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FLIGHT SAFETY (FLS) SECTION

PERSONNEL LICENSING

THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) COVER THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:


Language proficiency requirements for licence holders

What are the applicability dates of the Standards on language proficiency?
Has the deadline of 5 March 2008 for the implementation of the language proficiency requirements been changed?
Do the language provisions reduce the need to use standardized phraseology?
In which languages does a licence holder need to demonstrate proficiency?
Are all members of the flight crew required to meet the language proficiency requirements?
In what intervals shall language proficiency be demonstrated?
Does ICAO approve or accredit language learning or testing centres?
Could a language proficiency test contain radiotelephony and technical questions?
Does ICAO have speech samples that illustrate the various proficiency levels?
Guidance on the evaluation of language proficiency
What are the ICAO provisions governing the endorsement of licences for language proficiency?
How should the endorsement for language proficiency be worded on the licences?

Definitions and general rules concerning licences

Questions on licences issued by a State
Where do I find the ICAO personnel licensing Standards?
Applicability of new personnel licensing Standards
Definition of a Standard and a Recommended Practice
Aviation activities requiring a licence

International use of personal licences

International recognition of flight crew licences
ICAO licence or international licence
Use of flight crew licences on foreign registered aircraft
Does my licence meet ICAO requirements?
Non-ICAO compliant licence

Licences and ratings for pilots

Age limit for flight crew
Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL)

Licences and ratings for personnel other than flight crew members

Is my AME licence an ICAO Type II licence?

Training

Does ICAO approve training organizations or training programmes?

Resources

Links to Civil Aviation Authorities
Link to the Aviation Training Directory
Link to the Flight Safety Section (FLS)

Last updated on: 20/03/2008


Questions on licences issued by a State

ICAO is not in a position to provide information on the Personnel Licensing regulations, practices and procedures of individual Contracting States. Such questions should be directed to the Civil Aviation Authority of that State. See the links to Civil Aviation Authorities for contact information.


Where do I find the ICAO personnel licensing Standards?

The international Standards on Personnel Licensing are contained in Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Annex 1 can be purchased on-line and at certain locations. Annex 1 can be accessed on-line by subscription.


Applicability of new personnel licensing Standards

New Standards and Recommended Practices of Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing, are applicable to applicants for licences and ratings. They are also applicable to existing licence holders five years after they are adopted by Council.


Definition of a Standard and a Recommended Practice

Standard:

Any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, material, performance, personnel or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as necessary for the safety or regularity of international air navigation and to which Contracting States will conform in accordance with the Convention; in the event of impossibility of compliance, notification to the Council is compulsory under Article 38 of the Convention.

Recommended Practice:

Any specification for physical characteristics, configuration, material, performance, personnel or procedure, the uniform application of which is recognized as desirable in the interest of safety, regularity or efficiency of international air navigation, and to which Contracting States will endeavour to conform in accordance with the Convention.

For more information, please refer to Annex 1, FOREWORD


Aviation activities requiring a licence

ICAO has developed international licensing Standards for the following aviation activities:

Flight crew licences:

  1. Licences and Ratings for Pilots (Annex 1, Chapter 2):
     
    • Private pilot (aeroplane and helicopter);
    • Commercial pilot (aeroplane and helicopter);
    • Airline transport pilot (aeroplane and helicopter);
    • Glider pilot; and
    • Free balloon pilot.
       
  2. Licences for Flight Crew Members other than Licences for Pilots (Annex 1, Chapter 3):
     
    • Flight engineer; and
    • Flight navigator.

Annex 1 also provides for a series of ratings (class, type, instrument and instructor) that complement the flight crew licences.

International licensing Standards for the following additional aviation activities will become applicable on 23 November 2006:

Licences and Ratings for Pilots (Annex 1, Chapter 2):

  • Multi-crew pilot licence (aeroplane);
  • Private, commercial and airline transport pilot licence for airship; and
  • Powered-lift pilot licence.

