Aviation English Asia Ltd courses are renowned for their communicative method. In this section of Learning Zone you can learn about best practice in language acquisition and how you can adopt an effective method of learning English.
Advice for improving your English and passing an airline's English test from Aviation English Asia. Article written by Michael Egerton
Whether you are applying for a job as a pilot, member of ground staff or a member of cabin crew one of the assessments in which you are required to perform well in is the airline's English assessment test. For prospective airline pilots this is likely to be one of various types of ICAO English test taken at a particular stage of the selection process. For cabin crew and ground staff the airline is likely to have it's own in-house English assessment, which could be either a specific test which you need to pass in order to proceed which your application, or alternatively your English language proficiency could be assessed during your HR interviews.
In this article I'm going to point out three common mistakes made by many prospective pilots and flight attendants when faced with an airline English proficiency test, and show you how you can avoid making that mistake. But first of all let's look at why airlines have English tests in the first place.
Airline careers are highly desirable for many young people. Airlines are large organisations that offer great benefits like housing allowance, health insurance and frequent travel to their employees. Some airlines are national flag carriers so it's not surprising that airline jobs attract thousands of candidates each year. In each recruitment drive, the airline has to select the most appropriate candidates for employment, as they will make a significant investment in that candidate's training and development. Airline English tests are a suitable way to filter out unsuitable (or not yet suitable) candidates. English is a world language, and a high standard of English will also highlight a candidate's manners and social behaviour, ie is this candidate a person polite enough to deal with our customers, is this a person we would like to sit next to on the flight deck. In addition to the aptitude and ability to perform the basic duties of the position, the airline will want to ensure that you have:
So, in plain English, the airline wants to know that you can speak English well enough to do the job properly, and you can understand enough English to be able to learn how to do the things that you can't. Depending upon your experience and the position you are applying for the airline will probably not expect you to know everything about handling a big jet, or the procedures needed to carry out an evacuation but they do expect you to have a reasonable level of English. Airlines are after all, judged on the conduct and performance of their front-line employees. If you have failed an airline's English test it's probably because you haven't prepared sufficiently for the test, or you have prepared for the test in the wrong way.
It's a common mistake, and an understandable one. You have an English test coming up as part of your interview and you might want to get some practice by having a mock test, perhaps by asking a friend to ask you the questions that they were asked last time. Perhaps if you could remember the answers it will be easier... If (like us) you live in Hong Kong you will have been bombarded by advertisements for "star tutors" that offer courses focused on passing English tests, eg IELTS, HKCEE etc. You might be able to pass a written exam by following their methods but if you think that you can pass an airline English test, which will almost certainly be oral you are wildly mistaken. Speaking English doesn't work like that. It takes time to develop a full command of the language, and consistent practice in developing the strength needed to pronounce certain words. Listening to and understanding different accents is a skill that takes time to develop. Furthermore, it's easy to see if someone is trying to remember an answer. When assessing language it's not just a matter of what information you give, but how you give it. Of course, it's natural to want to practice things like mock interviews with friends or perhaps a tutor, but to be honest it's not enough. What you need is a thorough and wide range of proficiency in English and particularly English as it is used within an aviation context - and that is our goal.
ICAO recommend that pilots and controllers take aviation-specific English courses. Some people try to cut corners and settle for a general English course. The result is often that they get bored or find that it doesn't suit their needs. This is also often the case with people who tried studying at large franchised language centres, particularly those that have "secret study methods". These courses are designed to appeal to as many people as possible, with the lowest skill level of teacher possible (the "secret" is that they withhold any actual teaching, you have to figure it out for yourself) so don't be surprised that learners who settle for this type of course make very slow progress. That type of language school doesn't have the capability or resources to give aviation students the kind of language training they need. When you learn English it is important that you focus on practicing the right skills, and as most language schools try to cater to as many people as possible it's often difficult to practice the skills that you really need. For a pilot, ATC or member of cabin crew the most important skills are speaking and listening. Many people unfortunately focus only on academic performance in English and neglect to build their English comprehension skills. Aviation English Asia courses give you sufficient practice of the skills that you need, as recommended in ICAO Document 9835.
