Part 3: Listening comprehension

Part 3: Listening comprehension

Before listening

Use dictionaries and internet resources to make sure you know what the following words and expressions mean:

  • Blood – blood group
  • Urgent medical product
  • Supply
  • Hub
  • Warehouse
  • Delivery
  • Range

Listen to this radio report about the company Ziplines plan to use drones to deliver urgent medical supplies in Rwanda. The report is divided into two parts.

Part A

Complete these sentences, based on what you have heard:

  1. Rwanda is known as ___
  2. Because of the topography ___
  3. Due to the terrain, it can take hours ___
  4. It is especially difficult for hospitals is remote areas to get blood during ___
  5. During the rainy season, many roads ___
  6. The population of Rwanda is ___
  7. The plan is that all of the population should be able to receive a delivery of an urgent medical product within ___
  8. The use of drones to overcome lack of road infrastructure is ___
  9. Examples of rare medical products are a blood supply in ___
    and ___
  10. Instead of going round hills we can ___
  11. Zipline’s team is made up of people from Boeing ___
  12. By placing a distribution hub near an existing medical warehouse, Zipline will be able to ___


Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills. It’s a very difficult country in terms of topography and many areas are hard to reach. Because of the terrain, it can take hours to get from one village to another, even though it’s a very short distance. So, for something like blood supplies, where it’s very difficult to predict where and when they will be needed, this is a real problem. Hospitals in remote areas can have a hard time getting blood, especially during the rainy season when roads can be impassable.

This is where the idea of working with Zipline came from, with a plan to put every one of Rwanda’s 11m citizens within 15-30 minutes of a delivery of any urgent medical product they could need. The use of drones to overcome the lack of road infrastructure to deliver lifesaving medical products is revolutionary idea. The idea that you could use a drone to deliver a rare medical product, such as a blood supply in a rare blood group or a rabies vaccine is absolutely brilliant. We no longer need to go around hills but we fly over the hills. We’ve pulled together a team from Boeing, Space-Ex, Google, Lockheed-Martin and it’s an honour for Zipline to partner with the government of Rwanda. We place a hub near an existing medical warehouse and this instantly allows that warehouse to make hundreds of deliveries per day to any location within range.


The doctor sends us their order by text or email, whatever is convenient. Somebody then prepares the package and puts it on the drone. We then take the vehicle and put it through pre-flight tests. Then it’s launched and it flies automatically out to the clinic. The path has already been calculated. It’s in the computer. Then the staff at the medical clinic will receive a text message saying, “the drone is two minutes away, please step outside.” It drops the packet and somebody goes and collects it. It turns around and flies home and we get it ready for the next delivery. Our service not only makes it possible but affordable for governments to be able to deliver essential medicines to all of their citizens. This isn’t a small step forward; this is a transformational change to how we deliver essential medical supplies across the world.

Radiotelephony exercise

Listen to this RT exchange between the pilot of a cargo flight and Southampton Tower, then complete the pilot’s part of the dialogue.

PIL: Southampton Tower from G-RTUP ___

PIL: Cleared for take-off ___

PIL: Southampton tower from G-UP ___
I think ___

PIL: Right hand downwind ___

PIL: Number ___

PIL: G-UP ___

PIL: Cleared to land ___

PIL: Vacate ___
I’ll ___

PIL: Southampton Tower from G-RTUP, holding short Alpha 1, fully ready for departure

ATC: G-UP runway 02 cleared for take-off wind 030 degrees 8 knots

PIL: Cleared for take-off runway 02, G-UP

PIL: Southampton tower from G-UP, request immediate return to airfield. I think something in the cargo bay has moved

ATC: G-UP, roger, join right hand downwind runway 02

PIL: Right hand downwind runway 02, G-UP

ATC: G-UP, you are number two, preceding traffic on short final, report final runway 02

PIL: Number 2, will report final runway 02, G-UP

PIL: G-UP final runway 02

ATC: G-UP runway 02 cleared to land wind 030 degrees 5 knots

PIL: Cleared to land runway 02 G-UP

ATC: G-UP vacate left via B1 and taxi via alpha to the north apron. Do you require assistance?

PIL: Vacate left B1 then via Alpha to north apron, I’ll call you back if I need anything G-UP

ATC: Roger, G-UP