Interview: Bill Trinka, Dispatcher
Date: October 26, 2009
Time : 1323L
interview, Mr. Trinka stated the following:
His full name is William J. Trinka. He started with Republic Airlines on
November 26, 1979 where he was an assistant dispatcher for six months
before becoming a full time dispatcher. He stated that he was the
dispatcher of NW188.
He was first alerted to a problem with NW188 when a fellow dispatcher
advised him that a crew was relaying a “courtesy notification” to have
NW188 come up on an ATC frequency and the fellow dispatcher had sent the
NW188 crew an ACARS message. He checked his flight explorer display
screen and noticed NW188 was approximately 30 miles southwest of
About 10 minutes later, he received a teletype from another assistant
dispatcher on duty, who had sent another ACARS request to NW188 to come
up on a frequency. When he looked at the message, he noticed on the
flight display that NW 188 was between
He was told that they had received a call from MSP center that the flight was not talking to anybody. He believed that his supervisor had received “several” calls from MSP center about NW188. He did not know how far back the messages had been received, but that there had been “numerous calls” regarding NW188. He had observed 188 overfly MSP at FL370, and was still very concerned about 188 and began second-guessing ATC and expected them to ask for souls onboard and fuel to exhaustion, which he had begun to research. He returned to his supervisor’s desk and provided this information. ATC never asked for this information.
As he relayed this information, there was a Delta security coordinator on the line with the Domestic Event Network (DEN), who was communicating with ATC facilities. The security coordinator then got off the line, and said he had heard that NW188 was now in contact with ATC. He also advised that ATC was planning on issuing several turns to NW188 during the descent back to MSP via the Gopher arrival. They did not tell him why.
His supervisor sent a text page to the director of dispatch Murray Auger
but did not get a reply. . He advised Dave Francisco that he would try
and give Murray Auger a phone call, went back to his desk, and asked
Daunte MacLachlan, who was giving him a competency check, to query the
NW188 aircraft computer. This query was a message sent to the aircraft
and a fuel on board (FOB) report would automatically be sent to the
dispatch desk. He stated he believed the fuel came back as 10,600-11,200
pounds of fuel. Mr. Trinka then contacted his supervisor with this
information. Mr. Trinka stated he was getting a competence check during
this event. When the flight was over Gopher, he again queried the
aircraft for fuel onboard, which was then approximately 8,600 pounds. He
then contacted MSP ATC traffic management [Scott Schillerud] in the
tower and asked him to ask the controllers to protect NW188 from any ATC
Regarding his request to the ATC tower to limit any ATC initiated go-arounds
for NW188, he stated his desire was to let ATC know that this particular
aircraft would need priority on arrival. He stated that during holding
into MSP, he would be prompted to fuel “query” the aircraft, but the
procedure was not normal.
While the NW188 flight was between Gopher and Farmington VOR, which was
basically a long downwind for landing,, Mr. Trinka received a call from
one of his NW sector managers, who said he had received a phone call
from the NW Flight Operations Chief Pilots office who asked him to send
an ACARS message to the crew of NW188 to advise the crew to remain in
the cockpit after they blocked into the gate, and to not send the
message until the aircraft was on the ground. Once he received an “on”
time, he sent the message. He did not receive a reply from the aircraft.
After the aircraft blocked in, he sent a Dispatch Incident/Diversionary
Report, which was distributed to management.
He estimated that 6 or 7 messages were sent to the flight. He stated that there is no way for a dispatcher to know if an ACARS message was received by the crew, and they use ARINC (service provider) to relay these messages. All messages are assumed to be received unless they are notified by ARINC. Messages are sent via a data frequency automatically set on the number 3 radio. The weight and balance was sent to the aircraft separately, not from dispatch, and would print out automatically. The company was looking into getting ACARS text messages to print out automatically. Mr. Trinka stated that NW has its own designated radio frequency around the country, and flights can call dispatch directly from the aircraft, but only on that frequency and not on 121.50.
Mr. Trinka stated that he believed other dispatchers were trying to
relay messages to NW188 through the aircraft they were working, but
there was no formalized procedure. All company dispatchers were located
There are no formal procedures in the dispatch manual regarding the line
of communications to the dispatcher on record when a flight is NORDO.
Mr. Trinka stated that he is required to jumpseat yearly on a Northwest
flight, and has seen the ACARS messages received in flight.
Mr. Trinka stated that the merger transition for dispatch from MSP to
ATL went “smoothly”. He also stated that dispatchers, airport ops (ACS)
, maintenance control, crew scheduling, operations planners, and
centralized load control (CLC) are authorized to send ACARS messages in
He stated that he thought there was possibly a way to send a weight and balance message directly by inserting an “indicator” on the weight and balance and that would sound a “ding”, but he was not sure and stated that the company was checking on it. When asked what other information was available for the “query” call to the aircraft, the stated FOB, position, flight level, altitude, holding information. He was asked about SELCAL, and stated that when the flight had overflown MSP, he asked the chief dispatcher to do a SELCAL on the flight. When asked about the SELCAL frequencies, he tried 131.9 or 131.7, but wasn’t sure, and believed it was through the company network.
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