Project FS 07/02 - ICAO English Language Proficiency Requirement
This project is now closed.
4 Sep 2008
Project FS 07/02
14 Jul 2008
Minor amendments published
Minor amendment to CAO 40.0 to allow provision of a time extension to 1 January 2009 - the compliance date for flying schools to implement the ICAO english language proficiency standards when granting student pilot licences. Minor amendment for the addition of a new definition Special Pilot Licence under Section 6 - English Language Proficiency -flight crew licence definitions.
4 Mar 2008
The Notice of Final Rulemaking (NFRM) has been published.
16 Nov 2007
The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was published on 16 November 2007. Comment period closed 11 January 2008.
5 Mar 2007
Project FS 07/02 – ICAO English language proficiency requirement
New project - ICAO English language proficiency requirement for aircrew and air traffic controllers involved in international air operations.
To enhance safe air operations, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has directed contracting states that all flight crew and air traffic controllers be assessed and certified as competent in the use of language communications by 5 March 2008.
This is to ensure all parties involved in direct communications during air operations are proficient in a common language, or vital information can be lost or misinterpreted, leading to hazardous situations or unmitigated disaster.
Additionally, for international aviation operations, the language for communications that has been accepted by all parties is English. For Australia, the language for domestic operations is also English.
ICAO has defined six levels of language proficiency in its rating scale, of which only the top three, levels four to six, would be acceptable levels of competency for operational pilots and air traffic controllers.
The ICAO language proficiency requirement focuses on oral communication rather than writing ability. CASA aims to comply with the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for language proficiency.
This means that holders of Australian flight crew licences who conduct international operations on and from 5 March 2008 will be required to carry a certificate of proficiency in English language as foreign authorities may require evidence of their proficiency. The certificate of proficiency in English language will be attached to their licences.
CASA has formed a project team and engaged an independent English language consultant from an Australian university to facilitate Australia's compliance with the ICAO standards. CASA has also set up a working group under the Flight Crew Licensing Subcommittee of the Standards Consultative Committee, which includes representatives of industry organisations. Apart from the working group having had two meetings, CASA has also consulted individual members on specific issues from time to time.
Currently, flight crew holding Australian issued licences have already been evaluated on English language proficiency by Civil Aviation Regulation 1988 (CAR) 5.09(1) and its legislative predecessors. The regulation specifies that pilots may only be issued a licence if their English language proficiency enables them to safely exercise the authority given by the licence.
This level is deemed as equivalent to at least level four of the ICAO language proficiency, thus the flight crew may continue operating after 5 March 2008 without the need for re-evaluation.
This means there will be no impact for Australian flight crew unless they want to fly overseas.
CASA does not require a certificate of language proficiency nor will issue any for domestic operations. CASA will also not issue the certificate to holders of student pilot licence, special pilot licence or certificate of validation.
A flight crew holding an Australian issued (aeroplane or helicopter) ATPL, CPL, flight engineer licence or unrestricted PPL, who wants to fly overseas may apply to CASA for an updated licence carrying a level four English language Certificate of Proficiency. This is subject to the condition that they have been resident in Australia for at least the last two years. This avenue for updating licence to carry a certificate of language proficiency expires on 5 March 2010, when thereafter the licence holder shall undergo an approved evaluation process.
CASA has approved and will be approving specialist English language evaluators to conduct assessment of language proficiency, where these are required. The approved evaluators will be drawn from English linguistic departments of some universities throughout Australia. These approved evaluators may assess flight crew at all six levels of language proficiency.
Some 'check and training' captains in CAR 217 organisations and Approved Testing Officers (ATO) in general aviation will also be approved as (only) 'level six' evaluators for their own specific domains of responsibility.
'Level six' evaluators may only assess a licensed flight crew to level six proficiency. They may not grade a candidate to lower levels, which will be the responsibility and only within the linguistic expertise of university English linguistic departments.
CASA is refining the Australian standards for English language as published in the day VFR syllabus and the (draft) Part 61 MOS to be aligned with the ICAO SARPs.
On and after 5 March 2008 CASA will only issue flight crew licences to applicants if they have an ICAO SARP level four proficiency in English language. CASA may require student pilots to be proficiency to at least level three (pre-operational) of the ICAO language proficiency rating scale prior to solo navigation training.
CASA will introduce a Civil Aviation Order around late November or early December 2007 to accommodate the ICAO SARPs for English language proficiency.
CASA will be conducting workshops to train CASA ATOs as evaluators for (only) level 6 proficiency when testing students, who are native or expert speakers of English language, for the issue of an Australia flight crew licence. The workshops including the evaluation of the ATOs and their approvals as 'level six' evaluators will be provided as a free service.
There will be a briefing/training session for CFIs under the new English language proficiency requirement, therefore they will also be invited to the workshops.
Monitor this page for more detailed information on the workshops for ATOs and CFIs.
A new Civil Aviation Order via CAR 303 (an existing regulation covering conditions subject to which licences or certificates are granted)
Project Leader: Teoh Cheang Hoe
Project Sponsor: Greg Hood