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Aeronautical Communications

"In Aeronautical Communication, the primary objective is not necessarily to use grammatically correct language but rather, the focus is on achieving mutual intellegibility between interlocutors."

William Agius, Deputy-Head, Centre of Aviation

Field of expertise

Aeronautical communication investigates the use of language in aviation. The linguistic conventions that abide in radio-telephony communications between pilots and air traffic controllers differ in many ways from plain English as it is used on a daily basis in our social interactions. Safety is paramount in aviation. To this end, it is absolutely imperative for pilots and air traffic controllers to be able to communicate effectively, using both ICAO standard radio telephony as well as plain English. At the Centre for Aviation we have specialised on language test development for English for specific purposes. More particularly, on the development of language tests for pilots and air traffic controllers that meet language proficiency requirements as they have been defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Services

  • Development of language tests for pilots and air traffic controllers to comply with the ICAO language proficiency requirements.
  • Language training for pilots and air traffic controllers to become language assessors.
  • Support for test service providers for the validation of their tests.
  • Consulting for companies and authorities for the implementation of the ICAO language proficiency requirements.

Project examples

  • Development of the ELPAC test for pilots
    The ELPAC test for pilots was commissioned by Eurocontrol and is currently been used by carries across the globe, such as Cargolux and Emirates.
  • Development of the ELPAC Level 6 test for pilots and air traffic controllers
    The ELPAC Level 6 test for pilots and air traffic controllers is considered by many in the industry as the benchmark for level 6 testing. In this test, the focus is primarily on testing respondents' communicative language ability.
  • ELPAC NextGen
    The ELPAC Test for pilots and controllers was launched in 2008 and is currently used in more than 50 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia. In 2019, the ELPAC test suite will undergo a complete overhaul and redesign.