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Italian pilot with French licence on Italian radio

Hi all,
I just started my PPL training and this is my first post on the forum. I already found a ton of useful info here but can’t seem to find this detail so I’m asking it directly.
I am Italian but I live in France and I am getting my PPL here (LFST), therefore I am learning all the procedures and the radio in French. I will of course also take the English radio exam once completed the PPL but then I wonder: let’s say I want to take a trip to Italy one day, am I allowed to speak Italian with the ATC there? Do I need to pass a specific exam or can I just learn the phraseology on my own? It is just out of curiosity, of course, I wouldn’t mind speaking English in Italy if necessary.
Cheers
Seba

Last Edited by Seba at 12 Feb 15:27
Training PPL
LFST, France

Hello,

On the plus side, getting your PPL in France in French will automatically get you French Radio communication level 6 (ie valid for life) and that is the only way to get this (unless some contry started organizing French language tests?). On the minus side, you will have to take a test to be able to use any other language, and to get the level 6 in that language, you will have to take the test with the DGAC (everyone know that the French administration is fluent in many languages … if you count 1 as being many…) so that will be possible for English (Yes the French adminstration can speak so good English that they are the only to be able to give you a level 6 in English. If you don’t believe me, just go to the next DGAC bureau and start speaking English, you will see that they are good !!!!!) but no other language since you have to find an organism other than DGAC to take the test, not sure if there is an Italian test organized?

ENVA, Norway

Seba wrote:

Do I need to pass a specific exam or can I just learn the phraseology on my own?

Assuming you are required to operate an aircraft radio station while exercising Part-FCL licence or rating privileges then you must have a language proficiency endorsement for English or the language to be used. This requirement is made in FCL.055.

London

Seba salve,just relax on the matter about Italy. All ATCO’s speak good to average English and they dont have a problem with that.Same with MIL ATCO’s and FIS.But if you start speaking Italian with them,they will be mostly relieved.Fraseology is not very strict (by the book)(Eng-It).

LGGG

Seba wrote:

Do I need to pass a specific exam or can I just learn the phraseology on my own? It is just out of curiosity, of course, I wouldn’t mind speaking English in Italy if necessary.

Since you speak italian, I wouldn’t bother about paperwork and speak italian (I assume you are native) if you want to (or if required).

I go to FR-only airfields all the time, and alternate french / english / frenglish with ATC, despite not having any sort of french ELP on my licence. I’ve been ramp checked and that never even was discussed.

My guess is that people will only want to look at your ELP if:
1) You are blatantly violating the rules (e.g., heard on the radio, French ATC asks in french to a pilot doing to a FR only airfield if he speaks french, and pilot replies “english please” – I went off frequency so don’t know what happened after)
2) You cause trouble because of poor profficiency.
3) You annoy people who have the power to annoy you.

My understanding is that english ELP is “different”, because it’s the standard aviation language that can be used ~everywhere, so it’s more regulated (rightly so)

My understanding may well be wrong, but it is: to fly internationally you need ELP i.e. you need to be able to speak English (to some extent ).

But you don’t actually need to do so if you can speak the language of the country you are flying in.

So in France you speak French. In fact there is a law – quite controversial, and not enforced – that a French pilot (definition??) must speak French when in France.

In Italy you speak Italian.

In Germany you speak German.

I think the reason for the ELP requirement is because ATC is entitled to call you up in English (unless you are some VFR local flight) so you need to be able to respond.

Various previous threads e.g. this one.

@bordeaux_jim will know more. I am not sure if he is still around however…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

to fly internationally you need ELP i.e. you need to be able to speak English

No that is not true. There are two similar issues at stake here. One concerns the language proficiency endorsed in a licence in accordance with ICAO Annex 1 standards and the other concerns the carrying out of a radiotelephone service of an aircraft earth station pursuant to the ITU Radio Regulations.

The language whose proficiency is to be demonstrated for flight crew licensing purposes is to be determined by the state of licence issue. The relevant standard in Annex 1 is:

1.2.9.1 Aeroplane, airship, helicopter and powered-lift pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators
shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications to the level
specified in the language proficiency requirements in Appendix 1.

The interpretation is supported by a note to section 1.2.9 (the note does not form part of the standard):

Note 2.— The provisions of 1.2.9 refer to Annex 10, Volume II, Chapter 5, whereby the language used for radiotelephony communications may be the language normally used by the station on the ground or English. In practice, therefore, there will be situations whereby flight crew members will only need to speak the language normally used by the station on the ground.

Two relevant standards made in Annex 10, vol II, on the language to be used are:

5.2.1.2.1 The air-ground radiotelephony communications shall be conducted in the language normally used by the
station on the ground or in the English language.

and

5.2.1.2.2 The English language shall be available, on request from any aircraft station, at all stations on the ground
serving designated airports and routes used by international air services.

