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A study of EL2 pilots' radio communication in the General Aviation environment

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-03, 01:42 authored by Estival, Dominique, Molesworth, Brett
This paper reports on the preliminary stages of a project designed to investigate communication problems in General Aviation and assess the utility of language technologies as a means of mitigation. The study presented in this paper is the first of a three-part study, in which we aim to investigate the extent to which the English language proficiency of pilots whose native language is not English (EL2) impacts on their ability to effectively communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC), and its potential impact on safety outcomes. In a preliminary survey, we distributed a questionnaire to General Aviation pilots at various flight training organisations and collected self-reported instances of miscommunication between themselves and ATC. In addition, we asked pilots to rank, in order of difficulty, five typical radio communication tasks. The results indicated that pilots who are English native speakers and EL2 pilots give a similar ranking of difficulty to the radio communicative tasks, and that both EL2 and native speakers rank understanding other pilots as the most challenging task. Copyright 2009 Dominique Estival and Brett Molesworth. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.


Date originally published



Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 32, no. 3 (2009), p. 24.1-24.16. ISSN 1833-7139

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