Molesworth & Estival (2015) Miscommunication in general aviation


Miscommunication in aviation remains a serious threat to safety. Factors such as pilots workload, quality of audio signal, accent of pilot or controller, English language proficiency of operator, and failure to use standard phraseology are all thought to contribute to communication errors. Hence, the aim of the present research was to investigate if a relationship existed between four known factors moderating communication and communication accuracy. Seventeen pilots completed a total of eight separate simulated flights (presented in counterbalanced order), which were arranged in four flight pairings and the percentage of accurate transmissions were compared between each flight pairing. The results revealed that requiring four or more items in one radio transmission degraded communication performance. Similar results were noted when pilots were under high workloads. Eliminating prosodic features such as pauses in radio transmissions also increased communication errors; most notably for pilots whose native language was not English. There was no effect of airways congestion on pilot communication performance. The results are discussed from a theoretical and applied perspective.


  • Communication;
  • Errors;
  • Aviation;
  • Safety;
  • Pilot-ATC

Source: ScienceDirect


About Natália Guerreiro

English language teacher from Brazil, working with the teaching and testing of air traffic controllers since December 2009.
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