Updated: Jan 11
ICAO and EASA language requirements are included in Annex I to the International Convention on Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention):
Annex 1, 188.8.131.52
Aeroplane, airship, helicopter ... pilots shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony
Aeroplane, helicopter ... and airship pilots required to use the radio telephone shall not exercise the privileges of their licences and ratings unless they have a language proficiency endorsement on their licence in either English or the language used for radio communications involved in the flight.
What does ICAO mean by 'ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communication' ?
The ICAO Rating Scale
The levels of language proficiency were defined by ICAO in the so called 'Rating Scale', which is an appendix to the ICAO Annex I. The Rating Scale defines 6 Levels of language proficiency, starting from Level 1 (not proficient at all) to Level 6 (near-native speaker) and defines the abilities that a candidate must demonstrate during the language test to be awarded a specific level.
No Writing, (almost) no Reading
The ICAO regulations require the candidates to be able to speak and to be able to understand. This means that Listening comprehension and Speaking are the primary focus of the aviation English language test. Reading comprehension and Writing exercises are not part of the test.
EASA language proficiency requirements are included in the European commission regulation 1178/2011:
FCL.055 ; Aeroplane, helicopter, powered-lift and airship pilots required to use the radio telephone shall not exercise the privileges of their licences and ratings unless they have a language proficiency endorsement on their licence in either English or the language used for radio communications involved in the flight.
EASA implements the ICAO requirements on the European level - making the ICAO language proficiency regulations binding for all European pilots
EASA FCL.055 requires every European airplane and helicopter pilot to have a language proficiency level endorsed on their licences.
However, EASA regulations do not specify which type of test is to be used- instead, each national aviation authority has the ability to decide what tests are accepted. This means that not only are ICAO and EASA provisions applicable to language testing, but also national regulations apply.
Aviation English Language Proficiency Test preparation course by CaptainPilot. It has been carefully researched and developed by the standards of ICAEA (English Association for International Civil Aviation), supported by the ICAEA Research Group, which has years of extensive academic and practical experience in ICAO LPR language tests. A number of key criteria have been identified as critical elements in test design that affect the overall effectiveness of an ICAO LPR test. . Each criterion plays a key role in how well a language proficiency test meets the objectives of the ICAO LPRs and how well the test performs overall in terms of validity, reliability and practicality. These criteria are key issues that shape the overall effectiveness and suitability of a test system for the evaluation of air traffic controllers and pilots for ICAO LPR licensing purposes. The tests prepared by CaptainPilot were created by taking into account the criteria determined by ICAEA.
CaptainPilot is a good language test that meets all ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements.
The CaptainPilot Proficiency Test consists of two parts called proficiency test 1 and proficiency test 2.
• Proficiency test 1 is the listening comprehension part of the test.
• Proficiency test 2 consists of questions to simulate the verbal interaction part of the test. There are special versions of proficiency test 2 designed for tower, approach, en-route and apron Air Traffic Controllers and ATP licensed Pilots. Proficiency test 2 reflects the range of communication tasks undertaken in the operating room and cockpit, respectively.
Proficiency Test 1 tests your understanding of radiotelephony communications in routine and
non-routine situations. The recordings are all based on authentic material and range from short standard pilot/controller transmissions to longer communications in which air traffic controllers and pilots deal with non-routine or unexpected situations on the frequency. This part of the proficiency test 1 lasts approximately 35 minutes.
Tips for CaptainPilot Proficiency Test 1 takers
• Make sure that you become familiar with the instructions for each part of proficiency test 1 and the type of answer you are expected to give.
• Read carefully the questions (items), particularly for parts 3, 4 and 5 and especially if the question begins with ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Why’, ‘Where’, ‘When’ or ‘How’ and respond appropriately.
• This is a listening test – so listen carefully. Do not assume that the pilot/controller will do something because ‘that’s the obvious thing to do’.
• The questions are deliberately spaced to give you time to select the response before you hear the relevant piece of information for the next question.
• Do not listen to the complete transmission before you start to answer the questions – this is not a memory test. Select or type the answer as you hear the required information which is presented in a logical sequence.
• Your phraseology is not part of the assessment. Phraseology is needed in Proficiency Test to make you feel comfortable, to build an operational, to provide a scenario for the next task and to allow you to demonstrate code switching (switching between phraseology and non-coded plain language)
Proficiency test 2 takes questions that will showcase your verbal interaction skills and requires you to demonstrate:
• appropriate use of the standard ICAO terminology;
• switching between standard ICAO idiom and plain English;
• give an appropriate response to a message;
• resolve misunderstandings;
• deal effectively with the pilot/controller relationship;
• negotiate a developing emergency;
• preparing an oral report in plain English
• Reporting an idea;
• putting forward arguments;
• evaluation (advantages and disadvantages);
• talk about aviation issues.
Proficiency test 2 takes approximately 20 minutes
Tips for CaptainPilot Proficiency Test 2 takers
In task 1 listen carefully to the trans and respond as you see fit. Make a complete and accurate report about the unusual situation. The assessor may ask for clarification on some points.
In tasks 2 and 3 – answer all questions as fully as possible. You will not be assessed on what you think but on how well you can express yourself in English.