What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

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Kejidog
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What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#1 Post by Kejidog » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:32 am

Not sure where to post this but I have a question about radio procedure in Quebec.

While traveling to and from Ontario this week , i flew into a few smaller airfields in the eastern townships for the first time. All radio transmissions by planes in the circuit and on the ramp were in french. I announced in english well in advance to joining and got no reply over the air. Very stressful and unsafe in my opinion. And at one place I got the hairy eye from a guy who landed just behind me. Turns out that I cut in front of him on final! I was watching for traffic and announcing my intentions. He said he was too. So I asked him "did you say it in english, because I speak no French". He said no. Well i said you're talking to me in english now. How about you try it on the radio? He said he heard me announcing and understood what I was doing. Is this asshole move normal practice in Quebec? And what is the deal with the french only unicom operators? Hard to get anything of use from them.

A really stupid mistake on my part for not seeing him dispite looking but even more of a dangerous practice for him knowing full well there is someone speaking English on frequency. Could have been avoided by speaking a language that is understood by almost every pilot. I apologized for not seeing him as it was my fault to look out for traffic but i wonder how often does this happen? Colud have turned out way worse. I know now whenever i am at an airfield i wiil be saying I am an English speaker only so announce in English for safety.

Edit after posting. He was joining on a long final so he was not ahead of me in the circuit but coming straight into final.

Thoughts/flames?
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Last edited by Kejidog on Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NewCommercialPilot
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#2 Post by NewCommercialPilot » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:35 am

And if there were aircraft in the circuit that were NORDO you would...?
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#3 Post by NewCommercialPilot » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:42 am

As far as your question about "the deal with all the French on the radio", perhaps reading about the history of the issue is in order: here

There is a legal right for francophones to speak only french on the radio in Quebec, much like the right of Mexicans to speak Spanish on the radio in Mexico.

Cheers,

John
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#4 Post by Kejidog » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:48 am

John

Thanks for that. But would you continue in french knowing someone is speaking english who obviously is English? Court case or not it's unsafe and stupid just to have "language rights".

As my dear old mom used to say " there is right,them there is dead right" he obviously spoke english but chose to continue in french. If i had the ability to understand and answer in french I would have. I would have expected the other pilot to extend the same courtesy.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#5 Post by Kejidog » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:50 am

NewCommercialPilot wrote:And if there were aircraft in the circuit that were NORDO you would...?

Good question. But if i was nordo i would not come screaming into the circuit on final seeing someone turning base.

So I'll ask you. What should be dome?
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#6 Post by AirFrame » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:24 am

Maybe you could learn some French?
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#7 Post by Kejidog » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:47 am

AirFrame wrote:Maybe you could learn some French?

ou peut-être que vous pourriez ajouter quelque chose de constructif à la conversation?
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#8 Post by Inverted2 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:10 am

What really irks me is that they speak it in Ottawa too. It's just their little way of showing their language rights. Annoying? Yes. Safe? Questionable (esp at uncontrolled airports) Unlawful? No.

I just tune it out as much as possible. Much like the neighbours dog barking!
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#9 Post by Posthumane » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:19 am

Well if there were a number of aircraft in the area whose pilots only speak French then it's understandable that the other gentleman was announcing his intentions in French rather than English, since that would make him understood by most whereas announcing in English may only make him understood by you. Although he speaks English, it's possible the others on the air don't. I agree, however, that it's a safety issue not having a common language.

Since you were making position reports though, I'm assuming this is an uncontrolled airfield without a ground station? In that case, joining a straight in final is not legal and a circuit is required unless I'm mistaken.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#10 Post by CpnCrunch » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:45 am

Posthumane wrote: Since you were making position reports though, I'm assuming this is an uncontrolled airfield without a ground station? In that case, joining a straight in final is not legal and a circuit is required unless I'm mistaken.
It's legal, just not recommended. You'll probably get a violation for doing it if you don't bother talking on the radio and end up cutting someone off.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#11 Post by B208 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:00 am

NewCommercialPilot wrote: There is a legal right for francophones to speak only french on the radio in Quebec, much like the right of Mexicans to speak Spanish on the radio in Mexico.
Just because something is legal, doesn't mean it isn't stupid.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#12 Post by B208 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 am

AirFrame wrote:Maybe you could learn some French?
Why? The official language of aviation is English.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#13 Post by B208 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:05 am

Posthumane wrote:Well if there were a number of aircraft in the area whose pilots only speak French then it's understandable that the other gentleman was announcing his intentions in French rather than English, since that would make him understood by most whereas announcing in English may only make him understood by you. Although he speaks English, .
Or announce in both languages, oh wait, bilingual only applies outside Quebecistan.....
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#14 Post by linecrew » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:06 am

Not a flame, just my thoughts...

Unfortunately this topic is the textbook definition of a beaten dead horse with two clear and opposing sides to the argument. Based on the posts that I've seen on this site, there will never, ever, ever be a resolution that would satisfy all aspects of the argument simultaneously. Both sides have valid points for various and often unrelated reasons.

