“While communication is universally acknowledged to be critical to aviation safety, industry understanding of communication and language as fundamental aspects of aviation safety has not kept pace with our understanding of other human performance factors,” says Elizabeth Mathews, a former linguistic consultant for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Florida.
“For safe air traffic control operations, it is crucial to have effective pilot-controller communication. The readback-hearback process is a fundamental part of that.
Pilot and Air Traffic Controller Communication in a Foreign Language
There are some 100,000 commercial flights each day in the world, which means that literally millions of interactions take place between pilots and air traffic controllers, very often in a foreign language since English is the international language of civil aviation. This entails a special form of bilingualism as it is very domain-specific and has to be optimal at all times. How does it take place? How efficient is it? Are there breakdowns and if so, what are they due to? What still needs to be improved?
Elizabeth Mathews, ICAEA VP, and Jennifer Roberts, ICAEA Research Group Member published articles in the October 2017 edition of TESOL International Association’s ‘ESP News’.
The ANAC-ICEA Commemorative Symposium: 10 years of Aviation English Proficiency Requirements in Brazil was held at the Airspace Control Institute (ICEA), São José dos Campos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) on 27-28 September 2017.
John Trim Scholarship 2018
ICAEA would like to pass our congratulations to Natália Guerreiro, founder of the Aviation English Hub, and ICAEA Research Group Member, on being awarded a Cambridge English John Trim Scholarship 2018. The scholarship will enable Natalia to attend the IATEFL Conference in Brighton (UK) in April 2018, where she will also join the TEASIG PCE on the theme of Listening Assessment.
The ‘Language and Culture as Human Factors’ (LHUFT) Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach (USA) has compiled a new bibliography of articles and research.
Eurocontrol has published the 18th Edition of the EVAIR Safety Bulletin in cooperation with IATA. Based on more than 6700 pilot reports, 15000 reports from ANSPs and information from over 200 aircraft operators during the period 2012-2016, the bulletin provides statistics and identifies trends within types and causes of incidents.
“Over the past decade, nearly all large US airlines have shifted heavy maintenance work on their airplanes to repair shops thousands of miles away, in developing countries, where the mechanics who take the planes apart (completely) and put them back together (or almost) may not even be able to read or speak English. US Airways and Southwest fly planes to a maintenance facility in El Salvador. Delta sends planes to Mexico. United uses a shop in China. American still does much of its most intensive maintenance in-house in the US, but that is likely to change in the aftermath of the company’s merger with US Airways.”
In support of ICAEA’s Mission Statement to share knowledge, expertise and experience on issues important to aviation English, we are pleased to announce that the proceedings of the ICAEA Workshop – Dubrovnik, April 2017 – are now available via Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU, USA) Scholarly Commons.