Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Pilot scrap with dispatcher at LGW

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Pilot scrap with dispatcher at LGW

Old 4th Aug 2016, 22:42
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: southwest
Posts: 226
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK my dispatcher says we have 1 less bag in the hold and will need to do a reconciliation, I question this ( we have 1 less not 1 too many) but was told - sorry company policy, I asked to speak to supervisor and told no. I did ask - so when you take all the bags out and find one missing do we all go home?

Bags removed - one missing - departed one hour late.

So beat your chest and point at your four stripes as much as you like but if your cargo doors are open you aren't going anywhere.
Willy Miller is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 18:44
  #42 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Horsham, England, UK. ---o--O--o---
Posts: 1,187
Received 7 Likes on 3 Posts
That's just daft.

I would have been demanding a manager, and the answer better be yes!

1 too many, then yes recount. 1 less then just LMC off and go..

Not many experienced Dispatchers /TCOs around now of course. This should be a licensed position with much more rigorous training. But, there is no money for that these days. Sigh!
Out Of Trim is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 18:45
  #43 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Aluminium shuffler
Band a lot, are you suggesting the FAA or others have authority over the commander on how much fuel to carry? That they can limit the fuel carried on ferry flights or other ops? If so, you are sorely mistaken. Nobody has more authority on the fuel load than the commander, and that is enshrined in aviation law everywhere. Besides, authorities prescribe what minimum quantities (timewise) have to be carried for flights in terms of contingency, diversion, reserve and so on, but they never get involved in a figure and would never limit a commander to only the figure on a flight plan. And please stop using silly terms to sound nonchalant; it's unconvincing.
In FAA-land Dispatchers and certificated and share a legal, joint responsibility with the PIC when it comes to planning, delaying, and releasing a flight. The Captain has full authority when it come to meeting any emergency/threat to safety, and in command over other crew members in flight, but they don't automatically wield full authority when it comes to operational control of the aircraft except as allowed by the operator (and up to the point shared responsibility is dictated by the FAA). Even in flight, outside of mitigating threats/dealing with emergencies, the Company in the form of Dispatchers still hold operational control authority.

In other words, without agreement with both the PIC and Dispatcher also signing the release, the flight can't legally go anywhere, and in flight the PIC can't just do whatever they want to in the absence of a threat to safety or outside what's specified in the FAA-approved Ops Specs/Manuals.

Yes, I know it's different outside FAA-land.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 19:11
  #44 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austria
Posts: 714
Likes: 0
Received 9 Likes on 5 Posts
So for the benefit of those of us who never flew in FAA land: How is this rule kept in practice?

Can a dispatcher order a flight to not take less than a certain amount of fuel or define a maximum amount? And the captain, will he then have to live with this and can not order an amount of fuel outside of the scope the dispatcher defined (of course, keeping within all other limitations like weight, performance restrictions, tank volume or minimum block)? Or will Captain and Dispatcher have a brief chat before every flight and agree on a sensible amount that satisfies both of them?

And what happens when fuelling requirements change on short notice during a flying day, e. g. due to deteriorating weather before the 4th leg? Is the Captain allowed to let this influence the amount of extra fuel he wants on board without talking to his Dispatch first and convincing them of this change of plan? This of course applies in the opposite direction as well; say an airfield that showed nasty weather in the forecast opens up unexpectedly - is a reduction of the extra fuel within the Captains authority?

Also: Who is taking the blame if something untoward happens? Will both the Captain and the Dispatcher have to defend their actions in a court or are there differences between those two and the buck stops at the Captain only, seeing that the hypothetical incident was presumably preceded by a threat that was up to the flight crew to resolve?
Tu.114 is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 21:18
  #45 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Tu.114
So for the benefit of those of us who never flew in FAA land: How is this rule kept in practice?

Can a dispatcher order a flight to not take less than a certain amount of fuel or define a maximum amount? And the captain, will he then have to live with this and can not order an amount of fuel outside of the scope the dispatcher defined (of course, keeping within all other limitations like weight, performance restrictions, tank volume or minimum block)? Or will Captain and Dispatcher have a brief chat before every flight and agree on a sensible amount that satisfies both of them?

