English with Flying Colors: The Aviation English and the International Civil Aviation Organisation

There are several reasons for the English language to become lingua franca of aviation including some historical turning points for the world aviation and some specific linguistic features of the language itself. This paper aims to firstly present a short, yet interesting history of implementation of English as standardized language …

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Nobody seems to speak English here today: Enhancing assessment and training in aviation English

In 2003 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) strengthened the provisions that English be made available for international radiotelephony communication.  ICAO also developed standards for English proficiency for international pilots and air traffic controllers. However, these standards are applied variably from country to country and in no country are native …

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Aviation English in South African airspace

A lack of English proficiency and failure to use standard phraseology played a role in the world’s largest aviation disaster which occurred in Tenerife in 1977 . As a result, the crucial role of effective communication between pilots and airtraffic controllers (ATCs) came under scrutiny, with the International Civil Aviation …

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Intercultural communication and discourse analysis: The case of Aviation English

Historically, applied linguistics has tended to shift from a theoretical approach toward a problem solving approach. Intercultural communication as a field of study has gained its position through asking how people from different cultures communicate and how misunderstanding can be prevented. Within the domain of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) …

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Pilots/Air Traffic Controllers Phraseology Study

As the world becomes more and more “global”, language becomes a key factor in the efficiency of Pilot – Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications. Language and communication issues are very important because a miscommunication could potentially lead to a dangerous situation without any of the involved stakeholders being aware. The …

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Evaluation and content analysis of “English for Aviation for Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers” textbook as an ESP book

Books in language learning and teaching have an undeniable significant role. Since English language teaching is essential for air traffic controllers and pilots all around the world, the aim of this study is to clarify the role of a coursebook used in educating and training air traffic controllers and pilots. …

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Aviation English: History and Pedagogy

Author: Brian Barbieri Pilots who fly internationally must demonstrate a basic level of English language proficiency as defined by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) in a set of descriptors outlining varying ability levels. This insures clear communication between aircraft and air traffic control (ATC), a key element of air safety. …

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Aviate, Navigate, Communicate: Silence, Voice and Situation Awareness in Aviation Safety

Ph.D. dissertation by Theodoros Katerinakis,  The purpose of this dissertation is to show how important human communication is in order to accomplish a safe flight. A flight is represented as an act of conversation that combines culture with communication of co-present and cooperative actors, in the highly mediated environment of the flight deck. …

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Challenges of Teaching Aviation Vocabulary and Radio Phraseology at High School Level

This paper aims a) to analyze the challenges in teaching aviation vocabulary and radio phraseology at high school level in English language instructors’ perspective and b) to present some recommendations that can help to reduce encountered problems if taken into consideration in the design and implementation of the related syllabus …

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English for Safety Purposes (ESP): Static Pitfalls & Dynamic Opportunities In Iranian Aviation Context

The pace of changes in the world is an ever-increasing one, leading to great demands in the synchronization of the two wings of education and technology, and resulting in great changes in the pace of success in the industries. With the emergence of the knowledge-based organization, the bridging the gap …

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Materials development for speaking skills in Aviation English for Malaysian Air Traffic Controllers: Theory and Practice

In 2004 the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) mandated that pilots and air traffic controllers the world over meet a set standard of language proficiency requirements as a safety measure against language- and communication-related problems in flying. In response to this mandate, aviation English training and testing initiatives mushroomed in …

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Implementing ICAO language proficiency requirements in the Versant Aviation English test

This paper discusses the development of an assessment to satisfy the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Language Proficiency Requirements. The Versant Aviation English Test utilizes speech recognition technology and a computerized testing platform, such that test administration and scoring are fully automated. Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Aviation …

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Running Rabbits and Shoulder Markings: Metaphorical Terms in Specialised Knowledge

The role of metaphor as a basic cognitive mechanism in the construction and retrieval of specialized knowledge has been well studied within cognitive terminological theories. However, the results of these analyses have mainly been applied in designing or improving terminological resources, leaving somewhat aside the impact metaphor has on bridging …

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Talk and gaze home position in the Airline Cockpit

This paper considers the embodied nature of discourse for a professional work setting. It examines language in interaction in the airline cockpit, and specifically how shifts in pilots’ eye gaze direction can indicate the action of talk, that is, what talk is doing and its relative contribution to work-in- progress. …

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The Ecology of Language Practices in Worldwide Airline Flight Deck Operations

Spoken and written language play essential roles in the operation of commercial airliners. Spoken language appears in conversations among the crew, between the crew and Air Traffic Control (ATC), in aural alerts to the pilots generated by on-board systems, between the crew and a variety of company personnel (dispatchers, mechanics, …

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Final Report on a Survey of Aviation English Tests

The Lancaster Language Testing Research Group was commissioned by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) to conduct a validation study of the development of a test called ELPAC (English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication), intended to assess the language proficiency of air traffic controllers. As part …

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Is ICAO Level 4 English Enough to Ensure International Air Safety?

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has just commissioned a new report into the English language used by pilots flying into the UK and air traffic controllers operating internationally. It seems there is anecdotal evidence that industry-wide English standards are not as high as they should be and, as a result, …

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Linguistic Analysis of English Phraseology and Plain Language in Air-Ground Communications

In the context of ENAC organising training for France’s air traffic controllers, the aim of this project is to describe the different uses of English phraseology and plain language within pilot-controller (or air-ground) communications via a comparative study between two corpora: one representing the prescribed norm and made up of …

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High Stakes in Language Proficiency

In an effort to reduce accidents involving communication deficiencies, ICAO is requiring pilots, controllers and aeronautical station operators involved in international operations to be tested for their ability to speak and understand English. At stake are careers, industry investment in training and testing — and safety. High Stakes in Language …

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Can they Talk the Talk?

Passengers listening in on radio communications on a domestic flight in the United States a couple of years ago heard the following exchange between the pilot and the Jacksonville (Florida, U.S.) Center controller: Pilot: “Jacksonville Control. United XXX. Can we reduce speed to xxx knots?” Controller: “United XXX. Jacksonville Control. …

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Pilot–Air Traffic Control Communications: It’s Not (Only) What You Say, It’s How You Say It

English is the international language of aviation. But even when pilots and controllers both speak English fluently, there are pitfalls in the nature of language and the ways that language is heard. Subtle miscues can subvert messages that seem clear to the sender. Pilots and controllers must be aware of, …

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Aircraft Communications at Uncontrolled Airports

At an airport without an operational control tower, sometimes referred to as an “uncontrolled” airport, communication is one of the key elements in maintaining proper aircraft separation. Use of the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) helps to assure the safe, orderly flow of arrival and departure traffic. FAR 91.113 cites …

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ICAO Standard Operating Procedures – Standard Calls

Standard phraseology is essential to ensure effective crew communication, particularly in today’s operating environment, which increasingly features: – Two-crewmember operation; and, – International and worldwide contexts involving crewmembers with different native languages. Standard calls are intended and designed to enhance the efficiency of crew coordination and update the flightcrew situational …

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Effective Pilot / Controller Communications

Until controller / pilot data link communication ( CPDLC ) comes into widespread use, air traffic control ( ATC ) will depend upon voice communications that are affected by various factors. Operators and Air Traffic Management providers, like pilots and controllers, are close partners in terms of “productivity”; and operators …

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Analysis of Crew Conversations Provides Insights for Accident Investigation

Recorded voice data, such as from CVRs or air traffic control (ATC) tapes, can be an important source of information for accident investigation, as well as for human factors re- search. During accident investigations, the extent of analysis of these recordings depends on the nature and severity of the accident. …

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The Ecology of Language Practices in Worldwide Airline Flight Deck Operations

Spoken and written language play essential roles in the operation of commercial airliners. Spoken language appears in conversations among the crew, between the crew and Air Traffic Control (ATC), in aural alerts to the pilots generated by on-board systems, between the crew and a variety of company personnel (dispatchers, mechanics, …

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An analysis of the quality of English testing for aviation purposes in Finland

This article describes and analyses the development of a new test of aviation English by the Finnish Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA), as well as the overall situation in Finland as regards the testing of aviation English. The article describes the FCAA development project and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of …

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Radio miscommunication: EL2 pilots in the Australian General Aviation environment

Communicating effectively via the radio in General Aviation (GA) is a challenging task for most pilots. This is even more challenging for non-native speakers of English (EL2) who are required to master not only a second language but ‘Aviation English’ to communicate with both Air Traffic Control (ATC) and other …

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The Value of Content-based Language Training for the Aviation Industry

The 2008 ICAO language testing Standards and Recommended Practices completely change the context of how English language training will occur in the aviation industry. Prior to the adoption of strengthened Language Proficiency Standards and Recommended Practices by the ICAO Council in 2003, English language training for pilots or air traffic …

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Communicative functions in languages for Aviation Radiotelephony

The main functions in pilot-controller dialogue are varied by nature of their tasks, however even though they are responsible for different tasks, pilots and controllers both need to acknowledge and communicate with each other in a form that is easily understood.   This document presents a unified checklist that pilots …

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Dictionary of Aviation

English is the universal language of communication used in civil aviation. This dictionary provides the basic vocabulary of terms used by pilots, cabin staff, maintenance crews, ground staff and travellers worldwide. The terms are those used in everyday work on aircraft, and cover parts of the aircraft, manipulating the aircraft …

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Pilot-Controller Communication Errors: An Analysis of Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) Reports

