How To Retain Pilots With a Great Flight Dispatcher

//How To Retain Pilots With a Great Flight Dispatcher

How To Retain Pilots With a Great Flight Dispatcher

How to Retain PilotsHow to retain pilots has become an important topic for small flight departments.

Because of the current demographics, pilots understand that they are in demand.

Many pilots in private aviation jobs are being actively recruited by larger flight departments and the airlines.

What Makes Pilots Stay?

Captain David Santo of Aerostar Training Services indicates the same:

Many companies  have realized that they need to provide additional incentives to attract and retain quality pilots. Those incentives may come in the form of sign-on bonuses, training opportunities, and other incentives that make these positions more attractive than they may have been in the past.

5 Drivers That Keep Pilots

Tom Wachkowski of the Private Jet Podcast said that these are the five factors involved with pilot retention:

  • Direction:  Competent Leadership, Common Sense Decision Making, Care/Fair, & Stability
  • Days Worked:  Time Away Weekly, Monthly, Holidays, Weekends, Protected Time Off
  • Duties:  People, Operations, Strategy
  • Dollars:  Based on Aircraft Size, Base, Bonus, Benefits
  • Divorce:  Reasonable Guaranteed Time w/ Spouse/Family

A good dispatcher can resolve three of those five “Ds.” (Days Worked, Duties, and Divorce!)   They do this by helping your pilots have more control of their time and fewer duties to perform.  A great dispatcher can often at a lower cost than paying the pilot for additional time.

Days Worked, Duties, & Divorce Often = TIME

Our friend James (no last name for OBVIOUS reasons)  is a pilot, who says this is a frequent topic of conversation.    Money is a motivator, of course; but scheduling, and “real time off” can be an even larger factor.  When working for a small flight department, many duties fall on the pilot that add many hours to his workload that his boss may not realize or appreciate.

  • Planning the next trip
  • Making reservations for FBOs, parking spaces, fuel, and maintenance at the destination
  • Checking for ADs (Airworthiness Directives) and other restrictions
  • Checking for available time on (TBO or “remaining time before overhaul”) on aircraft components
  • Researching customs and other paperwork requirements
  • Making arrangements for rental cars, catering, meeting facilities for passengers or clients

“Even when I’m ‘off duty,’  I’m on my iPad all the time, checking on things and responding to emails.   Having dinner with my girlfriend’s family can become pretty awkward.  My email is dinging all the time and I can’t ignore it because I’m responsible for all these details!” he said.  “The pilots who are parents like to give their kids their undivided attention when they’re home, which is understandable. It’s rough on families.  It’s pretty annoying to have your spouse gone half the time, and on the phone half the time when they’re ‘home!'”

Administrative tasks can eat up a lot of time that pilots could be spending with their families at home, or enjoying the recreational opportunities at their destinations.

Flight Dispatchers Do More Than You Think

Here is a list of items NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers literature about tasks that FAA Aircraft Dispatcher that has completed aircraft dispatcher training can manage (and take off your pilots’ plates!)

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accurate Interpretation of International Requirements for GA
  • Administrative Support for Director/Manager
  • Air Marshall/Wing Walker
  • Aircraft Maintenance Schedule Coordination
  • Aircraft/Hangar Stock Clerk
  • Airline Reservation System Review & Analysis
  • Airport Assessment
  • Airport Gate & Ramp Security Monitoring
  • Airport Shuttle Driver
  • Assemble & Disassemble Tax, Regulatory, and Compliance Information to Appropriate  Agencies
  • ATC Liaison
  • Aviation Department Corporate Liaison
  • Aviation Department Manuals Author/Editor
  • Benchmarking
  • Budget Department & Cost Assessment
  • Caterer Liaison
  • Charter Audit
  • Company Vehicle Maintenance & Cleaning
  • Company/Department Liaison to High-Expectation Passengers
  • Contract Negotiator
  • Contract Supplemental Lift
  • Corporate Security Services Coordinator & Liaison
  • Crew Assignment
  • Crew Catering, Ground, Hotel Arrangements
  • Crew Duty Assessment
  • Crew Training & Currency Coordinator
  • Customs Arrangements, Domestic & International
  • Dispatch Training Coordinator
  • Drug Testing Supervisor
  • D-APIS Administrator, No-Fly List Check
  • E-mail Traffic Manager
  • Emergency Response Plan Development & Execution
  • Facility Housekeeping Oversight
  • Facility Security & Access Monitoring
  • FBO Communications & Liaison
  • Flight Confirmation Distribution
  • Flight Following
  • Flight Log Check
  • Flight Log Entry
  • Flight Scheduling Software Expert
  • Foreign Handler Selection
  • Fuel Analysis
  • Fuel Price Updates
  • Fuel Program Research, Monitoring and Tracking
  • Fuel Stop Selection
  • Gather & Manage Passenger Information
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Ground Transportation Liaison
  • Line Crew Assignment
  • Make Coffee
  • Manage Air-Ground Communications
  • Meeting Planner
  • Meteorologist
  • Negotiator
  • Office Supply Oversight
  • On Call 24/7
  • Passenger Catering, Ground, Hotel
  • Passenger Liaison
  • Passenger Meet & Greet
  • Passenger Waiting Area Support & Services
  • Photographer
  • Problem-Solving
  • Provide Crew Briefing
  • Quoting
  • Ramp Escort
  • Receptionist
  • Regulatory Check for Crew and Aircraft Risk Assessment
  • Sales
  • Secure Contract Crew Members
  • Select International Trip Support Services
  • Slot Coordination
  • Snow Removal
  • Software & Technology Troubleshooting
  • Telephone Operator
  • Therapist & Counselor
  • Trip Packet Preparation & Dissemination for Pax/Crew
  • TSA Liaison
  • Understanding of AC Performance Limitations
  • Understanding of Laws Governing GA
  • Understanding of Other Tax, Regulatory, and Compliance Requirements Pertaining to GA
  • Vendor Audits

A Part-Time Option

Small flight departments, with 1-3 aircraft, may not need a full-time scheduler or dispatcher.  Larger or more active flight departments that already have a dispatcher may find that they need seasonal, part time or temporary assistance to cover vacations or leaves of absence.

LD Aviation is an excellent option – we provide custom contracts for flight scheduling based on what you need.  Pilots, admins and other dispatchers find us refreshingly easy to work with.  Working with us is great way to pick up the slack and provide the flexibility you need for a safe, efficient, and happy flight department.

Happy, well-managed flight departments with streamlined duties are far more likely to retain great pilots!


By |2019-01-23T22:09:19+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Business Travel|0 Comments

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