Random question

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Photonerd71, Mar 31, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    As I was sitting at SDQ yesterday (the ground crew pushed too hard and broke something on our plane and we had to wait for the repair)....I was wondering if all plane to tower communication is done in English or another language. For example, would a JAL plane be able to talk to thr Tokyo tower in Japanese or an Air France plane be able to talk to the Pairs tower on French or must they all use English. Anybody know?

    Sent using a small piece of fruit.
     
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  2. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    This is my guess but I would bet that communications will be in English.
     
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  3. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    If it's known who is on the other end of a communication, and what's their native language, then I think it's definitely ok to address them in their native language. I've heard recordings of air traffic communications (can't recall when or where), that were not in English.
     
  4. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    There's YouTube cockpit videos with LH pilots speaking German and AF pilots speaking French in their respective home countries.
     
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  5. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Boy, am I glad no one took me up on my bet. I will have to declare bankruptcy!!!
     
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  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    That is exactly right. I was intrigued by the question and did a search. A pilot provided the answer in a forum:
    The most authoritative answer, from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Local language or English:
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
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  7. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    In the case of the LH pilot video, it was a A380 flight to the US (which airport escapes me) and he did speak English on the approach and landing.
     
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  8. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Although, what happens if there was an emergency and the plane needs to land at an unscheduled airport whose controllers speaks mostly local and a little English but the pilot knows nothing of that local language (he was originally not planning to stop there anyway).

    It would make me (at least) more comfortable that English proficiency is mandatory for all controller staff and pilots.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    English is the language of international civil aviation. There won't be a single airport without at least one air traffic controller that speaks English, and I have never been on a flight operated by a non-native English speaking crew on which the pilot and purser did not make announcements in English, in addition to their native tongue. Sometimes, rather than making announcements in two languages, the pilot would speak only in English, and one of the FAs would translate into the native tongue.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    While I've had cabin crew on foreign carriers with minimal English proficiency, IME the pilot announcements always sound very clear and comfortable in English, almost native although with an accent and sometimes British rather than American expressions, depending on the route.

    Some carriers are very proud of the languages spoken by their cabin crew, although this is less common on USA carriers. I've noticed some cute purser announcements on DL saying something like Ms Angel speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, only to be quickly corrected with the claim that she speaks English too.
     
  11. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Actually i have been on a flight where no english was spoken (by the crew during the routine announcements. I did a couple Caracas to Margarita island flights and everything was in Spanish. My Spanish is bad at best and thankfully the person next to me translated for me if i needed anything).
     
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  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am sure that there are local instances that deviate from the general rule, thereby confirming the rule. The ICAO rule is clear about this: the crew shall be proficient in English or in the local language, while the controllers on the ground need to be proficient in English as well as in the local language.
     
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  13. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Even bush pilots with unscheduled flight patterns, know enough english to communicate with ground control.
     
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  14. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    It is really amazing if you think about it for the world to have 1 common language understood by "all".
    Most people do not think about it much (especially countries who uses English as their national language) but knowing English certainly open doors.
    Of course, the now up and coming language is Chines (Mandarin).
     
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  15. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    The real problem comes when other traffic does not understand.

    On a non controlled field we say we are on final to advise all traffic, even in the USA we do not speak Spanish when flying the plane..
     
  16. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    In Europe we do better with Mandarin, than English seems China is the new Japan
     
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