Communication in Aviation

A CASA Presentation on Communication

Video embedded from YouTube on 16 August 2012

What is communication?

We spend approximately 80 per cent of our waking hours in some form of communication whether we want to or not. It is an essential part of an air transport operation. Success in business is 85 per cent dependent on effective communication and interpersonal skills. There is one-way communication, e.g., from cockpit instruments to the pilot; and there is two-way communication, which also called interpersonal communication, this includes communication between individuals on the flight deck, in the cabin, and anyone involved in the operation, such as management, regulatory authorities. (Spinner, 19981)

Classic Communication Model
(Picture embeded from Society & Sociology on 1 September 2009)

Five types of commcation

  1. Verbal as between crew members
  2. Non-verbal, such as body language. (Hand signals from the ground to the cockpit, between crewmembers during certain routine operations, or between cabin crew and passengers during or after an encounter with clear air turbulence.)
  3. Written communications, for example, from the management as it issues manuals, technical bulletins, SOPs, checklists, etc.
  4. Written and graphic.
  5. Communication with and between computers in the airplane, this mostly involves advanced technology airplanes. (Orlady, 19992)

Communication barriers

Physical barriers are the easiest to notice.

  • Context
  • Distance
  • Impaired hearing, eyesight or speech
  • Technical difficulties
  • Illness and tiredness

Semantic barriers such as not understanding unusual words are also obvious.

  • Accent
  • Idiom
  • Technical jargon
  • Tone
  • Poor expresseion
  • Ambiguity

Psychological barriers, however, are related to our attitudes and are more difficult to identify and put right.

  • Culture
  • Personal experience
  • Lack of feedback
  • Emotions
  • Defensiveness
  • Inattention
  • Premature evaluation
  • Distrust of inconsistency
  • Power
  • Insufficient warning of change
  • Insecurity of communicators
  • Conflict

(Chase, O'Rourke, Smith,Sutton, Timperley & Wallance 199820033)

Documentation Management

A large amount ot documents and charts, maps are used in aviation operation, they're the most important written communication methods in this industry, the design and management of documentation significantly influences pilots performance. This page breakdown these paper works into 4 sections, they are:

  1. Company written communications and operational documentation
  2. Flight plans
  3. Checklist
  4. Maps, charts and apporach plates

Skills for effective communication

  1. Intrapersonal skills
  2. Interpersonal communication
  3. Effective writing
  4. Effective speaking & listening
1. SPINNER, D. (1998). Communication Skills. (4th ed.) Auckland: Addison Wesley Longman New Zealand Limited.
2. ORLADY, H.& ORLADY, L. (1999). Human Factors in Multi-Crew Flight Operations. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
3. CHASE, P., O'ROURKE, S., SMITH, L.,SUTTON,C.,TIMPERLEY, T.& WALLANCE, C. (2003). Effective Business Communication in New Zealand. (3rd ed.) Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand Limited.
4. ** CASA.** Communication. Retrieved from Youtube on 16 August 2012.

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