Miscommunication in Pilot-controller interaction

Haryani Hamzah, Fook Fei Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

English is the preferred language for communication in the aviation industry. Pilots and air traffic controllers of different nationalities and proficiency levels interact with each other using a specialized form of English termed aviation English that comprises of aviation phraseology and “plain English”. Here, miscommunication could have disastrous consequences. This paper presents the findings of a study that explored instances of miscommunication in the interaction between pilots and controllers. Miscommunication is defined as a lack of understanding (or misunderstanding), non-understanding or misinterpretation of messages in communication. The corpus consists of 30 hours of actual pilot-controller audio communication collected from the Malaysian airspace. Data were collected from three different frequencies (Alpha, Bravo and Charlie) representing different phases of the flight. They were analysed qualitatively using conversation analysis techniques. The study found that miscommunication in pilot-controller communication is due mainly to two main factors, procedural deviation and problematic instruction or request. The paper concludes by suggesting that pilots and controllers should adhere to standard phraseology and avoid code-switching from aviation phraseology to plain English except when it is inadequate for the situation. It also suggests that proper radio discipline should be maintained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
Journal3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

air traffic
interaction
communication
conversation analysis
nationality
flight
radio
Communication
Aviation
Interaction
Miscommunication
instruction
industry
lack
Phraseology
language

Keywords

  • Aviation English
  • ESP
  • Miscommunication
  • Non-native speakers
  • Pilot-controller communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

Miscommunication in Pilot-controller interaction. / Hamzah, Haryani; Wong, Fook Fei.

In: 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature, Vol. 24, No. 4, 01.01.2018, p. 199-213.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hamzah, Haryani ; Wong, Fook Fei. / Miscommunication in Pilot-controller interaction. In: 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature. 2018 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 199-213.
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