None of these standards requires the AES operator to speak or understand English.

However, it is a required that the holder of a radiotelephone operator’s (restricted) certificate be able to communicate in one of the six languages of the ITU (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish). This requirement is made in provision no. 37.28 to the ITU Radio Regulations, vol 1, art 37:

37.26 § 9 1) The radiotelephone operator’s restricted certificate is issued to candidates
who have given proof of the knowledge and professional qualifications enumerated below:

37.28 b) ability to send correctly and to receive correctly by radiotelephone in one of the
working languages of the Union;
Last Edited by Qalupalik at 12 Feb 21:22
London

Seba wrote:

I allowed to speak Italian with the ATC there? Do I need to pass a specific exam or can I just learn the phraseology on my own? It is just out of curiosity, of course, I wouldn’t mind speaking English in Italy if necessary.

Here is a scenario to your defence, if you get an Italian PPL, I guess it will have “unlimited VFR IT ELP” by default in the Remarks section (as do French PPLs have for FR) and it will be valid for life, then if you convert that later to a French PPL as you can’t hold two EASA licences, you will lose your IT ELP but you will keep ELP/FCL.055 for international privileges if you ever had one, as Noe said English ELP is a bit special (probably more for IFR sphere, is there an IFR IT ELP? IFR FR ELP?) that you are supposed to work hard on to get it and you are guaranteed it does not get “lost in translation” if you convert a licence from country A to B

What is the legal value of a “rating” that you get by default, valid for life and you can’t get it recognised somewhere else or carried over to another licence or get it endorsed on your current licence? Besides if you ever have gone trough that conversion in the past, then you already had it in the past but you have no legit way to prove it

ELP or FR-only is a tricky topic to discuss with “local” & “visitor” pilots, the easy way to I personally view it is to get “Dutch pilots to speak English while visiting France”

The worst I have seen so far a bunch of non-flench speaking pilots who can speak english were flying the circuit and forced to speak French between themselves (no French pilot was on Frequency) or one english speaking pilot in the middle of a French only speaking circuit

Last Edited by Ibra at 12 Feb 23:54
ESSEX, United Kingdom

I’ve actually been specifically asked about French ELP, it was on a night IFR approach to Toussus LFPN, after their closing hours (reverts to FR only). A friend of mine (non FR speaker) was P1, and as the approach controllers were vectoring us through our reveral turn, they asked if we spoke french, since toussus was FR only. I replied in my best french “Affirmatif” (after asking to the P1 if I could take comms), a small friendly exchanged ensued (where I think I even didn’t bother lying and said I was the “translator”), and that was it.
Not causing trouble, Not annoying anyone and being friendly (even if when you are annoyed) often avoids a ton of difficulties!

WingsWaterAndWheels wrote:

getting your PPL in France in French will automatically get you French Radio communication level 6 (ie valid for life)

That was not the case when I got my PPL in 2012 from the DSAC Nord-Est, the authority that will also issue @Seba ‘s PPL when he finishes. They first did not want to enter French LP into my PPL despite me having done my whole theoretical and practical training in France in French. As according to them the issue of the French LP level 6 is usually done by studying the file, i.e. if you have a French passport you get the French LP and if you don’t have a French passport, then they assume you don’t speak French at level 6 and need to take a test.

WingsWaterAndWheels wrote:

unless some contry started organizing French language tests?

France does.

Noe wrote:

French ELP

What is this “French English Language Proficiency” or “Italian English Language Proficiency” you are all writing about? Is it the capability to speak and understand English with a French/Italian accent?

As to your question @Seba, ignoring much of the personal opinion posted here, and also based on the correct facts mentioned by @Qalupalik – I am in a similar situation to you when flying to DE only airfields in Germany as a German native speaker with a French PPL, where it is not possible to get a German LP on the licence. The important distinction is between

  • Radiotelephony licence = This is about phraseology and being able to operate a radio. In France, it is not language specific based on the article 37.28 b) posted by Qalupalik, but gives you the right to do the radio in Italian if you are able to do it. It is written on your French PPL (unlike in other countries where it is a separate piece of paper also indicating the languages you have been tested in). This is a very ancient requirement dating back to the beginning of international radiotelephony.
  • Language Proficiency = This is about your ability to understand and speak a language, the criteria are similar to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages . It is not supposed to be about phraseology or radiotelephony procedures. Its introduction in Europe as FCL.055 was fairly recent based on new ICAO regulations.

Notwithstanding the fact that you only need English LP or LP in the language used, you could always argue in front of a court that by being a native speaker, you have sufficient language proficiency in your mother tongue. In addition, when it isn’t even possible to get this certified by your licensing authority, I think that is a very good argument for saying you can’t be in breach of any regulation.

So, I’m relaxed about speaking German in Germany over the radio and I think so should you about speaking Italian in Italy.

Last Edited by Rwy20 at 13 Feb 09:36
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