We had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Adam Callow this Saturday in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members in the Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.
He is an Infinite Flight Beta Tester, ATC Supervisor, Recruiter and Trainer. He is also a real world Aircraft Dispatcher/TCO at EGNS (IOM) Airport. Here is all of the questions and answers.
What does your job as a dispatcher entail?
I guess you could split it in to two jobs really.
Ops controller – Your in the office, you coordinate with airlines send messages and close out flights (Preping the flight paperwork for the dispatchers out on the apron)
Depend on the airline as to what the paperwork is but typically it would be.
- Load sheet
- Loading instruction
- Pax list
- Bag list
Dispatcher – You’re outside, you oversee the turnaround and make sure it’s going smoothly, on time and making sure it’s safe and legal to depart. If the flight goes late then you have to explain it, every minute of it. Involves standing out in the wind and rain far too much.
What’s the most unique dispatching situation you’ve had?
There’s been a few odd ones, can’t think of one in particular but when things get weird, can be fun to figure it out. (I’ll come back to this to think)
What makes dispatching fun to you?
I get to play with aircraft, meet loads of interesting people with some great stories and I couldn’t sit in an office for 8 hours a day. Even when I’m in the office I still can go out to ramp on occasion and do the odd ramp thing to cheer me up.
If you could have any job in the world aside from dispatching, what would it be?
I’ve been thinking on this one a lot, I’d say either ATC controller or pilot. I know, I know, the standard two.
Looking forward to hear your unique story(ies) of dispatching.
The charter flights we get in are always an interesting one as you’re never 100% sure what you’re doing as its often the first time you’re dealing with that airline. We had a titan 757 in on a remote stand as it was the only one we could fit it on, dispatching over 200 pax with 160+ bags with a bus that holds 60 max is different to say the least.
First season de-icing that I had worked and I had never dealt with all the paperwork and special stuff that goes with it in a live environment before, and to make worse it was snowing and we had a thunder warning meaning no headsets. I spent most of that day on stand 8 exposed to the weather with snow in my shoe trying to work out what was going on getting this flight out as everything was changing so quickly. We used about 5-6 times the fluid we would normally use on an aircraft here on each aircraft. Certainly an interesting day to deal with that for the first time.
How do you balance work with Infinite Flight?
I’m not quite sure, but I do get some funny times I can fly thanks to my shifts. Also thanks to me being rather predictable I tend to know what’s times I’ll be free at when I’m working a certain shift. Things do change of course so I try to build in some room for any sessions, can end up having to cancel at times though.
After dispatching with EU jet at manston what’s the most interesting conversation you have had with a captain or first officer?
I’ve had a few, a lot of pilots have interesting stories for various flying adventures, listening to how Gatwick delt with the drone issue was quite interesting. One crew took off out off France and got asked to maintain slowest practical from departure. Got into the hold and thought they would be cleaver and ask for a diversion into Luton. Full. Listed every nearby airport and got told full. I think they ended up going into MAN. His storytelling was better.
How did you get started with Infinite Flight and the IFATC?
Downloaded Infinite Flight in like 2013, had fun flying about SFO, watching myself crash in replay. Then later saw the Dash was coming, the day of the update I got a month of Live to see what the fuss was about, flew it and thought, well this could be fun, didn’t even make it the month before I got the year and all the aircraft. Tied out the ATC thing, set up a tracking thread and opened EGLL on TS2. Tom flew and basically told me to take the test. Passed both first time and that was that.
Why did you choose to be a dispatcher?
I technically never choose Dispatching, I applied for a ramp job. Someone more experienced got it over me but they somehow liked me (We are all still confused as to why) and offered me the job as a ops controller (dispatcher). I kind of went into the thing blind. Even in the first week of training I was still wondering what I was going to be doing. I’m glad I said yes though.
How did you become an IFATC supervisor, recruiter and trainer?
Short answer, not quite sure.
Long answer, let’s take it play by play.
Trainer – I just kept flying for trainers (was scouts back then) when they asked for help. I think it was NEO that said I showed up to quite a few sessions and then I logged into to slack one day to find I had a new channel in there.
Recruiter – after being a trainer for a while I got asked by Tyler if I fancied being a recruiter and did I have the time for it, I think I said something along the lines of “I’ll give it a shot” and then logged into slack the next day to find a new channel.
Supervisor – Kinda just logged on to slack to see a new channel on there, wondering why I had that there. (I’m beginning to sense a theme with all these)
I know you love your job on the Isle of Man, but do you ever forsee yourself moving on to bigger airports.
I’d love to have a week or two in a bigger airport to see how it’s done as it would be a whole different ballgame and the bigger aircraft would be fun too. Even though the IOM airport has its flaws, I wouldn’t want to live/work anywhere else.
How did you come by the name of “Inverted Flight Expert”?
I beat Deercrusher in a race across the USA in an F22. Deer then very kindly gave me the title of “Inverted Flight Expert” as during various beta cycles I may have intercepted him and many others, then flew upside down to “test the flight model”. I think I’ve intercepted him inverted in nearly every aircraft Infinite Flight has of now.