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Local language proficiency requirements


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10 hours ago, Nicolas Ammann said:

In my 12 years as active controller, I don't remember a single time that a pilot logged off or turned back outside my airspace because I was unable to provide service in the language they made the initial call in. 

Then I can assure you, you haven't controlled in south America.
Flying into ANY Southern- South American Country (excluding north because Long hauls usually arrive there from other places in the world), and you will hear nothing but Spanish.
Fly into ANY Southern- Brazilian sector, and you will hear nothing but Portuguese on frequency.

I've had multiple Brazilian pilots enter SUEO speaking in Portuguese,  switch to text or straight up disconnect on contact me's (Happens way more often that one would think). I'm not generalizing and I'm sure a lot of Brazilian people speak English, I'm just sharing facts, want to make that clear before the discussion turns away from what it actually is. (To add; VATBRZ Staff and it's community are some of the nicest people I've met and very pleasant to work with..)
That said, imagine an X nationality person, who doesn't speak Spanish. Go into Argentinian sectors, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay... 90% of the traffic there is Spanish speaking, and I will make clear that most of the pilots will disconnect.
Going back to Brazil, which due to it's traffic I bet it catches a lot of people's attention, you fly in there without speaking Portuguese and you'll have 0 awareness of what's going on. Turn that around and you'll have just 2 planes in what used to be an overloaded sector.

Believe me when I say that mentoring is going to be an issue if English would be used in some places, All of VATSUR's documents are in Spanish, so when I got someone to train in a pretty much empty sub-division (without Staff), and he did not speak Spanish, I had to improvise all of the training.. Training one person in English was clearly not what some mentors wanted, since they straight up said "Keep him, you can train him". It's not because of excluding the person, but because of the complications it created..

Honestly, I think this rule will do more harm than good in many regions of the world and I think it should be the left to each sub-division's criteria.
They know best what will work and what will not.

Edited by Andrew Rizk
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12 minutes ago, Matthew Bartels said:

Because it is absolutely not necessary given normal VATSIM traffic levels. Such places have those restrictions IRL because the airports are so busy they literally can not accommodate.

Outside of a handful of Major events no airport on VATSIM is so busy to the point that they need to be denying VFR traffic.

These airports don’t have any VFR procedures published.

 

I thought VATSIM was simulating the real life but it seems I’m wrong.

Can I cross Europe at Mach 3?? With this traffic levels don’t have much sense to deny it using your argument.

Edited by Alberto Medina
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10 minutes ago, Matthew Bartels said:

Because it is absolutely not necessary given normal VATSIM traffic levels. Such places have those restrictions IRL because the airports are so busy they literally can not accommodate.

Outside of a handful of Major events no airport on VATSIM is so busy to the point that they need to be denying VFR traffic.

Ok. So, which real life regulations are we allowed to follow? Because, as far as I know, we are not violating any VATSIM policy by applying that restriction to the pilots who want to do a VFR flight out of those aerodromes.

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I see that reality matters absolutely nothing here. Why do we need controllers then. We could put an ATC with pre-recorded voices like some simulators have by default. If we go as far as allowing VFR where you can't fly VFR then this is chaos. Everyone can do what they want on the net as they want, when they want, and whoever is not comfortable should leave.

¡¡WARNING!!

UNDER MY CONTROL WILL NOT FLY ANY VFR IN ALPHA SPACE. Call a SUP if you don't know how to fly and then he will desconect me from the network. One controller less, one pilot who don't know how to fly more.

Edited by Enol Garcia
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It's getting a bit childish now, isn't it? 🙊

Come on guys, we are playing a (nice!!) game at VATSIM. In terms of procedures and regulations we are all just scratching the surface and then you want to exclude VFR customers from your own airports, when at the same time you complain that ATCOs who do not speak the local language, will scare away local pilots? Please, give me a break...

The AIP says that "hospital helicopters and state aircraft" may operate VFR at LEBL, in the CTR(D) helicopters may operate VFR, too.

And if there are no VFR procedures laid out, you can always improvise. Or do you have 40+ IFR movements per hour out of virtual LEMD/LEBL?

Don't worry, I will not turn up as a VFR pilot at any of your airports - if you do not want to have customers, then that's your choice.

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1 hour ago, Andrew Rizk said:

That said, imagine an X nationality person, who doesn't speak Spanish. Go into Argentinian sectors, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay... 90% of the traffic there is Spanish speaking, and I will make clear that most of the pilots will disconnect.

