Aviation English: Why is it important to have a high standard of English.
English is the official language of Aviation so for anyone aspiring to become an Airline Pilot it’s important to have a high standard of English. A few years ago, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) set Language Proficiency requirements for all pilots flying on international routes.
There are 6 ICAO English standards with 6 being the highest and 1 the lowest. These test pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and interaction. All international pilots must meet at least Level 4 known as “Operational”.
For those thinking of undertaking training in an English speaking country its not just the ICAO requirements that are relevant but also the practical requirement to be able to understand and speak English so that your training is effective. If you try to undertake the training with anything other than a good standard of English you could find that the course becomes difficult and that you require extra flying that then leads to extra costs.
So whilst having to undertake an English course before you start your flying may not be something that you really want to do, its extremely important for both your training and your future career.
For issue of the Student Pilot Licence CASA has set some minimum English standards that must be met. You do not need to undertake a specific aviation english course, just meet the general English requirements.
To meet the CASA requirements you need to meet ONE of the following:
- A) The applicant has undertaken or completed his/her secondary education in an Australian or New Zealand educational institution, or the equivalent of an Australian secondary education in a country where one of the principal mediums of instruction had been in English OR the applicant is still receiving secondary education in Australia or New Zealand where the language of instruction at the school is English.
* This means that if you completed High School and the medium of instruction was English at least 50% of the time, you will meet this requirement. We will need a letter from your school to confirm this.
- B) The applicant has spent at least three in the past five years of employment in Australia, New Zealand or a specified country (UK, USA, Republic of Ireland, Canada*), where the documented evidence may include a group certificate, a number of pay slips or a letter from your employer stating the period that you worked in that workplace.
- C) The applicant achieves at least the minimum score on one of the following English tests (the test must have been taken within the previous 2 years).
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Either General or Academic. Minimum test score of 5.5 with no band less than
TOEFL Paper Based test. Minimum score 530
TOEFL Internet based test. Minimum score 71
TOEFL Computer based test. Minimum score 197
TOEIC (secure program/public testing centre) Minimum scores: Listening 350 Reading 300 Speaking 160 Writing 140