…Say again?… – Miscommunications in Air Traffic Control

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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English language training for Air Traffic Controllers must go beyond basic ATC Vocabulary

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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Preventing Landings without clearance

A variety of reports identify pilots’ failure to obtain clearances prior to landing. Fortunately, most incidents do not result in traffic conflicts or other hazardous consequences. However, the potential for a breach of safety is high. So that the industry can better assess the factors contributing to landing-without-clearance events, this paper analysed a small number (37)…

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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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Sharing The Skies

This Transport Canada document is a crucial tool for managing hazardous interactions between wildlife and aircraft in the vicinity of airports. For example, some land-use activities near airports – such as waste-disposal sites, attract high-risk bird species and, therefore, directly impact aviation safety. Transport Canada strives for the holistic, proactive…

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Human Factors Aspects in Incidents / Accidents

This Flight Operations Briefing Note provides a summary of human factors issues identified in incidents and accidents. This summary may be used either to assess: • The company exposure and develop corresponding prevention strategies; or, • The reader’s individual exposure and develop corresponding personal lines-of-defense. Ultimately, human factors are involved…

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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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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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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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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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How Complexity and Format of Air Traffic Control Instructions affect Pilot Recall

Until recently, controllers were required to communicate all numerical air traffic control (ATC) information in sequential format, that is, digit by digit. For example, an altitude of 17,000 ft had to be transmitted as “Climb to one seven thousand.” According to the latest versions of the Air Traffic Control handbook…

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Communication and Co-operation Analysis in Air Traffic Control

This paper presents a global human-machine communication model which explains data flow in an organization based on working position. This model is illustrated by the Air Traffic Control domain. A methodological approach is then proposed for studying the communications between Approach Control working positions, with regard to cooperative work. The…

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Fatigue in Air Traffic Control

Fatigue is known to be a major risk for safety in aviation. Even if an accurate quantification of the contribution of fatigue in accidents is currently impossible because fatigue is not systematically investigated by a standardised procedure, it is classified as one of the “most wanted” factors by the National…

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Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions

In 2001, the ICAO Air Navigation Commission took action to address the problem of runway incursions. Several critical areas were identified that needed to be investigated and which had a relation to overall runway safety, including radiotelephony phraseology, language proficiency, equipment, aerodrome lighting and markings, aerodrome charts, operational aspects, situational…

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Planes, Politics and Oral Proficiency

This study investigates the variation in oral proficiency demonstrated by 14 Air Traffic Controllers across two types of testing tasks: work-related radio telephony-based tasks and non-specific English tasks on aviation topics. Their performance was compared statistically in terms of level ratings on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) scale. The…

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IATA, EASA strike data sharing deal

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have forged an agreement on sharing of safety information and joint analysis of safety trends. These analyses primarily will be based on the information derived from the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme, and the IATA…

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Why NextGen Matters

The movement to the next generation of aviation is being enabled by a shift to smarter, satellite-based and digital technologies and new procedures that combine to make air travel more convenient, predictable and environmentally friendly. As demand for our nation’s increasingly congested airspace continues to grow, NextGen improvements are enabling the FAA to guide…

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Today’s Air Traffic Control

Most air traffic controllers today do their jobs without ever seeing the aircraft they guide. They monitor radar screens to track aircraft. As aircraft fly over radar sites, the data from those radars is communicated digitally via telecommunications lines to controllers hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Controllers in…

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