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Airline Pilot Language

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Airline Pilot Language

I was curious if airline pilots were required to speak English or not.

Apparently it was only a requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in 2008 as implied by this news article.

Stated in the article it has been common practice for years but as a result of the lack of it in some areas of the world, quite a number of people have died in air accidents.

It's nice to know that the pilot's command of the English language extends beyond his customary welcome aboard speech.

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

@Strat 

It's a recommendation in the ICAO but not mandatory as stated here...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_English

Some urgent shouts differ however, for example Mayday in the western world is more likely to be panpan in the east.

A more relevant question would be why all ATC officers and pilots are called Roger Andout!

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

Pilots, and co-pilots, etc, on the flight deck, may not necessarily be able to "converse" fully in English....

Much of the radio communications between the ground and the pilots.. ( Air Traffic Control ) and ( ground control)... use well worn standard type short transmissions... mainly to do with course, height, speed, or turns ( when in the air,)... so, as long as he can understand those terms, and the numbers involved, his actual English Language may well be restricted... bear in mind,  that all Air traffic comms are repeated back by the pilot/co-pilot, so that the controller knows he OR  shee, has understood, correctly, the instructions given.

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

@nozzer    Having listened to many hours of Air Traffic Control comms, I have never heard anyone use "Roger Andout"... 

He is an imaginary friend, of the cinema screen, methinks. ! ..

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

@shutter 

OK, the Andout bit might be poetic license but Roger is definitely alive and well...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHMIbmIMGV4

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Re: Airline Pilot Language


@nozzer wrote:

 

Some urgent shouts differ however, for example Mayday in the western world is more likely to be panpan in the east.

A more relevant question would be why all ATC officers and pilots are called Roger Andout!


Isn't Mayday a corruption or otherwise of the French 'm'aidez' (meaning 'help me')?

And as for Roger Andout, that surname looks as if it could be French too! Wink

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

Sorry to be pedantic.

 

Mayday and Pan Pan have significant technical differences. Mayday indicates an immediate risk to life or significant damage to property, whereas Pan Pan indicates urgent assistance is required. Pan Pan is, therefore, a slightly lower priority.

Pan Pan Medico is used to indicate a medical emergency, not otherwise affecting the safe transit of the aircraft / ship.

Mayday is often attributed to the French m'aidez but as far as I know, there's no documented history of that.

Like wise, for my mate Andout. Roger is used as an affirmation ('yes, I got that', or 'ok'). Out indicates that I have finished sending and I am NOT listening for a response. Over is used where I have finished sending and I am listening for your reply. You can't, therefore, have 'Over and out' together but (sigh) the number of times that I've heard this.

 

These aren't specific to aircraft, applying to pretty well all commercial radio telecoms. We were taught this during my acquisition of the VHF maritime licence..

 

Back on topic - aircraft pilots rarely chatter. The closest they come is the plane to base comms which are usually in native language. These are for advising ground crew of requirements on arrival or for conversing with company technical staff. ATC commands are specifically chosen to be clearly separable in sometimes difficult conditions. For example 'Climb' rather than 'Ascend' which might be confused with 'Descend', disastrously.

Look out for the word 'Expedite', which, in any situation or language means 'Don't ask, please just do it now!'

(Here endeth today's lesson!)

John

 

 

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

@RobPN 

Yes Mayday stands for m'aidez. Panpan theoretically means a slightly "less urgent" emergency, something that for now isn't quite life threatening, although I believe it's become more widely used as an urgent call in the east. I've got no idea where it originates.

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

Oh, and as shutter says, ATC comms not only use standard words, information is given in a specific order too. That way, pilots can predict what is coming next. I also believe that ATC cannot give more than three instructions in one exchange, normally one, occasionally two, to reduce the risk of confusion/overload.

John

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

Pan-pan is different to a Mayday call.

 

"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday"  is used  to notify for a life threatening situation normally.

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

@RJM  as explained, in post number 7 by g0gcd  ! ! .. Roll_eyes

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

Found it. Panpan comes from the French word "panne" literally meaning a breakdown. Something has gone wrong. 

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

In the early days of civil aviation communication over the Soviet Union had to be in Russian.  Nowadays English has taken over; I was on a Dash-7 flying from a remote Scandinavian airport once, the cockpit door was left open while awaiting taxi clearance, and I was surprised that even then the communication between the native flight crew and the tower was in English.

Watching a documentary about the ditching in the Hudson I was surprised that ATC didn't spell out the numbers in single digits as is usual in radio communications.

With controllers like the one in this clip you might wish he was talking in a language you didn't understand.

 

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

It can get confusing up there in the cockpit:

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Re: Airline Pilot Language

'Roger and out '

Are you all to young to have read ' Biggles' by W E Johns ?

I guess these books would be banned these days because of racist comments in the books.