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Advice for first 121 job?

Discussion in 'Flight Control/Dispatch' started by Shock-Diamonds, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Shock-Diamonds

    Shock-Diamonds New Member

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    Hey, all!

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice someone in their first 121 (or my first) dispatch job? I've been hired by one of the biggest regional airlines and would be welcomed to any advice I can get. I know being operational is far different than what you typically do in school, so I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on what is best to study, what to expect, etc. Thanks!
     
  2. who'swho

    who'swho Don't hesitate. Penetrate!

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    Be humble. Figure out which dispatcher(s) around the office you want to model yourself after and pick their brain and/or ask for their help. As far as what to study... other than maybe memorizing most domestic airport codes I wouldn't sweat studying much of anything else until you get to class. If they have a decent training program they will model you the way they want you to be. Did I mention to be humble?
     
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  3. DispatcherSam

    DispatcherSam NOTAMed OTS

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    Don't end up on CNN or FoxNews :p
     
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  4. crow

    crow Well-Known Member

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    This.

    Also, figure out which ones you don't want to be like. The point about being humble was spot on too.
     
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  5. Atc89

    Atc89 ATC89

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    Definitely be humble, and don't be afraid to ask for help! Let someone know when you feel like you are getting in over your head. Lastly, stay in the books, even after you are signed off!
     
  6. Kev

    Kev RNP 2112

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    But PBS News Hour is OK!
     
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  7. F9DXER

    F9DXER Well-Known Member

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    Definitely be humble, if you make a mistake - apologize and learn from it. Even if the FAA is involved.
    Show up early for your shift (especially after being signed off), even if you are not relieving anyone. That extra 15-20 minutes can make a big difference.
    If you are running late and it will happen, call and let them know. Of course you better have donuts!!!
    The hardest thing is don't become complacent. If you get that feeling that something isn't right, find out why, even if it means a flight gets delayed.
     
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  8. MAK49

    MAK49 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most points here. I'd say top advice are to be humble, own up when you've made a mistake, and don't hesitate or be afraid to ask for help on something. Those have all definitely helped me through the years.
     
  9. Kev

    Kev RNP 2112

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    The day-of donuts rule has never made sense to me.

    "Hey guys, I'm late. Sorry you had to take my flights. I'll be there as soon as I can so I can alleviate your workload ASAP and apologize for the inconvenience.

    Oh, but I might be about 15 minutes more because of donuts."


    Bring donuts or other goodies the next day.

    If one of your colleagues who took your flights while you were late is off the next day, then promise a back massage when you see each other again. At least 15 minutes worth.
     
  10. Flying Saluki

    Flying Saluki Well-Known Member

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    Be able to justify every decision you make. If you can't explain your reasoning behind a decision, then you'd better be questioning why you're making that decision.

    Also, Captains are not infallible. They do make mistakes. They are counting on you to catch their mistakes, even if they won't admit it. Don't just go along with what they say just because the Captain said it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  11. faceman

    faceman Well-Known Member

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    Above are some great points and I will add one more thing. All through your career, you will have to make a go or no-go decision (this is more common with MEL items). There are 2 ways to start looking at it and the first is "why can't I take this" and the 2nd is "how can I make this work". The lazy dispatcher looks at it from the first perspective and the better dispatchers look at it the 2nd way. I work with both types of dispatchers and they each stand out in their own way. Put the effort into trying to make it work.
     
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  12. Shock-Diamonds

    Shock-Diamonds New Member

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    Thanks guys, great info!
     
  13. pljenkins

    pljenkins Resident Knucklehead

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    Don't ever be afraid to ask for help. Even the most seasoned dispatchers can be overwhelmed with things at times. If you feel like you're getting buried, speak up BEFORE it becomes a problem. If you're dealing with 5 guys in the hold, 2 diverts, a half dozen reroutes, and both phone lines are ringing, you are in the red.

    Also, don't be afraid to say "no" to something you know isn't safe or legal. Your certificate is attached to every release you send, which means it's YOUR ass on the line, not the dude with the tie that bellied up to you and asked you to do something questionable. You have a responsibility and a legal obligation to shut something down if you or your captain believe something is unsafe.

    Always have an "out". If you at any point in the process find yourself saying, "We'll hope for the best", STOP. We don't operate on prayer. If you're enroute somewhere and your plan is rapidly going to hell and you can't come up with another plan, end the mission. Even if the pilot is feeling heroic and wants to "take a look", remember you see things he doesn't. You don't ever want to find yourself in a situation where you're guy either lands or flames out. As DispatcherSam noted, you do NOT want to be on the news.

    Sometimes the only winning move is not to play. There will be times where no matter how hard you try, you can't come up with a plan. Winter in New York, everything for 500 miles is at alternate mins or below and expected to get worse, and you're trying to stuff a CRJ-200 in there. This isn't a good place to be...

