venuscat2
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Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:47 am

I'm figuring out my schedule for next year (I will be a sophomore in high school) and I have to decide which language I want to take (between spanish, french, and german). I'm planning on going to college to become a commercial pilot. Which of these languages would be most useful in that career? Thanks!
 
david b.
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:51 am

It would depend on where you are going. With the 3 choices I would go with Spanish. But if I was you, I would post this in the Civil Aviation forum.
Teenage-know-it-alls should be shot on sight
 
KYIPpilot
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 12:10 pm

If you want to fly in the US, definately Spanish. In Canada, Definately French.
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
 
Adam T.
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:02 pm

I've wondered about this as well and i've decided to go for Spanish since I plan on staying in the USA for awhile. Eventually I would like to be trilingual in English, Spanish, and German  Smile

Adam
 
fly727
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:25 pm

Why is Spanish so important? I might have overseen its importance due that I speak it rather well (check my flag)  Big grin and I'm always looking to improve other skills....

Is it because of the increasingly Latin population in the US?

Saludos.
RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
JOSEMEX
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:38 pm

Well, since he'll be flying in the U.S. I guess it's more likely that he'll eventually be flying to a latin american country, than to a french- or german speaking one.
 
tokolosh
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:40 pm

I would say go for Spanish since most of Latin and Central America speak Spanish, plus it opens the door to learning other Latin languages such as Italian and French ...
Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
 
cfalk
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pil

Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:08 pm

I'd say English.

 Big grin

Charles
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707CMF
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pil

Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:20 pm

darnit, Charles, I was about to say it !

707
 
photopilot
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:18 am

Definately Spanish.

Hey, I'm Canadian, but the use of French in Canada is vastly over-rated. There is only 1 province (Quebec) that is generally French speaking and the Rest-of-Canada is generally English though we have high ethnic populations of other tongues.

I live in Canada and am presently studying Spanish as it is more practical for me than French. I spend some time in Latin America and other Spanish speaking countries.

Steve
 
aloges
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:58 am

German is no official ICAO language, so it won't help you much further.

French is spoken in France, Québec, in the Caribbean (some islands) and in large parts of Africa. Of those, an American pilot will fly mostly to Canada and France. No need to mention that ATC in both countries is used to speaking English and good at it.

"Spanish" is spoken in Spain and Latin America. Both are parts of the world where an American pilot will be likely to fly to. And ATC in Latin America may very well be less used to speaking English than French ATC - just because they don't need to do it all the time. Add to that the large number of Hispanic immigrants living in the US, and Spanish is an even better choice. Last argument in favour of Spanish: it sounds better!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
donder10
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:20 am

Depends where you fly which is obvious.If Africa then French is very useful(and Portugal in areas).Russian is an ICAO language AFAIK.
 
KYIPpilot
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pil

Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:11 am

Fly727, Spanish is very useful in the southwest part of the country, as well as in Florida. Many Hispanics live in those areas, and if a problem arises, knowing spanish can help you greatly.
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
 
fspilot747
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:09 am

I grew up in Southern California, and didn't speak a word of Spanish. It's really not that necessary. Everyone who flies, for the most part, speaks English.

I ended up taking French in high school, and am studying German in college, and I'm also working towards the airlines. Take whatever interests you; you're never going to announce in anything other than English.

Good Luck,
FSP

 
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Vio
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:12 am

Steve,

You can't even get a job for Air Canada if you don't speak French (pilot, F/A)
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
Guest

RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:23 am

If you are going to be one of the chemtrail sprayers you should learn Esperanto.
 
skytrain
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:33 am

I wondered the same thing for a while - which language (other than English) would be most useful when I'm older and want to work/travel. So after a while I decided to take both.  Laugh out loud French, because I've been taking it since I was in grade 4 (since I live in Canada) and I'll be damned if I'm going to give up now! Big grin And Spanish... Well Spanish just sounds damn cool! (And oh yeah... It's a pretty popular language worldwide - lol)

Cheers - Skytrain.
 
Guest

RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:52 am

Understanding the basics of Spanish (for South America) and French (for the African continent) can be of great benefit to pilots. You do not need to be able to speak such languages, but merely to be able to understand what is reported positions by other airplanes, which could possibly be potential for midair, or information of flight conditions such as turbulence, or navaid failures, etc...
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
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SSTjumbo
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pil

Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:50 am

ATC jargon is by far and away the most important  Big grin.


J/K, I'd say the country or countries you intend on flying to should dictate which foreign language to learn. If you're flying transpacific, try learning Japanese or one of the Chinese dialects. If you intend on flying to Europe, you should hone up on Spanish, French, and German most likely. If you're flying to Russia or FSU, you should learn some of the slavonic languages and possibly Arabic. Just some thoughts.
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Shawn Patrick
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:42 pm

Learn what you like. Your high school foreign language education will be pathetic anyways. College and traveling/living/working abroad is how you learn foreign languages.

So just take what you think you like. I'm taking French because I like the way it sounds, I'm good at it, and it's the language of LOVE. It's sexy, and girls like it (and me!) when I speak French to them.  Smile

Shawn
 
SESGDL
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:21 pm

Most major world airports speak English on ATC. But like others have said, it depends on where you're gonna fly. In Africa for instance, French would be most important, in Latin and South America Spanish, in Asia, probably Chinese or Japanese. So where you're gonna fly should determine what you want to speak. English is the most widely spoken WORLDWIDE language, though Mandarin is the most heavily spoken language.

Jeremy
 
SlamClick
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Feb 21, 2004 11:16 pm

Spanish. As a second, for certain.

