Several accidents have been attributed to communication breakdown, highlighting the importance of Aviation English proficiency for pilots. One such accident was the Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision in India in 1996, which resulted in the loss of 349 lives. The accident occurred due to miscommunication between the two aircraft and the ATC. Similarly, in 2013, a Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members. The investigation revealed that communication breakdown between the crew members and the ATC was a significant factor in the accident. These incidents demonstrate the importance of clear and precise communication in the cockpit.
ICAO Document 9835
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recognized the critical role of Aviation English and established standards for pilots and air traffic controllers' language proficiency in ICAO Document 9835. The ICAO sets a minimum standard of level 4 proficiency, which includes the ability to understand and communicate basic aviation phrases. However, a higher level of proficiency is recommended to ensure safety.
Pilots must take responsibility for their own language proficiency and invest time and effort to improve it continually. Obviously they should always aim at achieving a level 6 proficiency to ensure they can communicate effectively and efficiently with ATC and other crew members, however most airlines have now implemented that their minimum level unofficially for hiring new pilots is level 5.
Effective communication in the cockpit goes beyond language proficiency. It also includes the ability to use clear and concise phraseology that conveys the intended meaning. This is especially critical during emergency situations when time is of the essence. Therefore, it is crucial for pilots to develop effective communication skills using the correct radio telephony procedures and correct aviation terms during discussions and checks within the flight deck.
Crew Resource Management (CRM)
Effective communication skills are also essential for Crew Resource Management (CRM), which is a critical component of flight safety. CRM is the use of all available resources, including communication, to ensure the safe and efficient operation of a flight. It involves effective communication and cooperation between crew members to achieve the common goal of a safe and successful flight. The ability to communicate effectively is also essential in multi-crew operations. In multi-crew operations, the pilot and co-pilot work together to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft. Break down in communications as well as misunderstandings between crew members have had dire consequences in the past.
Online Training with Compass Aviation Academy
To achieve a high level of Aviation English proficiency, pilots can undergo online training with Compass Aviation Academy. The academy offers online training programs that can help pilots achieve Level 4, 5, and possibly Level 6 proficiency with the required practice. The training programs are designed to provide pilots with the necessary skills to communicate effectively in the cockpit, ensuring safe and efficient flight operations. As well as prepare them for when they undergo English Level Assessments through their Regulatory Authorities.
Aviation English proficiency is a critical component of flight safety. The ability to communicate effectively with the ATC and other crew members is essential to avoid miscommunication that can lead to tragic accidents. The ICAO's language proficiency standards provide a framework for pilots and air traffic controllers to ensure a minimum level of proficiency, but a higher level of proficiency is recommended to ensure safety. As pilots, we must take responsibility for our language proficiency and continuously work to improve it to ensure safe and efficient flight operations. Effective communication is also critical for Crew Resource Management and multi-crew operations, highlighting the importance of clear and concise phraseology that conveys the intended meaning.