That's what most kept saying from the start of this discussion here please read up on it! Visiting controllers or controllers joining without local language knowledge should at least learn the standard RTF in that language. French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese phrases are really easy to learn within a few days - when I fly IRL in countries where they speak these languages, I am happy to understand most of the instructions given to "local" pilots. Mandarin, Japanese and Korean would be a different level of difficulty for us from Latin/Germanic language backgrounds, I don't think that I would have the skill and patience to learn all those phrases.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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I think the discussion here is drifting away from what this network is all about: Having fun regardless of who you are or where you live.

One line from one of the members raised my attention on this subject, which is why I reacted: Having a global policy on local language requirements would impose an exclusion on the controllers ability to provide atc whereever you are in the World.

I felt it was being rather egoistic. Let's face it. If you are speaking English (and all controllers must be able to do that), you can provide service in a lot of countries, where English is either the native language or the common language. Feeling the need to provide service in other parts of the World is a bit beyond me, as the consequence is EXCLUSION of a lot of pilots, who are not proficient in English. There will ALWAYS be a position you can man in an English-speaking country, whereas pilots only speaking their native togue are limited to fly in their own country. And if they are only met by English on the radios, my guess is that they will seek elsewhere for an inclusive network.

Yes, a policy stating you must be able to provide atc in the native language is exclusive. But a policy which dictates that everyone must be able to speak English is much more excluding. My preference on this is clear. It is a good idea to have atc speak (at least atc-lingo) the local language.

 

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Hello all,

On behalf of Russian-speaking community I want to say some things here.

There was said all members should know English. Well, I agree it's necessary for reading and understanding VATSIM documents, but not all pilots, especially newbies, know English as good as it needed to communicate with other people. Documents can be read with translator. Basic phases when flying? Ok. But what about non-routine situations. Newbee, coming to VATSIM, often knows only basic things on their native language. We are educational network, isn't it? How we can learn pilots, if controller in their home airport don't speak their language? There are a lot of special, technical things that pilots must understand before they start to fly in VATSIM. It is really hard to understand something on technical English, if your native language is Russian, Spanish, French or any other. 

If in Russia we let control non-Russian-speaking controllers, we've just lose a huge part of pilots. It's important to understand that not all people can speak English well to communicate with foreign ATC. Russians who don't speak English well can't understand fluently English, especially native speakers. A lot of Russian pilots fly only over Russia and CIS because are still learning how to fly in VATSIM on their native language. 

Of course, all our controllers can provide ATC in English, we certify them. But all of them also speak Russian well. Many pilots (and it's a big part of community), especially at the east from Moscow, can't speak English well.

We think we would let local vACCs and Divisions introduce restrictions about the ATC language "as real". Only English-speaking controllers all over the world will lead to losing a huge part of community. 

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

That's what most kept saying from the start of this discussion here please read up on it! Visiting controllers or controllers joining without local language knowledge should at least learn the standard RTF in that language. French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese phrases are really easy to learn within a few days - when I fly IRL in countries where they speak these languages, I am happy to understand most of the instructions given to "local" pilots. Mandarin, Japanese and Korean would be a different level of difficulty for us from Latin/Germanic language backgrounds, I don't think that I would have the skill and patience to learn all those phrases.

That is exactly what we want them to be able to do. that they can be required to memorise basic phraseology. Not to speak a perfect local language

 

1 hour ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

It's getting a bit childish now, isn't it? 🙊

Come on guys, we are playing a (nice!!) game at VATSIM. In terms of procedures and regulations we are all just scratching the surface and then you want to exclude VFR customers from your own airports, when at the same time you complain that ATCOs who do not speak the local language, will scare away local pilots? Please, give me a break...

The AIP says that "hospital helicopters and state aircraft" may operate VFR at LEBL, in the CTR(D) helicopters may operate VFR, too.

And if there are no VFR procedures laid out, you can always improvise. Or do you have 40+ IFR movements per hour out of virtual LEMD/LEBL?

Don't worry, I will not turn up as a VFR pilot at any of your airports - if you do not want to have customers, then that's your choice.

It's not that we want to kick VFR out. Most of the flying I do are VFR. But there are fields to flight VFR and there are fields where VFRs are not allowed. And it's the same with IFR. I can't give a cleareance for instrument traffic to take off from a field that only allows VFR flights.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

The AIP says that "hospital helicopters and state aircraft" may operate VFR at LEBL, in the CTR(D) helicopters may operate VFR, too.

