Flight Academy

Aviation English

‘Superior-air accepts Erasmus+ students for Aviation English language training and testing. PIC No: 898089536. Contact us to discuss the possibility of bespoke training and testing according to your needs and within the Erasmus+ budget.’

Superior Air is an Authorised English Language Test Center. We can provide examinations for all levels of Aviation English.

Aviation English Exam

About AvEn test

AvEn test is endorsed by the HCAA and delivered by a renowned company with an excellent record in quality and training, Superior-air. The test delivery and administration is annually inspected, this is why certain security and quality standards are observed along the process.

According to ICAO, Level (4) is valid for 4 years, ICAO Level (5) is valid for 6 years and ICAO Level (6) lasts for a lifetime. For limitations on the validity of ICAO Levels for international CAAs, please check with local authorities.

AvEn test aims at assessing the speaking and listening proficiency of speakers in common, concrete aviation-related topics, in voice-only and in face-to-face communications according to the standards set by the Doc 9835. The language which is assessed includes both radiotelephony conversations, pilot and air traffic controller phraseology, aviation register and plain English. AvEn test exposes the candidates to routine and non-routine situations based on authentic language and engages them in conversational role-plays and simulations based on functions which aviation professionals are required to stand to.

AvEn test has no age restrictions or educational requirements, it does require though familiarization with the aviation context. The multiple test versions refer to PPL students with minimum exposure to flights, professional pilot trainees, ATPL(A/H) and CPL(A/H) holders, Instrument Rating, airliners, air force pilots, drone pilots, area/ approach and tower air traffic controllers.

The AvEn test involves direct testing according to paragraph  of Doc. 9835 where the test-taker interacts real time with an interlocutor, the speech sample is recorded and then double rated. In cases of rating disagreement, the sample is rated by a third rater. The operational level 4, is the minimum level required for someone to be considered safe in the aviation community and it is the minimum grade awarded among the six ICAO descriptors of the rating scale (Structure, Fluency, Interaction, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, Comprehension).

AvEn Test Description

AvEn test assesses all six ICAO levels including expert level 6. AvEn test is composed of four parts examining language production through speaking tasks and language comprehension through listening tasks. Reading and writing skills are not examined. Both listening comprehension and speaking are assessed over face-to-face and non-face-to-face communications in aviation-related workplaces. The duration of the test is at least thirty minutes long to allow at least 15-min to the assessment of speaking and at least 15-min to the assessment of listening. The listening comprehension is assessed separately from the speaking during rating.

AvEn Test Content

The first part of the test aims at examining plain English. It includes questions about the candidates’ life and personal aviation experiences. The interlocutor has to choose from a variety of questions relative to the candidates’ profile. The candidate is expected to expose a conversational style of communication responding the questions promptly and comprehensively.

From the second part onwards, the AvEn test becomes more aviation specific, assessing proficiency in phraseology, in R/T communication and in plain English, in a variety of routine and non-routine situations.  More specifically, the second part of the examination includes a task which simulates a routine situation a pilot might find himself/herself into. It combines listening comprehension of an audio file, which is usually an ATIS report. Here the pilot is required to scan the recorded prompt for four pieces of information that are required such as, the altitude of flight, hazards on the runway, weather conditions, change of route. The third part of the examination includes a role-play task, unfolding in a non-face to face situation and more specifically in a telephone conversation between a pilot and an air traffic controller, where the candidate is required to resolve a misunderstanding or offer clarifications. Here the candidate should ask the controller/pilot proper questions in order to retrieve the missing information for his flight and finally to resolve misunderstandings whenever they arise.

The final part includes a non-face-to-face task, which examines a variety of skills, primarily comprehension, R/T communication and the ability to relay efficiently a distress call under pressure. The task simulates a non-routine aviation event, where a missing plane transmits blindly a message with its position and information about its emergency. The candidate is the pilot of a by-passing flight who overhears the transmitted message. The candidate needs to relay the transmitted message of the plane in distress to the air traffic controller and relay back to the plane in distress the directions of the air traffic controller. The candidate here is assessed on his/her proficiency to use phraseology in R/T and plain English and on his/her ability to maintain an intelligible style of communication over the radio frequency in emergency situations.

Contact us for a sample AvEn test at info@superior-air.gr

Requirements& Instructions for taking AvEn test

The AvEn test can be taken by PPL, ATPL, CPL, UAV (Drones), ATC holders or students. When it comes to student pilot and drone pilots, a familiarization with the aviation context and terminology is required to obtain the minimum ICAO level 4. If you have limited exposure to aviation then you should register to one of our aviation English courses before you take the examination.

The result processing takes about ten working days. The candidate should switch off his/her cell phone before (s)he enters the examination room. Phones in silent or flight mode are not accepted.

In order for someone to pass the Aviation English exam a grade of 4 out of 6 in all of the six descriptors (fluency, pronunciation, interaction, comprehension, vocabulary, and structure) is required. Please find detailed information about the six descriptors that ICAO imposes here.

The overall score of the exam is the minimum score that someone is awarded in one of the six descriptors. For example, if someone is very weak in pronunciation but exceptionally good in all the other descriptors then his/her weak pronunciation might fail them. On the contrary, if someone wants to be awarded a level 6, then 6 is required to each and every descriptor.

Please make sure that you have the sufficient level of English to pass the exam, otherwise, ask us to enroll you into one of our Aviation English courses.

The candidate should be comfortable with discussing major aviation topics, e.g. weather, emergency situations, airports, passengers, dangerous goods, vehicles, airport facilities. Scratch notes can be kept during the test.

Aviation English Courses

Valid test batteries usually provide positive washback when they influence teaching and learning in beneficial ways, encouraging candidates not only to improve their performance for achieving the required score, but also to improve their competence in English in general.

This principle is fulfilled with AvEn test and the aviation English classes which Superior-Air offers in the following ways. AvEn test includes function-based tasks with simulations of authentic situations, role-plays and exposure to authentic language recording which encourages the candidates to improve their language skills, along with a variety of abilities which are essential to every aviation professional.

The aviation English courses delivered by Superior-air refer to candidates who do not possess the language skills to acquire the ICAO level 4. The courses are designed to practice the variety of skills which are tested in AvEn test with focus on the individual descriptors posed by ICAO.

Rater’s Training Course

In the interest of standardization of result, reliability of assessment and fairness of results, the raters and the interlocutors of Aviation English tests should go through initial and annual training.

The raters’ training course Superior-air offers runs biannually and includes a 40-hour long comprehensive initial and recurrent rater’s training. During the course, students become familiar with Doc 9835, the six ICAO Rating Scale Descriptors, and the ICAO Holistic Descriptors. The linguistic features of each of the six descriptors are closely explained, with reference to authentic language samples. The initial training of raters involves benchmarking of language samples for each of the six ICAO levels, where the typical linguistic characteristics of each ICAO level are described. Finally, the training concludes with the mutual rating of language samples for standardization purposes.

The aim of the rater’s training is the application of the rating scale consistently. Consistency in rating is measured in terms of inter-rater reliability and intra-rater reliability (Doc. 9835, paragraph Intra-rater consistency is about the ability of an individual rater to rate different speech samples consistently. Inter-rater ability is the level of agreement between two or more independent raters in rating different speech samples. Superior-air initial and recurrent rater training is structured around these aims through extensive practice and mutual rating.

The Rater’s training course runs twice a year, it is 40 hours long, it is conducted over 5 consecutive working days at Superior-air and the course fees start from 600 euros.

Please contact us for any further information you might need.

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