    LISTEN TO YOUR CREW. They've been flying this airplane far longer then you have. When you do your jumpseating (and I suggest doing more than the required 5 hours a year when you're a rookie) ask questions. A lot of questions. Talk to the ops agent on the ground. Talk to the rampers if you can get to them. Talk to everyone who you deal with in the field. Understanding how things work in the real world will help you make more logical decisions when you're in your office insulated from it all. What actually happens when you ask the fueler to bump up the gas 10 minutes before departure? If your company offers you the opportunity for "a day in the field", take it. Working side by side with the boots on the ground will open your eyes to a whole new world and a better appreciation of how your decisions effect everyone.

    As Faceman said, a good dispatcher is a creative dispatcher. THAT BEING SAID, as a new dispatcher don't try to be TOO creative unless you're sure it's legal (and something the FSDO won't take a dim view towards, eg. the old "change destination with alternate as original destination and then divert to alternate" trick... Expect an unpleasant phone call if you do this...) A good exercise when you've got down time is to run through scenarios in your head and try creative ways to solve them.

    Here's an excellent example that may or may not have happened yesterday: Guy going from MDW to FLL. FLL weather is clear and a million and ATC has a flow control program into JAX Center. Because this is Florida and the sun is still shining, the obligatory alternate of PBI is added. Suddenly out of nowhere a bunch of holds pop up for MIA and FLL and hero find himself in a hold just north of JAX with an EFC of 1 hour. No chance of making that EFC with the gas, but you can't help but notice that the hold stack is being worked down and FLL is taking arrivals. Looking at the trend you surmise that the holds will be cleared shortly, and yet ATC isn't playing ball with you and is holding you to the 1 hour EFC. You're down to bingo fuel. What do you do?
     
  14. Flagship_dxer

    Flagship_dxer The Penis Mightier

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    My advice for someone new to 121 is to not fluck it up during training and your first few months on the job by being lazy or doing something stupid. Take every opportunity to learn and dont forget all the lessons you will
    learn from making mistakes. The more you remember and the more you know, the better dispatcher you willl be. Book knowledge is extremely important but even more so is experiential knowledge.

    Also dont be an a-hole. That might sound like an obvious thing but some people cant help themselves. Also, dispatchers in general are big complainers but dont be the complainer that stays stagnant and expects majors to hire you simply because you applied to their openings. The people you work with at the regionals can make or break your chances of getting to a major if you are not well liked or well regarded.
     
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  15. onemanwolfpack

    onemanwolfpack Well-Known Member

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    I fixed this quote for you:

    "If your company works with your union workload committee, or listens and to the concerns of the dispatchers at your airline, put the effort into trying to make it work."

    If not, don't put your ass out on the line anymore than you have to but be able to back up your decisions.
     
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  16. A1TAPE

    A1TAPE Active Member

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    Im gonna take a guess and say that if ATC isnt playing ball, make them play. Declare an emergency for low fuel. If you or the crew speak up for low fuel they will listen. They would much rather bump you to the front of the queue than have a crater in the ground. But of course always have an out. You really dont want to end up in that situation so I would most likely tack on extra fuel if the weight and balance allows for it so that it doesnt get to bingo fuel even if ATC throws the flight into a hold.
     
  17. Flagship_dxer

    Flagship_dxer The Penis Mightier

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    No. You dont want to play around with emergency and low fuel declarations. That can get you into a bad situation with the Feds and company that you dont want especially since its bingo fuel and you have an alternate and plenty of airports in Florida/Georgia to land at. Its pretty simple if FLL is taking arrivals you tell the pilot to divert to PBI and before landing at PBI see if FLL will take them in. Sometimes getting out of one constrained ATC facility and into another less constrained one can be a big difference in getting in.
     
  18. F9DXER

    F9DXER Well-Known Member

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    Yes if a person stopped for donuts, he could be another 15-20 mins late. Since the person running late is already late, the person that is being relieved is already upset so at this point tacking on another 15 min isn't going to kill me but at least I'll get something besides an apology.

    Also bringing them in the next day doesn't help if the person you relieved late was on his/her Friday - thus no donuts!!
     
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  19. Kev

    Kev RNP 2112

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    I guess it all depends as to what's written in the Dispatch Manual.
     
  20. who'swho

    who'swho Don't hesitate. Penetrate!

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    Back when I used to dispatch for a UA express carrier I would carry an alternate on the other side of DEN. A few times when we got put into holding and hit bingo fuel we'd start diverting... they cleared us into DEN rather than having to deal with us going through their airspace a 2nd time. Didn't always work but it was worth the shot.
     

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