Monthly Archives: September 2011

Mixed signals

Here is an extremely interesting documentary video showing that every accident – whether it involves a plane, a car, a train, a bicycle or a walking human being – is the result of a series of (apparently unconnected) factors which coincide to cause an uncontrollable situation.

What we must have in mind is that every accident is avoidable. Every link of the chain must be checked to make sure that it can withstand the force it is intended to. In other words, everyone involved in any given process must do their job responsibly, no matter how menial and unimportant it may seem. After all, sometimes a tiny insect can destroy a huge airplane…

Watch the whole video (5 parts altogether) to practice your listening skills.

Then, practice vocabulary, grammar and fluency, explaining these acronyms and abbreviations which appear on the video.

TOGA   /   ADI   /   NTSB   /   CVR   /   FAA   /   FDR   /   CRM   /   ATC

Problems with vocabulary? Let me know how I can help!

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Everything you do matters

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Laser beams: as if there was nothing else for pilots to worry about

About a month ago a student asked me to listen to something he’d recorded during one of his flights. Even with my trained ear, at first I couldn’t understand all the words, though it was clear to me that it was an ATIS from SBGL Not willing to admit defeat, I listened again, and what I heard this time left me agape:

“(…) possibility of laser beams in the vicinity of the airport (…)”

Say what? Laser beams? Yes, that’s right. Apparently, it’s quite the rage with youngsters (and some oldsters, too) to aim those laser beam pointers, which are in fact intended to be used in meetings or lectures, at airplanes as they are approaching to land at major airports in Brazil.

So much so that the FAA and Boeing both have published bulletins warning pilots about this hazard.

To those who still consider this gadget to be harmless, here goes a very enlightening scientific article published earlier this year by a group of Brazilian Aviation Professionals. Here’s another one published in 2009 by the executive director of the International Laser Display Association (ILDA). Even they agree that laser beams directed at the flight decks of aircraft may be hazardous to flights, due to the effects they can have on pilots.

According to Mr Patrick Murphy, from ILDA, these effects are usually temporary, and noticeable at night, but they may cause pilots to get distracted at critical phases of the flight, like takeoffs and landings, therefore increasing the risk of an accident.

Having said that, it’s important to highlight that this issue is present in other countries too, not only in our beloved homeland. As seen in these articles, laser beams have been a problem in the US, in Canada, in New Zealand, in the Philippines, in Ireland… I’m sure the list goes on and on.

Now, my question is: do pilots really need something else to take up their attention during the flight? Isn’t it enough to fly a highly technological aircraft full of people, dealing with congested air traffic, bad weather, birds, potential medical emergencies, Air Traffic Control shortcomings and whatnot? And at critical phases of flight, no less, when the workload is the highest?

Well, I’m just saying…

ATIS – Automatic Terminal Information System. Information about the airport conditions at any given moment, which pilots listen to before they approach such airport.
SBGL- The international IATA code for Galeão International Airport, in Rio de Janeiro.

Questions about vocabulary? Let me know if I can help!

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For runners

I came across this post about runners and their morning habits. Fantastic! If you are a runner yourself, you will certainly enjoy it even more… The whole blog is worth reading, so go ahead and practice your English!

By the way, do you understand the words in the picture above?

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Para corredores

Dei de cara com este post sobre corredores e seus hábitos matutinos. Muito bom! Se você for corredor, vai se divertir ainda mais… O blog todo vale a pena, então vá em frente e pratique seu inglês!

E por sinal, você conhece todas as palavras que aparecem na figura acima?

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I dare you…

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Does grammar matter?

I read this post a few days ago and found it extremely thought-provoking. Read it and think about it.

Im my opinion, grammar does matter. The question is, how much does it matter, and when?

This video, which is embedded in the post, is also very very interesting.

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Words of encouragement..

So true… the important is not to give up when things seem difficult, because they’re most likely to get easier as time goes by!

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