We allow those flights. My question is which are the limits to what we can and can't do. As I understood, VATSIM allowed us to follow all the real world procedures and regulations that didn't go against the ones of the network. For example, if you finally decide to only mandate English, perfect, it will go against what is done in real life, but it will be something all VATSIM members shall accept. Now, for the same reason, because I don't want to go against any policy of the network, if you tell me I can't reject a VFR flight out of Madrid (LEMD) because we don't have the same amount of traffic as in real life, I need to know which are boundaries to what is acceptable here.

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1 minute ago, Henry Huaman said:

I need to know which are boundaries to what is acceptable here.

It's your own judgement of the capacity that you have to safely manage regular IFR movements and those "special requests" at the same time. When you work CTR you also do NOT have to work all the way top-down when you are too busy in your core-area - and that is ACC (area control, not terminal control). As we do not have that much traffic in VATSIM, this will rarely happen, but you have this instrument to protect the main duty of your CTR-duties, for example.

Just be flexible, use common sense. Like we do in the real world.

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5 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

It's your own judgement of the capacity that you have to safely manage regular IFR movements and those "special requests" at the same time. When you work CTR you also do NOT have to work all the way top-down when you are too busy in your core-area - and that is ACC (area control, not terminal control). As we do not have that much traffic in VATSIM, this will rarely happen, but you have this instrument to protect the main duty of your CTR-duties, for example.

Just be flexible, use common sense. Like we do in the real world.

Then, because it is on our own judgement, VATSPA has decided to don't allow VFR flights out of Madrid and Barcelona because we want to adjust our procedures to the ones used in real life. We don't break any rule, so answering to your question that was not for me but I have decided to answer because it got on my nerves, do I think that VATSIM controllers in Madrid and Barcelona have the right to deny VFR flights in and out of these aerodromes? Yes, but not only that, I know we have the right because we are not violating any policy by doing so.

 

To everyone else, I do apologise for derailing this thread that was about local language proficiency requirements, but it really bother me to read that comment.

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3 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

That's what most kept saying from the start of this discussion here please read up on it!

Well, last time I mentioned to a supervisor via private messages that most people I know are against this rule, he said "well only a couple commented on the forums, so that won't be enough" so just wait till a couple more say the same thing. I've read the whole discussion 2 times already, and logically they aren't going to do much if only a couple sub-division representatives complain, so why not complain some more?
Can't wait to see what they end up deciding... I'll be waiting patiently.

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1 hour ago, Henry Huaman said:

do I think that VATSIM controllers in Madrid and Barcelona have the right to deny VFR flights in and out of these aerodromes? Yes, but not only that, I know we have the right because we are not violating any policy by doing so.

And there you are wrong.

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Hello there,

Glad to see this issue publicly debated. Read the 4 pages of comments, lots of interesting points.

I agree with Andreas and others saying that the solution is probably something in the grey area.

For example, in the past, in France, we used to ask visiting controllers to be able to use basic french phraseology (no real proficiency in the language), and made an exception for the Paris area, where most of the traffic is IFR and more "international". Visiting controllers tend to be more interested in the main airports than in the remote ones anyway. This was a way to try be inclusive for everyone, which of course wasn't perfect and may not apply everywhere...


In the same idea, I would think it is reasonable to advertise that for a specific event, ATS would be in English only, for staffing purposes or whatever. As long as the pilots can get the information that "no, VATSIM is not English only".

In brief, as for many aspects of this hobby, I think flexibility is the key.

 

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Thomas Merle

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  • 1 month later...

As I see that a decision has been made on the matter - to strictly enforce sub-divisions not restricting both home members and visitors based on language proficiency (even just for phraseology purposes only), please may I get a statement from the BoG (@Matthew Bartels) about this decision and about what considerations and factors were taken into account and how the benefits of having no restrictions outweigh the benefits of having a restriction placed (all mentioned more than enough times in this thread - in particular, the limitations on local pilots)?

C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Events Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

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Simple solution (in my simple brain).

There can be no requirement to speak the local language in order to control locally - if a German VFR pilot wishes to speak German and the controller doesn't speak German: tough - they will have to speak English!

However, where a facility can demonstrate that they genuinely cannot train a controller because their entire community is based on a different language (Discord, training materials, website, etcetc) - and I'm thinking South America etc - that is a different scenario.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Gunnar Lindahl said:

However, where a facility can demonstrate that they genuinely cannot train a controller because their entire community is based on a different language (Discord, training materials, website, etcetc) - and I'm thinking South America etc - that is a different scenario.

