Tue, Aug 11 2015
LeTourneau University was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in May as the first Christian university to offer aircraft dispatcher courses to prepare students to take and pass needed exams to receive their FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Certificates.
To date, six of six students who took the inaugural dispatch course during the summer have passed the practical test on their first attempt with the FAA, according to Laura Laster, director of flight operations.
“I am thrilled with the success of our first six Aircraft Dispatcher students!” Laster said. “That’s a great testament to the work ethic and caliber of the students in our LETU School of Aviation.”
This set of two courses is part of the Aviation Management with Air Traffic Control concentration. Other students also can take the courses as long as they meet the course prerequisites. Only 49 institutions in the world have been approved by the FAA to offer courses for this certificate.
An Aircraft Dispatcher is a specific FAA certificate that must be earned after passing an oral and practical exam with an FAA examiner. Every single passenger-carrying airline in the United States employs aircraft dispatchers. They are as essential to the flight’s operation as the captain and first officer.
Each commercial airline flight in the United States requires an aircraft dispatcher assigned to it to agree with the flight crew that the flight can be operated safely. The dispatcher also is required to monitor the progress of every flight as it operates until it arrives safely at its destination.
Dispatchers are highly trained in weather analysis, flight planning, aircraft load planning, aircraft systems and performance, emergency operations, and airline security, among other topics.
In contrast, an air traffic controller is employed by the FAA and directs aircraft in order to maintain required separation with other aircraft in the national airspace system.
“Some of our graduates may become dispatchers while waiting for a position to open with the FAA to become an air traffic controller, but it is certainly not something that is seen as a usual step on the path to becoming a controller,” Laster said.
The FAA lists the complete listing here: