Aviation English Teaching Resources and Research

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…Say again?… – Miscommunications in Air Traffic Control February 14, 2018 - This paper presents an investigation into miscommunications between air traffic controllers (ATC) and pilots. These miscommunications may broadly be applied to a range of verbal communications problems ranging from misunderstandings, such as those due to ambiguity, cultural differences, language structure, and so on, to more technical problems, such as microphone…

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“Tell Them We are in Emergency” – Linguistic Factors Contributing to the Crash of Avianca Flight 052 October 26, 2017 - Abstract On 25 January 1990, Avianca Flight 052 ran out of fuel and crashed after a missed approach to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. A number of causal factors were involved in the crash, some of which were linguistic. The accident has accordingly been cited by the International…

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A critique of the ICAO English testing policy from the perspective of Korean aviation experts August 31, 2014 - 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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A Study of EL2 Pilots’ Radio Communication June 24, 2014 - This paper reports on the preliminary stages of a project designed to investigate communication problems in General Aviation and assess the utility of language technologies as a means of mitigation. The study presented in this paper is the first of a three-part study, in which we aim to investigate the…

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African Aviation English language assessment system June 21, 2014 - Compliance by the pilot with instructions from the air traffic controller is possible only if the messages are fully understood and vice versa. In order to secure a global standard, the international civil aviation organization defined new requirements concerning the level of English language proficiency needed among aviation professionals. As…

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Airbus Aviation Global Market Forecast: 2013 – 2032 August 10, 2014 - 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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Aircraft Communications at Uncontrolled Airports October 18, 2014 - 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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Airline Accidents Involving Linguistic Factors August 26, 2014 - 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 analysis of pilot-controller occurrences – Eurocontrol October 31, 2017 - This Eurocontrol report provides an analysis of the incidents related to air-ground communication between controllers and pilots.  Significant safety issues, hazardous scenarios, causal factors, and potential prevention strategies concerning air-ground communication safety are provided in this report. Aviation English students are encouraged to read this report so they can gain

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An analysis of the quality of English testing for aviation purposes in Finland October 12, 2014 - 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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An overview of the Airline Industry August 25, 2014 - 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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Analysis of Crew Conversations Provides Insights for Accident Investigation October 14, 2014 - 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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Application of ESP Theory into Aviation English Teaching in the Chinese Context July 26, 2014 -  “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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ATC Training – Course Design April 29, 2014 - The primary goal of air traffic control (ATC) training is to transform a student controller with little knowledge or skill into a licensed controller who is able to safely work air traffic within a complex ATC environment. If an ATC training facility promotes the ethos of “training for success”, it…

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Aviate, Navigate, Communicate: Silence, Voice and Situation Awareness in Aviation Safety January 24, 2015 - 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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Aviation English in South African airspace February 16, 2016 - 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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Aviation English Training – A “program” versus “institute” approach July 25, 2014 - 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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Aviation English Training: How long Does it Take? April 29, 2014 - Author:  Elizabeth Mathews I am often asked, “How long does it take to achieve ICAO Operational Level 4?” Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy answer to this question. However, there is research and experience upon which we can draw to make some general estimates of time required for pilots…

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Aviation English: History and Pedagogy February 9, 2015 - 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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Boeing Annual Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents – 2013 July 23, 2014 - 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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Can they Talk the Talk? October 21, 2014 - 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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Challenges of Teaching Aviation Vocabulary and Radio Phraseology at High School Level December 10, 2014 - 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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Communicative functions in languages for Aviation Radiotelephony September 11, 2014 - 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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Constructing flight attendant identity in safety reports to a government agency August 13, 2014 - 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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Designing ESP Curriculum for EFL Learners at College of Navigation August 23, 2014 - 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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Dictionary of Aviation September 9, 2014 - 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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Effective Pilot / Controller Communications October 15, 2014 - 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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English for Safety Purposes (ESP): Static Pitfalls & Dynamic Opportunities In Iranian Aviation Context December 4, 2014 - 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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English language training for Air Traffic Controllers May 5, 2014 - There is an ongoing push for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) to learn English beyond the recommended ICAO Level 4 standard, and instead learn adequate English that allows for a more broader range of communications.   The reasoning behind this is that ATCs are often required to respond to unusual situations…

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English language training for Air Traffic Controllers must go beyond basic ATC Vocabulary December 4, 2017 - Miscommunications can have serious consequences – especially when co-ordinating aircraft flying in a variety of environments and variables.  Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) responsible for international flights must have the skills in English to communicate in a very broad sense – much more than talking and repeating standard and learned phrases.…

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English with Flying Colors: The Aviation English and the International Civil Aviation Organisation July 24, 2016 - 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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Evaluation and content analysis of “English for Aviation for Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers” textbook as an ESP book February 18, 2015 - 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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Final Report on a Survey of Aviation English Tests November 4, 2014 - 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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First Steps in Designing Air Traffic Control Communication Language Technology System May 14, 2014 - Extended title – First Steps in Designing Air Traffic Control Communication Language Technology System – Compiling Spoken Corpus of Radiotelephony Communication One of the most essential parts of air traffic control is communication. It helps air traffic controllers and pilots operate the plane and maintain safe and expeditious flight. A survey of…

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Flight Attendant Discourse in Commercial Aviation August 13, 2014 - 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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Flight Attendant Identity Construction and Inter-crew Communication August 13, 2014 - 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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High Stakes in Language Proficiency October 22, 2014 - 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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Hints from a commercial pilot about the ICAO English test August 30, 2014 - 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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ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements and Training Guidance for Thailand July 27, 2014 - 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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ICAO Standard Operating Procedures – Standard Calls October 16, 2014 - 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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ICAO’s English Language Proficiency Requirements April 29, 2014 - In 1997 ICAO recognized the importance of improving communication between pilots and air traffic controllers in order to avoid accidents. The Air Navigation Commission (ANC) reviewed the existing provisions for air-ground and ground-ground voice communication in the international civil aviation context. The ANC made changes to strengthen ICAO Annexes 1,…

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Implementing ICAO language proficiency requirements in the Versant Aviation English test December 2, 2014 - 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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Implementing ICAO language proficiency requirements in the Versant Aviation English Test November 9, 2017 - 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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Intercultural communication and discourse analysis: The case of Aviation English September 5, 2015 - 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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Is ICAO Level 4 English Enough to Ensure International Air Safety? October 29, 2014 - 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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Language Barrier October 15, 2014 - After a simple error wiped out much of their navigation information, the Polish pilots of a 737 were unable to adequately communicate their problem to British controllers. This incident is described as typical of the risks of not speaking the same language, the crew of a Lot Polish Airlines Boeing 737-500…

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Language Experiences in Non-Native English-Speaking Airspace/Airports – FAA Report October 30, 2017 - This FAA report is a compilation of written responses and comments by a group of 48 U.S. pilots of their difficulties in international operations.  These pilots met with interviewers to discuss their language experiences flying into countries where English may or may not be the local or national language among…

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Linguistic Analysis of English Phraseology and Plain Language in Air-Ground Communications October 26, 2014 - 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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Materials development for speaking skills in Aviation English for Malaysian Air Traffic Controllers: Theory and Practice December 3, 2014 - 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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Nobody seems to speak English here today: Enhancing assessment and training in aviation English February 16, 2016 - 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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Pilot-Controller Communication Errors: An Analysis of Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) Reports September 9, 2014 - 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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Pilot–Air Traffic Control Communications: It’s Not (Only) What You Say, It’s How You Say It October 21, 2014 - 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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Pilots/Air Traffic Controllers Phraseology Study April 29, 2015 - 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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Predictive Power of English Testing: Training International Flight Students January 10, 2018 - Due to the impending pilot shortage in Asian countries many prospective students are being sent to the United States to receive their initial flight training. The purpose of this American study was to determine if Chinese students entering an American flight program with higher English testing scores are more successful…

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Proficiency in the English language used for radiotelephony communications April 29, 2014 - ICAO Standards article A37-10 Whereas to prevent accidents, ICAO introduced language provisions to ensure that air traffic personnel and pilots are proficient in conducting and comprehending radiotelephony communications in the English language, including requirements that the English language shall be available on request at all stations on the ground serving designated airports…

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Radio miscommunication: EL2 pilots in the Australian General Aviation environment October 10, 2014 - 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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Reassessing the position of Aviation English: from a special language to English for Specific Purposes July 26, 2014 - “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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Rhythm Profile of American Aviation English July 26, 2014 - 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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Running Rabbits and Shoulder Markings: Metaphorical Terms in Specialised Knowledge November 19, 2014 - 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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Social, safety and economic impacts of global language testing in aviation April 29, 2014 - Author:  Philip Shawcross BACKGROUND Language and communication in aviation A Chinese pilot flying from Beijing to Paris may cross ten national boundaries and speak to more than two dozen air traffic controllers, each with a different first-language background, speaking different regional varieties of English at varying levels of proficiency. According…

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Solutions for Improving the Safety of Aviation Communication December 16, 2017 - An Investigation of Pilots’ and Air Traffic Control Officers’ Opinions on Aviation English. This dissertation has investigated the opinions and insights of pilots and air traffic control officers regarding various aspects of the global state of Aviation English. 288 participants have completed an online survey and a further 4 participants have…

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Some fundamental principles of language teaching and learning July 7, 2014 - The new ICAO English proficiency standard requires that pilots and air traffic controllers on international routes be able to speak and understand English in a mutually intelligible way. The standard affects both native and non-native speakers of English in that all are expected to be able to modify their speech…

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Spanish pilots ordered to speak only English October 5, 2014 - The Spanish Air Security Agency is preparing a controversial new law which will order all pilots and air traffic controllers in Spanish airspace to speak only English. Spanish, along with English and French, is one of the three original official languages accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the…

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Specific Purpose Language Teaching and Aviation Language Competencies June 27, 2014 - Given the vast range of items and abilities that can be accounted for in general language proficiency, given also the safety critical nature of plain language requirements in aviation radiotelephony communications and, finally, given the high costs involved in training and testing large numbers of aviation professionals, there is a…

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Talk and gaze home position in the Airline Cockpit November 7, 2014 - 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 October 12, 2014 - 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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The Ecology of Language Practices in Worldwide Airline Flight Deck Operations November 7, 2014 - 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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The Impact of Computer Technology on Language Learning May 21, 2014 - Far from diminishing the human element in the learning process, the advent of computer technology as an integral part of language learning provides an opportunity to reflect upon and implement principles that enhance the learner’s status and expand the teacher’s role. Most teachers would probably agree on how: Respecting learners`…

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The Value of Content-based Language Training for the Aviation Industry September 27, 2014 - 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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What makes a good Aviation English teacher? July 27, 2014 - The study and teaching of Aviation English is still a relatively new field.  Unlike traditional ESL teaching strategies, there is no wealth of experience in the sector that teachers can tap into.  Instead, Aviation English teachers need to rely on newly placed regulations and certifications in order to gain the exposure

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