NBAA Convention News

Six-week course trains students for aircraft dispatching positions

 - September 21, 2007, 6:48 AM

Universal Weather & Aviation (Booth No. 7666) has received FAA approval to become an aircraft dispatcher training course provider and is now offering the course to the general public.

The first public six-week course began September 10. The next is scheduled to start November 5.

The course, said Universal senior workforce development specialist and course instructor Mark Christensen, is a comprehensive training program that broadens the business aviation professionals’ aviation knowledge and improves his ability to effectively operate a company flight department. The key skills taught in the course are:
• reading weather reports and forecasts,
• reading and using en route charts,
• computing fuel requirements and
load capabilities,
• extracting performance data,
• calculating and reading flight plans,
• understanding flight operations,
• understanding centralized air traffic flow and
• responding to aircraft emergencies.

According to Universal, Christensen spent the better part of two years developing the course curriculum and working with the FAA during the agency’s six-month review process.

An aircraft dispatching training course typically requires two years to complete in a traditional college classroom. The Universal course consists of 38 training modules and requires 225 intensive hours of instruction over a six-week period.

In the process of becoming an approved course provider, Universal conducted a pilot course in which all students had to pass the FAA’s written exam, followed by an oral practical exam administered by an FAA examiner. Eighty percent of students had to pass the first oral practical exam for Universal to receive FAA approval.

In its final form, said Christensen, “The written exam is composed of 80 questions selected from a bank of 1,500 questions and must be completed in three hours. A grade of 70 is passing.” Students in the pilot course, he said, averaged a grade of 90.
Additional information is available at the Universal exhibit here, or by contacting Mark Christensen at (713) 947-5688.