Civil Aviation Safety Alerts (CASA) No. 2017-04

ATTENTION:

Flight Training Units – Aeroplane and Helicopter

Issuing Office: Commercial Flight Standards
File Classification No.: Z 5000-35
RDIMS No.: 13070146
Document No.: CASA 2017-04
Issue No.: 01
Effective Date: 2017-06-23

Operational level of language proficiency prior to first solo

Purpose:

The purpose of this Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is to highlight the risks associated to sending student pilots on solo flights prior to the demonstration of an operational level on the aviation language proficiency test.

Background:

Paragraph 401.06(1.1)(b) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) states that an application for a licence ‘include documentation establishing that the applicant demonstrated, by means of an evaluation, their ability to speak and understand English or French, or both, at the operational or expert level in accordance with the language proficiency scale set out in the table to subsection 421.06(4) of the personnel licencing standards’.

Some flight training units that are using training flights as a means to acquire an operational level of language proficiency are postponing the language proficiency test until the end of the training and are releasing on solo flights student pilots that have not yet reached an operational level of language proficiency.

There have been many instances where student pilots that do not have an operational language proficiency level have misunderstood instructions, have caused unnecessary repeats of communications, have been unable to provide accurate position reports, have been unable to acknowledge or understand reports of conflicting traffic.

Inadequate level of language proficiency results in additional workload for air traffic controllers and increase the risks associated to diminished situational awareness.

Recommended Action:

It is recommended that flight training units ensure that student pilots have been awarded an operational level of language proficiency in accordance with the language proficiency scale set out in the table to subsection 421.06(4) of the personnel licensing standards prior to first solo flight.

It is also recommended that authorised person (AP) require proof of language proficiency at an operational level in accordance with the language proficiency scale set out in the table to subsection 421.06(4) of the personnel licensing standards prior to issuing a student pilot permit.

Contact Office:

For more information concerning this issue, contact Pierre Samson, Commercial Flight Standards in Ottawa, by telephone at (613) 462-1152, by fax at (613) 990-6215 or by e-mail at pierre-laurent.samson@tc.gc.ca.

Original signed by

Robert Sincennes

Director
Standards

The Transport Canada Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is used to convey important safety information and contains recommended action items. The CASA strives to assist the aviation industry's efforts to provide a service with the highest possible degree of safety. The information contained herein is often critical and must be conveyed to the appropriate office in a timely manner. The CASA may be changed or amended should new information become available.

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