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Abstract

Several high-profile commercial aviation accidents in the past that were caused in part by inadequate English language proficiency confirmed the importance of clear and concise communication between air traffic controllers and pilots. Although the connection between English language proficiency and aviation safety has been well established, there has been very little research concerning the relationship between English language proficiency and flight training performance. Thousands of international students who are not native speakers of the English language come to the United States and Canada for ab initio flight training every year. While the ability to communicate with air traffic controllers is critical for the safety of flight, communication skills can also have a profound effect on flight training performance. International flight students not only must communicate with air traffic controllers, but they must also communicate with their flight instructors on the ground and in flight. In addition, they must also be able to read and understand textbooks, manuals, and check lists that are all written in the English language. This research is focused on the relationship between English language proficiency and performance in ab initio flight training programs.

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