Courses for those interested in aviation dispatch can be found at several colleges and universities. These courses are typically offered as part of undergraduate certificate and degree programs in aviation dispatch or aviation maintenance technology. Upon completion of these programs, individuals must earn licensure through the FAA prior to working as dispatchers.
Here is a list of concepts commonly explored in transportation dispatch courses:
- Control centers
- Navigation systems
- Flight planning
- Weather charts and reports
- Aviation regulations
List of Common Courses
Aviation Meteorology Course
This 1-semester course introduces students to the fundamentals of meteorology, focusing on the varied components that make up the atmosphere and the factors that influence weather patterns. Primary topics include the effects of weather on the aerodynamics of an aircraft in flight as well as the instruments, charts and reports that pilots use to predict and adjust for weather conditions. Other subjects covered may include solar geometry, micro and macro weather systems, upper-air characteristics and flight hazards and safety.
Airline Operations Course
In this course, students receive a general overview of airline operations, including departmental structuring, marketing, servicing, planning, scheduling and dispatching. Course material covers the functions of different parts of the airline industry, including the command center, along with operational techniques and current issues facing the aviation industry. The curriculum may also include subjects concerning FAA regulations, passenger and load manifests, passenger fares and cargo rates, and marketing research and trends. This is typically a 1-semester course.
Aircraft Systems Course
The aircraft systems course is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of fuel and electrical systems and other elements of an aircraft's functionality. Sometimes referred to as aircraft performance, this course may take 1- or 2-semesters to complete. Students learn how to calculate weight and balance as well as center of gravity and learn about the complications involved with takeoff, landing, in-flight weight shifts and emergencies. Other systems covered include hydraulic, pneumatic and engine accessory and auxiliary systems. If the course is given over two semester, advanced subjects of study may include performing advanced calculations in the air and while taking off and descending, along with alternative methods for flight planning.
Air Traffic Control Course
This course may take a variety of forms depending on the specific program. A school may offer air traffic control as a 1-semester course, a 1-semester introductory course or a 3-course series. The science of air traffic control involves a detailed look at FAA standards and procedures along with a study of flight data processing, aircraft communications and operations, airspace management and controller techniques. Students learn about approach, missed approach, vectoring language and emergency procedures. They may practice their skills using computer simulations. Advanced material may include a more involved look at the roles and relationship between pilot and controller, and the equipment used to facilitate communication.
FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License Training Course
This is the training program required to obtain an official license as an FAA aviation dispatcher. The program, which varies in time required for completion, includes all the subjects detailed above in its curriculum. It is designed to prepare entry-level dispatchers for initiation into the field of aviation.