English language proficiency for pilots in India

English language proficiency for pilots


As per rules laid out by DGCA, an applicant of a Private Pilot’s Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Commercial Pilot Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Flight Engineer’s licence, Flight Navigator’s licence, and Pilot’s Licence (Microlight aircraft/Light sport aircraft/Gyroplanes) shall have the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications to the level of proficiency specified by the Director General. In simple terms, English language proficiency for pilots is compulsory.

It’s not only limited for pilots, but also air traffic controllers. an applicant of a Student Air Traffic Controller’s Licence or Air Traffic Controller’s Licence shall have the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications to the level of proficiency specified by the Director General.

Minimum qualification for English language proficiency for pilots test

A candidate appearing for English Language Proficiency assessment shall meet the following requirements:

(a) Age: – He/She shall be not less than sixteen years of age on the date of application.
(b) Educational Qualification:-He/She shall have passed Class Ten Examination or its equivalent examination from a recognised Board.
(c) Training: – Minimum Aviation English training from DGCA Approved organisation.

Minimum Aviation English Training Requirements for Candidate

The primary goal of this training is to train and assess the candidate for aviation english. Aviation English Training will seek to address, in a systematic way, the six skills in the ICAO Rating Scale. Training will also aim to go beyond the test and provide the extensive practice that is necessary to consolidate language skills, build confidence and ensure adequate safety margins when operating in stressful conditions

An Applicant who has passed English language Exam in Class 10 or 10+2 Examination shall undergo training from DGCA approved organisation in Aviation English language for a minimum duration of at least 30 hours before appearing for the English language proficiency test subject to applicant having passed all written examinations for issue of Licence.

The test

An Applicant shall undergo English language proficiency test by a test team consisting of at least:

(a) Interlocutor.
(b) At least two member Rater Team comprising of
(i) Operational Expert; and
(ii) Language Specialist Expert.

Role of Testing Team members

The interlocutor will play the role of administrator and is responsible for interaction with the candidate during the test in order to complete the speaking task. He/she is also responsible for conduct of the assessment and resolve differences between the two primary raters, if any.

The two raters shall be responsible for assessing the candidate for aspects of assigning the score to a candidate’s performance in a test.

The parameters to conduct an assessment shall cover six skill areas of linguistic performance: pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and interactions.

The result

As a result of all the training and the test you will be rated on a scale of 1 to 6.

The rating provided by the testing team should be based on the following:-

(i) Rating assigned should be based on spoken language (speaking and listening) and not on reading and writing skills.

(ii) The assessment should have a distinct aeronautical radiotelephony focus, addresses the use of language in a work-related aviation context, voice- only communications, using strategic competences for safe communications in case of complications or unexpected turn of events, and emphasizing intelligibility in an international community of users.

(iii)Operational Level 4 should not target high degrees of grammatical correctness or native-like pronunciation. Grammar, syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation should be primarily judged to the extent that they do not interfere with effective oral communication.

The final rating shall not be the average or aggregate of the ratings in each of the six ICAO language proficiency skills but the lowest of these six ratings.

Trainers shall not test candidates/test takers to whom they have imparted language training.

English language Proficiency tests shall be conducted directly, through face-to- face only at approved address of testing services provider and shall be recorded on audio and video media.

Look at the chart below to understand what each of the ratings from 1-6 means.


Candidates whose rating falls below the Operational Level 4 will have to provide evidence of having undergone at least 30 hours of fresh aviation English language training before appearing for a retest or as recommended by language Specialist Expert Rater of the testing team, whichever is higher. Also have a look at the chart below to understand when you need to renew your ELP.


Thankyou for reading. Feel free to contact me for further doubts.

Further you can refer to www.dgca.gov.in 

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