Releasing an Aircraft IFR on a METAR?

A1TAPE

Well-Known Member
Whoever wrote whatever article you are referencing was wrong. I'm guessing they probably never dispatched a flight. Whether you can dispatch a flight or not depends on visibility. Whether you can shoot the approach... different story. Dispatching into crappy weather with an alternate allows you to at least go take a look.
Actually that was a summary of an interview the NTSB conducted with the Pinnacle System Operation Control (SOC) Duty Manager on the day of the accident flight.

Speaking of dispatching the flight here's a segment from the NTSB interview of the dispatcher who released the flight.
It was a very busy shift on the night of the accident because of the weather. He pulled up the flight release, but it could not be dispatched because of the weather forecast. The restriction was because of a tailwind at Traverse City and he anticipated that the flight would be canceled. At 0100Z, he telephoned the captain and told him that the trip would probably be cancelled due to winds. At 0130Z, the Duty Manager (“Scott”) told him that another airline had just landed at Traverse City, and that they would try to change the forecast and send the flight. The forecast was changed by Northwest Airlines meteorology department, and then the flight was legal to release. He had a discussion with a Captain twice over the telephone about the weather and the winds and they both agreed that the flight could be dispatched safely. The flight took a 50-minute delay after it blocked out.
 

autosave36

Well-Known Member
Whoever wrote whatever article you are referencing was wrong. I'm guessing they probably never dispatched a flight. Whether you can dispatch a flight or not depends on visibility. Whether you can shoot the approach... different story. Dispatching into crappy weather with an alternate allows you to at least go take a look.
The key point of that being a look. A wise duty manager once said no pilot has ever been sucked into an airport with a tractor beam. If you get there and its not so great, go elsewhere. Now sometimes everyone knows its a waste to go somewhere and try it. Its all case by case
 

A1TAPE

Well-Known Member
Also, you may want to start learning/reviewing your state codes as Traverse City is not in Missouri. It's in Michigan.
will do thanks, been more focused on airport codes than state codes. Along with all the other stuff I need to study.
 

who'swho

Don't hesitate. Penetrate!
The key point of that being a look. A wise duty manager once said no pilot has ever been sucked into an airport with a tractor beam. If you get there and its not so great, go elsewhere. Now sometimes everyone knows its a waste to go somewhere and try it. Its all case by case
Completely agree that every flight is a case by case basis. 50kt crosswind... probably just a waste of time to go look. 10kt tailwind for the only approach that is legal to dispatch? Might as well take a look. I've seen so many flights dispatched with a wind alternate that end up getting in because the wind forecast ends up being wrong it's too many to count.
 
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who'swho

Don't hesitate. Penetrate!
Actually that was a summary of an interview the NTSB conducted with the Pinnacle System Operation Control (SOC) Duty Manager on the day of the accident flight.

Speaking of dispatching the flight here's a segment from the NTSB interview of the dispatcher who released the flight.
It was a very busy shift on the night of the accident because of the weather. He pulled up the flight release, but it could not be dispatched because of the weather forecast. The restriction was because of a tailwind at Traverse City and he anticipated that the flight would be canceled. At 0100Z, he telephoned the captain and told him that the trip would probably be cancelled due to winds. At 0130Z, the Duty Manager (“Scott”) told him that another airline had just landed at Traverse City, and that they would try to change the forecast and send the flight. The forecast was changed by Northwest Airlines meteorology department, and then the flight was legal to release. He had a discussion with a Captain twice over the telephone about the weather and the winds and they both agreed that the flight could be dispatched safely. The flight took a 50-minute delay after it blocked out.
So the duty manager is the source of saying it was illegal to dispatch. Like I said, they were wrong FAR 121.195(e). Whether the flight should have attempted the approach or not is a different discussion. The ONLY way it was sketchy to do what they did is if they dispatched it without an alternate.
 

A1TAPE

Well-Known Member
So the duty manager is the source of saying it was illegal to dispatch. Like I said, they were wrong FAR 121.195(e). Whether the flight should have attempted the approach or not is a different discussion. The ONLY way it was sketchy to do what they did is if they dispatched it without an alternate.
Could it have been how the SOC personnel were trained by the airline?
 

4EngineETOPS

Well-Known Member
Could it have been how the SOC personnel were trained by the airline?
The dispatcher had nothing to do with the crew's decision to execute the approach. The flight was apparently dispatched legally with a wind alternate and a discussion with the captain for a good measure. All you can do as a dispatcher is release the flight with a solid contingency plan (i.e. a solid wind alternate and potentially some hold fuel), have a discussion with the captain, and update the crew as necessary enroute. The execution of the approach is entirely the responsibility of the crew.
 

A1TAPE

Well-Known Member
ETOPS I was referring to whoswhos qoute when I was asking if the reason why the SOC thought the wind forecast determined dispatch legality was due to how the airline trained them. However speaking of the NTSB and dispatch how come in other cases such as the UPS SDF crash, the NTSB heavily looked into how the flight was dispatched, even as far as to question dispatchers at the inquiry meeting?
 

who'swho

Don't hesitate. Penetrate!
ETOPS I was referring to whoswhos qoute when I was asking if the reason why the SOC thought the wind forecast determined dispatch legality was due to how the airline trained them. However speaking of the NTSB and dispatch how come in other cases such as the UPS SDF crash, the NTSB heavily looked into how the flight was dispatched, even as far as to question dispatchers at the inquiry meeting?
Oh, I dunno maybe it has something to do with responsibility for operational control and the NTSB conducting an investigation. It's standard practice to interview the dispatcher afterwards. I'm done having an argument with someone who is clueless.
 

PlaneFan82

Well-Known Member
Wow....I spend months away from this place and I come back to a discussion on the definition of the word “OR”.

First, there is an FAA legal interpretation, I believe the Powell interpretation, which essentially says the FAA screwed up, and the word “OR” means “AND”. So both forecasts and the current forecasts must indicate weather is going to be above the required minima to land.

At my shop, we have a 90 minute rule, where the enRoute time to a destination is less than 90 minutes, we can throw out the TAF and use the METARs —-so long as there is a positive trend—to light the fires and roll the tires. Dispatchers hate this rule and we hopefully will get rid of it. I don’t think the Feds are a big fan of it either.

To whoever said they redispatch based on a METAR. I ask you, what is the validity time of a METAR? Here’s a hint....it’s not one hour. It’s until the next METAR is issued.

You can back yourself into a tight corner and have to answer to the Feds for RDA-ing a flight based on that.

Luckily, if you have a CAT3 bird, there shouldn’t be a reason why you can provide a redispatch....just have a good alternate that’s within the fuel range of the aircraft.

The ONLY time I haven’t made redispatch is when we had a wind bust at cruise. It’s happened twice to me, and only a couple times at my current carrier.

As far as the segue to aircraft accidents, I’m just here to read what the latest NTSB investigators have to say.


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