Guidance for Assessors

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Dear Examiner,

If you are a newly accredited assessor, thank you for joining our team of aviation English examiners. We look forward to working with you.

The purpose of this online information is to provide guidance to those starting out as examiners, as well as a reference guide to help you conduct testing in the most efficient and professional way possible.

English language proficiency and “FCL055”, a brief overview

The purpose of an English Language Proficiency (ELP) test is to ensure that a pilot is competent in the use of the English language in an aviation setting. The assessment covers radio communications, oral comprehension, written comprehension, and the ability to express specific requirements (e.g. in the event of an emergency).

In Europe (particularly in France), the ELP test is often colloquially referred to as “the FCL055 exam”. This is actually a misnomer, as “FCL055” refers to the relevant chapter of the European Flight Crew Licensing (FCL) regulations requiring pilots to demonstrate competence in a language (not necessarily English).

For example, a French pilot who flies only in France does not need to pass the ELP exam, and his or her licence will show “French Language Proficiency”.

When flying outside of their home country, pilots need to hold an English Language Proficiency qualification, because the default language for all aviation communications everywhere in the world is English. Also, pilots wishing to train for an Instrument Rating (qualification allowing them to fly when visibility is reduced) must pass the exam whether they wish to leave their home country or not.

Each country’s aviation authority has its own arrangements for conducting ELP tests. Some carry out tests internally using their own examiners, while others delegate the responsibility to Language Proficiency Organisations (LPOs).

Aside from a few exceptions, a pilot can pass his or her ELP exam in any EASA state, and the qualification will be recognised by his or her home country. For example, a pilot holding a licence issued by the French DGAC can pass an exam with an LPO in Belgium and the DGAC will recognise this qualification and add it to their licence.

AEPS issues two types of certificates. FCL.055 (B) is for pilots who operate under Visual Flight Rules (VFR – in practice this covers almost all private pilots), while FCL055 (D) is for pilots operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR – the case for almost all commercial licence holders).

Reference document: ICAO Doc 9835

About AEPS

AEPS is a Language Proficiency Organisation (LPO) registered in Belgium and approved by the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA). Through a network of examiners, we conduct tests in a several countries including Belgium, France, the UK, Sweden, Latvia, the USA, and many more.

AEPS official website: www.aeps.aero

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