And what happens when fuelling requirements change on short notice during a flying day, e. g. due to deteriorating weather before the 4th leg? Is the Captain allowed to let this influence the amount of extra fuel he wants on board without talking to his Dispatch first and convincing them of this change of plan? This of course applies in the opposite direction as well; say an airfield that showed nasty weather in the forecast opens up unexpectedly - is a reduction of the extra fuel within the Captains authority?

Also: Who is taking the blame if something untoward happens? Will both the Captain and the Dispatcher have to defend their actions in a court or are there differences between those two and the buck stops at the Captain only, seeing that the hypothetical incident was presumably preceded by a threat that was up to the flight crew to resolve?
Since the FAA mandates joint, legal responsibility it necessitates mutual agreement before the flight is released, yes, many times it involves discussion with the Dispatcher if there's a question of routing, fuel, changes etc.

For instance, the ATC system may be expecting delays and re-routing later in a day when weather forecasts are indicating a frontal system developing a line of cells that will shut down normal routes in a certain region, and advise the various air carriers who get this information, look at their own predictions, and adjust accordingly beforehand. Ops and therefore the Dispatchers are tied into the bigger picture. The individual pilot may not be aware of this forecast for that particular region and might questions the different routing and/or fuel load then what he/she is used to, but advising him as to why is part of what a Dispatcher does. If it happens that the weather-forecasts were wrong while enroute the PIC can certainly ask-for/receive more amenable routing and nobody is fussed.

As for where the buck stops; On matters of legal, joint responsibility of the PIC and Dispatcher (as specified by the FAA), they are both in the hot seat if something goes wrong or was missed. It's a purposeful-by-regulation check and balance system of each others' work (in a way) because issuance of their respective Certificates indicates a level of training and proficiency, as well as something that can be taken away if there's a foul-up. In my air carrier experience willy-waving between Pilots and Dispatchers about "who calls the shots" was rare, because the FAA is pretty specific about the respective roles and responsibilities. Even if there is a difference of opinion on a particular matter that demands a discussion and resolution before it flies, not respecting the other person's mandated role means you're in the wrong business. A Dispatcher at an air carrier has an FAA Certificate too that carries with it's own set of responsibilities that must be met.

Last edited by PukinDog; 5th Aug 2016 at 21:31.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 22:20
  #46 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Alaska, PNG, etc.
Age: 60
Posts: 1,550
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A question for the non-North Americans. Does the term "Dispatcher" have a different meaning outside of the US? In the US airline world, a "dispatcher" is a licensed individual who is (jointly) responsible for preparing flight plans, calculating fuel loads and will be monitoring the progress of the flight and is in communication with the flight crew to provide weather updates, diversion planning etc. In my world, at least, a dispatcher, as I know the term wouldn't be likely to be present plane-side.

This discussion seems to be discussing a position I would describe more as a "gate agent".
A Squared is offline  
Old 5th Aug 2016, 23:24
  #47 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 15,978
Received 300 Likes on 155 Posts
Originally Posted by A Squared
This discussion seems to be discussing a position I would describe more as a "gate agent".
Over this side of the pond, the job is commonly referred to nowadays as Turnround Coordinator/Manager (a good description of their role), but the terms Dispatcher and Redcap are still widely used as well.

Easily identifiable on the ramp as they typically wear red caps.


DaveReidUK is online now  
Old 6th Aug 2016, 07:20
  #48 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,201
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I thought another term used was ramp agent although I maybe wrong.
Rwy in Sight is online now  
Old 6th Aug 2016, 09:53
  #49 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK.
Posts: 4,390
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Easily identifiable on the ramp as they typically wear red caps.
Indeed; as worn by the father of our future Queen consort.
Basil is offline  
Old 6th Aug 2016, 11:21
  #50 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 730
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dave Reid, they are not common at all in the UK. BA is the only company I know of using them, though I suspect Virgin do too, but that's about it. The charter and locos certainly don't, and that's the bulk of the traffic.

