ADF strongly opposes Home Dispatching

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
Only if they made a computer with a built in battery....
Sure, laptops have built-in batteries - but how long do they last for? A few hours? I recently had a friend whose power was out for over 18 hours after the derecho blew through here....I guess it would have been bad luck for anyone in that situation who had a shift scheduled dispatching from home during that time period. Also, does the laptop provided by the company contain everything you need to do your job, including phone software? If so, it seems like that would be at a high risk for a single point of failure. My shop tried out the "phone inside a computer" concept briefly before it was shot down by the FAA, when they observed that nobody was monitoring phones during shift change while the computer signed out and back in. Finally, internet access during said power outage...I've never heard of a network modem (DSL or cable) that worked during a power outage. Would the company provided laptop have internet access if there was a power or network outage? Hopefully it's something they considered.

The cost savings is coming from getting rid of office space and the associated costs - water, electricity, office supplies, liability insurance, building maintenance and security. Computer equipment is such a small cost when compared to other expenses with having people in an office.
Putting the cost of security on an individual dispatcher does sound like something a regional airline would love to do. This doesn't make it a good idea, or make it as safe as having a traditional centralized NOC office.
 
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lionrock

Well-Known Member
Sure, laptops have built-in batteries - but how long do they last for? A few hours? I recently had a friend whose power was out for over 18 hours after the derecho blew through here....I guess it would have been bad luck for anyone in that situation who had a shift scheduled dispatching from home during that time period. Also, does the laptop provided by the company contain everything you need to do your job, including phone software? If so, it seems like that would be at a high risk for a single point of failure. My shop tried out the "phone inside a computer" concept briefly before it was shot down by the FAA, when they observed that nobody was monitoring phones during shift change while the computer signed out and back in. Finally, internet access during said power outage...I've never heard of a network modem (DSL or cable) that worked during a power outage. Would the company provided laptop have internet access if there was a power or network outage? Hopefully it's something they considered.
If an airline's Operations Centre gets compromised, duties are moved to a separate, back-up, location. Likewise, if a dispatcher's work from home setup gets compromised, it shouldn't be difficult for someone else (whether at the airline's office or another work-from-home dispatcher) to temporarily takeover. Just because laptop batteries can't last an entire shift (some laptops do), it doesn't mean it can't last long enough to maintain critical flight monitoring functions while other, more abled workstations elsewhere, take over. I don't get why this is such a hard concept to understand.
 

Eskhobbs

Well-Known Member
Sure, laptops have built-in batteries - but how long do they last for? A few hours? I recently had a friend whose power was out for over 18 hours after the derecho blew through here....I guess it would have been bad luck for anyone in that situation who had a shift scheduled dispatching from home during that time period. Also, does the laptop provided by the company contain everything you need to do your job, including phone software? If so, it seems like that would be at a high risk for a single point of failure. My shop tried out the "phone inside a computer" concept briefly before it was shot down by the FAA, when they observed that nobody was monitoring phones during shift change while the computer signed out and back in. Finally, internet access during said power outage...I've never heard of a network modem (DSL or cable) that worked during a power outage. Would the company provided laptop have internet access if there was a power or network outage? Hopefully it's something they considered.
How long do you think that UPS that you've been kicking for the last year and a half will last? Most commercial grade UPS (for computers, not servers) units will only provide power for less than an hour when new, not to mention even less than that after they've been sitting under a desk for 2+ years. They are used to provide power during temporary short power outages, not hours on end. On the other hand laptop batter tech is now regularly into 8+ hours of battery life with moderate use. Phones, they're all VoIP and run on the same software regardless if you have a physical handset or a softphone on your computer. The functionality is the same no matter how you interface with the phone system. I'm not sure why it didn't work out at your shop, it sounds like the issue was between the desk and the chair. Internet while the power is out? Add a cellular data card to the laptop, mobile hotspot or buy a modem that has an internal battery.

These aren't show stoppers by any means, it just makes the ADF look like they're grasping at straws looking for reasons to shoot this down.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
If an airline's Operations Centre gets compromised, duties are moved to a separate, back-up, location. Likewise, if a dispatcher's work from home setup gets compromised, it shouldn't be difficult for someone else (whether at the airline's office or another work-from-home dispatcher) to temporarily takeover. Just because laptop batteries can't last an entire shift (some laptops do), it doesn't mean it can't last long enough to maintain critical flight monitoring functions while other, more abled workstations elsewhere, take over. I don't get why this is such a hard concept to understand.
It just puts in a single point of failure to a system that used to have multiple backup options available when at a traditional office. Instead of being able to jump on another desk and have IT come over to see what the problem is, you have to stop working. I can't see why THIS is such a difficult concept to understand.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
How long do you think that UPS that you've been kicking for the last year and a half will last? Most commercial grade UPS (for computers, not servers) units will only provide power for less than an hour when new, not to mention even less than that after they've been sitting under a desk for 2+ years. They are used to provide power during temporary short power outages, not hours on end. On the other hand laptop batter tech is now regularly into 8+ hours of battery life with moderate use. Phones, they're all VoIP and run on the same software regardless if you have a physical handset or a softphone on your computer. The functionality is the same no matter how you interface with the phone system. I'm not sure why it didn't work out at your shop, it sounds like the issue was between the desk and the chair. Internet while the power is out? Add a cellular data card to the laptop, mobile hotspot or buy a modem that has an internal battery.

