Aircraft Dispatcher, ACDP

Position Category: 
Incident Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
Coordination & Support
AD Class: 


This position serves as an essential part of the dispatch organization at the Local/Initial Attack, Geographical, and/or National levels.


  • Analyzes flight requests and transportation tasks to determine the most efficient and cost effective aircraft to accomplish each request or mission. Conducts and analyzes cost comparisons for different aircraft to ensure cost effectiveness of each mission.
  • Plans logistics missions to support field operations by scheduling flights; publishing itineraries and daily operations plans; notifying pilots, flight managers, passengers, and other support and dispatch personnel.
  • Procures the appropriate aircraft to fill requests either through the resource ordering system or aircraft rental agreements.
  • Ensures aircraft and pilots are carded and meet all agency, Department of the Interior, and AMD requirements.
  • Deconflict airspace for flights that enter or cross through Special Use Areas (SUAs), Military Operations Areas (MOAs), and Military Training Routes (MTRs).
  • Determines and assigns financial codes for aircraft fueling and flight time.
  • Dispatches aircraft and flight follows all missions via satellite tracking and radio communications. Monitors flight status continuously for all aircraft in flight and ensures aircraft pilots are aware of each other, weather conditions and potential hazards.
  • Monitors multiple frequencies concurrently and maintains documentation including radio logs of all transmissions and fire activity.
  • Makes critical decisions regarding tactical aircraft deployment for initial attack on wildland fires; e.g., decisions regarding directing aircraft for the protection of life and property. Coordinates smokejumpers, helitack, airtankers, and aerial supervision modules in addition to detection aircraft.
  • May direct other dispatchers in planning flight schedules, dispatching aircraft, flight following aircraft and frequencies management.
  • Ensures aviation management policies and procedures are followed in a safe and efficient manner;
  • Organizes Senior Executive Federal Travel as necessary.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • Extensive knowledge of air operations.
  • Knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of various of fixed wing and rotary-wing aircraft types
  • Knowledge of procurement processes, procedures, and contract types.
  • Skill and knowledge to deconflict airspace with various cooperators (e.g., FAA and the military).
  • Familiarity with governing agency, interagency, DOI, and Federal regulations, guides, and manuals.
  • An initial attack dispatching background, proficiency in terminology, tactics and techniques of fire management as it relates to aircraft utilization.
  • Requires prior successful experience as an Expanded Dispatch Recorder (EDRC) as well as previous aircraft dispatching experience. Other position assignments that will maintain currency are EDRC and Aircraft Base Radio Operator (ABRO).
  • Acquiring the appropriate level of knowledge and skill can be obtained through such training as Aircraft Dispatcher (D-312); Support Dispatcher (D-310); Base ICS (I-200); Base Air Operations
    (S-270); and Interagency Incident Business Management (S-260).

Supervisory Controls

This position is generally supervised by the Center Manager at the respective level. The incumbent follows policies and procedures that have been established by the respective center management. The supervisor defines objectives, priorities, and deadlines, and assists with unusual situations that do not have clear precedents or do not conform to established policies, practices, or procedures.

The incumbent plans and carries out the successive steps and handles problems and deviations in accord with instructions, policies, previous training, and accepted practices.

Completed work is usually evaluated for technical soundness and conformity to policy and requirements. Methods used by the incumbent are not usually reviewed in detail.


Numerous guidelines are available, but have gaps in specificity.

The incumbent must use seasoned judgment developed through training and experience to reach decisions and to act on situations that guides do not cover.


The work includes various duties that involve different and unrelated practices and methods. Duties involve decision making and in some cases, supervising in a multi-functional interagency environment.

The various choices available require the incumbent to recognize the choices and decide appropriately. The incumbent must recognize problems and use seasoned judgment to determine the appropriate approach.

The work involves conditions and elements that must be identified and analyzed in order to reach the proper conclusion and/or to make the correct decision.

Scope and Effect

The work involves treating a wide variety of conventional problems and situations in conformance with established criteria.

Decisions made by the incumbent affect incident operations processes.

Personal Contacts

Depending on the organizational level of the assignment (local, geographic, or national), contacts may be with local incident, agency or Department level incident officials such as local Fire Management Officers, regional/local Aviation and Safety Officers, national aircraft coordinators, Incident air operations personnel, officials at Air Route Traffic Control Centers, pilots, flight crew members and managers, and other dispatchers. Other contacts include other Federal and military officials, and vendor representatives.

Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of contacts is to provide safe aviation operations and policy adherence by planning, coordinating, and advising on resource status and capabilities that may affect mission accomplishment.

Physical Demands

The work is primarily sedentary with long periods of time spent sitting at a desk. There may be periods of high stress when working under critical time constraints.

Work Environment

The incumbent is exposed to everyday risks associated with a normal office environment.

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