A day in the life of an ProJet24 Dispatcher
It’s 05:00 utc and my shift starts. First things first, a good coffee is needed, while reading through the daily handover from my last shifts colleague. Today there are a couple of flights planed. So let’s start with the first one, which is a short hop with a Citation Excel at 07:00 utc from LOWW to EDDF with pax and then ferry to EGBB. Since we usually prepare flight documents 4-5 hours prior flight, these one’s have already been send by the night shift and in the shift handover no special occurrences for these flights are mentioned. So I only check the current METAR and TAF for the flights origin, destination and alternate aerodromes, which all look good, way above minima, so we are up to a good start, as this means, no action required, other than flight watch.
As there is a bit time until the next planed departure of another aircraft, I start looking through the schedule for the next couple of days and see, that for a planed flight the day after tomorrow, from ZBAA to OMDW, the Pakistan Overflight Permission and Hangar booking in OMDW is still missing, so I write mails to check up on them. Given that we live in a fast paced world and also the time shift is good in relation to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UTC+4 and UTC+5), answers to my requests are quickly received. The Pakistan Permission should be granted until the end of he work day, the agent in OMDW advises that the hangar is available for the duration of stay and gives me the estimated price for it. Since the hangar is a special request, I forward the estimated price to the client and ask for a go ahead with the booking.
Next up is a flight with a Falcon 7X from LFPB to LFMD with ETD 12:00 utc. We’ve spoken with the captain already yesterday evening about the estimated fuel load (11.000 lbs) and the current LFMD TAF says 2808/2908 17004KT CAVOK BECMG 2815/2817 VRB02KT, so no problem there. So I check the NOTAMS of LFPB, LFMD and of course LFMN, being the preferred destination alternate and find nothing which contradicts a flight. The routing has been prepared and filed already by the night shift, so I re-run the flightplan with Jeppesen JetPlanner, run a loadsheet with the current numbers with APG’s Weight and Balance Software, download the latest weather and Notams, including ICAO EURO SIGWX and Wind/Temperature Charts from Austrocontrol and complete the flight documents package with a pax ticket and flight summary (crew brief overview). After checking the compiled PDF a second time, I send it to the handling agent in LFPB for print out and blind copy the flight crew into the mail, so they have it also on their iPad’s. The Falcon 7X being a modern aircraft with all kinds of fancy stuff, including a datalink via Satcom Direct, I upload the flight plan via Jeppesen Jetplanner to Satcom, so it is available for download into the aircrafts FMS, once the aircraft is powered on.
Just as I finished this task, the captain of the Citation Excel calls and advises that the pax are already arriving with their limousine at the LOWW GAT (it is now 06:32 utc) and that therefore they want to depart 20 minutes earlier. Time to urgently send a slot change request to the FHKD (Flughafenkoordinator der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – the centralized Airport Slot Coordination Center for Germany). Luckily a 20 minutes earlier inboundslot for EDDF is confirmed immediately, but an earlier outboundslot is not available. LOWW Airport airportslots are flexible anyway, but just to be on the safe side, I call the GAT in LOWW and receive the answer, that it’s no problem for them, as expected. A quick refile of the flightplan LOWW-EDDF later, I call the captain and advise that the flightplan is in now for ETD 06:40 utc, no ATC Slot in Eurocontrol and the EDDF outbound flightplan will stay at ETD 09:00 utc, since EDDF has no earlier outbound slot available. The Captain advises that’s good, as now they do not have to hurry in EDDF (since a fuel uplift is planed there), all pax are on board and they want to start up the engines, so I set the TOBT in LOWW’s CDM System to 06:38 utc).
In the meantime the client for the flight ZBAA-OMDW agreed to the estimated Dubai hangar price, so I answer the OMDW handling agents mail and kindly ask to send the confirmation, as soon as booked.
Next I see on Flightradar that a Citation Excel just departed out of LOWW, so I check via the Eurocontrol Network Operations Portal, to ensure that it is “ours” and yes it is, so I send a MVT Message to the EDDF Handling Agent.
Back to preparing some flights for the next days. That means checking if all airport slots, handling confirmations, overflight permissions and/or any other services, as requested by the client (crew/pax transfers, crew hotac ...), are confirmed, pre-calculating flight routings, looking up fuel prices and then sending the precalculations to the crews, in order for them to check and advise us the estimated blockfuels, we shall use for the operational flight plans. Even though sure enough most of the times the crews will reply, that they’ll agree to our precalculations. That’s the advantage of working in the business for a long time; you’ll get pretty good in guesstimating things like that.
The Excel just landed in EDDF, so the arrival MVT needs to be send to the clients sales department.
Time to step out of the office for some Minutes and get some fresh air.
Coming back I see that the missing Pakistan Overflight Permission and the OMDW Hangar confirmation have arrived via mail, so I share the good news and thereafter continue my work on preparing the next days flights.
At around 09:00 utc I see on flight radar a Citation Excel departing EDDF, so same procedure: double check with Eurocontrol and then send the departure MVT to the destinations handling agent and the clients sales department.
The phone rings. The captain of the Falcon 7X for today LFPB-LFMD just heard that it’ll be eleven pax instead of previously planed two. As this weight change is way more than LMC, he wants to have a new loadsheet and asks, in this case, also for complete new paperwork (operational flight plan etc.), due to the fact that the payload increased by a good amount and destination is LFMD. “Of course, no problem.” I answer. We always try to satisfy the pilot’s wishes and I totally agree, that in such case it’s just good airmanship to redo the complete flight documents and not only the loadsheet.
In the middle of doing so, the sales department of the Citation Excel calls and advises that the tomorrows flight with pax out of EGBB has just been cancelled by the client and they would like the excel to divert to EGLF, since chances of selling a new charter flight out of the London Area are higher than out of Birmingham.
Time to multitask! While sending the new flight documents for the Falcon 7X via E-Mail, I call TAG Aviation Farnborough, to ask if they have any problem with a diversion of a Citation Excel and would also allow them to park for a couple of days, since we would have no confirmed outbound schedule.
As usual, TAG Aviation welcomes every flight, so I call the Citation Excels Satcom and advise the crew that they shall divert to EGLF, since they are not needed in EGBB anymore just in time, as they entered the EGTT FIR two minutes ago. Few minutes later I can see in the Eurocontrol Network Operations Portal, that the destination of the flightplan EDDF-EGBB has changed to EGLF, meaning that ATC just acknowledged the diversion. Isn’t It nice when things just work out according to plan?
After they landed in EGLF and I continued preparing flights for the next days, the Falcon 7X Datalink sends an automated MVT report departing LFPB, followed by the crew e-mailing a picture of the techlog via the aircraft’s W-LAN. Sometimes I am still amazed by all the things possible with new technology like Datalink and Satellite based Internet with flat fee.
With the Falcon now in Air to Cannes my shift ends, so I give a handover to the next dispatcher on duty. All in all a normal day in the life of an aircraft dispatcher in the general aviation business.
Christian Dörflinger, Flight Dispatcher, ProJet24 GmbH