Safe and expeditious air traffic depends upon accurate and efficient communications between pilots and controllers. This requirement for effective communication becomes even more critical as the amount and complexity of air traffic increases with attempts to increase capacity. Studies of actual pilot and controller communications reveal an astonishingly low error …

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A critique of the ICAO English testing policy from the perspective of Korean aviation experts

In recent years there has been widespread concern about insufficient English proficiency in the aviation industry on the part of Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) pilots or air traffic controllers and its role as a contributing factor in the chain of events leading to accidents or incidents. These concerns have led …

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Hints from a commercial pilot about the ICAO English test

Many of our students ask us questions about what is really required to achieve ICAO Level 4.  We – Aviation English Academy – use the following presentation in the first lesson of our ICAO Aviation English course as it provides feedback from a pilot who failed his exam.  While it …

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Airline Accidents Involving Linguistic Factors

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is currently implementing a program to improve the language proficiency of pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide. In justifying the program, ICAO has cited a number of airline accidents that were at least partly caused by language factors. Two accidents cited by ICAO are …

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An overview of the Airline Industry

In order to understand how new aircraft might fit into the current market, one must understand the customer. For commercial transport aircraft manufacturers, the customers are the airlines. For business aircraft, military programs, or recreational aircraft, the market behaves quite differently. The following discussion is intended to provide an example …

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Designing ESP Curriculum for EFL Learners at College of Navigation

This paper aims to identify what is needed to improve the English for Specific Purposes(ESP) curriculum for English as a Foreign Language(EFL) college learners at navigation school. Different needs from learners and experienced professionals are identified through diversified methods, and the findings from these are analysed and consolidated from a …

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Constructing flight attendant identity in safety reports to a government agency

This paper investigates the emergence of occupational identity from voluntarily-submitted safety reports written by flight attendants to a US government aviation safety regulatory agency. Using an analytic framework informed by ethnography of communication and interactional sociolinguistics paradigms, this paper argues that the report discourse reflects aviation institutional, hierarchical, and occupational …

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Flight Attendant Identity Construction and Inter-crew Communication

This paper, a preliminary study of Flight Attendant identity construction and attitudes toward inter-crew communication, examines the factors which may affect talk between the cabin crew, also known as flight attendants, and flight crew, also known as pilots onboard a commercial aircraft. The analysis and arguments are based on data …

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Flight Attendant Discourse in Commercial Aviation

The discourse of commercial aviation flight attendants has historically received no sociolinguistic attention. To address this gap, this thesis explores how flight attendants use language in workplace-related contexts to construct their professional identity and community.  This thesis draws on interactional sociolinguistics and sociological research to address how flight attendants use …

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Airbus Aviation Global Market Forecast: 2013 – 2032

The latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF) – titled “Future Journeys” – covers the 2013-2032 timeframe, and highlights how emerging economic regions will further increase their importance in overall traffic growth during the coming 20 years. This report proves very interesting reading for anyone who has a vested interest in …

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ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements and Training Guidance for Thailand

The English language has been considered a contributory factor causing confusion or misunderstanding in aviation communication; therefore, affecting safety of aircraft and passengers in air travels. The International Civil Aviation Organization or ICAO now requires aviation personnel involved in international operations to meet the language proficiency requirements imposed by the …

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Rhythm Profile of American Aviation English

In 1951, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) declared English the official language to be used between international pilots and controllers. Since that time there have been several major accidents and many incidents related to lack of clear communication between controllers and pilots (2004 ICAO Assembly). This state of affairs …

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Reassessing the position of Aviation English: from a special language to English for Specific Purposes

“Aviation English” is not only confined to pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC), it also refers to English on general terms in aeronautical and/or aviation universities. It can be designed as integrated ESP (English for Specific Purposes) curricula for students in the fields of aeronautics and/or aviation. Learners of ESP …

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Application of ESP Theory into Aviation English Teaching in the Chinese Context

 “Aeronautical and/or Aviation English” is designed as ESP (English for Specific Purposes) curriculum for students in the fields of aeronautics and/or aviation. This is especially true in China. Various books have been published on the teaching of Aviation English. Learners of ESP are supposed to master specialty vocabulary concerned …

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Aviation English Training – A “program” versus “institute” approach

This paper briefly outlines possible directions for aviation English training, and presents a rationale for a move towards Aviation English Institutes, rather than simply single-sourced programs. Aviation English training is a very young field. Although some aviation English specialists have been working in the field for a couple of decades, …

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Boeing Annual Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents – 2013

Each year since 1959, Boeing Commercial Airplanes has published the latest edition of its “Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents Worldwide Operations” The latest one was published in 2013 and is based on accident data for 2012. The statistics presented in these Annual Summaries are based only on commercial …

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