Be advised however that the pilots of US air carriers are forbidden to use Spanish for ATC purposes in Latin America regardless of their level of proficiency. It makes sense when you think about it. The other pilot may not have your level of fluency and have to take your word for what was said. For more on ambiguous clearances see the thread on the Tenerife crash in the Civil Aviaton forum.

Think I'd go with French as a third. Very useful language worldwide. After that it depends on where you want to go.

You may find, as I have, that knowing Spanish will help you with signs and menus and even newspapers in Portuguese and Italian, even French. Though many words are different there are often similarities that can enable you to get along. The language study should include cultural studies as well.
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sushka
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RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Feb 21, 2004 11:27 pm

I would think French. That way I could understand what all those words mean in a Metar.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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Guest

RE: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:43 am

Here's my 2 cents worth...

I speak two languages - English and Spanish. English will get you anywhere you need to go. I fly into Mexico frequently and although our ATC communications are handled in English, from a situational awareness point of view, my Spanish has come in handy on more that one occassion when listening to the local traffic that was being handled in Spanish. Not all local controllers speak English as well as you'd like and sometimes they can be quite difficult to understand. There has been a time or two down in South America when it was easier for both me and the controller to simply work our flight in Spanish. (Much to the chagrin of my copilot, but better one guy out of the loop than three.)

As far as which languages would be most useful? Personally, I think that the most useful language that you can have a command of is, of course, English followed by what ever language(s) you are interested in. Living is San Diego, Spanish is a big plus for me. The other language that I'm trying to learn at this time is Hmong. (I'm doing some volunteer service work with some Hmong refugees.) I also spend a bunch of time in Quebec and a working knowledge of French would be nice as well.

When it comes to operating in foriegn airspace, you should always use standard ATC phraseology. Here in the States, both pilots and controllers are known to get lazy. I guarantee that you you try slip in some slang the controllers won't understand what you said.

Jetguy
 
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Nellyjacke
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Re: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:46 am

venuscat2 wrote:
I'm figuring out my schedule for next year (I will be a sophomore in high school) and I have to decide which language I want to take (between spanish, french, and german). I'm planning on going to college to become a commercial pilot. Which of these languages would be most useful in that career? Thanks!



77/5000
Learning any language is useful, but I think English and Spanish are the most moved.

https://lslanguages.com/
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:53 am

Jetguy has some excellent points above. Situatonal awareness from knowing a local language is very useful. For example, if you're in the fog on the ground in France, knowing what the controller is saying to the other planes decreases the pucker factor a bit.

English will serve you fine for the aviation bits themselves, but learning a second, third and fourth language, even just to the level of being able to order a coffee and say thank you, has a lot of value, especially if you live in a non-English speaking country. It also shows respect for the locals instead of aloofness.

On the topic of radio comms, understanding regional nuance is very useful. Talk to controllers from Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, India, The Philippines, Germany and Mainland China and they'll all, of course, speak "Aviation English", but their cadence and pronunciation will be wildly varied and often atrocious. Many times pilots from English speaking countries have a very hard time communicating.

Two tips:
- Slow down and enunciate. The controller's first language is not English, so cut him or her some slack.
- Always use ICAO standard phraseology outside the US. Many foreign language pilots become confused in the US, because the controllers insist on speaking quickly, using local jargon and non-standard verbiage. Now turn that around and you have the situation for many English native speakers in Asia. The pilot will speak fast and be slack with phraseology, and the local controller will become frustrated.

This is a good reference: https://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/115.pdf


Side note: Learning to say "hello", "goodbye" and "thank you" in the languages along your routes doesn't really make comms easier, but it doesn't take a lot of effort either and adds a touch of niceness. "Moskva Control, dobry-dyen, this is Bigboyplane 123, flight level three niner zero squawk five three two two." or "Cockpit to Ground, you are cleared to disconnect. Salamat po."


venuscat2 wrote:
I'm figuring out my schedule for next year (I will be a sophomore in high school) and I have to decide which language I want to take (between spanish, french, and german). I'm planning on going to college to become a commercial pilot. Which of these languages would be most useful in that career? Thanks!


Out of the foreign languages I speak, English is by far the most important in my work as a pilot. :D

Yes, joke, but remember that "foreign" is a relative thing.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
LH658
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Re: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:05 am

French: African, Caribbean Islands, South America, Canada, Europe, Oceania
Spanish: Africa, South America, North America, Europe.
 
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zeke
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Re: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:47 am

Nellyjacke wrote:


77/5000
Learning any language is useful, but I think English and Spanish are the most moved.

https://lslanguages.com/


The thread is from 13 years ago, the OP has not been on a.net in 2017
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N415XJ
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Re: Which Foreign Language Is Most Useful As A Pilot?

Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:31 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Jetguy has some excellent points above. Situatonal awareness from knowing a local language is very useful. For example, if you're in the fog on the ground in France, knowing what the controller is saying to the other planes decreases the pucker factor a bit.

English will serve you fine for the aviation bits themselves, but learning a second, third and fourth language, even just to the level of being able to order a coffee and say thank you, has a lot of value, especially if you live in a non-English speaking country. It also shows respect for the locals instead of aloofness.


This reminds me of the story of Northwest Airlines flight 41, which had to land in Tehran due to a mechanical emergency in 2005. The Captain luckily had flown in Iran prior to the 1979 revolution and knew Farsi and various local customs, which helped him negotiate the situation far better than someone unfamiliar with the country would have.

The pilot gives the full story in detail in this podcast from a few years ago. I highly recommend giving the whole thing a listen- it's absolutely fascinating.

http://www.flightpodcast.com/episode-4- ... nto-tehran

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