Transport Canada Inspector Training Booklet For Operational Control



1.1 What is Operational Control?

Operational Control is the exercise of authority over the formulation, execution, and amendment of an operational flight plan in respect of a flight.

1.2 Requirements

Section 702.12 703.16 704.15 and 705.20 of The Canadian Aviation Regulation (CARs) all state:

No air operator shall operate an aircraft unless the air operator has an operational control system that meets the (CASS), Commercial Air Service Standards and is under the control of its operations manager.

1.3 Operational Control, Operations Control, Operations Co-ordination

During the implementation of the CARs and CASS the meaning of operational control and operations co-ordination were discussed in detail. It became evident that the two terms were being interpreted differently an in many cases confused. In an effort to clarify the issue, Transport Canada with the concurrence of industry and labor decided that the term Operational Control would pertain to the functions dealing with the actual operational aspects of a flight from the formulation of the flight plan until the termination of a flight.

The Operations Co-ordination function is considered the commercial side of the air operator. The operations co-ordination functions during actual operation provide information and facilitate the commercial needs of the air operator to the operational control function. Operations Co-ordination is one of the many sources of information used by operational control personnel to provide safe, economical and pleasant service to the air operators customers. Transport Canada prefers air operators use the term Operations Co-ordination rather than Operations Control in order to reduce the potential confusion between the terms Operational Control and Operations Control.

1.4 Roles and Responsibilities

It is important operations manuals clearly indicate the duties and responsibilities of the pilot- in- command PIC, dispatcher, and flight follower. The PIC under a “C” or “D” operational control system is self dispatched and may have the support of a flight follower. The “A” or “B” operational control system is a co dispatched system requiring certified dispatchers and a flight watch system apposed to flight following system. It must be clearly stated that all final decisions will be made by the PIC after brake release for take-off for a type “A” or “B” operational control systems. Prior to brake release and from the time of the formulation of the flight plan, flights under a co-dispatch system are jointly shared by the PIC and dispatcher. Both the PIC and dispatcher must agree on the content of the operational flight plan and sign the operational flight plan.

Air operators must either designate a time (i.e. 3 hours before scheduled departure) when operational control begins or state that it begins with the formulation of the flight plan CASS 725.20 (1) General (v). A designated time is acceptable and allows the air operators to plan multiple flight legs without being constrained by the statement “formulation of the flight plan”. Example: Air operators may indicate operational control begins 3 hours prior to scheduled departure. The three-hour limit clearly indicates to all personnel the requirement to channel operational information through the dispatcher once that time limit is passed. Air operators using the term “formulation of the flight plan” are restricted to advising the dispatcher of all changes related to the flight as soon as the formulation of the operational flight plan has been inaugurated.

1.5 Flight Watch and Flight Following

Flight Watch: all information that may affect the safety of the flight must be forwarded to the PIC. Air operator using the term flight watch will indicate a type “A” or “B” operational control system and the use of certified dispatchers. The certified dispatcher can provide analysis and provide operational opinions to aid the PIC in making good command decisions.

Flight Following the flight follower is not certified and is not required by regulation to inform the PIC of adverse information. Information is provided upon request by the PIC and is without analyses or interpretation. Air operators using the term flight following indicate a type “C” or “D” operational control system and do not have certified dispatchers. The flight follower provides information without analysis or opinion.

Responsibilities in the type “C”, “D” operational control system is delegated to the PIC for flight watch. The flight follower provides the PIC with information on request and is not mandatory. Responsibilities in a type “A”, “B” operational control system using a certified flight dispatcher requires information must be provided to the PIC and is mandated by regulation. CASS 725.20 (1) General (a) Responsibility and Authority.

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