Licences for Personnel other than Flight Crew Members:

Annex 1, Chapter 4, also includes requirements for the following licences for personnel other than flight crew members:

  • Aircraft maintenance;
  • Air traffic controller and associated ratings;
  • Flight operations officer/flight dispatcher; and
  • Aeronautical station operator. (1)

(1) The aeronautical station operator licence is intended for personnel in charge of communications between aircraft and air traffic controller in oceanic area where HF radio communications are used.


International recognition of flight crew licences

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, often called the Chicago Convention, provides for worldwide recognition of flight crew licences issued by any member State of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) provided that:

  1. the licence meets or exceeds the ICAO licensing Standards of Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing to the Convention on International Civil Aviation; and
     
  2. the licence is used on an aircraft which is registered in the State which has issued or validated the licence.

If the licence is to be used on an aircraft which is not registered in the issuing State, the licence holder must obtain a validation of the licence from the State of Registry or alternatively obtain a new licence issued by the State of Registry.


ICAO licence or international licence

ICAO does not issue any licences. Licences issued by ICAO Contracting States on the basis of Standards and Recommended Practices of Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing, are habitually called ICAO licences. This has led many to believe that there is a specific ICAO or international licence. The fact is that there is not one single international licence issued by ICAO or any other organization. States issue their own licences based on national regulations in conformity with Annex 1 specifications and validate licences issued by other Contracting States on the basis of bilateral or multilateral agreements or the fulfilment of nationally legislated requirements.

For more information, please refer to Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 1.2.2.


Use of flight crew licences on foreign-registered aircraft

Any pilot who wishes to fly on an aircraft registered in a State other than the one that has issued the licence, needs to obtain an authorization from the State of Registry. This authorization is generally given by the State of Registry through a validation or a conversion of the foreign licence. In general, the validation process is used for short-term authorization while the conversion process is used for longer-term authorization.

Validation of a foreign licence

When a State validates a foreign licence, it recognizes it as valid for use on aircraft on its own registry. The Convention on International Civil Aviation and its Annex 1 do not contain specific requirements for the validation of licences beyond establishing the principle and the fact that the validity of a validation, cannot be extended beyond the validity of the supporting licence. As a result, conditions under which validation is granted vary from State to State. It depends on the level of privileges required and on the origin of the licence. It is generally easy to obtain a validation for VFR private flights, but more stringent rules may exist for professional licences. The applicant may be required to get additional training and/or to take new exams.

Conversion of a foreign licence

As an alternative to validate a foreign licence, a State may issue a licence that is based on the foreign licence held by the applicant. In doing so, the Licensing Authority accepts the fact that holding a foreign licence is an acceptable way to demonstrate compliance with its own national licensing regulation. The conditions for the conversion are generally similar to that of a validation.

Differences between validation and conversion of licences

The main differences are illustrated in the following table:

  Conversion Validation
Issuance
  • The applicant must hold a licence issued by another ICAO Contracting State
  • The applicant must hold a licence issued by another ICAO Contracting State
     
  • A validation is only valid when used in conjunction with the supporting licence
Maintenance of validity
  • The "converted" licence must be maintained valid in accordance with the national requirements
     
  • The original licence may lapse without impacting the validity of the "converted" licence
  • The supporting licence must be maintained valid in accordance with the requirements of the issuing State
     
  • The validation may be more restrictive (in term of duration and privileges) than the supporting licence
Extension of privileges
  • Additional ratings can be added to the "converted" licence in accordance with the requirements of the State that has converted the licence
  • A validation cannot provide more privileges than the supporting licence. If additional ratings are required, they need to be added to the supporting licence before they can be taken into account in the validation

How to obtain a validation or a conversion?

The decision to validate or convert a foreign licence is left to the discretion of each Licensing Authority. ICAO is unfortunately not in a position to provide information on the details of the validation and conversion policy and procedures established by each of its Contracting States. The most reliable source of information is the Licensing Authority of the State in which the licence is to be validated or converted, and at times Consulates and Embassies may be helpful.

For more information on validation of a foreign licence, please refer to Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 1.2.2.


Does my licence meet ICAO requirements?