But while a proper dispatcher has legal obligations, the final responsibility and authority always rests with the commander. My point is that if a commander wants to take more fuel than is on the plan, nobody has the legal authority to challenge that. Taking less is also an option where the plan includes tanking, or a further than necessary alternate, or if 5% contingency has been used and the commander is permitted within the company policy to use an enroute alternate (lower fuel may be needed for performance reasons, or because the aircraft has enough fuel to meet reduced planning amounts and refuelling is unavailable - it's not a common practice).

However, it is unwise to treat ground crew unpleasantly or to ignore their concerns. Most of them work hard and even if inexperienced, may have useful information. Yes, gobby and gash "turn round coordinators" exist, and I have seen one or two and given them a mild kick up the backside where needed, but only when they displayed negligence or started ordering cabin crew about, which is way out of their authority.
Aluminium shuffler is offline  
Old 6th Aug 2016, 17:27
  #51 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austria
Posts: 714
Likes: 0
Received 9 Likes on 5 Posts
Puking Dog, thank You for the explanation.

A Squared,
here, things are handled similarly but with differences in detail when it comes to dispatchers.

Generally, our dispatchers tasks range from assigning aircraft to flights (crewing them is done by a different dedicated team in the same room), taking care of ATC matters like filing flight plans, keeping them alive in case of delays to even e-mailing missing charts or other documents to aircraft requiring them on remote airfields. The dispatchers can be considered the cockpit crews agony aunt who is called in case of all operational discrepancies. And they are usually excellent at solving them, let there be no doubt about this.

Calculating operational flight plans, logs, or whatever they may be called in different companies is within his scope as well. But in my company, he will only plan long range and some nominated other flights with higher planning needs: e. g. flights to Tripolis (due to the security situation), Erbil (dito), weight critical flights or wetlease flights will often be planned by him as well. 90% of the flights are planned by flight crews on their own though; there is a flight planning programme provided for that. Only in case of problems like a high risk of diversion, inability to use the preferred alternate, MEL items that make the use of the individual aircraft undesirable for a route, a need for an exact ZFW for performance and fuel planning etc. will the dispatcher be consulted.

The main difference seems to be that the dispatcher here will only offer well founded and worth listening to, albeit non-binding, advice. He might offer a preferred alternate, suggest different routes or whatever might be needed, but the captain has the final call and is allowed to accept or reject this. A flight plan provided by a dispatcher will have to be checked, accepted and signed by the captain; this involves a cross check of weather, notams etc. The captain is also free to decide on fuel requirements (keeping within legal limits of course!) and may order any amount of extra fuel he deems sensible, be it 0 or an amount that requires the offloading of luggage to meet performance requirements. In flight, when outside of the stations radio coverage (in absence of ACARS or HF), no assistance from dispatch is possible, so the crews are completely on their own and are required and allowed to call the shots themselves.

Of course, such freedom comes with more responsibility as well. Here, the buck stops squarely with the captain. If something undesired happens, he will have to explain this, and he will certainly be asked why he did not follow the dispatchers advice if applicable. The dispatcher in turn will be required to answer only for those points that were in his scope, but this does in no way release the captain from his ultimate responsibility for the flights safety.

An attempt to put some blame on the dispatcher is by no means a "get out of jail" card, as the captain has checked and found all the items provided by him to his satisfaction before beginning the flight.
Tu.114 is offline  
Old 6th Aug 2016, 20:47
  #52 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Tu.114
Puking Dog, thank You for the explanation.

A Squared,
here, things are handled similarly but with differences in detail when it comes to dispatchers.

Generally, our dispatchers tasks range from assigning aircraft to flights (crewing them is done by a different dedicated team in the same room), taking care of ATC matters like filing flight plans, keeping them alive in case of delays to even e-mailing missing charts or other documents to aircraft requiring them on remote airfields. The dispatchers can be considered the cockpit crews agony aunt who is called in case of all operational discrepancies. And they are usually excellent at solving them, let there be no doubt about this.

