Author Topic: ATC Communication in English  (Read 13798 times)

Offline jvnanu

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ATC Communication in English
« on: March 24, 2014, 11:10:35 AM »
Hi all. I'm wondering if you can clarify something for me.

I know that all pilots and ATCs are required to be fluent in English. What are the requirements in terms of communication in English? Is it that everyone needs to be ABLE to speak English, but if both speak another language they may do so? Or is it that all communication MUST be held in English?

I'm Romanian, and whenever I listen to a feed from Romania I often hear pilots speaking to ATC in Romanian and English. Is it that certain parts of the communication need to be in English? Directions such as speed up, slowing down, ascend, descend, change heading, etc. Do those need to be in English but other communication can be in any language? Or can the pilot and ATC say everything in another language as long as they're able to speak English if and when they need to? What are the rules about that, and what is the common practice (if different from the rules)?



Offline Brad G.

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Re: ATC Communication in English
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 11:32:50 AM »
The "rules" would probably depend upon which country/airspace you're talking about.

In Canada, for example, it's not uncommon to hear French spoken on frequency or even to have a different frequency for an ATIS in English rather than French.

I suppose the only guideline that is (hopefully) universal is to consider all parties that might be interested in a given transmission. For example, if ATC is issuing a traffic alert to two aircraft that are about to be in conflict with each other, and if that controller knows that Pilot A only speaks English but Pilot B speaks English and Romanian, it would probably be wise to issue the entire traffic alert (addressing both aircraft separately but in the same transmission) in English. Later, the controller may decide to switch back to speaking with Pilot B in Romanian once there's no potential benefit of any English-only speaking pilots understanding the transmission.

Offline jvnanu

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Re: ATC Communication in English
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 12:55:47 PM »
Okay great. That's sort of what I thought too. They use their discretion. If the information they're relaying could be beneficial to other traffic they'll probably transmit it in English. That makes sense.

Offline janlam01

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Re: ATC Communication in English
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 07:06:09 PM »
The "rules" would probably depend upon which country/airspace you're talking about.

In Canada, for example, it's not uncommon to hear French spoken on frequency or even to have a different frequency for an ATIS in English rather than French.

I suppose the only guideline that is (hopefully) universal is to consider all parties that might be interested in a given transmission. For example, if ATC is issuing a traffic alert to two aircraft that are about to be in conflict with each other, and if that controller knows that Pilot A only speaks English but Pilot B speaks English and Romanian, it would probably be wise to issue the entire traffic alert (addressing both aircraft separately but in the same transmission) in English. Later, the controller may decide to switch back to speaking with Pilot B in Romanian once there's no potential benefit of any English-only speaking pilots understanding the transmission.

The only area in Canada, if I'm not mistaken, where ATC communication are available in both English and French are regions inside the Montreal FIR.

Offline Brad G.

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Re: ATC Communication in English
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 07:23:04 PM »
The only area in Canada, if I'm not mistaken, where ATC communication are available in both English and French are regions inside the Montreal FIR.
Can't remember where in Canada I was listening to French transmissions as well as English, but I thought it was somewhere other than the Montreal FIR. Could be wrong about that, though.

Sorry, eh?  :-)

Offline janlam01

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Re: ATC Communication in English
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 10:25:47 PM »
The only area in Canada, if I'm not mistaken, where ATC communication are available in both English and French are regions inside the Montreal FIR.
Can't remember where in Canada I was listening to French transmissions as well as English, but I thought it was somewhere other than the Montreal FIR. Could be wrong about that, though.

Sorry, eh?  :-)

Found a more precise answer. :)

https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/ca-publications/COM-AIM-2013-2_ENG-3.pdf - PDF Pg 35