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Inside Southwest: Flight Planning and Dispatch

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20 Comments
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Neat. Helps me out a bit.
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This is NOT Air Traffic Control. I love Southwest, really I do. But don't misinform the public about facts. Air Traffic Control is what FAA employees are. I.e. Tower, TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control), ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control). I am an intern/Student Air Traffic Controller at IAD (Dulles) FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Tower. I'm not saying SWA is wrong or a bad airline. I am just stating that this video does not show controllers controlling traffic in a safe and expeditious manner. These are what us controllers call "Airline Dispatchers" or "Airline flight moderators". If any people are interested in a FUN FILLED AVIATION career, then ATC (REAL Air Traffic Control) is for you. The people that are great with controlling are VISUAL learners that can take a 2D image and transform it into there minds and make it a 3D image. Yes, the stress level is somewhat high but NOT as high as some other jobs. The FAA will be in a "code red" state starting in September... Before, applicants needed to have a degree in Air Traffic Management at an approved FAA CTI (Collegiate Training Initiative) school. Now, only 18 and out of HS. The reason why the FAA is in a code red situation right now is because in the 80's the controllers union thought they could get away with going on strike. Since they were a government body, all of the strikers were IMMEDIATELY fired.. you would think that our government would actually HELP the people that keep others in the skies ALIVE, but NO! The FAA went into a familiar code red alert after this and hired controllers LEFT AND RIGHT. Long story short, all of these controllers that were hired in the post 80's firing are being forced to retire starting this year and for the next 6 years to come. Starting in September this year, the FAA will start to hire people for controllers right off the streets! Only qualifications require, the applicant is out of High School and he/she is 18 years of age or older. Once you have been accepted, you will be sent to OKC (FAA Training Headquarters) and will be PAID to live there for 3 to 4 months for training. You are then guaranteed a slot at a facility of your choosing whether you perfer radar or working in a tower. The pay as well is PHENOMENAL. Please look into it for those that are interested. It is a GREAT career and is the MOST important career in the world right now. With out controllers Millions of lives could perish. Thank you, Controller @IAD ATCT Watch Videos on Youtube on "Air Traffic control" and... Click this link to listen to LIVE feeds of controllers interacting with Pilots and Other Controllers. http://liveatc.net If you want to listen for me go to KIAD/IAD Washington Dulles Intl. On Tuesdays and Thusdays... I will be controlling then and you can see what we do P.S. Thank you Southwest for the video! Now I know what the Airline Mod's are doing when we need to coordinate with them!
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Please Don't get me wrong I LUV Southwest with ALL MY HEART! I still want to be a pilot for you... I have COMPLETELY mastered ALL Types of 737's and I have set up aircraft COMPLETELY for Departure (Pre-push) and I have helped Shut down aircraft once parked at the gate.. (zeroed out Transponder, Turned off Anti Collision Lights, Turned Off or recycled IRS' etc... I know what I'm talking about.) Please don't allow my last post to not come on to this blog because you know just as well as I do that my previous post was completely pertinent and needed to be said. I LUV SWA! Tell Gary I said Hi. Also, if you get the chance, tell Colleen and Herb they mean the WORLD to me :))))))
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That guy explaining what ATC is is about is as good as him talking about brain surgery. It had nothing to do about what real controllers in the field. the little girl might be impressed but I'm not.
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He is not an Air traffic Control Specialist, he isnt controlling a thing.
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In any case... the point is, the blog title is bad... it should be: Inside Southwest: Flight Planning and Dispatch Air Traffic Control is a function of the federal government, not Southwest Airlines.
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This is a total and complete misrepresentation of Air Traffic Control. This is not air traffic control and these Southwest employees are not talking to aircraft and keeping them separated. Real Air Traffic Controllers sit in a Tower or behind radar scopes 24/7/365 moving aircraft across this great nation and keeping them apart. Tossing around acronyms like GDP does not make this individual, ATC. This person is flight dispatch and nothing more.
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Jerry, We aren't claiming that Southwest is controlling aircraft. The video is about the way we deal with the ATC system.
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Anonymous 18:45, The "guy" you are talking about has been one of our Dispatchers for 38 years, and he has almost four decades of experience dealing with ATC. No, he isn't a controller, but he is oone of our liaisons with the ATC system.
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Look, were not trying to give Southwest a bad name.. we are merely saying that this is not Air Traffic Control. The public may get the wrong idea and think this is what controllers do. These people are generally NOT called controllers, I do respect what they do. You may (as a company) call this system Air Traffic Control-ATC, but I'm just saying maybe use a better name for the program... these are NOT controllers and I have COMPLETE respect for Southwest! I LUV Y'ALL!!
