Monthly Archives: December 2009

A nightmare after Christmas

According to several media accounts, these past two days could have been a nighmare after Christmas. First there was what has already been confirmed as a terrorist attempt against a Delta Northwestern flight that was bound to Detroit from Amsterdam (read news here, here and here) . Then, today there was another incident on another aircraft which was doing the same route (read the accounts here, here and here). This time it was only a scare, it seems like the Nigerian man – another coincidence – didn’t have any explosive devices on him.

Anyway, these events bring up the discussions about security measures taken by airport authorities to prevent such dangerous devices from boarding aircraft. Do you think these measures have been efficient lately? Could something else be done to strengthten them? Let me know what you think at

As a pilot, you should be able to discuss these topics with relative ease. Would you be able to do that? Try reading one of the accounts of the events and telling the same story again, but in your own words. We could be doing this in class and broadening your vocabulary range!


O Pesadelo Depois do Natal

De acordo com diversas reportagens vistas na mídia, os últimos dois dias poderiam ter sido um pesadelo depois do Natal. Primeiro, houve o que já foi confirmado como uma tentativa de ataque terrorista contra um voo da companhia aérea Delta Northwestern para Detroit, vindo de Amsterdã (links para notícias acima). Depois, hoje ocorreu um novo incidente em outra aeronave que fazia a mesma rota (links para notícias acima). Desta vez foi apenas um susto, parece que o nigeriano – outra  coincidência – não tinha nenhum artefato explosivo consigo.

Veja se consegue responder – em inglês – às questões levantadas por esses eventos, e se quiser, envie-me suas respostas em

Como piloto, você precisa ser capaz de discutir esses temas com relativa facilidade. Você conseguiria fazer isso? Experimente ler um dos artigos que fala sobre o tema e contar a mesma informação de novo, porém com as suas palavras. Poderíamos estar fazendo isso em sala de aula, e ampliando seu vocabulário!


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Bad Weather and its Consequences (listening + vocabulary practice)

Bad weather is a hazard for aviation, there’s no question about it. And it seems like this year things have gotten as bad as they can get, based on the news we see on the media. Today has been a critical day for transportation in general especially in Europe and in the Northeast of the U.S, as you can see here, here, here and here

Have you ever had any problems due to bad weather? Was it as severe as the problems faced by pilots in the Northern hemisphere? Do you think the weather has been deteriorating in the past few years? How so?

Remember that if we were in class, this exercise would be oral, and you would be practicing all you need to get your English up to ICAO’s level 4 (or higher!).

Do you know these vocabulary items about the weather? Blizzard, breeze, drizzle, drought, flood, flurries, fog, frost, hail, hurricane, lightning, puddle, rain, shower, snow, thunderstorm, tornado. Do they affect aircraft operations? If so, how?

Practice with an exercise about the weather forecast and check the pronunciation of some vocabulary items about the wather here.


O Mau Tempo e suas Consequencias (prática de listening e vocabulário)

O mau tempo representa um risco para a aviação, sem dúvida. E parece que esse ano as coisas estão realmente muito ruins, com base no que vemos na mídia. Hoje foi um dia particularmente ruim para os transportes em geral principalmente na Europa e nos Estados Unidos (veja links das matérias acima).  

Responda às questões acima para ativar todo o seu vocabulário a respeito das condições meterológicas em inglês.

Lembre-se de que, em sala de aula, esse exercício seria oral, e você estaria praticando as habilidades necessárias para atingir o nível 4 da ICAO (ou até mais!)

Há links para outros exercícios acima. Confira!

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Slow takeoff: Listening Practice

Before you watch this video, think about the questions below marked with a *. After watching it, think about the ones marked with a +. Remember that if this was being done in class, we would discuss these questions orally, and you would be practicing all the ICAO criteria – Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension and Interactions. Send me your answers if you like!


Decolagem lenta: Prática de Listening

Antes de assistir a este vídeo, pense nas questões marcadas com *. Após assistir ao vídeo, pense nas questões marcadas com +. Lembre-se de que se estivéssemos fazendo esse exercício em sala de aula, essa discussão seria oral, e você estaria praticando todos os quesitos de avaliação da ICAO – Pronúncia, Estrutura, Vocabulário, Fluência, Compreensão e Interações. Se quiser, envie-me as respostas!


*1) What are some problems that can happen during the takeoff run?
*2) What could cause an aircraft to use all the runway length to take off?
*3) What would you do if you were unable to rotate the aircraft?

+1) Why do you think the pilot took so long to lift up the aircraft?
+2) What did the controllers say about it?
+3) Was it easy or difficult to understand what the controllers were saying? If it was difficult, was it because of the vocabulary or the accent?
+4) If you were the captain of this aircraft, would you have proceeded with the takeoff or would you have aborted it? Why?