Some States include a statement on the licence specifying that the licence meets the requirement of ICAO Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention. When it is not the case, licence holders may verify with the Civil Aviation Authorities in their respective States whether their licence is in compliance with ICAO requirements. Each individual Contracting State should have the information available as they have the duty to inform ICAO of any difference between ICAO licensing Standards and their national/regional regulations. Any information in this matter submitted by Contracting States to ICAO is contained on the Supplement to Annex 1.


Non-ICAO compliant licence

1.  An endorsement with a "Licence does not meet ICAO requirements" statement may appear on a licence in two different situations:

  1. the licence covers an activity for which no ICAO licensing requirements exist. Typical examples are microlight or recreational pilot licences; or
     
  2. the licence covers an activity for which ICAO has established licensing requirements but the holder does not meet all conditions related to age, knowledge, experience, instruction, skill and medical fitness.

2.  Licences that do not meet ICAO requirements are not recognized internationally and are therefore valid only in the airspace of the State that has issued such a licence. The use of the licence in other States is only possible if the State whose airspace is used, has authorized it.

For more information, please refer to Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraphs 1.2 and 1.2.5 and the FAQ on "International recognition of flight crew licences".


What are the applicability dates of the Standards on language proficiency?

Amendment 164 to Annex 1 on language proficiency became applicable on 27 November 2003. However, the application of Article 42 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the fact that some elements of the amendment have a deferred applicability date is creating a progressive application of the Standards which is summarized below:

Air traffic controllers

Since 27 Nov. 2003 Applicants for, and holders of an air traffic controller licence shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications. The way in which the ability is demonstrated is determined by the Licensing Authority of each ICAO Contracting State.
 
As of 5 Mar. 2008 The demonstration of the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications shall be done in accordance with the holistic descriptor and the rating scale contained in the Appendix and the Attachment to Annex 1. Those demonstrating language proficiency below the Expert Level (Level 6) will be formally re-evaluated at intervals in accordance with their individual proficiency level. ICAO recommends that the interval be six years for those at the Extended Level (Level 5) and three years for those at the Operational Level (Level 4).
 

Aeroplane and helicopter pilots

Since 5 Mar. 2004 Applicants for an aeroplane and helicopter pilot licence shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications. The way in which the ability is demonstrated is determined by the Licensing Authority of each ICAO Contracting State.
 
As of 5 Mar. 2008 Holders of aeroplane and helicopter pilot licences issued before 5 March 2004 shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications.
 
As of 5 Mar. 2008 The demonstration of the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications shall be done in accordance with the holistic descriptor and the rating scale contained in the Appendix and the Attachment to Annex 1. Those demonstrating language proficiency below the Expert Level (Level 6) will be formally re-evaluated at intervals in accordance with their individual proficiency level. ICAO recommends that the interval be six years for those at the Extended Level (Level 5) and three years for those at the Operational Level (Level 4).
 

Holders of other personnel licences

Aeronautical station operators: Same as for air traffic controllers.

Flight navigators: Need to demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications if the flight navigator is required to use the radiotelephone aboard an aircraft. They will not be required to comply with the holistic descriptors and rating scale after 5 March 2008.

Glider and free balloon pilots and flight engineers: There is no language proficiency Standard applicable to these categories of personnel. However, Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 1.2.9.3 contains a Recommendation that reads: "Flight engineers, glider and free balloon pilots should have the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications.".


Has the deadline of 5 March 2008 for the implementation of the language proficiency requirements been changed?

No, the applicability date of 5 March 2008 is retained. However, the 36th Assembly of ICAO (September 2007) urged Contracting States to accept in their own airspace until 5 March 2011, pilots from other States that are not in a position to comply with the language proficiency requirements by 5 March 2008 provided that the States that issued or rendered valid the licenses post on the ICAO Flight Safety Exchange FSIX their language proficiency implementation plans. In addition, the Assembly also urged Contracting States not to restrict their operators, conducting commercial or general aviation operations, from entering the airspace of other Contracting States where air traffic controllers or radio station operators do not yet meet the language proficiency requirements until 5 March 2011, provided that those States post their language proficiency implementation plans. The plan shall describe:

  1. the steps that are taken to achieve compliance with the language proficiency requirement by March 2011; and
     
  2. the interim measures that are in place to mitigate risk, as required, for pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators involved in international operations.