The sad truth is that if you feel that your safety is being compromised, your only real option is to avoid flying in the Quebec region altogether because the "French English thing" will never go away. Don't get mad at history, just work around it somehow. It would be a shame though, since Quebec has some of the most beautiful scenery the Country has to offer.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#15 Post by Eric Janson » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:36 am

B208 wrote:Why? The official language of aviation is English.
No - that's not correct.

There are 6 approved languages under ICAO

-English
-French
-Spanish
-Chinese
-Russian
-Arabic

However even if ATC is using a language other than English - ATC must always be available in English.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#16 Post by Posthumane » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:56 am

CpnCrunch wrote:
Posthumane wrote: Since you were making position reports though, I'm assuming this is an uncontrolled airfield without a ground station? In that case, joining a straight in final is not legal and a circuit is required unless I'm mistaken.
It's legal, just not recommended. You'll probably get a violation for doing it if you don't bother talking on the radio and end up cutting someone off.
Seems you are quite right. The only time that a circuit is required is if you are NORDO in an MF area. Curious - has this changed in the last few years or am I totally misremembering something, since I distinctly recall reading that a straight in was authorized when in contact with a ground station but a circuit was required if no ground station exists?

EDIT: Looked it up again and the procedures for only joining straight in at airports with a ground station is in the AIM but not CARS, so yeah, recommended but not legally required.
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Last edited by Posthumane on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#17 Post by Kejidog » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:01 am

Yes it was an uncontrolled airport. He announced he was on final I think, but I never understood. I am a low time pilot and will continue to make mistakes, but this one is the biggest I have made so far. Feeling like a moron too. I have spoken to many a pilot on the atf to find out intentions and location. I wonder why he never spoke to me to inform me where he was? I just would have thought if he knew i was turning base, and brodcasted it; that i would be turning final shortly after. I always inform that I am turning base and announce that I am on final too. I know you don't need to announce base or crosswind but I normally do.

I am hoping to not ever do this again. I don't want to end up as being "that Guy". I am trying not to be be by asking for help here. Continuing education is a good plan.

Thanks
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#18 Post by crazyaviator » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:08 am

oh wait, bilingual only applies outside Quebecistan.....
+1
There are good frenchies and there are asshole frenchies !
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#19 Post by Air.Field » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:08 am

Kej, you did everything you're suppose to, don't feel bad about yourself. Spotting traffic isn't always easy, sometimes I wonder how the dog fighters of WW1 and 2 did it, when I can't see something on TCAS 5 miles away sometimes. The fact is Kej, there is and always will be Aholes in this industry. That guy who you "cut off" is one of them. As long as you are at least doing everything by the book you are covering your ass, just try to remain vigilant for the Aholes, and defend your actions when you clearly did it proper.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#20 Post by timel » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:15 am

crazyaviator wrote:
oh wait, bilingual only applies outside Quebecistan.....
+1
There are good frenchies and there are asshole frenchies !

Assholes everywhere. They are a very small minority but they are hard to forget.
One of my former colleagues on a charter in northern Ontario were refused jetfuel
because their original tongue was French, the guy told them to find some elsewhere. They had to manage a barrel with some helicopter guys in order to fly the next nearby airport.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#21 Post by godsrcrazy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:52 am

Personally the whole French thing is BS. It will take one midair and loss of life then maybe someone will do something about it. It a real joke especially on the main line carriers. Look around when you get on a flight. Most everyone speaks English and most that don't speak english don't speak french. Always amazes me flying on flights North of 60. 70% of the people don't speak english our french.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#22 Post by digits_ » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:53 am

godsrcrazy wrote:It will take one midair and loss of life then maybe someone will do something about it.
Sad but true :|
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#23 Post by FADEC » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:00 am

Canada is one of the few places where a language other than English is allowed; it is actually illegal in France.

There is no good reason to have French; it is totally political.

We are doing no favour to permit French; if someone wants to have a career in Aviation, they will have to have "Aviation English" permitting the use of French is holding back everyone and endangering everyone.

However; as it is political, it requires a political solution; something that will not happen.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#24 Post by timel » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:05 am

FADEC wrote:Canada is one of the few places where a language other than English is allowed; it is actually illegal in France.

There is no good reason to have French; it is totally political.

We are doing no favour to permit French; if someone wants to have a career in Aviation, they will have to have "Aviation English" permitting the use of French is holding back everyone and endangering everyone.

However; as it is political, it requires a political solution; something that will not happen.
Lol, French controllers speak French and English.
I flew my fair share north of 60. English French? Never been an issue. The problem isn't the language, the problem is racist assholes and norrow minded idiots who can't look beyond their villages or borders.
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Re: What is the deal with all the French on the radio?

#25 Post by digits_ » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:29 am

FADEC wrote:Canada is one of the few places where a language other than English is allowed; it is actually illegal in France.
No it isn't. They actually issue french language proficency certificates :rolleyes:

On the other hand, you're supposed to speak aviation English on the radio, not whatever you please. If you see how hard it is for English speaking people to put in a little effort to stick to standard phraseology, you can't really blame French people for not putting in more effort to speak English.
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