Advice about improving your English and passing an ICAO English test from Aviation English Asia.

*** UPDATED FOR 2018 ***
In this updated version of an article we originally published in 2014, we de-emphasise the role of non-routine situations in ICAO English tests.  Non-routine situations do occur, but there is too much emphasis on non-routine situations among the Aviation English teaching community that can often neglect the need for developing proficiency in routine tasks for flight.  Therefore you should obtain advice from Aviation English Asia Ltd teachers in a consultation before you start a course, as the balance of routine-non-routine situations that are relevant to you at this particular time could be very different. 

As a pilot or controller, you are no doubt expecting a number of non-routine exchanges as part of your ICAO English test, but they don't get more unusual than this incident which occurred in August 2010. So with that in mind, read the article and then answer the questions. 

A crocodile

Crocodile causes panic among passengers and crew

It has been reported that a small airplane crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 24th August 2010, killing all but one of the passengers.  The cause of the accident was an escaped crocodile which created panic among the passengers and crew. The propeller driven plane was approaching its destination when a crocodile hidden in the smuggler’s hand luggage escaped and caused distress. Passengers stampeded to one side of the tiny plane, causing it to be thrown off-balance. The original cause of the crash was originally thought to be a lack of fuel but the anonymous sole survivor has revealed their story to the magazine Jeune Afrique.  The crocodile also survived the crash, but was later killed with a machete by authorities. The reptile was being smuggled by a passenger who had plans to sell it illegally. The sole survivor told authorities that the crocodile escaped as the plane was on its final approach. "The terrified flight attendant hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers." The pilots, 62-year-old Belgian Danny Philemotte, who was also owner of the tiny airline, Filair. Philemotte and his first officer, 39-year-old Briton Chris Wilson, were unable to maintain control of the Czech-made L-410 Turbolet once it became unbalanced.  The twin-engine plane crashed into a house just short of the regional airport at Bandundu killing the pilots and 18 passengers on board. The flight had originated in the capital city of Kinshasa. Experts say that such a crash would be rare. "It's possible. It's remote," John Cox, a former airline captain and now airplane safety consultant, said to ABC News. "You could run the centre of gravity forward where it wouldn't be controllable. Twenty people at 200 pounds each, it's possible."

Comprehension questions

  • When did the incident occur?
  • Where did the incident happen?
  • During which stage of flight did the crocodile escape?
  • How did passengers and crew react?
  • Do you believe that passengers running from one side of the aircraft to another could cause the plane to crash?

Although this kind of incident appears far-fetched- incidents with animals sometimes create difficulties for pilots.  To perform well in an ICAO English test (and for aviation safety) you are going to need to be able to describe this kind of situation clearly in plain English.  With professional training from Aviation English Asia you will be able to understand a wide range of unexpected situations that can occur in flight, organise your thoughts and report them clearly and without hesitation. You will also be able to report the routine situations and reinforce your aviation knowledge.

Vocabulary

Find synonyms (words that mean the same) for the following words in the article above.

  • member of cabin-crew
  • cleaver
  • fuel-depletion
  • nameless
  • loose
  • began
  • carry-on bags

What to do next

For feedback and more information about Aviation English Asia’s courses please visit http://aviationenglish.com. We can help you improve your English whether you are an experienced pilot, a cadet entry pilot, a controller, aerospace engineer or flight attendant, with custom courses designed specifically for your needs. 

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Aviation English Asia has been offering part time and full time courses in Hong Kong since 2009.

All courses are available in Hong Kong. Check the schedule above for details.

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Aviation English Asia has been offering part time courses in Vietnam since 2014.

All courses are available in Vietnam - typically every 8 weeks, or by special arrangement.

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ICAO Aviation English, English for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, Technicians and Mechanics, and English for Flight Attendants are available in Taipei, Tainan and Kaosiung.

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Aviation English Asia has been offering part time and full time courses in Cambodia since July 2018

All courses are available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Check the schedule for details.

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