Guidelines to States on the development of implementation plans are contained in State Letter 07/68 dated 26 October 2007 which is available in Arabic (ar), Chinese (zh), English (en), French (fr), Russian (ru) and Spanish (es) at http://legacy.icao.int/fsix/lp.cfm.


Do the language provisions reduce the need to use standardized phraseology?

Absolutely not! In fact, the language provisions adopted in November 2003 reinforce the case for the use of standardized phraseology (See Annex 10, Volume II, paragraph 5.1.1.1). Pilots and controllers shall use ICAO standardized phraseology in all situations for which it has been specified and resort to plain language in radiotelephony communications only when standardized phraseology cannot serve an intended transmission.


In which languages does a licence holder need to demonstrate proficiency?

Amendment 164 to Annex 1 has introduced strengthened language proficiency requirements for flight crew members and air traffic controllers. The language proficiency requirements apply to any language used for radiotelephony communications in international operations. Therefore, pilots on international flights shall demonstrate language proficiency in either English or the language used by the station on the ground. Controllers working on stations serving designated airports and routes used by international air services shall demonstrate language proficiency in English as well as in any other language(s) used by the station on the ground.

For more information, please refer to Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 1.2.9 and Attachment to Annex 1, and also to Annex 10, Volume II, Chapter 5. Please, also refer to the FAQ "Guidance on the evaluation of language proficiency".


Are all members of the flight crew required to meet the language proficiency requirements?

All pilots shall meet the language proficiency requirements when they fly internationally. The provisions contained in Annex 10 (Chapter 5, former paragraphs 5.2.1.2.3 and 5.2.1.2.4), which allowed the use of interpreters, have been withdrawn.


In what intervals shall language proficiency be demonstrated?

The ICAO Standards on language proficiency require that aeroplane and helicopter pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators who demonstrate proficiency below the Expert Level (Level 6) shall be formally evaluated at intervals in accordance with an individual's demonstrated proficiency level. The interval will have to be established by each Civil Aviation Authority. ICAO is recommending an interval of six years for those at the Extended Level (Level 5) and three years for those at the Operational Level (Level 4).


Does ICAO approve or accredit language learning or testing centres?

ICAO does not accredit, certify or endorse any language training or testing centre. The organization is developing test criteria and competency standards for personnel involved in the testing process.


Could a language proficiency test contain radiotelephony and technical questions?

Because of the high stakes involved, pilots and air traffic controllers deserve to be tested in a context similar to that in which they work and test content should therefore be relevant to their roles in the work-place. The descriptors for Vocabulary and Comprehension for ICAO Operational Level 4 refer to "work-related topics". Tests should provide test-takers with sufficient and varied opportunities to use plain language in aviation work-related contexts in order to demonstrate their ability with respect to each descriptor in the Language Proficiency Rating Scale and the Holistic Descriptors. To achieve this, the design of tests should be undertaken by a team of linguistic and operational subject matter experts to ensure validity, reliability and operational relevance.

The Note found in the Appendix to Annex 1 indicates that the Holistic Descriptors and Rating Scale apply to the use of phraseology as well as plain language. Just as testing of ICAO phraseology cannot be used to assess plain language proficiency, neither can English language proficiency tests be used to test ICAO standardized phraseology.

It is acceptable that a test contain a scripted test task in which phraseology is included in a prompt. The test task may be used as a warm up or an ice-breaker and elicit a plain language response from the test taker. Test prompts should not be intended to evaluate specific technical knowledge concerning operations. For example, prompts such as "What is the separation minima for aircraft being vectored for an ILS approach?", or "Describe the different flight modes of the A320 flight control system" are not acceptable.


Does ICAO have speech samples that illustrate the various proficiency levels?

