B.    Reduction of Hours. 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 operating familiarization to 2 hours 30 minutes. If a CH elects to use reduced hours, the CH should ensure that aircraft dispatchers can still meet the objectives of operating familiarization.

Indicates new/changed information.

C.    Operating Familiarization in a Full Flight Simulator (FFS). Section 121.463(c) permits aircraft dispatchers to accomplish initial or recurrent operating familiarization by observing pilots during FFS training.

1)    Initial Operating Familiarization. POIs should strongly encourage CHs to require initial operating familiarization to be conducted in the aircraft to provide aircraft dispatchers with exposure to actual operating conditions experienced by flightcrew members. This exposure increases the aircraft dispatcher’s knowledge and awareness of the flight deck environment, enabling more efficient and effective interactions between flightcrew members and aircraft dispatchers.
2)    Recurrent Operating Familiarization. After the aircraft dispatcher is qualified, POIs should encourage CHs to consider alternating recurrent operating familiarization in the aircraft and in an FFS. Operating familiarization in an FFS allows aircraft dispatchers to observe Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) and crew resource management training of flightcrew members, which relates directly to aircraft dispatcher duties.
3)    Reduction in Hours. In accordance with § 121.463(c), if operating familiarization is completed in an FFS, no reduction in hours is permitted; the aircraft dispatcher must observe 5 hours of FFS training. Pre‑briefing and post-briefing time may not be used to meet the 5-hour requirement.
4)    Aircraft Dispatchers with Physical Limitations. If an aircraft dispatcher has a physical limitation that does not allow the safe completion of operating familiarization in the aircraft or in an FFS, the CH may petition for exemption in accordance with part 11 (see Volume 3, Chapter 2, Section 1 for additional information regarding exemptions).

D.    New Airplane Types. In accordance with § 121.463(a)(2), when a CH adds a new airplane type not previously used in its operations, aircraft dispatchers may serve on that airplane type without meeting the operating familiarization requirements of § 121.463 for up to 90 calendar-days from the date of the first flight conducted under part 121.

3-1698    AREA FAMILIARIZATION. CHs 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 that each aircraft dispatcher is familiar with all essential operating procedures for each segment of the operations, such as geographic area, over which the aircraft dispatcher exercises jurisdiction.

A.    Criteria. CHs should develop the criteria that identifies when an aircraft dispatcher does not have familiarity with a segment. CHs should also develop the necessary procedures for aircraft dispatchers to regain familiarity with a segment. The means that the CH may use to identify when an aircraft dispatcher is not familiar depends on many factors. These factors can include, but are not limited to, the complexity of the particular segment’s operation, the experience of the aircraft dispatcher, and the aircraft dispatcher’s length of time away from the position or segment.

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

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-1699 through 3-1707.