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Montreal ATC

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:02 pm
by Mach7
In our operations we employ a confirmation before any ATC clearance is adhered to. For example, if ATC clears us to 8000 feet, then the Pilot Flying will dial in the altitude, confirm said altitude with the Pilot monitoring, then maneuver the Aircraft to complying with the ATC instruction. This ensures everyone is on the same page and nobody violates anyone else's airspace.

I am finding a more frequent occurence of Controllers issuing instructions in French to English speaking Crews. While this in itself is not my issue, as the mistake can be readily identified. What concerns me is
French First Officers flying with an English Captain, (or visa versa), acknowledging your clearance in French and then looking at the non French speaking a Pilot for confirmation.

I am in no way placing this responsibility on the Controllers, or want to begin a language debate as this is the climate we live and we have to accept and deal with it.

I am introducing this topic in an attempt to point out a fairly large hole in the two crew concept with regards to Confirmation of cleared altitudes, headings, etc etc that will most likely lead to a loss of separation.

I have filed an SMS report to see if my company can trap this threat, but wanted to kingly inform my controller friends of what is happening on the other side of the mic.

Re: Montreal ATC

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:11 am
by Grey_Wolf

If a controller gives you a clearance in a language that your not operating in, state it, and get proper clearance. It should boil down to common sense, if one crew member doesn't speak the language, then it should defer to a language that all (pilots and controllers) are common with.

Side note; although my Company primarily speaks English, we do have bilingual pilots. It isn't against our SOP that both pilots speak French when dealing with French controllers.

Re: Montreal ATC

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:35 am
by Mach7

I totally agree with your statement.

Maybe my initial post may have been a bit confusing as it had been a long day...but are correct..if the Pilot(s) in question responded to ATC that they require the instructions in English, then the Controller would of course accommodate. This may not happen inside the cockpit unless the English Pilot speaks up and demands the other call ATC back for a clarification in English.

I for one have demanded clarification however, in speaking with other Pilots, they have just accepted what the other Pilot has read back, in essence eliminating the crosscheck and turning the flight deck into a single pilot operation.

My issue is not with the Controller(s) per say, but rather specific Pilot behaviours that circumnavigate company protocol and SOPs by accepting a clearance in French when they know very well the other Pilot sitting next to them does not speak the language. These Pilots feel that they are moving the ball forward in a busy terminal environment, when in actuality they are creating a break in the chain of safety.

My 2 cents anyway.

Re: Montreal ATC

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:05 pm
by Grey_Wolf
Pilots, they have just accepted what the other Pilot has read back, in essence eliminating the crosscheck and turning the flight deck into a single pilot operation.
This is what will get you violated or potentially killed (TA/RA). I understand that some pilots will get antsy with terminal and read back whatever in an effort to keep the ball rolling. Simply put, be professional! Don't cut corners in an attempt to be more expeditious. Safety should alway come first. So what if it took an extra 30 seconds to get a proper clearance.

With the current level of experience in the regional sector, it's even more imperative that crews work together running the ship in a safe and efficient manner.

Be safe out there! :wink:

Re: Montreal ATC

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:51 am
by Braun
It does happen that we will speak in the wrong language to a crew. We use a special function on our radar that we manually update to show a crew as being french or english speaking. If the controller forgets to enter the information it is very possible that we communicate in the wrong language. That being said, if a controller speaks the wrong language to the crew he should reissue the instruction/clearance to make sure there is no ambiguity. If a pilot does a readback in the wrong language but the readback contains the correct information I would be surprised if the controller would insist.

I see this a crew problem, if you want to confirm in the correct language, ask and we will comply.