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News: Aviation Today (Structure and Vocabulary practice)

Here’s an article taken from here.  Read it and send me the answers to the questions below it, if you’d like to discuss the topic. Remember that if we were practicing this in class it would be oral, and you’d be exercising all the 6 evaluation criteria: Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension and Interactions.


Notícias: A Aviação Hoje (Prática de Estrutura e Vocabulário)

Aqui vai um artigo tirado deste site.  Leia e me envie as respostas às questões abaixo dele, se quiser discutir o tema. Lembre-se que se esse exercício estivesse sendo feito em sala de aula ele seria oral e você estaria praticando os 6 critérios de avaliação: Pronúncia, Estrutura, Vocabulário, Fluência, Compreensão e Interações.


United Places Orders For Boeing, Airbus Planes
Dec 08, 2009 09:54 AM

United Tuesday announced a significant investment in the company’s future with a widebody aircraft order that will enable the carrier to reduce operating costs and better match aircraft to key markets it serves, while providing its customers with state-of-the-art cabin comfort. The new technology aircraft will reduce fuel burn and environmental impact, while enabling service to a broader array of international destinations, the carrier said. United ordered 25 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and has future purchase rights for 50 of each aircraft.

The order follows a six-month request for proposal process, which resulted in agreements with both manufacturers, enabling the company to meet its financial and operational objectives and respond to changes in future market conditions. The breadth in size and capabilities of the different aircraft models ensure the company has the right aircraft for the right market throughout the fleet replacement cycle, United said.

“Over the last few years we have made fundamental improvements in United’s performance, delivering excellent cost control while improving the quality and reliability of our product,” said Glenn Tilton, UAL Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “This aircraft order is another significant step on the path to position United for long-term success in a highly competitive global market.”


1) What’s your favorite manufacturer, Boeing or Airbus? Why?
2) Do you think it’s better for an airline company to have all its aircraft made by the same manufacturer? Why? (or why not?)
3) What aspects should a carrier take into consideration when making such an important decision?

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ICAO level 4 and up: Structure Vol. I

When studying for the Santos Dumont English Assessment (a.k.a. “ANAC test”), most pilots tell me they don’t want to study a regular coursebook, they don’t want to see any grammar. This doesn’t make any sense, being that the criterium “structure“, that is assessed by the examiner is nothing but “grammar“!

The most recurrent problem I see in pilots, regarding structure/ grammar, is what I call verb tense consistency (or the lack of it). It means that if you’re telling someone about a flight you made last year, most of your verbs will be in some form of past tense – past simple, past progressive, past perfect… If you say “I was flying from SP to RJ and we have an engine failure“, you’ll have to agree that the listener will be a little lost before they understand what you want to say. And then they will just think “oh, ok, this guy doesn’t speak English…”.

So focus on maintaining verb tense consistency when you speak to make yourself understood more easily. Keep in mind if you’re talking about something that has already happened, something that is happening now or something that will happen someday.  If you’d like, send me a paragraph you’ve written so I can check if it’s ok!

And remember: to achieve at least level 4, a pilot must clearly differentiate past, present and future!


ICAO Nível 4 e acima: Estrutura Vol. I

Ao estudar para o Santos Dumont English Assessment (mais conhecido como “Teste da ANAC”), a maioria dos pilotos fala que não quer usar um livro-texto normal, não quer estudar gramática. Isso não faz nenhum sentido, já que o critério “estrutura“, avaliado pelo examinador durante a prova, nada mais é do que “gramática“!

A meu ver, o problema mais recorrente em pilotos no que diz respeito à estrutura/gramática é o que eu chamo de  consistência de tempos verbais (ou a falta dela).  Significa que se você está relatando a alguém um voo que fez ano passado, a maioria dos verbos usados estará em alguma forma de passado: passado simples, contínuo, perfeito… Se você disser “Eu estava voando de SP para o RJ e nós temos uma falha no motor”, você tem que concordar comigo que o ouvinte ficará um pouco perdido antes de entender o que você quis dizer. E depois, vai pensar “ah, tá, esse cara não fala inglês…”. 

Então, concentre-se em manter a consistência dos tempos verbais quando fala, para ser compreendido mais facilmente. Tenha em mente se o que você está falando já aconteceu, está acontecendo ou vai acontecer algum dia. Se quiser, mande-me um texto escrito por você para eu dar uma olhada.

E lembre-se: para atingir pelo menos o nível 4, o piloto deve diferenciar claramente passado, presente e futuro!

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