7 reasons a student pilot should speak several languages


Speaking several languages is extremely important nowadays. This need is even more pronounced for an airline pilot and is sometimes crucial for some airlines.

In this article you are going to see the 7 main reasons why you, as a student pilot or aspiring student pilot, should learn another language.

1. International aviation language is…

As you probably know it already, English is the main language spoken in aviation as all the communications with the ATC are made in English. Of course, you can perform them in the local language if you master it enough, but you will never find an ATC which is not able to respond to a request in English… at least I hope so…

Moreover, your airline pilot training will be, in most of the cases in English. Basically, no need to tell you how important English is. So, if it’s not your native language, you better start learning it as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the beginning of your flight training to worry about learning English… bad mistake!

2. Very helpful during the ground school

I was confronted many times to such a situation where I needed an additional information about a topic, but I didn’t find anything in English…

So I did the same research in French or Russian and found very useful things.

Many great aviation blogs are hold in other languages than English and it may be very helpful to understand their awesome content.

3. It could make the difference at an interview

Imagine you apply for any flight school program, a cadet pilot program or anything else that could let your pilot career start. You have the same experience and qualifications as another candidate except that the other guy speaks two more languages than you do.

This detail can make the other candidate outstand and get the job.

Airlines don’t only look for well qualified pilots but also for smart and joyful enthusiasts who will also be good colleagues and good persons in general. Showing your interest for different languages makes you a more motivated and skillful candidate that may make the difference with the others.

4. Prepare for your pilot life!

If you’re reading this article you’re probably somehow interested in aviation, and If you’re planning to become an airline pilot, besides the operational part of the job you’ll have to interact with the crew members, airline employees, ground staff etc., all coming from different countries all over the world.

It’s always better and easier to communicate in people’s native language. As a pilot, that makes you look responsible, competent and installs some cohesion between yourself and your crew which is perfect for a safe flight!

5. Stay safe when traveling

Another good reason to know local languages is when you visit a new country.

If you have to visit a flight school abroad or if you already live abroad and you want to visit the city, to order food or take a taxi, knowing the local language may avoid you getting into troubles…

As not all the people are that honest, some of them find a good opportunity to make some pocket money by ripping you off. Whereas if you speak their language they may think you’re a local one or at least you’re used to the city, so it may dissuade them from trapping you.

6. Building links with people

Ok… if everybody speaks English we can understand each other.

But for my part, when a foreigner asks me something in my native language, it really makes me happy!

That person is making the effort of speaking your language and that shows its interest in you. I find this sharing of culture amazing!!

At the academy, I try to learn some basics from all the languages of my classmates. Obviously, I’m not becoming bilingual but it’s nice and exciting to learn some new words.

7. Jump seats…

In an airliner, the jump seat is one or more additional seats in the cockpit, for individuals…usually an observer pilot or an instructor/examiner. Normally it’s not for “normal” passengers, but sometimes some are allowed by the captain to seat there and admire the flight!

I remember that at the beginning, when I started asking for jumpseats when flying somewhere, I was writing letters to the captains to make it more “official” and polite and gave them to the cabin crew when embarking to bring it to the cockpit. Yes, you got it right, I was writing letters to have a simple look inside the cockpit! And by the way, years later, I’m still asking for jumpseats…I must really like airplanes…

Back to languages… I was writing every time two letters, in two different languages: one in English and the second one in the language from where the airline is based.

By doing this I was trying to ask the captain in his/her native language to maximize my chances to get into the cockpit!

Of course, it doesn’t work every time because some airlines have a very strict policy regarding passengers in the cockpit. But when they have a more flexible policy, asking for a jumpseat in more than one language can let you live an awesome experience!

As you can see, you never know how useful it can be! So my advice would be to start showing interest as much as you can and as soon as possible to different languages. Just imagine how much can you improve in one year by learning as much as 20 minutes per day!

Atricle source: Panda the Pilot blog

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