ICAO has prepared a CD that contains speech samples rated at ICAO Language Proficiency Levels 3, 4 and 5. Each of the speech samples is accompanied by a detailed rating form that contains the underlying rationale for the rating. In addition, the CD contains information on the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale and on language proficiency testing.

This CD is of interest to Civil Aviation Authorities, air navigation service providers, training institutions, airlines, and institutions imparting aviation English courses and conducting language proficiency tests. The CD can be purchased directly online from ICAO (Order No. AUD001) through the Document Sales Unit.

Amendments to the Audio CD-ROM


Guidance on the evaluation of language proficiency

The following paragraphs provide guidance on the evaluation of language proficiency. More detailed guidance can be found in the "Manual on the Implementation of the ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements – Doc 9835-AN/453" that is now available in English and that can be purchased on-line. The Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian versions will become progressively available. This manual addresses the various training and evaluation issues related to the implementation of the ICAO language proficiency Standards. A table of contents of the manual is available here.

Why is it important to initiate evaluation of language proficiency rapidly?

While the formal evaluation of language proficiency is only required as of 5 March 2008, there are good reasons to start formal evaluation of language proficiency much earlier:

  1. for recruitment purposes: It is likely that most air traffic service providers and airlines will want their new recruit to meet the language proficiency requirements as a prerequisite for recruitment;
     
  2. for benchmarking purposes: The establishment of the training programme required to bring existing staff to the appropriate level would require an accurate assessment of the level of language proficiency of existing staff; and
     
  3. to be prepared for the 5 March 2008 deadline.

What should be the scope and depth of the evaluation?

The scope of the evaluation is the "speaking and listening ability" which is specified in Annex 1 for pilots and air traffic controllers. The depth of the evaluation is defined by the Holistic Descriptors and the Standards for Operational Level 4.

Holistic Descriptors

Proficient speakers shall:

  1. communicate effectively in voice-only (telephone/radiotelephone) and in face-to-face situations;
     
  2. communicate on common, concrete and work-related topics with accuracy and clarity;
     
  3. use appropriate communicative strategies to exchange messages and to recognize and resolve misunderstandings (e.g. to check, confirm, or clarify information) in a general or work-related context;
     
  4. handle successfully and with relative ease the linguistic challenges presented by a complication or unexpected turn of events that occurs within the context of a routine work situation or communicative task with which they are otherwise familiar; and
     
  5. use a dialect or accent which is intelligible to the aeronautical community.

For more information, please refer to the Appendix of Annex 1.

ICAO Rating Scale for Operational Level 4

A speaker will be rated at Operational Level 4 if the following criteria are met:

Pronunciation:
(Assumes a dialect and/or accent intelligible to the aeronautical community.)
Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation but only sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.

Structure:
(Relevant grammatical structures and sentence patterns are determined by language functions appropriate to the task.)
Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.

Vocabulary:
Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete, and work-related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances.

Fluency:
Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.

Comprehension:
Comprehension is mostly accurate on common, concrete, and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies.

Interactions:
Responses are usually immediate, appropriate, and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming, or clarifying.

For information on the complete ICAO language proficiency rating scale, please refer to the Attachment to Annex 1.

Do native speakers need to be evaluated and how?

Native speakers need to be evaluated. However, in this case, it is possible to use a process similar to that which is routinely used today to ensure that applicants do not have a speech impediment that would affect their capacity to operate safely. This assessment can also be extended to non-native language assessment at the highest or Expert level. This is because native speakers can easily identify other speakers with native and/or Expert language proficiency through fluent and natural use of the language. Similarly, completely inadequate proficiency is also relatively easy to identify.

In practice, language proficiency assessment for native and/or Expert speakers can consist of an interview with a representative from the Licensing Authority such as a flight examiner. If a problem is noticed (speech impediment or inappropriately strong regional accent) during such an interview, the applicant should be referred to a specialist for follow-through.

What is the best evaluation method?

In any large scale-testing situation, it is accepted that the best practice is to permit a number of test/assessment options. For non-native language assessment, formal evaluation can currently include any of the following:

  1. an official test score on commercially available language tests (or other language tests available);
     
  2. a test score on an internally developed language test;
     
  3. an assessment provided by an outside language testing expert (available through many universities or commercial testing agencies); or
     
  4. an assessment provided by an in-house language-testing expert.

