Dominique Estival – Aviation Communication



Since 2009, I have been combining linguistics and aviation in a research project on and potential communication problems in the aviation environment. The goal is to improve aviation safety by improving communication and I look at language technologies for solutions.


Meanwhile, the ‘Communication’ module in the 2019 Safety behaviours for pilots training kit published by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) contains videos of an interview where I discuss some of the issues and what pilots can do to prevent miscommunication.


The research was also featured in articles in:

·         Flight Safety Australia (2019)

·         HowStuffWorks (2018)

·         The Conversation (2017)

·         Flight Safety Australia (2012, pp.8-15)


A Research Grant from the MARCS Institute (2012-2013) allowed me and my colleague Brett Molesworth from UNSW to conduct experiments in a flight simulator with pilots from the Sydney Basin.


In collaboration with Candace Farris from Montreal, we published the book Aviation English: A lingua franca for pilots and air traffic controllers (2016), now available in paperback.



 Book launch at Western Sydney University, with Bill Whitworth



In 2018, I was approved by CASA as an Aviation English Assessor, for General English Language Proficiency (GELP) and for ICAO Level 6.




·         Qiong Wu, Brett R.C. Molesworth, Dominique Estival (2019). ‘An investigation into the factors that affect miscommunication between pilots and air traffic controllers in commercial aviation’. The International Journal of Aerospace Psychology. p. 53-63.

·         Dominique Estival. (2018). ‘What Should We Teach Native English Speakers?’. Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation English Association Conference. Pp 37-46. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

·         Dominique Estival, Candace Farris and Brett R.C. Molesworth (2016) Aviation English: A Lingua Franca for Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers. Series: Routledge Research in English for Specific Purposes. Brian Paltridge and Sue Starfield, eds.

·         Brett Molesworth and Dominique Estival (2015). ‘Miscommunication in general aviation: The influence of external factors on communication errors’. Safety Science, 73, pp.73–79. (pdf)

·         Raymond, Jang, Brett R. C. Molesworth, Marion Burgess and Dominique Estival (2014). ‘Improving Communication in General Aviation through the use of Noise Cancelling Headphones’. Safety Science, 62 (2014) pp. 499-504. (pdf)

·         D. Estival & B. Molesworth (2012). ‘Radio Miscommunication: EL2 Pilots in the Australian General Aviation environment’. Linguistics and the Human Sciences. Vol. 5.3, pp.351–78. (pdf).

·         D. Estival & B. Molesworth (2010). Improving radio communication in General Aviation: a preliminary investigation’. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium of the Australian Aviation Psychology Association. (pdf)

·         D. Estival & B. Molesworth (2009). ‘A study of EL2 pilots radio communication in the General Aviation environment’. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Special issue on Aviation English, vol.32-3. (pdf)




·         In May 2019, I gave a talk titled ‘Aviation English Training for Native English Speakers: Challenges and Suggestions’, at the International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA) conference. Tokyo, Japan.

·         In May 2018, I ran 2 workshops on the topic ‘What should we teach Native English Speakers?’ at the International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA) Conference, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. The answers from the participants are presented in the paper published in the proceedings (

·         In July 2013, I was invited to the Workshop on Risks and Language for Aeronautics and Space (Linguistique et Traitement Automatique de la Langue pour l'Aéronautique et l'Espace : Dimensions langagières du risque), in Toulouse, organised by the CNRS and Université Toulouse 2 Le Mirail. The title of my presentation was « Anglais seconde langue : risques pour l’aviation générale ? ».

·         In March 2012, I presented an update of our work at the colloquium on ‘Language Tests And Language Policy: The Case Of Aviation English’, organised by Tim McNamara, at the Annual Meeting of American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) in Boston.

·         In October 2010, I was an invited speaker at the Free Linguistics Conference in Sydney and gave a first overview of the project.


Back to Main Page.