Pilots’ English contributed to cockpit confusion

Pilots’ English contributed to cockpit confusion

Cyprus; Greece

Crew confusion found in Athens plane crash
By Don Phillips, International Herald Tribune

In a cockpit emergency on a flight between Cyprus and Greece, the pilots had difficulty understanding each other because their English was not fluent enough.

It is suggested that this language problem complicated the confusion in the cockpit. The plane eventually crashed killing all on board.

English is the official language of traffic control.

- 121 people died
- one Boeing 737 lost

Language Issues:
- With more people learning English as a second language one would expect huge differences in language skills.
- Are present English language tests or selection processes adequate to test a pilot’s English.
- With more non-native English speakers qualifying as pilots, are the language skills criteria good enough today?
- Do the language tests depend heavily on written skills and not enough on speaking skills?
- Are there enough people who can coach and check a pilot’s English language skills?
- Should language skills also be tested during flight simulator training?
- How much are safety standards compromised by different language standards?

- Are pilot training standards the same throughout the world?
- What other safety standards are compromised with the fast growth in air travel?
- The report suggested that the original problem was due to a maintenance fault. Are ground technicians suitably qualified?
- In many counties working in aviation is considered a prestigious job with a lot of status and kudos. Is enough attention being paid in these countries to remember what flying is all about?

Would you fly on a plane if you knew that the pilots could not communicate well with each other?

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