The format of the formal assessment will be determined by the State, but the "Manual on the Implementation of the ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements – Doc 9835-AN/453" provides specific suggestions on how States can assess the suitability and reliability of testing solutions that would be proposed by the industry.

Are there any tests already available?

Efforts to develop appropriate and commercially available aviation-specific testing instruments are underway and aviation-specific test options are already available and more will become available in the near future.

Most of the commercially available English knowledge tests such as TOEFL are not appropriate for the purpose of testing English competency for pilots and air traffic controllers. The main reason is that those tests have not been designed for testing the "speaking and listening ability" required by Annex 1. Some oral proficiency tests are available but they are generally designed for a context (e.g. business) that is not that of civil aviation and are therefore not fully satisfactory.

Generally speaking, the evaluation of the speaking and/or listening skills requires face-to-face contact between tester and test-taker, or semi-direct contact, through recorded speaking prompts and recorded responses that are analyzed later by the tester. Other testing methods and in particular those using only "pen and paper" tests or their computerized versions are not appropriate.


What are the ICAO provisions governing the endorsement of licences for language proficiency?

There are two: ICAO Annex 1 paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII and Article 39 b) of the Chicago Convention.

Annex 1 paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII states that, under Remarks, the following shall appear on the licence: “special endorsements relating to limitations and endorsement for privileges, including from 5 March 2008 an endorsement on language proficiency, and other information required in pursuance to Article 39 of the Chicago Convention”. Annex 1 paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII applies if a State has established a regulatory framework for language proficiency and conducted language assessments. Paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII does not specify the wording to be used for endorsement of licences related to language proficiency.

Article 39 b) states that “any person holding a licence who does not satisfy in full the conditions laid down in the international standard relating to the class of licence or certificate which he holds shall have endorsed on or attached to his licence a complete enumeration of the particulars in which he does not satisfy such conditions.” Article 39 b) applies if a State has not yet established a regulatory framework for language proficiency, if language assessments have not yet been conducted, or if a licence holder has failed to demonstrate a language proficiency of at least ICAO Operational Level 4.


How should the endorsement for language proficiency be worded on the licences?

As indicated above, the provisions governing the endorsement of licences for language proficiency do not specify the wording to be used. The wording below should be considered as a guideline for licensing authorities. In the endorsement, a validity period should be indicated only for proficiency levels 4 and 5 in accordance with Annex 1 paragraph 1.2.9.7.

FOR PILOTS

Endorsements under Annex 1 paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII

If a pilot has been assessed to level 4 or higher in English, the licence should indicate the following:

Meets language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1 for English valid until [DATE]

If other languages are used in radiotelephony communications and a pilots has been assessed to level 4 or higher in those languages, the licence should indicate:

Meets language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1 in:

  • language 1 valid until [DATE]
  • language 2 valid until [DATE]

Endorsement under Article 39 b) of the Chicago Convention

If a pilot fails to meet level 4 or higher in English, the licence should indicate the following:

Does not meet language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1 for radiotelephony communications in English

If the pilot has not been assessed as meeting the language proficiency requirement to at least ICAO Operational Level 4 in a language used for radiotelephony communications, the licence should indicate the following text:

Does not meet language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1

If the pilot has not been assessed because the Licensing authority has not yet conducted an assessment or assessments for the relevant language or languages used in radiotelephony communications, the above endorsement should appear on the licence and the Civil Aviation Authority should provide a reference to its implementation plan, as described in Assembly Resolution A36-11, in an attachment or a letter.


FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS/AERONAUTICAL STATION OPERATORS

Air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators may or may not be licensed. Unlicensed State employees may operate as air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators on condition that they meet the same requirements as licensed personnel. Therefore unlicensed State employees should have a similar endorsement as licensed personnel in their records.

For air traffic controllers/aeronautical station operators, an endorsement for proficiency in all languages used for radiotelephony communications including English should appear on their licence or record.