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I believe these people are in communication with the Control Center in Herndon, VA.. Fun Stuff! I wouldn't mind having a job like this! I love Air Traffic Control Though.. Thank you sooo much for posting this video! I taught me a good amount of what they do to send information to us. John
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What's with all of the defensive remarks from IAD and other ATC types. They (SWA) aren't claiming to be ATC, they are the ATC department in their airline. Most of the airlines have a dept. like this. "ATC Specialist" as used here is a term internal to their operation. Sounds like some defensive egos that defined themselves by their job, or job the hope to have some day and some perceived social status is conveys. "I am an intern/Student Air Traffic Controller at IAD ", which means in the "old days" someone like me would have told you to shut up and stuff strips until you know what you're talking about. I'll bet you wear your FAA ID card grocery shopping and any time you're in an airport. That company ATC specialist with 38 years at SWA has already forgotten stuff you haven't learned yet. "The people that are great with controlling are VISUAL learners that can take a 2D image and transform it into there minds and make it a 3D image". It's 4D. I would think someone of your knowledge and accomplishment would have known that. The 4th? Time. You guys probably get all bent out of shape about FSS being called ATC too. Grow up and learn about the industry you serve. Retired 29 years of ATC
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Brian, Thank you for changing the title. also, 38 years as a dispatcher? Recent FAA ATC'ers have been doing things a lot different. Wouldn't it be more advantageous to hire recently retired controller within your regions that have a more realistic POV how SWA could fly within terminals and centers they were certified on? I hear a lot of opportunities for retired FAA ATC folks to work for SWA are available now. Anyways, I always fly SWA when going west and JetBlue going north, I love the TV's and room in the Airbus's.
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IAD ATCT is 100% correct. I am a controller in PVD ATCT ( SWA flys out of there A LOT!). That is in NO way air traffic control, but it is dispatch, GOOD dispatch. "AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL- A service operated by appropriate authority to promote the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic." " appropriate authority " = FAA Controller / FAA Contract / Goverment contact etc. -DW
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OK Retired controller, If you are a retired controller where did you work? did you have the sweeper? Or even Seen an ARTS IIIe radar? Have you worked at a Level 12 TRACON like PCT? Or have you even issued a PDC or heard of ASDE-X? If you were a so called controller sir, what is a MVA? Is it an operational error to descend an aircraft or climb an aircraft into another's airspace? If so, what is this action called? I bet you don't even know what a TMU is.
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Controller@IAD ATCT- Chill dude.
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{OK Retired controller, If you are a retired controller where did you work? did you have the sweeper? Or even Seen an ARTS IIIe radar? Have you worked at a Level 12 TRACON like PCT? Or have you even issued a PDC or heard of ASDE-X? If you were a so called controller sir, what is a MVA? Is it an operational error to descend an aircraft or climb an aircraft into another's airspace? If so, what is this action called? I bet you don't even know what a TMU is. Controller@IAD ATCT — Wed, 07/15/2009 - 19:04 } You prove my point about fragile egos. ASR-5,7, and 9. ATCCRBS, TPX-42, Arts III. Level 4 and 5. Then went on to Center, NAS Stage-A, DARC, E-DARC. Never heard of a sweeper. I think the janitor used that. I have used tubs Yes, in fact I was a TMC. MVA is Minimum Vectoring Altitude. Duh! Also somewhat failiar with MEA, MOCA, MRA, MCA and MC Hammer. With prior coordination, no. Er....ummmmm,....... Point Out? Chill out? LMAO. Take your own advise. You'll live longer and be less likely to embarrass yourself or the agency. I stand by my original post. Think I'll fly to Florida and go fishing now. That's what retired ATC12s do. Southwest is a rocking company full of competent people, whatever the are called.
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Hey retired, I was telling the IAD trainee to chill. I understand how the post looks,though. Enjoy retirement, too long until I'm eligible...but I might make it. Have fun fishin'.
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TK. Yeah. Sorry When I did the copy and paste I thought it was something the little boy had said.
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Thank you SWA for being so responsive in areas that have worked and not worked. Despite the comments below - I like the video. You give me access to information that others don't. I was one of the folks held on the tarmac for over 2 hours recently. My issue with tarmac sitting is that most airlines have a pretty good idea of when we will have to do this and when we won't. Now I have a clearer picture of who is making decisions and what is causing the problems. Don't get me wrong - I highly admire SWA for never taking chances with my safety and I only fly the airlines that I have faith in. And I fly a lot. That is why SWA is one of only two airlines that I will fly domestically. My issue is that someone somewhere thinks that when we buy a ticket we are not entitled to be told information that may cause us to reconsider *before* we get on the plane. Recently, we were loaded on to the plane when it was very clear even announced that we would be delayed for a significant time. I think the ATC/ FAA needs to figure out how to support the airlines so that people are not loaded like cattle on a plane and held hostage so that planes don't have to lose their 'spot' or get 'out of line'. A 45 minute flight turned into 5 hours. Does this feel lunch line or what? I want to be informed I may sit on the tarmac in excess of 30 minutes before I get on the plane. My decision might be to reschedule my flight or make other arrangements or buy lunch on what I thought might be a very short flight or hit the restroom again. ( I get claustrophobic in airplane toilets - brrrrrrrr! Could we get MUSAK at least?) But it would be *my* decision. Oh- and SWA - Thank you for the voucher. Your high standards and ability to make amends continues to help you stand out from the pack. I will keep my a-list status intact with continued patronage.