Archive for October, 2010

Word of the Week from Aviation English Asia.

Clearance Limit

Definition: The point to which an aircraft is granted an air traffic control clearance.

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Advice about improving your English and passing an ICAO English test from Aviation English Asia.

Article written/adapted by Michael Egerton

As a pilot or controller, you are no doubt expecting a number of routine exchanges as part of your ICAO English test, but have you considered how you would respond if an unusual situation occurs?  They don’t get more unusual than this incident which occurred in August 2010.  Read the article and then answer the questions.

Crocodile causes panic among passengers and crew

It has been reported that a small airplane crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 24th August 2010, killing all but one of the passengers.  The cause of the accident was an escaped crocodile which created panic among the passengers and crew.

The propeller driven plane was approaching its destination when a crocodile hidden in the smuggler’s hand luggage escaped and caused distress. Passengers stampeded to one side of the tiny plane, causing it to be thrown off-balance.

The original cause of the crash was originally thought to be a lack of fuel but the anonymous sole survivor has revealed their story to the magazine Jeune Afrique.  The crocodile also survived the crash, but was later killed with a machete by authorities.

The reptile was being smuggled by a passenger who had plans to sell it illegally. The sole survivor told authorities that the crocodile escaped as the plane was on its final approach. “The terrified flight attendant hurried towards the cockpit, followed by the passengers.”

The pilots, 62-year-old Belgian Danny Philemotte, who was also owner of the tiny airline, Filair. Philemotte and his first officer, 39-year-old Briton Chris Wilson, were unable to maintain control of the Czech-made L-410 Turbolet once it became unbalanced.  The twin-engine plane crashed into a house just short of the regional airport at Bandundu killing the pilots and 18 passengers on board. The flight had originated in the capital city of Kinshasa.

Experts say that such a crash would be rare. “It’s possible. It’s remote,” John Cox, a former airline captain and now airplane safety consultant, said to ABC News. “You could run the centre of gravity forward where it wouldn’t be controllable. Twenty people at 200 pounds each, it’s possible.”

Comprehension questions

  • When did the incident occur?
  • Where did the incident happen?
  • During which stage of flight did the crocodile escape?
  • How did passengers and crew react?
  • Do you believe that passengers running from one side of the aircraft to another could cause the plane to crash?

Although this kind of incident appears far-fetched- incidents with animals frequently create difficulties for pilots.  To perform well in an ICAO English test (and for aviation safety) you are going to need to be able to describe this kind of situation clearly in plain English.  With professional training from Aviation English Asia you will be able to understand a wide range of unexpected situations that can occur in flight, organise your thoughts and report them clearly and without hesitation. You will also be able to report the routine stuff AND reinforce your aviation knowledge.


Find synonyms (words that mean the same) for the following words in the article above.

  • member of cabin-crew
  • cleaver
  • fuel-depletion
  • nameless
  • loose
  • began
  • carry-on bags

What to do next

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Word of the Week from Aviation English Asia.

Base Turn

Definition:   A turn executed by the aircraft during the initial approach between the end of the outbound track and the beginning of the intermediate or final approach track. The tracks are not reciprocal.

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Word of the Week from Aviation English Asia.

Air Traffic Service (ATS) (noun)

Definition:     A generic term meaning variously: flight information service, alerting service, air traffic advisory service, air traffic control service, area control service, approach control service or aerodrome control service.

空中交通服務 – 中文(繁體)

定義:一個有各種不同含義的通用術語: 飛行情報服務,提醒服務,空中交通諮詢服務,空中交通管制服務,區域管制服務,進場台管制服務或機場管制服務

空中交通服务 – 中文(简体)

定义:一个有各种不同含义的通用术语: 飞行情报服务,提醒服务,空中交通咨询服务,空中交通管制服务,区域管制服务,进场台管制服务或机场管制服务

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