Language Gap in Pilot-Air Traffic Controller Communication (link)

Applied linguist Elizabeth Mathews has written a very good piece for AeroSafety World discussing the importance of good communication between pilots and air traffic controllers. She also highlights the importance of linguistic analysis to understanding how communication can break down and miscommunication can take place between aviation professionals who are trained to be able to communication efficiently and effectively.

Mathews also notes the importance of a linguistic analysis to airplane ‘black box’ recordings and other communications in order to understand the ‘subtle yet significant’ language factors which can contribute to miscommunication between pilots and controllers, and potentially contribute to accidents or incidents. As Mathews writes, accidents (aviation or otherwise) are almost never the cause of once single error or factor. However, linguistic or communicative factors which may seem insignificant to non-linguistis but in fact were very significant, can get overlooked in accident investigations.