These aren't show stoppers by any means, it just makes the ADF look like they're grasping at straws looking for reasons to shoot this down.
I don't know what things are like at your shop, but we have a commercial grade backup generator that can provide power for several hours where I work. Not saying it's 100% infallible or anything like that, but we have this in addition to a regular UPS for all the computers if it does fail.

Everything you're describing just seems to add complexity to a single point of failure (the computer that the dispatcher is working on from home) and doesn't add any safety to the system. I have yet to see anyone provide any safety BENEFITS to the work from home concept other than being able to work while quarantined (and this sounds like a pretty flimsy excuse to prevent extra sick calls by a company.) Before a radical change is made to the way a safety-sensitive job function is performed, I think there needs to be some clear safety benefit evident. In the case of home dispatching, I see lots of potential safety drawbacks and no safety benefits.
 

Avolar

Well-Known Member
I agree with you Wonderlic. I was able to dispatch from the U.S. an Asian scheduled carrier. Dispatch from home can be done well. I feel it opens the door to contract dispatch mainly.
 

Eskhobbs

Well-Known Member
I don't know what things are like at your shop, but we have a commercial grade backup generator that can provide power for several hours where I work. Not saying it's 100% infallible or anything like that, but we have this in addition to a regular UPS for all the computers if it does fail.

Everything you're describing just seems to add complexity to a single point of failure (the computer that the dispatcher is working on from home) and doesn't add any safety to the system. I have yet to see anyone provide any safety BENEFITS to the work from home concept other than being able to work while quarantined (and this sounds like a pretty flimsy excuse to prevent extra sick calls by a company.) Before a radical change is made to the way a safety-sensitive job function is performed, I think there needs to be some clear safety benefit evident. In the case of home dispatching, I see lots of potential safety drawbacks and no safety benefits.
The safety benefit is to your employees, reducing the amount of exposure to the outside world to those who are high risk of COVID.
 

flynryan692

Well-Known Member
It was less than a decade ago that there were airlines in this country that made pilots PAY them for a job. If an airline can find a way to get away with it, they will do anything to save a buck.
I'm not saying a regional doesn't want to reduce costs, I'm saying AI will do it before outsourcing does. Using AI to generate releases is much cheaper than paying an outsourced dispatcher. There are majors already exploring AI for aircraft routing, cancel/ delay decisions, etc. So system control/ coordinators, whatever you want to call them are already in jeopardy. The new LIDO can already do an entire release and apply things like 3585 (or whatever its been renamed to at your shop), 1-2-3, etc and any custom rules you want to set, and that's not even AI. It's only requires a dispatcher to check the work.
 
I'm not saying a regional doesn't want to reduce costs, I'm saying AI will do it before outsourcing does. Using AI to generate releases is much cheaper than paying an outsourced dispatcher. There are majors already exploring AI for aircraft routing, cancel/ delay decisions, etc. So system control/ coordinators, whatever you want to call them are already in jeopardy. The new LIDO can already do an entire release and apply things like 3585 (or whatever its been renamed to at your shop), 1-2-3, etc and any custom rules you want to set, and that's not even AI. It's only requires a dispatcher to check the work.
And then the buck stops at the Captain lol. And we all know they logically add double the amount of fuel dispatch would ever recommend in most cases lol. So much for that cost savings .

Recently Scandinavian AIR (SAS) started to let some of their flights to be planned by pilots. They discovered that it wasn’t very cost effective as pilots were putting on exuberant amounts of fuel and also picking alternates that were either unnecessary or very far away in an attempt to ‘pad’ fuel.

I don’t deny that AI won’t get there some day. But as of TODAY, it’s not there yet.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
The safety benefit is to your employees, reducing the amount of exposure to the outside world to those who are high risk of COVID.
It doesn't sound like the company is only setting this up for people at high risk of COVID - but rather for anyone who volunteers. I don't think that altruism towards high-risk employees has been the primary motivation by the company.
 