Endorsements under Annex 1 paragraph 5.1.1.2, XIII

If an air traffic controller/aeronautical station operator has been assessed to level 4 or higher for English and/or other languages, the licence or record should indicate:

Meets language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1 in:

  • English valid until [DATE]
  • [other language] valid until [DATE]

Endorsement under Article 39 b) of the Chicago Convention

If an air traffic controller/aeronautical station operator has failed to meet Level 4 in English, the licence or record should indicate:

Does not meet language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1 for English

If no assessment has been carried out successfully for proficiency in any language, the licence or record should state:

Does not meet language proficiency requirement
in accordance with para 1.2.9.4 of ICAO Annex 1


Age limit for flight crew

Amendment 167 to Annex 1

The ICAO Council adopted on 10 March 2006 an amendment to Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing that increases by five years the upper age limit for commercial pilots operating two-pilot aircraft, subject to conditions. The new provisions become applicable on 23 November 2006 and read as follows:

2.1.10.1 A Contracting State, having issued pilot licences, shall not permit the holders thereof to act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft engaged in international commercial air transport operations if the licence holders have attained their 60th birthday or, in the case of operations with more than one pilot where the other pilot is younger than 60 years of age, their 65th birthday.

2.1.10.2 Recommendation.A Contracting State, having issued pilot licences, should not permit the holders thereof to act as co-pilot of an aircraft engaged in international commercial air transport operations if the licence holders have attained their 65th birthday.

1) Pilot-in-Command aged 60-64 years of age

In accordance with Article 33 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the amendment means that if a pilot-in-command (PIC) is 60 years of age or over but less than 65 years of age and is engaged in operations with more than one pilot, he/she cannot be prevented by reason of age from operating in airports or the airspace of any ICAO Contracting State as long as at least one other pilot is under 60 years of age. For single-pilot commercial air transport operations, the upper age limit remains at 60 years. A State may impose a lower maximum age limit than that specified by ICAO in § 2.1.10.1 for the licenses it issues but it cannot prevent, by reason of age, an aircraft from another State operated by a PIC holding a licence issued or validated by that State, who is below the ICAO upper age limit, from operating in the airspace above its territory.

2) Pilot-in-Command 65 years of age and over

Articles 39 and 40 of the Convention are also relevant to the age limit of pilots-in-command engaged in commercial air transport operations as they authorize international flights by flight crew who do not meet all international licensing Standards, provided that an authorization is given by each State into which the aircraft is operated. Those seeking information concerning States that may authorize pilots to fly in their airspace after reaching the age of 65 years are advised to contact individual Civil Aviation Authorities

3) Augmented crews

In commercial long-range air transport, the designated flight crew may be augmented, and can number three, four or even more pilots. In the case of flight crew comprising more than two pilots, the intent of § 2.1.10.1 is to ensure that, when the pilot-in-command is over 60 but less than 65 years of age, the operating flight crew includes at least one other pilot, who is licensed, appropriately rated for all phases of flight, current, and younger than 60 years of age. It is suggested that during high workload phases of flight (such as flight below 10,000 feet above ground level) at least one pilot seated at the controls should be under 60 years of age.

4) Medical Assessment

When over 60, a six-monthly medical assessment is necessary (ICAO specifies an annual medical assessment for those under 60 years who are engaged in two-pilot operations).


Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL)

What is the MPL?

The MPL allows a pilot to exercise the privileges of a co-pilot in a commercial air transportation on multi-crew aeroplanes. It provides the aviation community with an opportunity to train pilots directly for co-pilot duties. It is a new licence that has been introduced in addition to the existing pilot licences defined in Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing.

The licence focuses on ab initio airline pilot training. MPL training and assessment will be competency-based and involve a multi-crew environment and threat and error management from the onset. It provides for greater use of flight simulation training devices and include mandatory upset training. At this stage, only aeroplanes are considered for this new licence. The details of the requirements for the licence are contained in Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing and in the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Training (PANS-TRG). These documents outline the minimum international Standard for the implementation of the MPL by any State; they can be purchased directly from ICAO through the Document Sales Unit.

