International Pilots Require English Proficiency


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • aviation: related to air flight
  • regulate: to make and oversee rules and standards
  • proficient: demonstrating a high level or strong ability
  • script: written text that is spoken
  • fluency: the ability to express oneself without effort

International Pilots Require English Proficiency

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN organization that regulates global aviation standards and . The ICAO requires that all pilots and air traffic controllers working on international are proficient in English pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, , comprehension and interaction. After reaching the Operational level, pilots and air traffic controllers may operate internationally, but must retake the test every few years until they reach Expert level. The ICAO also recommends that pilots and air traffic controllers use a standard English script. They should avoid using idioms and , and should use standard pronunciation and aviation for numbers and letters (e.g. Alpha means A and Echo means E).

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is the ICAO?
  2. What aspects of English must an international pilot demonstrate proficiency in?
  3. What happens after pilots achieve the Operational level of English proficiency?

Discussion Questions: Even though international pilots and controllers must be proficient in English, this does not mean that they only use English. Should English-only be a law for pilots and air traffic controllers even on domestic flights?

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