Eskhobbs

Well-Known Member
It doesn't sound like the company is only setting this up for people at high risk of COVID - but rather for anyone who volunteers. I don't think that altruism towards high-risk employees has been the primary motivation by the company.
The benefit is two fold for the company:

1. It helps mitigate the risk to high risk employees.
2. Its another step to keep operations up and running by distancing your employees. Sure, you can run two SOCs but there's nothing to prevent both SOCs shutting down due to positive COVID cases.

If you think the primary motivation is to outsource dispatch, there's nothing that I can say to change your view. I just don't think my employer is out to get rid of me under the pretense of a global pandemic.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
The benefit is two fold for the company:

1. It helps mitigate the risk to high risk employees.
2. Its another step to keep operations up and running by distancing your employees. Sure, you can run two SOCs but there's nothing to prevent both SOCs shutting down due to positive COVID cases.
1. Running multiple SOC's allows for greater social distancing at both locations.

2. As previously mentioned in this discussion, a positive COVID case doesn't completely shut down an SOC. The individual desk and nearby desks are cleaned and some people who were working near that desk might go on quarantine but it doesn't mean the office gets abandoned.

In both cases this seems more about cost savings to the company wrapped in the gauze of concern for employee safety. I don't think the loss of resources you have readily available in a traditional NOC environment is worth it.
 

flynryan692

Well-Known Member
I would love to hear why this is a ridiculous question.
I would love to know how it's not. The only thing I can find on this subject is very thin, Title 47 § 87.261 and I see no reason to identify a dispatchers home as a mobile unit. Everything is done through a VPN which connects the existing infrastructure at HDQ to the home dispatcher. In the case of AIRNC, we do not ever transmit from our homes over VHF, we connect to a service at HDQ through VOIP that takes care of that and that process is no different when in the OCC. So if everything is still being done through infastructure that is no different than when actually working from the OCC, why would a dispatchers home be a mobile unit? It's just TWU grasping at straws trying to find anything they can to make this cost prohibitive for the airline.
 

who'swho

Don't hesitate. Penetrate!
1. Running multiple SOC's allows for greater social distancing at both locations.

2. As previously mentioned in this discussion, a positive COVID case doesn't completely shut down an SOC. The individual desk and nearby desks are cleaned and some people who were working near that desk might go on quarantine but it doesn't mean the office gets abandoned.

In both cases this seems more about cost savings to the company wrapped in the gauze of concern for employee safety. I don't think the loss of resources you have readily available in a traditional NOC environment is worth it.
Working from home offers the most opportunity for social distancing. I think the important thing to take away from the way this has been proposed and implemented is that it's a voluntary choice to stay home. To think that companies creating this plan a few months ago when the country was essentially on lockdown, does not seem like they had any other ulterior motives at the time. I'm really not seeing cost savings at the moment when a company has to purchase new equipment for each employee who elects to stay home. This all seems a bit conspiracy theory to me.
 

Eskhobbs

Well-Known Member
1. Running multiple SOC's allows for greater social distancing at both locations.

2. As previously mentioned in this discussion, a positive COVID case doesn't completely shut down an SOC. The individual desk and nearby desks are cleaned and some people who were working near that desk might go on quarantine but it doesn't mean the office gets abandoned.

In both cases this seems more about cost savings to the company wrapped in the gauze of concern for employee safety. I don't think the loss of resources you have readily available in a traditional NOC environment is worth it.
I don't buy it. Social distancing is only one step to mitigate the risk of transmission, you're still in contact with these people - you touch the same hard surfaces in the office regardless how spread out you are. It costs the company more money to keep up with constant cleanings and operating two SOCs than it would just giving people laptops and having them work from home. It is about employee safety and keeping the operation running, they go hand in hand. We're an asset that the company has invested both time and money in - it's in their best interest to keep us healthy and safe.

Why do you work for an employer that you feel is always out to get you?
 

A1TAPE

Well-Known Member
I'm not saying a regional doesn't want to reduce costs, I'm saying AI will do it before outsourcing does. Using AI to generate releases is much cheaper than paying an outsourced dispatcher. There are majors already exploring AI for aircraft routing, cancel/ delay decisions, etc. So system control/ coordinators, whatever you want to call them are already in jeopardy. The new LIDO can already do an entire release and apply things like 3585 (or whatever its been renamed to at your shop), 1-2-3, etc and any custom rules you want to set, and that's not even AI. It's only requires a dispatcher to check the work.
But the problem with the AI doing it is this. Lets say you have a flight going to an airport and the TAF doesn't require an alt or is forecasting TS or even VCTS. On the Radar you see a massive squall line making a B line for the airport and based on the speed of the system will impact the airport when you land but NWS hasn't updated yet (and wont until the flight is already enroute) and the flight is an hour out from departure. Do you think the AI will look at the radar, realize the squall line will hit and add the alt or just go by the 123 rule and send it no alt? Its not always cut and dry especially when it comes to bad weather. Thats why we have the human element in dispatch.
 
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