JAKARTA, NNC - During the period, we might think that those who play an important role in a flight are just pilots and air technicians. However, it turns out that there is another profession that is equally important.
In the world of aviation, the profession is commonly called Flight Operation Officer (FOO) or Dispatcher. Then, what is the job of FOO and how significant is their role in flight?
Broadly speaking, the FOO officer is tasked with preparing and implementing flight plans. FOO is a partner of the pilot who provides a number of information related with the flight to be carried out. FOO itself has the same position as a pilot.
For this reason, an FOO will provide inputs to the pilot on the flight feasibility of the aircraft to be used. In addition, FOO is tasked with providing information on weather conditions on the way up to the destination airport, calculating aircraft fuel requirements up to the destination, calculating aircraft performance to determine the weight limit during takeoff and landing, and planning flight routes.
So, the task of FOO is very important in the operation of aircraft, especially commercial, both before, during flight, until after landing at the destination airport.
In their daily lives, the work of a FOO is closely related to mathematics. Indeed, to calculate the weight of the aircraft, the capacity of the fuel, to determine the height and speed of the aircraft, a fairly complex calculation is needed. However, the calculation must be completed in about 30 minutes.
With the development of technology, now the calculations can be done with the help of applications, but a FOO is also required to be able to do the calculations manually.
The results of the calculation will be submitted to the pilot during a briefing in the room commonly called Flops or Dispatch. In that room, FOO informs all data about the aircraft to be used by the pilot, the weather conditions in the flight to be reached up to the destination, and other information needed by the pilot.
To become an FOO officer, of course there is education and a number of initial requirements that must be met, including having graduated from high school or equivalent, physically and mentally healthy, and not color blind. In addition, a person who attends FOO education should have been at least 21 years old when receiving an FOO license.
One of the institutions that organize education on FOO is Merpati Training Center (MTC) based in Jakarta. MTC itself has graduated a lot of FOO who have now worked on a number of airlines.
The FOO education at MTC takes approximately 10 months. During the education, students will get a four-month education in the class, training at the Flops Simulator for one month, On Job Training for three months, and two months preparation for Competency Check Material which includes Ground Training and visits to several locations related to the task of FOO.
At present there are around 5,000 FOO personnel in Indonesia. Of these, around 2,000 of them are graduates from MTC.
"Of the 5,000, nearly 2,000 FOO personnel are graduates of Merpati Training Center. So MTC is the market leader of FOO training in Indonesia," said MTC's General Marketing and Business Development Manager Donny Rurut.
This is because MTC is currently the FOO training center that has the most complete facilities, namely with the Flops Simulator which has the most complete modules.
"Made four years ago and used three years ago, the first time the Flops Simulator was used, it was on MTC," said Donny.
FOO Students following the practice in Flops Simulator. (Merpati Training Center)
Uniquely, the Flops Simulator was initiated and made by those who work at MTC. The facility can be said to be 99 percent similar to the flops at the airport. MTC also owns the copyright to the Flops Simulator.
In fact, the Directorate of Aircraft Airworthiness and Operation (DKPPU) had seen the Flops Simulator used for the FOO training. DKPPU thus issued a rule that every FOO training provider must have a Flops Simulator.
"Apparently it is not just a tool, the Flops Simulator can improve students' abilities quite large. So, if formerly they need 2-3 months to adapt on the field, now it is enough to adapt 1-2 weeks in the field, instantly can work like what the seniors do, because he [they] already did it in the simulation, it just needs familiarization," Donny said.
Thus, MTC can produce FOO manpower that is ready to use in the business world, especially flight operators in Indonesia.