Tag Archives: photos

Never sacrifice who you are…

I found this online and I just had to post it. Here is the original link.


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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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A Star is Gone

When I opened my inbox today I got pretty down to learn that Elizabeth Taylor had passed… such a beautiful face, such a talented actress.


Read the article sent to me by The New York Times.

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Santos Dumont English Assessment – Part 4 (Photo + Questions)

New students usually ask me why they are asked to describe a photograph in the Santos Dumont English Assessment (the Brazilian test to apply the ICAO language proficiency requirements). The candidate is shown a photograph on part 4, the last part of the test. By then, the examiner will  most likely already have made up his/her mind about the candidate’s level. Part 4  is an opportunity for the candidate to show the examiner their vocabulary range and their language skills in general. They are supposed to describe the situation in the photograph and talk about its possible causes and consequences and say what they would have done if faced with the same situation, besides offering suggestions on how to avoid it, if that’s the case.

You see why it’s essential to have a wide range of vocabulary: there’s no way to predict what photograph you will be shown!

Give it a try with the photographs below, all taken from www.airliners.net. There are some strategies you can apply to maximize your performance in this part of the test. Let’s discuss them in class!


Santos Dumont English Assessment – Parte 4 (Foto + Perguntas)

Alunos novos sempre me perguntam por que tem que descrever uma foto no Santos Dumont English Assessment (o teste brasileiro desenvolvido para aplicar os requisitos de proficiência linguística da ICAO). O candidato tem que descrever a foto na parte 4 do teste, a última parte. A essa altura, o examinador provavelmente já terá definido o nível do candidato. A parte 4 é uma oportunidade do candidato mostrar ao examinador todo o alcance de seu vocabulário e também as suas habilidades linguísticas em geral. É preciso descrever a situação mostrada na fotografia e fazer comentários a respeito de suas possíveis causas e consequencias, e dizer o que o candidato teria feito na mesma situação, além de oferecer sugestões sobre como evitar o problema, se for o caso.

Dá para ver a importância de ter um vocabulário amplo: é impossível prever a foto que você verá!

Teste seus conhecimentos com as fotos abaixo, todas tiradas do site www.airliners.net. Há algumas estratégias que você pode utilizar para potencializar seu desempenho nessa parte do teste. Vamos discuti-las em aula!


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