If we could give one piece of advice to potential airline employees it would be to take a placement test to assess your current level of English and then see how much you need to improve. We can then give you an estimation of how long you should expect before you reach that level, and how often you should practice. These tests are done independently by a third party so you can be sure that you won't be buying courses that you don't need. The placement tests offered by Aviation English Asia are consistent with the results of assessors within major airlines. Trust me - I've trained a lot of prospective and current airline employees. I strongly recommend that you take a placement test and expect to practice English consistently for at least 3 months per level.
In this article you have learned that you should avoid crash courses, avoid only focusing on the test, and avoid unsuitable courses and tutors. Now I will show you what you should do to pass an airline's English assessment.
Learn and practice English as it is used in the context of aviation
Aviation English Asia is the only genuine provider of Aviation English in Hong Kong. Our Native English Teachers are aviation professionals with experience as senior captains, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers. Our Native English Teachers are also qualified English teachers - not just "English speaking pilots doing a part time job". The course is designed and supervised by teachers with MA Applied Linguistics. Some of our teachers have worked as and trained assessors.
AEA courses feature all of the grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, comprehension and fluency practice of general English courses, with the added advantage of being directly related to your career. You will be more motivated and enjoy learning English more when you have a clear objective. If you think you know everything about aviation and are familiar with aviation terminology, you should still learn how to express it clearly in English - so Aviation English Asia courses are equally suitable for experienced commercial pilots. It's exactly the same for cabin crew, whether your are a prospective employee or experienced crew members - practice English as it relates to your everyday life. One of the biggest advantages of an Aviation English course is that you will develop a wide vocabulary and become confident in dealing with unexpected situations. You will still get thorough practice of all the language skills needed to pass an airline's English test, and personal focus on the skills that you most need to develop. Of course, you can supplement this with additional General English if you want extra practice but it is no substitute for a core Aviation English course.
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.
If you haven’t already please join the Aviation English mailing list for special offers and details of courses in your area. Of course, feel free to leave a comment or even a suggestion for a future article. We value all of your feedback.
Advice about improving your English and passing an ICAO English test from Aviation English Asia.
Article written by Michael Egerton
Advice about improving your English and passing an ICAO English test from Aviation English Asia.
Article written/adapted by Michael Egerton
We've had a few requests for advice on how to develop listening skills for ICAO tests recently. One of the easiest ways to build your comprehension skills for an ICAO English test is to read a lot and become familiar with the subject matter. Of course, you still need to know how to recognise the oral form of new vocabulary. In this article you can practice listening comprehension by playing the audio file below. But first of all, can you explain what happened in this picture (from a different event)?
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Now read through the article and try to answer the comprehension questions. You can answer the questions by adding a comment to the article and we will give you some feedback.
A JetBlue Airways airliner that blew out its main landing gear tyres after making a hard landing at Sacramento International Airport on Aug. 26 had its parking brake on, according to the National Transportation Safety Board in a preliminary finding. The airplane’s Flight Data Recorder indicated that the parking brake became engaged during the landing and remained engaged throughout the landing. The NTSB said neither pilot recalled any abnormal indications or warnings associated with the braking system prior to landing. The first officer was flying the plane during the landing and the captain took over when the problem occurred. The airplane began a rapid deceleration and the first officer told the captain it felt like a main landing gear tyre blew out. Around the same time, air traffic control tower personnel reported observing sparks and smoke around the main landing gear. Eighty six passengers and five crew members were evacuated. According to the report seven passengers received minor injuries. Neither of the two pilots nor the three flight attendants were hurt. Besides blowing out the main landing gear tyres, a minor tyre-related fire erupted. A Federal Aviation Administration inspection revealed that damage was limited to four deflated main landing gear tyres and the wheel rims, which were ground down. Damage to the tyres showed evidence of being locked on touchdown. Damage to the runway was limited to “minor grazing” of its surface.
▪ Which airline was involved in the incident?
▪ Where did it happen?
▪ What do the NTSB think caused the incident?
▪ How did the pilots discover there was a problem?
▪ How did the ATCs become aware of the problem?
▪ What other damage was caused and how did it happen?
When you look back at the picture do you have more vocabulary to describe the picture now?
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 candidate for an airline's cadet pilot programme, a controller, aerospace engineer or flight attendant.
If you haven’t already please join the Aviation English mailing list for special offers and details of courses in your area.
Of course, feel free to leave a comment or even a suggestion for a future article.
