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FAA Releases Guidance For Evaluating English Proficiency

Citing impact on safety, FAA clarifies guidelines on acceptable English proficiency for MRO personnel.

Printed headline: Speak, Write and Understand

The FAA has released a draft revision to the agency’s guidance material on what exactly it means to “read, write, speak and understand the English language” for purposes of meeting mechanic and repairman eligibility standards. The proposal’s predecessor, Advisory Circular (AC) 60-28A, English Language Skill Standards Required by 14 CFR Parts 61,63, and 65, originally was released in 2013. The revision retains consideration of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, introduces the FAA Aviation English Language Standard (AELS), and provides more detailed procedures for proficiency evaluations.

Labourmobility.comPoor communication is top on the list of accident and incident contributing human factors.

Poor communication is top on the list of accident and incident contributing human factors. Credit: Labourmobility.com

ICAO language proficiency standards, upon which the AELS would be based, originally were published in 2004 in response to increased focus on human factors and findings that the use (or misuse) of language contributed directly or indirectly to the loss of lives in three accidents. The ICAO standard grades English language aptitude on a scale of one to six, from pre-elementary to expert. The FAA, as recommended by ICAO, has landed on level four as the minimum required for those holding an FAA airman certificate. The proposed AC provides resources for ICAO-recognized English training courses and assessments.

Comments on the proposed guidance were due Feb. 27.

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