Calculating operational flight plans, logs, or whatever they may be called in different companies is within his scope as well. But in my company, he will only plan long range and some nominated other flights with higher planning needs: e. g. flights to Tripolis (due to the security situation), Erbil (dito), weight critical flights or wetlease flights will often be planned by him as well. 90% of the flights are planned by flight crews on their own though; there is a flight planning programme provided for that. Only in case of problems like a high risk of diversion, inability to use the preferred alternate, MEL items that make the use of the individual aircraft undesirable for a route, a need for an exact ZFW for performance and fuel planning etc. will the dispatcher be consulted.

The main difference seems to be that the dispatcher here will only offer well founded and worth listening to, albeit non-binding, advice. He might offer a preferred alternate, suggest different routes or whatever might be needed, but the captain has the final call and is allowed to accept or reject this. A flight plan provided by a dispatcher will have to be checked, accepted and signed by the captain; this involves a cross check of weather, notams etc. The captain is also free to decide on fuel requirements (keeping within legal limits of course!) and may order any amount of extra fuel he deems sensible, be it 0 or an amount that requires the offloading of luggage to meet performance requirements. In flight, when outside of the stations radio coverage (in absence of ACARS or HF), no assistance from dispatch is possible, so the crews are completely on their own and are required and allowed to call the shots themselves.

Of course, such freedom comes with more responsibility as well. Here, the buck stops squarely with the captain. If something undesired happens, he will have to explain this, and he will certainly be asked why he did not follow the dispatchers advice if applicable. The dispatcher in turn will be required to answer only for those points that were in his scope, but this does in no way release the captain from his ultimate responsibility for the flights safety.

An attempt to put some blame on the dispatcher is by no means a "get out of jail" card, as the captain has checked and found all the items provided by him to his satisfaction before beginning the flight.
You're welcome TU-114, but I should emphasise that this aspect i highlighted is not different than the FAA-land system. The Captain avoids no responsibility nor is his responsibility diminished in any way by the fact a licensed Dispatcher in Ops Control of a 121 air carrier is also being held responsible. He/she can accept or reject plans/alternates, fuel loads, the aircraft, whatever. The buck stop with him/her.

..but what he/she can't do is go operate an air carrier aircraft under 121 without a Certified Dispatcher also signing-off on the plan and release because the FAA says the buck stops with him/her as well. The pilot is in command of the aircraft but is expected and paid to operate within the authorised the Ops Specs (unless dealing with an emergency necessitates deviating from them) and Manuals. The Company is held responsible for "operational control" of the aircraft. These 2 things (the PIC being in command of the aircraft and the Company responsible for operational control) are not in conflict with each other. In FAA-land, operational control is a specific, defined thing that deals with who's responsible for what when it comes to operating aircraft engaged in air carrier ops at what must be in place to do so.

The main difference of the 2 systems is how much onus is placed on the Company by the regulating authority to establish and maintain a system or operation designed to legally release and support a pilot when it comes to operating safely where things that could affect it are not missed.

An FAA Certificated Dispatcher is expected to demonstrate ATPL-level knowledge and proficiency when it comes to flight planning, weather/forecasts/ and it's effects of on route and airports (dep/arr/enroute and dest alternates) aircraft performance and capabilities, instrument approaches, contaminated runways, ETOPS, operational effects of MEL items, etc etc. They're also required by the FAA to ride in the cockpit jumpseat on Company aircraft a certain amount of hours per year within their system.

The joint authority/responsibility requirement that a Certified Dispatcher with the aforementioned knowledge be legally involved in the planning and release of a flight under 121 comes from the structure of Operational Control mandated by the FAA for air carrier ops, and as such is a safety position to help ensure that the PIC isn't handed whimsical flight plans or expected to sign releases produced by purely commercial concerns. The mandate creates/forces the Company to provide a safety support system and resource for each flight, the point of contact for the PIC on matters of planning and legality being the Dispatcher.

