Not being able to properly pronounce an English phrase, is not the end of the world. In fact, on more than one occasion, funny speak can certainly enliven a classroom. The circumstance gains a different flavor; however, when safety and even human lives are at stake.
While many misunderstandings between pilots and traffic control are indeed amusing, safety concerns tend to nullify a moment of hilarity. It was largely due to misunderstanding of orders and acknowledgements between pilots and the air traffic controllers that caused two 747 Boeings collide on the Canary Islands in 1977, killing 583 people.
To this day, miscommunication issues pose a great danger to the safety of people aboard planes. As commercial flying grew in scope after WWII, English was made the mandatory language of international aviation. While heavily nuanced and not always easy to pronounce, the ordinance has been locked in. Therefore, as more pilots from foreign countries become air commanders, all are faced with honing the mandatory skill.
This is why the International Civil Aviation Organization of the United Nations has been uncompromising with respect to adopting new recommendations to improve English language training of aviation crews. The new expectations go beyond understanding of vocabulary and grammar. To be able to communicate clearly and quickly in English, pilots as well as flight attendants must fine-tune their pronunciation, intonation and speech rhythm to minimize the chance of miscommunication and avoid disasters.
Those few seconds in air are crucial. Consider a first time passenger not understanding the safety instructions presented before takeoff by a flight attendant. While frequent flyers tend to snooze during this portion, a first timer needs to understand what he or she must do in the event of an emergency.
If you are a pilot or a flight attendant, what can you do when your English proficiency is close but not fully up to par with international requirements? May we suggest polishing your speaking aptitude with the SpeakingFit app. Whether online or not, and no matter your altitude, you can practice your rhythm and intonation using a wide set of tools directly in-app.
SpeakingFit provides you with access to recorded videos and live exercises walking you through the process of speaking a sentence until it becomes second nature to you. What’s better than personalized assistance in flight catered to your needs? Roger that. The app is free, so try it today by downloading it here. Consider it our first-class offer to you!