Will the MPL be recognized by Contracting States?

As a licence defined by ICAO the MPL will be recognized by all ICAO Contracting States even by those that may decide not to establish an MPL as a licence within their own States. More details on the recognition of licences by other States can be found on the FAQ on "International recognition of flight crew licences".

What is a multi-crew aeroplane?

It is an aeroplane that requires a flight crew of at least two pilots. One of them is the pilot-in-command (the captain) and the other is the co-pilot (or first officer). All jet air transport aeroplanes and the vast majority of turbine powered air transport aircraft and business jet are multi-crew aeroplanes. The definition in Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing states that it is: "an aircraft required to be operated with a co-pilot as specified in the flight manual or by the air operator certificate."

Do I have to hold a MPL to be a co-pilot on a muti-crew aeroplane?

No, the co-pilot on a multi-crew aeroplane can hold either a MPL or a CPL endorsed with an instrument rating and a type rating on a multi-crew aircraft.

What are the differences between the CPL and the MPL?

For the purposes of operating multi-crew aircraft, the privileges of a MPL are equivalent to those of CPL endorsed with an instrument rating and a type rating on a multi-crew aircraft. However, and because the MPL is geared toward operation of multi-crew airplane, an MPL pilot cannot generally fly on single pilot aeroplane without meeting additional requirements. For example, MPL holders cannot exercise the privileges of a CPL and instrument ratings on single pilot aeroplane without meeting specific actual flight time and flight instruction requirements.

A number of MPL courses may be a modification of the current JAA frozen ATPL or the Transport Canada and FAA CPL/Multi-engine training, but it is expected that the majority will follow the guidance proposed in the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Training (PANS-TRG) document.

What are the minimum flight hours required for the MPL?

The ICAO Standard for the MPL specifies 240 hours as the minimum number of actual and simulated flight hours performing the functions of the pilot flying and the pilot non-flying. However, the Standard does not specify the breakdown between actual and simulated flight hours and thus allow part of the training curriculum that was traditionally conducted on aeroplane to be done on flight simulation training devices (FSTDs). However, there is a requirement that the applicant meets all the actual flying time for a private pilot licence plus additional actual flying time in instrument, night flying and upset recovery.

Why was the MPL established?

The MPL was established to respond to the growing demand in the aviation training community that felt that the current regulatory regime that dictated a large number of flying hours in solo and on a smaller aircraft was not the most efficient and safe way to train pilots for copilot duties on jet transport aircraft.

Further, there was some perceived negative training in the apprenticeship model that was first developed for flight training in the post second world war era. A number of training organizations and airlines were adamant that modern training techniques and research into the use of modern training devices such as flight simulation training devices needed to be recognized within the ICAO licensing structure. The ICAO Air Navigation Commission formed a Flight Crew Licensing and Training Panel to explore the options and opportunities to address the shortcomings of some current licensing requirements. The competency-based concept and the MPL licence were the outcome of that panel's deliberations.

How can the MPL be implemented?

ICAO has developed the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Training (PANS-TRG) document to support the implementation of the MPL and will monitor developments in this area through a proof of concept programme. This programme will involve stakeholders from regulatory bodies and industry. In addition, an Air Training Organization must meet the prescribed organizational standards which are also outlined in Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing and the Procedures for Air Navigation Services — Training (PANS-TRG).

What is the status of the MPL regulatory provisions?

The ICAO Council adopted the provisions related to the MPL as part of Amendment 167 to Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing on 10 March 2006. The new provisions will become applicable on 23 November 2006.


Is my AME licence an ICAO Type II licence?

The Type I and Type II Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) licences have been superseded by a single AME licence since November 1998 (see Annex 1, Chapter 4, paragraph 4.2).


Does ICAO approve training organizations or training programmes?

ICAO does not endorse, recognize or approve training organizations or training programmes. The only exception to that rule is the Regional Training Centres delivering the ICAO Aviation Security Training Programme and ICAO Government Safety Inspectors Training Programme.

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