IMPORTANCE of ENGLISH in Aviation!

Dear friends and followers, welcome to back to my channel, and to a very very important video, as a lot of people ask me”How important is English if I want to become a pilot?” I´ll be talking about the importance, what exams to expect and how to best learn and improve your English skills. Let´s rewind the clock a little, back to 1951. The ICAO recommended to all participating states that English shall become the “international aeronautical radiotelephony communications”-language. Why? Because research had shown that the cause of numerous accidents happened due to language barriers and misunderstandings between pilots and ATC, and confusion in the cockpit after introducing standard operating procedures primarily in English. Sad examples like the two Jumbo jets which crashed into each other on the island of Tenerife, all due to an impatient captain and misleading clearances by the tower controller. Or the unbelievable accident by Avianca in the 90ties, where the plane was low on fuel and the pilots were unable to properly declare a fuel emergency until running on fumes and falling out of the sky. Unfortunately, the list is pretty long of similar “language barrier” accidents but it just shows how important good communication is in aviation. Sadly the ICAO first acted 52 years later by introducing an English proficiency test in 2003, which every pilot has to pass on an annual basis. And the proficiency is scaled in levels one to six. Now to work and fly within international airspaces the minimum requirement is level four. Level four is categorized as operational. Five is extended and level 6 is expert or native speaker. So the native speakers like the Brits, the Ozzies or the Americans automatically get Proficiency level 6 and don´t need testing. Except I had to. Although I have a British passport I didn´t get level 6 as I went to German-speaking school. But if you have been to an English speaking school, you fill out a form and immediately get certified level six which is for life and you won´t be facing any English test within your aviation career. So congrats to that. But all other levels require a written and oral exam. What does that look like? It´s gonna be a one on one with the examiner. He might play a tape which you have to listen to and later explain what conversation was about. Or he wants you to translate a text from your mother tongue into English or vice versa and for sure he´ll engage you into a conversation about literally anything. So be prepared that you at least get level four. Level four then requires you to retake that exam every four years. Level 5 every 6 years and as mentioned level 6 is for life.

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