Miscommunication in Aviation

1556 WordsJul 23, 20167 Pages
Miscommunication in Aviation December 17, 1903 was the day the very first powered airplane took the skies. The flight only lasted twelve seconds and only covered approximately one hundred twenty feet in distance. Even though the flight was not long, Wright Brothers showed everyone that flying is possible. After that historical flight, the world of aviation grew rapidly ever since. With more and more airplanes in the skies everyday, safety is unquestionably a main concern, thus adding extra pressure to the air traffic control system. Communicating with the air traffic control is the number one key to safety in aviation. They organize the air traffic so ensure that one aircraft is keeping a safe distance away from another. Without…show more content…
Without any visual contact with the airplanes, the air traffic controllers rely on communications with the inbounding traffic as well as the ground traffic. The amount of irritation on the KLM flight crew builds up, as they were delays on the plane for hours upon hours due to the weather. This is also one accident where the use of language proficiency is considered to have played a crucial part, with the Air Traffic Controller a native speaker of Spanish, a Dutch crew for the KLM aircraft and a US crew for Pan Am. The miscommunication occurred when the tower said, “KLM eight seven zero five, you are cleared to the Papa Beacon, climb to and maintain flight level nine zero, right turn after takeoff...” and the KLM pilot interpreted it as “clear for takeoff” while it was meant as a clearance for actions after takeoff. KLM 4805’s transcript said “Ah - roger sir, we are cleared to the Papa Beacon, flight level nine zero... we are now at takeoff.” The problem does not stop there either; KLM pilot not only used non-standard phraseology but also should have waited for the clearance to takeoff and both the tower and the pilots had different interpretations between “clear for take off” and “clear at takeoff.” The tower later replied, “Ok”, which is not a standard phraseology either. The KLM captain was in a hurry and took off without a clearance, colliding with the other Boeing 747, Pan American PAA1736, still on the runway (Cushing). Another
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