14 December 2009

"Old School" Dispatching

If you're an aircraft dispatcher nowdays, you probably use all the latest in dispatching software and tracking devices to make your job easier. Well, where I work at, since we're a small outfit, we don't need to use all the high speed, high tech gadgets that the bigger airlines use. Sure we have computer's and we've designed our own programs to make our releases and figure weights and burns out, but what I really like about how we do things is we interact with the crews. Every morning, crew arrive in dispatch and we give them a briefing and discuss things person to person. Makes for better dispatch resource management.

So here the dispatcher station. Briefing counter to the right and a great view (when the aircraft is not parked there) of HNL/PHNL and RWY 4R/22L

A little closer look shows the important stuff like ICED COFFFEE!!!
If I didn't have one of these in the morning, I'd be dead in the water!
 Up on the far left screen screen we have weather-
satellite loops and printed weather reports, on the center screen
releases and fuel slips and more weather via Pilot Brief on the far right.

Here's what the release look like. Three copies printed ot per crew. Our releases are are done for the whole trip line and are amended as necessary during the days ops. New release are faxed out to crews (No ACARS system here)

Flights throughout the day are tracked via the GANTT. Alot of airlines use a computer based system to track flights, but since we have a smaller ops this works just as great. Since the islands are within a 30 minute flight time (the exception being the Big Island of Hawaii) we can contact the aircraft via the base radio (air to ground) or if further out, via AIRCELL.

15 November 2009

Crossing the "puddle"

After spending a few days in SFO, I jumpseated back to HNL on UA. I love jumpseating on UA because I have never had a problem with them and the crews and staff are really great.  My departure was on a UA 777-200

Here were are departing SFO/KSFO on the San Francisco Eight Departure.
San Francisco is in the distance with the peak of San Bruno Mountains just over the F/O shoulder

With San Francisco behind us, we continue our westward climbout over the Pacific Ocean

After five hours over the Pacific, the north east shore of Oahu comes into view. Here's a view of Marine Corps Base Hawaii in the foreground and Kaneohe Bay. Off in the distance is Kahaluu, Kualoa and Kaaawa.

Passing just east of HNL/PHNL on the MAGGI3 arrival

Turning base for a visual to RWY 08L. The Ewa plains in front of us

Power set. Flaps extended. Gear down and locked. Landing checklist complete. 08L in front of us. Almost home

Back home in HNL!
Thanks to the crew of Flt 73!

12 November 2009

Virgin America Ops Control

A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to visit Virgin America's corporate offices in Burlingame, CA. Virgin was AWESOME!! The employee's are just simply great. They call themselves the "People Team", and they truly are. While there I got to pop into their operations center and of course, me coming from a small commuter airlines, I was impressed with the set up.

To me, of course, this looks like a mini Mission Control at NASA.

Thanks Sandra, Adam and the rest of the team at Virgin for letting me
get a peek at Operations Control.

11 November 2009

Adrenaline rush...for the crew

What a morning!! Started out with the possibility of a bad weather day to a full blown emergency!

One of our aircraft had nose gear problems while performing the landing check list. So instead of landing on Lanai (LNY/PHNY) the crew opted to return to Honolulu (HNL/PHNL).

It's a good thing to have "three mains" down and locked when you land.

09 November 2009

Another day in the dispatch office

Here's the wall as you enter the Flight Ops offices at the hanger. Cory from marketing did the work. It came out great. Thanks Cory!

This is the second day of a 5 day work week. An early start at 0315. Here's the view from my dispatcher desk overlooking the airport and our ramp. (HNL/PHNL)

I get the AWESOME sunrises from my office with the early start...
(I can't help it that I work in such beautiful place!!)

The 0315 shift is my favorite to work. I get to start everyone's day.

(Sorry about the grainy pics...I'm using my iPhone camera till I get my digital camera operational again)