Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference Sees 3rd Highest Attendance Ever <


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Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference Sees 3rd Highest Attendance Ever

Daniel Baxter

February 2, 2010 – The 21st Annual Schedulers & Dispatchers (S&D) Conference saw the third highest attendance in the event’s history with 2,282 Attendees. “We are pleased to see such a strong attendance at this year’s Conference, which demonstrates the event’s continuing value to our industry,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. The NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference is an annual educational event that provides timely and valuable information on topics of interest to those responsible for coordinating the use of business aircraft.

The event included hundreds of exhibits from aviation products and services providers, and was held from Wednesday, January 27, through Friday, January, 29, 2010 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX. At the Opening General Session, James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association, along with keynote speaker Dave Everitt, president of the Agriculture and Turf Division for Deere & Company, talked about demonstrating value in the changing world of business aviation.


Bolen welcomed Jon Bonnell and Robin Eissler, who provided first-hand accounts of the business aviation community’s work to support relief efforts for Haiti’s earthquake victims. Bonnell explained how individuals and companies in business aviation helped his brother, an emergency room doctor, reach a Haitian hospital to provide medical treatment. Eissler, a volunteer with Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies, talked about the overwhelming outpouring of donations of flight crews, supplies and equipment from the business aviation community to Haiti relief organizations.  

Jo Damato, NBAA director of operations and educational development, said that participants in this year’s event have given the show high marks. “We have heard from exhibitors and attendees that this event continues to be a can’t-miss event for them,” Damato said. “NBAA will continue working to enhance the value of future Schedulers and Dispatchers Conferences.”  

A flight dispatcher is a person responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey. In airline operations, depending on the type of certification the airline has, and depending on where the airline is based, both the pilot in command and the dispatcher are legally responsible for the safety of a flight. A dispatcher may have the authority to delay, divert or cancel a flight at any time, and a flight might not be able to be released without the signature of both the pilot in command and the dispatcher - again depending on the jurisdiction. 


A dispatcher typically must be licensed by the aviation authority of a country. In order to obtain the license, the candidate must demonstrate extensive knowledge in meteorology and aviation, to a level that is comparable to that of an airline transport pilot license. 

In the USA, 14 CFR PART 121 details the legal requirements governing dispatch release. After the release of a flight (in a joint responsibility environment) the dispatcher uses sophisticated software tools to monitor the flight's progress and advises the flight crew of any circumstances that might affect flight safety. Shared responsibility adds a layer of checks and balances to aircraft operation and greatly improves safety. 

Licensed flight dispatchers have to demonstrate extensive aviation knowledge equal to that of Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) holders. The FAA ATPL written exam and the FAA Dispatcher written exam are identical, he/she is asked questions concerning safety of flight. 

For airlines operating under 14 CFR PART 135, the dispatching duties and responsibilities are actually designated to flight followers. The main difference between a flight dispatcher and a flight follower is that latter does not share legal responsibility for the operation of a flight. Also, followers are not required to attain a flight dispatcher's license, although they are usually encouraged to do so. 

Many countries issue licenses which are based on ICAO Annex 1 and 6 as well as ICAO DOC 7192 D3, however not all countries have adopted a mandatory license and joint responsibility/flight watch operational control systems. The FAA has mandated the use of flight dispatchers/joint responsibility/flight watch since the "Civil Aeronautic Act" was passed in 1938. Canada has adopted a similar approach in the wake of a plane crash in Dryden, Ontario in 1989. 

Due to several more accidents the FAA is lobbying for tighter regulations from the ICAO. JAR OPS 1 did not mandate the use of an operational control system with flight dispatchers/joint responsibility/flight watch. The pan-European agency EASA has not yet issued a requirement mandating the use of such an operational control system either. It is expected that EASA OPS and EASA FCL will be published in 2006 which will outline EASA's position on the issue as well as any requirements imposed on European airline operators. 

Even if not required by regulation, such as in Title 14 CFR Part 135 operations or in the case of private flying, use of a Preflight Planning Dispatch Checklist could significantly enhance flying safety by helping pilots obtain all critical information before flight when their workload can be managed. Once in the aircraft, the gathering of such information might distact a pilot from other more important priorities when time is critical, or the inability to gather the appropriate information in flight might lead to poor decision making. 

The next Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference is expected to be held in early February 2011 in Savannah, GA. 

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show.  

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