ConcordeBoy
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Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:57 pm

Came up in another thread, but wanted to bring it to the forefront, while seeking some clarification for this by those in the know.

IINM, aren't most nations (particularly western Europe) supposed to conduct all tower communications in English?

Well, in THIS VIDEO, as you can plainly hear, they quite clearly are not. But then again, not only is it a domestic flight, it's just a ferry between two airports in the same metro.

Clarification on this please--- what are the int'l requirements for English communications, versus regional language?
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ACDC8
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:04 am

IIRC, English, Spanish, Russian, French and Chinese are official ATC languages which can be used for ATC communications in their respective countries. From what I've seen on documenatries, it has lead to confusion in the past such as airports as CDG.

Also, some airports and pilots in Germany such as on a VFR flight plan don't need to speak English. However (at least in Germany), when entering certain airspace classes or in IFR flight, you do need to use English.

[Edited 2008-11-24 16:13:25]
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robffm2
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:10 am



Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
versus regional language?

I think this should not be "regional" rather than "national" language be.
And I believe that on national travel (pilot and tower speaking the national language), there shouldn't be a requirement to speak English.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:26 am

In Canada, both English and French can be used in regions with significant French-speaking populations (mainly the province of Quebec, plus Ottawa). The applicable regulation below.
http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/publications/tp14371/COM/AnnexA.htm
 
N353SK
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:01 am

I believe ICAO requires ATC to speak English when resquested. I have heard numerous stories of Chinese ATC speaking something other than English to local pilots. While I'm sure it's easier for ATC and the other pilot, it really cuts down on situational awareness for pilots who don't speak the local language.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:28 am

I feel standardization would be the best way out.....In India too Inspite of numerous languages spoken,Aviation communication is ONLY in English.Apart from the customary random "NAMASHKAR".
regds
MEL
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Tristarsteve
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:51 am

ARN Tower speaks Swedish to tug drivers and local helicopters.

I was once in MAD in the flight deck of a Swedish registered Tristar. We were operated an ACMI charter for a Spanish airline, and had their flight number. We were taxying out and were transferred to the Tower frequency. The tower must have called us 5 times in Spanish to give us take off clearance, before they realised we did not understand them!
 
wilco737
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:55 am



Quoting N353SK (Reply 4):
I have heard numerous stories of Chinese ATC speaking something other than English to local pilots. While I'm sure it's easier for ATC and the other pilot, it really cuts down on situational awareness for pilots who don't speak the local language.

Not only in China. As well in France, Brazil, Spain... etc etc. And I don't have a chance to know what's going on aroud me. I don't like that a lot, but I cannot do much about it.
It is possible to speak with all the towers in English. As long as you stay to the standard phrasiology. If you have some requests or questions which are beyond this, then communication is over. Some just don't understand you. They keep sayin: "say again", but their English is just not enough to understand you. And this can be indeed pretty difficult.

WILCO737 (MD11F)
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Scooter01
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:39 am

Zis is apparently not only an aviation related problem...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmOTpIVxji8


Scooter01   

[Edited 2008-11-25 01:51:10]
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Starlionblue
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:28 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
I feel standardization would be the best way out.....In India too Inspite of numerous languages spoken,Aviation communication is ONLY in English.Apart from the customary random "NAMASHKAR".

NOTE: The below is based on my admittedly imperfect understanding of India and the PRC. Please feel free to jump in and correct any inaccuracies.

India and the PRC are very different in this regard.

India has had English as a "lingua franca" for quite a while. Given the country's history, a very large proportion of the population, and certainly most of the people with a college education (say, pilots) speak English well. As I understand it, English is often the only common language between two Indians, who may "natively" speak wholly different languages. In addition, the Indian English accent (yes yes I'm generalizing) tends to be easily comprehensible to non-Indians due to its innate characteristics.

