How do MEL's work in real life

elbowroom

New Member
In school we had our MEL pages (how many are installed vs how many required to fly), but we never really discussed the ins and outs of how it works. Earlier this week I had an interview and an MEL scenario came up and I really stumbled through it, so my question is- in actual dispatching what happens? What is the sequence of events? Maintenance calls you with a parts issue and then you look it up in your MEL and see if the aircraft can still operate? Is that it? Does the pilot ever call? Sorry for my ignorance on this topic. Just trying to learn.
 

Luigi

Well-Known Member
Hey so MX will call you with the MEL they want to apply if it’s restrictive. If the MEL is nonrestrictive like a seat they will probably just apply it and maybe give you a heads up so you can add it to the release.

Now something like a pack inop that’s going to cause a lower flight level they will call, give you the MEL they want to apply and you’ll have a chance to look at the MEL and decide whether you can operate the flight safely with that deferral. If you can, great you’ll amend the release to add the MEL and the restrictions associated with said MEL. If not well MX will either need to fix it or the airline will need to swap aircraft.

The captain will occasionally call you, especially if the MEL is really restrictive. Such as no ice, and then you can discuss your options with the captain. For instance, is there a different route of flight he would accept? A lower or higher flight level? Or will he just flat out not accept the flight with that MEL. Which is his/her right.
 

Heliman81

Well-Known Member
In general you'll get a call from maintenance control and they'll give you a MEL, NEF or CDL they want to apply. Then you look that up in your MEL book and make sure you can still operate with that restriction or see how you need to operate with the restriction. Then you give them time and initials and amend your release with that amendment if you've sent the paperwork. If not then it becomes part of your initial release. Sometimes the pilot calls wanting the amendment or they'll call before maintenance to give you a heads up that a MEL is coming.

Thats pretty general. Probably left something out.
 

Mainline_or_bust

Airplanes fly on PFM, Change my mind
In school we had our MEL pages (how many are installed vs how many required to fly), but we never really discussed the ins and outs of how it works. Earlier this week I had an interview and an MEL scenario came up and I really stumbled through it, so my question is- in actual dispatching what happens? What is the sequence of events? Maintenance calls you with a parts issue and then you look it up in your MEL and see if the aircraft can still operate? Is that it? Does the pilot ever call? Sorry for my ignorance on this topic. Just trying to learn.
Square 1 is when you are planning the flight you’ll open the list of already applied MELs and check each one for legality, operational issues and performance limitations. It’s one of the first things you do in case you need to plan the flight in a specific manner to accommodate the MEL. You only get a call from Maintenance Control if they’re adding something that wasn’t in the list you have already looked at a checked in which case the prior two posts are roughly what happens.
 

bbmikej

Well-Known Member
Each airline handles them differently also. One airlines I was at required MX to get the dispatchers initials to add the MEL in the system. Another requires a 3-way call between captain, dispatch, and MX whenever an MEL is added to make sure all 3 are on the same page. Then there are the places where MX will add the MEL and not tell anyone and the captain calls last minute asking to add it to the release and it just so happens to restrict altitude and you have to work up a new plan and add fuel and you take a delay.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
Each airline handles them differently also. One airlines I was at required MX to get the dispatchers initials to add the MEL in the system. Another requires a 3-way call between captain, dispatch, and MX whenever an MEL is added to make sure all 3 are on the same page. Then there are the places where MX will add the MEL and not tell anyone and the captain calls last minute asking to add it to the release and it just so happens to restrict altitude and you have to work up a new plan and add fuel and you take a delay.
We are required to be notified if the MEL could cause flight performance issues (APU, generator, etc.) or customer service issues (e.g. lavatory) but not for every single MEL. When adding one of the restrictive MEL items maintenance control has to call us and get our initials before adding it.
 

Troy McClure

Ah say boy...Whattcha got there son?
I know at WN the flight or tail is locked out in the system, basically by mx until it is "green"... so dx still has some power over CA's that just push with new di's on the books. We used to have a long piece of string with a tin can on each end...And MX control would "call" us using the hillbilly bell. Safety First.
 

Crop Duster

E pluribus unum
Hey so MX will call you with the MEL they want to apply if it’s restrictive. If the MEL is nonrestrictive like a seat they will probably just apply it and maybe give you a heads up so you can add it to the release.
Or... .... if you don't fly 121 ... more likely when a gizmo breaks, you'll look it up in your MEL. Then, you'll call Mx and explain to them why you can't fly with the broken gizmo, 'cause the gizmo is not covered by the MEL... which means the gizmo MUST be working and may not be deferred. In 135-land, you might also have to explain this concept to your CP. :bounce:
 
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