Advice for flight attendants about improving your English from Aviation English Asia . Article written by Michael Egerton In this article I'm going to explain ...
Many airlines have a group discussion exercise as part of their recruitment process for hiring flight attendants. The airline recruitment staff will be looking for candidates to demonstrate specific qualities – particularly English throughout the group assessment. Group discussion activities are a good indicator of a candidate’s confidence motivation and enthusiasm. If you are attending a group discussion exercise you (and other candidates) will usually be required to discuss a contentious issue and come to some agreement within a time limit. During the assessment you will be given a scenario – like the one in this article and will be expected to find the best solution. Of course, it might be that other candidates will fight to get their views across. Many candidates will talk over other people but this is not the best way to demonstrate that you have the right language skills for a job as a flight attendant. The conclusions you come to don’t have to be the right ones, but they are looking to see you come up with a logical solution and that you can communicate your views sensitively, effectively and politely.
First read the following article and answer the comprehension questions that follow.
Transsexuals are now welcome to apply to airlines for jobs as flight attendants in Thailand. A new Thai airline called PC Air has started recruiting transsexuals to be flight attendants for the sake of offering equal opportunities to them. Three transsexuals have already been hired in Bangkok by PC Air. One of them, 23 year old Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn, was the winner of a beauty contest Miss Tiffany in 2007. The successful candidate said, "at first I thought they would just take applications but not actually recruit us, as happened at other places before." Another transsexual applicant, Panthakan Sri-ngern, 24, said she once applied for a hostess position at another airline but wasn't chosen. She said a friend who worked there later told her she was rejected because she was transsexual. She felt devastated by the discrimination. Panthakan, who has a hospitality and tourism degree from Kasetsart University, said this time she hoped to succeed and was glad Thai society was now giving more opportunities to transsexuals. Peter Chan, a senior PC Air executive later revealed that PC Air saw the potential of transsexuals to work as flight attendants. "I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess. I just made their dream come true," said Chan. But it's not mandatory that applicants go through surgery to be considered for a job, said Chan. What's important is they have the necessary language skills and can provide good service. Nontransexuals were also hired. The new batch of three transsexual recruits, who were hired together with 17 women and 10 men, will undergo training together with female flight attendants. They will also sport a "third sex" gold-coloured name tag on their uniforms to inform passengers and immigration officials about their gender. Ang Ladlad, a group that pushes for equal rights for transsexuals welcomed the news. The group reported that there are now more than 500 transsexuals in the Philippines and many of them are having a hard time looking for decent jobs due to discrimination. Thai airline companies, see nothing wrong in having transsexuals work as flight attendants. However, Philippine Airlines said they have not yet received any application from a transsexual for a flight attendant job. Should there be one, it is possible, they say, for the airline to change its policy about gender, which right now only recognizes male and female. Cebu Pacific, on the other hand, is interested in the new hiring policy of PC Air. "This is an interesting development and we will be watching closely," said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing of Cebu Pacific. Ang Ladlad is hoping that, as in Thailand, the public will warmly accept having transsexual flight attendants in the Philippines.
The best way to prepare for a group discussion activity is by attending a live class with Aviation English Asia, but there are ways that you can practice this kind of activity online - and get feedback. For example, you can prepare for a flight attendant group discussion exercise by answering the following scenario question as a comment below.
Scenario: You are a senior manager for PC Airlines. Some of your recently recruited transsexual staff feel that they are being discriminated against by having to wear a “third sex” gold coloured name tag. Discuss this issue with your group members and decide whether the airline should continue this policy.
First of all - try the activity above. Post your thoughts as a comment and we will highlight some key areas that airline recruiters are looking for. But an even better way to really improve your English is to take the English for Airline Interviews course to learn 7 key areas that you need to score well in, how to perform well and impress the recruiters. You can learn English from very experienced English teachers, pilots and flight attendants who specialise in teaching English to airline staff. It's a fantastic way to learn English and you will learn a lot from teachers who really know the airline industry.
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. If you haven’t already please join the Aviation English mailing list for instant access to free demonstration units of the ICAO Aviation English Online course, special offers and details of courses in your area. Of course, feel free to leave a comment or even a suggestion for a future article. We value all of your feedback.
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.
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.
ICAO Aviation English, English for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, Technicians and Mechanics, and English for Flight Attendants are available in Taipei, Tainan and Kaosiung.