US Airways - July 2013 - 12

embark

Making It Happen

Behind the Scenes
of your Flight

Eye on
the Skies
At the Operations
Control Center in
Pittsburgh, flight
dispatchers watch
flights even before
they take off. Dispatcher Joe Mealie
shows us how he
stays the course.

By Tara Titcombe

★

12

july 2013

usairwaysmag.com

single point of contact for the crew
of each flight. If a maintenance or
passenger issue occurs, Joe immediately works on a solution. “We’re
watching out for the pilots and all
of the passengers,” he says. “We’re
constantly staying one step ahead
of a flight so there are never any
surprises for the crew. We’re another set of eyes to monitor every
flight to make sure it has the most
comfortable and safest route.”
After 14 years on the job, Joe still enjoys it. “It’s
different every day,” he says. “My job is constantly
changing and evolving, and that’s what I enjoy
the most.”

photos by david aschkenas

Joe starts by setting up his
computer screens. One
displays a list of flights for which
he is responsible, another shows a
map of flights currently in the air,
and several others display weather
maps. “You’ve got to know how to
interpret the weather to do this
job,” Joe says.
After a thorough evaluation
of the weather and operational
issues, he begins to prepare releases for each of his
flights. Each release includes details for an entire
flight, such as the departure runway, the route and
altitude to fly, alternate routes, alternate airports
along the way, and how much fuel is needed. Joe
looks at jet streams and areas of turbulence, as well
as any airport issues such as runway closings and
air traffic control delays.
“We probably write about 35 to 40 releases each
day,” Joe says. “As flight dispatchers, we are jointly
responsible with the captain for the safety of each
flight.” Once the release is complete and Joe
approves it, it’s sent to the airport and the captain
75 minutes before takeoff.
After the releases are complete, Joe monitors
his flights throughout their duration, serving as the


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of US Airways - July 2013

US Airways - July 2013
Table of Contents
CEO Letter
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Making It Happen
Hot Spots: Family-Friendly Vacations
Wine & Dine: The Other Portland
Great Tastes: Benjamin Steakhouse
Wine & Dine: A Crafty Measure
Diversions: Fresh as You Please
Great Tastes: Savor
Great Escapes: Now Resorts & Spas
Adventure: Climbing Mt. Rainier
Travel Feature: Grand Cayman, the Epicure's Island
US Airways: Top Dogs
Special Section: Northwest Arkansas
Golf: Primland, a Course Apart
Special Section: North Carolina High Country
Puzzles
Readers Resource Index
Your US Airways Guide
Video Entertainment
Audio Entertainment
U.S. and Caribbean Service Map
International Service Map
Airport Terminal Maps
US Airways Fleet/Customs & Immigration
Passenger Info/Contact US Airways
US Airways MarketPlace®
Window or Aisle?

US Airways - July 2013

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