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Language test for ab-initio and cadet pilots

The AEROSTA Framework Cadet Pilot Language Test is offered to flight schools and airlines selecting candidates for training programmes.  AEROSTA Framework CPLT is not currently to be used for licensing purposes, but it does supplement quality ICAO English tests such as ELPAC and RELTA. 

Test format

Candidates are fully briefed about the test format before they take the test.  The brochure AEROSTA Framework - Information for Stakeholders contains test procedures.

The test has four parts, paper 1, paper 2, paper 3 and paper 4. Parts can be omitted depending on budget and time available to conduct each assessment.

Paper 1 is the Interactions test. It typically takes 15 minutes. Candidates are asked to read an appropriate response to a prompt. This test reveals difficulties in pronunciation, structure, listening comprehension, fluency and interaction. It is suitable for candidates with 0-250 flying hours. 

Paper 2 is an oral interview which takes 5-10 minutes. It can only be conducted individually.

Paper 3 is a series of short listening comprehension activities which takes about 10 minutes. It can be conducted individually or within a group.

Paper 4 is a longer listening comprehension test which takes about 15 minutes. It can be conducted individually or within a group.


Reliability is a measure of candidates of equal ability receiving the same scores, or of receiving the same scores if retested. Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it is intended to measure. It relates to the uses of test scores and the ways in which test scores are interpreted. During the test design phase consideration was given to ensure that:

    • Users of the test believe that the test is appropriate.

    • Performance in the test can be interpreted as a measure of language proficiency.

    • The test content is relevant to the purpose of the test.

    • Performance is predictive of performance in non-test environment.

Language in the Interactions and Written Test

Both the prompts and responses contain flight training-related vocabulary graded according to their frequency of use and technicality. High frequency words may include times, dates and locations eg instruments, ramp. Low frequency words may include words such as components, ADIRU, the underside of the starboard wing, country names, chipped. The prompts and responses contain a selection of basic, and complex structures. All vocabulary and structures are directly related within range expected of cadet pilots.

Pronunciation of high frequency workplace-related vocabulary and grammatical structures is tested with reference to the ease of understanding on the part of the listener, regardless of accent.


A Certificate of Proficiency is generated for each candidate. The Candidate Test Report will indicate the following:

    • If language is a serious obstacle to completing flight training. Further language training is essential.

    • If language is likely to be an obstacle to completing flight training or engaging in flight training courses. Training is beneficial.

    • If language is unlikely to be an obstacle to completing flight training. Training is not urgently required but may be undertaken in order to facilitate more effective communication

Scores are aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference, and a series of CAN DO statements are generated for each candidate. A Progress Report is generated for the entire group with two paragraphs of feedback per candidate.


CEFR A1 (80-120)


CEFR A2 (120-140)


CEFR B1 (140-160)


CEFR B2 (160-180)

CEFR C1 (180-210

CEFR C2 (210-230)



BULATS: 20-39 IELTS: 3.0 TOEFL: 337-459 TOEIC: 225-549

BULATS: 40-59 points IELTS: 4.0 - 4.5 points TOEFL: 460-542 points TOEIC: 550- 784 points

BULATS: 60-74 points IELTS: 5.0 – 6.0 points TOEFL: 543- 626 points TOEIC: 785-944 points

BULATS: 75-89 points IELTS: 6.0 - 7.0 points TOEFL: 627 points TOEIC: 945 points

BULATS: 90-100 IELTS: 7-9


Meaningful scores - Many candidates at ICAO level 4 vary in proficiency from marginal to borderline extended proficiency, and as they have equal scores in paper may not be motivated to improve further. The AEROSTA test was designed so that it can encourage improvement in specific areas of difficulty eg pronunciation of vowels, or consonant clusters, subject verb agreement, so scores are given as a CEFR level A1-C2, and as a range in ICAO level eg pronunciation 4.2-4.5 rather than giving a flat score like level 3, 4, 5 for each ICAO descriptor.

Trained assessors - Assessment is conducted by qualified and experienced language professionals who have a thorough understanding of aviation communications and the type of language tasks which would be required in ab-initio training.  

For more information about AEROSTA visit



Hong Kong

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.


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matf AEROSTA Framework Aircraft Maintenance Language test -


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