We have, for a fairly long time, been told by VATEUD to make our training available to people who do not speak our language. And we have tried our best to make all training material available in English etc. We know that all other vACCs (Sub-Divisions) in VATEUD have been told to do the same, but some of them have chosen to ignore VATEUD's request (or have given it an extremely low priority). This sounds to me like they might now be "rewarded" by being granted a waiver due to the fact that their training material is not available in English because they have not created/translated it in the past when they were asked to do so.

On an unrelated note I think the option of granting waivers will lead to all Divisions/Sub-Divisions who really care about their local language (think France, Spain, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, etc.) "petitioning" their VP until they are granted a waiver.

Edited by Lars Bergmann
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33 minutes ago, Lars Bergmann said:

We know that all other vACCs (Sub-Divisions) in VATEUD have been told to do the same, but have partly chosen to ignore VATEUD's request.

You probably didn't mean to imply that all other vACCs have partly ignored the instruction but I want to just clarify that at least VATSIM Scandinavia does our best to comply. Training is available in English throughout our subdivision and, while some old documents are only available in the local language, all new training material is primarily in English.

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Christian Kovanen
Director of VATSIM Scandinavia
VATSIM Network Supervisor


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57 minutes ago, Lars Bergmann said:

On an unrelated note I think the option of granting waivers will lead to all Divisions/Sub-Divisions who really care about their local language (think France, Spain, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, etc.) "petitioning" their VP until they are granted a waiver.

They’re free to petition all they want. The RVP makes the final decision. I’m confident that people ignoring VATEUD directives won’t be “rewarded” for that.

Matt Bartels
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Christian Kovanen said:

You probably didn't mean to imply that all other vACCs have partly ignored the instruction but I want to just clarify that at least VATSIM Scandinavia does our best to comply. Training is available in English throughout our subdivision and, while some old documents are only available in the local language, all new training material is primarily in English.

No, I indeed did not mean to imply that, and I know that your Sub-Division has worked hard to follow VATEUD's request. I have edited my post to make that clearer 🙂

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17 hours ago, Lars Bergmann said:

We have, for a fairly long time, been told by VATEUD to make our training available to people who do not speak our language. And we have tried our best to make all training material available in English etc. We know that all other vACCs (Sub-Divisions) in VATEUD have been told to do the same, but some of them have chosen to ignore VATEUD's request (or have given it an extremely low priority). This sounds to me like they might now be "rewarded" by being granted a waiver due to the fact that their training material is not available in English because they have not created/translated it in the past when they were asked to do so.

On an unrelated note I think the option of granting waivers will lead to all Divisions/Sub-Divisions who really care about their local language (think France, Spain, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, etc.) "petitioning" their VP until they are granted a waiver.

My view would be that a precedent is set whereby a waiver would only be considered if there is a genuine difficulty to deliver what is required in English. South America is a great example where we have a fantastic community with not so many English speakers. However, somewhere like Sweden, Netherlands etc has a population whereby 99.9% of people speak better English than the Brits, so I wouldn't expect genuine difficulty there.

 

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19 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

They’re free to petition all they want. The RVP makes the final decision. I’m confident that people ignoring VATEUD directives won’t be “rewarded” for that.

Gonna introduce a thought that @Simon Kelsey brought forward in the discord - what exactly "guides" RVPs to make the right decision and to decide on what is right or wrong, or to what extent a sub-division really should require a local phraseology proficiency or not? 

Because in my view, if you trust RVPs and give them such heavy discretion to make such decisions and exemptions from GCAP, then I don't understand - why can divisions and sub-divisions not just make their own rules and policies and just "do their own thing", which can then be reviewed and approved by the relevant RVP? If you trust them enough to make decisions like this one, why not trust them to appropriately judge what the divisions want?

What I see right now: 

- A bunch of divisions with different procedures and regulations (that were explicitly made to suit those specific divisions/sub-divisions) arguing about what's right or wrong, because it will be in the global policy. 

Again. I put emphasis on this. Let them do their own thing and there won't be any trouble or people being unhappy.

Edited by David Solesvik
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C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Events Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

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This decision is incredibly silly and further goes to show how Anglocentric this community can be. Any discussion had with divisions such as VATJPN, VATKOR, VATPRC etc?

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Liesel Downes
Gander Oceanic Deputy OCA Chief
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