In FAA-land Dispatchers are not the pilot's enemy, crew schedulers and bean-counters are. Operational control centers at air carriers are huge expenses, and Dispatchers also put in long, fatiguing hours in when the weather goes down and things are hectic while they're working many flights. Collaboration to produce a safe, comfortable, efficient flight are shared goals and good, experienced Dispatchers help make the Captain's job easier by closing holes in the cheese beforehand. A trained and Certificated person in the loop being held responsible by the license-issuing authorities for what they produce is much more likely to hand over quality work that is acceptable than someone who is not trained to any standard for licensing and is not.

Last edited by PukinDog; 6th Aug 2016 at 21:19.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 15:25
  #53 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,958
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
All that represents an ideal rather than reality! Sadly, in much of the aviation world, dispatcher has become a min-wage zero-hour contract profession
ShotOne is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 17:59
  #54 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by ShotOne
All that represents an ideal rather than reality! Sadly, in much of the aviation world, dispatcher has become a min-wage zero-hour contract profession
In much of the aviation world, a "dispatcher" is not a position licensed or mandated by the Civil Aviation authorities nor is a certain level of demonstrated knowledge and expertise pertaining to the planning, performance, and legality of releasing flights demanded. There is also no legal joint authority/responsibility with a PIC in order to release a flight or a broad, mandated-by-the-Authorities structure or resources in place to support them in this job. Result; in much of the aviation world an aircraft dispatcher isn't even seen as a profession, let alone a career. As such, it's valued accordingly (low) and not just by the Company that pays them.

Judging by many responses even here by their aviation peers, there is also a large segment of FIGJAM Skygod-types who are quite happy with that low-value/low-proficiency "dispatcher" arrangement and would probably rather not have trained, knowledgeable and proficient Dispatchers certified to a certain standard involved at all since blowharding "The Captain is always right!" doesn't require any collaboration or resolution. I can't even imagine the level of grumbling if the same Authorities who issued them their Pilot Certificates also required a Certificated Dispatcher to ride along on Company cockpit jumpseats a certain number of hours per year, let alone the cacophony of protest if they had to co-sign a release in order to be legal. It would challenge their whole image about themselves.

Last edited by PukinDog; 7th Aug 2016 at 18:38.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 18:05
  #55 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 730
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
All irrelevant, though, if we're talking about someone who is not a licensed dispatcher and is in fact a turn around coordinator.
Aluminium shuffler is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 18:31
  #56 (permalink)  
Gender Faculty Specialist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Stop being so stupid, it's Sean's turn
Posts: 1,902
Received 9 Likes on 7 Posts
PD, there is nothing on this thread suggesting that the captain is always right.
Chesty Morgan is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 18:55
  #57 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan
PD, there is nothing on this thread suggesting that the captain is always right.
No?

Chesty Morgan

Captain's Right Mate.

Shouldn't have argued.
So what was a seemingly clear statement was actually a different message sent using code words? Are you a Windtalker?
PukinDog is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 19:17
  #58 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Aluminium shuffler
All irrelevant, though, if we're talking about someone who is not a licensed dispatcher and is in fact a turn around coordinator.
I was answering your incorrect notion that "aviation everywhere has enshrined" that the PIC in air carrier ops can do whatever he wants with fuel, answering to nobody else, as long as minimums are met.

Also, it's pointless to talk about relevance when his status as a licensed Dispatcher vs a turn around coordinator is just as irrelevant to the topic; being assaulted by a pilot, if true. I makes no difference. The entire "who has authority" angle is irrelevant and this incident seems more a chance for some to crow about how much authority they have (or think they have) rather than discuss the possibility that someone, who never should, lost their temper to the point of physically assaulting someone on the job.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2016, 19:33
  #59 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 15,978
Received 300 Likes on 155 Posts
Shock news: PPRuNe thread drifts off topic.
DaveReidUK is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.