In China, on the other hand, even in a city like HK which until quite recently was a British colony, English is by no means a given, and when spoken by the local population is often quite hard to understand. Native Chinese (any Chinese) speakers seem ill equipped to pronounce English clearly if they learn it as a second language. I think this is due to many of the sounds being quite alien to them. This is particularly true on the phone, and I guess the same over the radio. Also unlike in India with disparate languages, pretty much anyone under a certain age in the PRC will speak Standard Mandarin Chinese (with regional accents, granted) due to it being the compulsory language of schooling.

Standardization is great for English speakers, but for native Mandarin Chinese speaking pilots it may be a distant second when it comes to fluency. Perhaps overall there is ADDED safety in giving said pilots comms in Mandarin?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
 
Pihero
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:37 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
Standardization is great for English speakers, but for native Mandarin Chinese speaking pilots it may be a distant second when it comes to fluency. Perhaps overall there is ADDED safety in giving said pilots comms in Mandarin?

Good point. Still kills me hearing Chinese or Japanese communicating that they're flying at Fright rleverl 340. !

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 7):
Not only in China. As well in France, Brazil, Spain... etc etc. And I don't have a chance to know what's going on aroud me. I don't like that a lot, but I cannot do much about it.

Be happy, Wilco737 as in the near future, these commmunications will be done through data link, so that nobody will have a clue on SA.
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babybus
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:40 pm

I was speaking to a ATC controller in Finland recently and he told me that the captain of a domestic flight on approach can have the conversation in Swedish, Finnish or English as it's a multi-lingual country.

There is a new law that states that all pilots must be fully conversant in English to fly internationally. The test they have to sit is really good academically.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:03 pm



Quoting Babybus (Reply 11):
There is a new law that states that all pilots must be fully conversant in English to fly internationally. The test they have to sit is really good academically.

Well, is this law only for the UK or EU?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
 
N353SK
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:39 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 12):
Well, is this law only for the UK or EU?

I believe this is from ICAO. All new FAA certificates say "English Proficient" under the limitations section. Many pilots are unhappy about having to send in $2 to get a new "English Proficient" certificate.
 
pilotboi
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:40 pm



Quoting N353SK (Reply 4):
I believe ICAO requires ATC to speak English when resquested. I have heard numerous stories of Chinese ATC speaking something other than English to local pilots. While I'm sure it's easier for ATC and the other pilot, it really cuts down on situational awareness for pilots who don't speak the local language.

 checkmark 

Exactly. You are required to know English to be a pilot or ATC, but there's no international law against using any language you want to communicate, as long as both the pilot and controller can do it.

And yes, it does take away from SA, but think of it this way...theoretically you don't need to be listening to any communication that's not to you and from the controller. If there is anything pertaining to your safety, the controller will tell you directly, not assuming that you're paying attention to what he's telling another aircraft nearby. Of course it never hurts to pay attention to the radio.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:55 pm



Quoting N353SK (Reply 13):
believe this is from ICAO. All new FAA certificates say "English Proficient" under the limitations section. Many pilots are unhappy about having to send in $2 to get a new "English Proficient" certificate.

I see. That is interesting.

Quoting Pihero (Reply 10):
Still kills me hearing Chinese or Japanese communicating that they're flying at Fright rleverl 340. !

 rotfl 

I had a captive audience in the form of my Cantonese tutor. His English is quite good by local standards but he has a very hard time with words like "probably" and "properly" (they sound the same to him. It took me a good five minutes to almost get him to mimic what I said, but it didn't stick very well. It seemed really really hard. The other way was easier. I had little difficulty pronouncing Cantonese quite close to the original. There is probably some interesting underlying language data there.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Foreign Tower Communication In Other-than-English?

Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:59 am



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
As I understand it, English is often the only common language between two Indians, who may "natively" speak wholly different languages

In fact the common Language between Indians is "Hinglish" which is a mixture of English & hindi words.
But true that English is recognised as the language that has preference.

regds
MEL
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