Frequently Asked Questions

About ELPAC

What is ELPAC?

ELPAC is an English Language Proficiency test for air traffic controllers and pilots. ELPAC is used to demonstrate the ICAO English Language Proficiency necessary to obtain or renew licences.

Can I take an ELPAC test online?

No, ELPAC cannot be taken online. ELPAC is administered by ELPAC test centres located at Air Navigation Service Providers, Airlines, Civil Aviation Administrations or Training Organisations.

Can I take an ELPAC test at EUROCONTROL?

No, EUROCONTROL is not an ELPAC test centre. Information about ELPAC test centres is available online at http://www.elpac.info

Is the test designed in line with international standards and/or recommendations?

The ELPAC test has been designed and is maintained in line with the ICAO SARPS related to Language Proficiency and the guidelines provided in ICAO Doc 9835. ELPAC is recognised by ICAO as being compliant with ICAO SARPS and guidelines since 2012. Furthermore ELPAC is periodically reviewed by ICAO in order to ensure that it complies with these SARPS and guidelines.

Does the ELPAC test focus on phraseology or plain language?

In accordance with ICAO and EASA requirements, ELPAC assesses the use of plain English in an aeronautical context. ELPAC uses aeronautical phraseology to create test scenarios and to assess how test takers can switch between using aeronautical phraseology and plain English if required.

How is ELPAC administered?

ELPAC is a tool managed by EUROCONTROL and administered by ELPAC test centres located at Air Navigation Service Providers, Airlines, Civil Aviation Administrations or Training Organisations. ELPAC test centres use the online ELPAC test management system to prepare ELPAC tests for their test takers.

How long does it take?

ELPAC consists of two Papers. ELPAC Paper 1 takes 45 minutes and ELPAC Paper 2 takes 20 minutes. Usually a test taker is scheduled for a two-hour block.

Do I need to pass both parts (Papers 1 and 2) to have an overall pass?

Yes, ELPAC Paper 1 and ELPAC Paper 2 will result in an assessment for the 6 ICAO criteria in line with the ICAO Rating Scale for Language Proficiency. A minimum of ICAO level 4 is required for all 6 criteria in order to pass ELPAC at level 4. Subsequently a minimum of ICAO level 5 is required for all 6 criteria in order to pass ELPAC at level 5.

How long does it take after the test before a test result is available?

In most cases your results should be available within one hour after completing your test. Sometimes an additional review is required, delaying the availability of the test results by a maximum of two days. The ELPAC test centre administrator will inform you of your results.

How is my level of language proficiency determined?

Your English Language Proficiency is determined via two tests.

ELPAC Paper 1 is a listening comprehension test. This test consists of recordings of aeronautical conversations, and you will have to answer questions. The first sound files will be very short and test numbers or short word recognition. Gradually the sound files will become longer and towards the end they will involve more than one communication partner. There are no technical or knowledge questions and you should only answer what you hear in the sound file.

ELPAC Paper 2 is an oral interaction test. This test consists of several tasks providing you with an opportunity to speak and interact with the examiners. The first tasks are a reflection of the daily operational environment of air traffic controllers and pilots. Gradually during the test the tasks will require you to step outside of your daily routine communications and apply plain English to answer the questions and interact with the examiner.

Please bear in mind that ELPAC does not assess your aviation knowledge. Therefore there will not be any technical or operational questions. Answers provided are not necessarily correct or wrong, and your opinions are not part of the assessment. The tasks presented to you have been designed to elicit a relevant sample of your English language communications in order to allow the examiners to assess your English Language Proficiency.

If I fail, am I allowed to re-sit and how soon can I attempt this?

Under ELPAC guidelines, first-time ELPAC test takers may ask for a re-sit soon after their first attempt. If this is not the first ELPAC test for this test taker, the guidelines recommend a minimum of three months between two ELPAC tests in order to improve or brush up your English Language Proficiency first.

Am I allowed to attempt an ELPAC level 6 without prior testing?

The ELPAC Level 6 test (ELPAC Paper 3) is not used by all ELPAC test centres. ELPAC test takers interested in being assessed for ICAO level 6 should start with the regular ELPAC test. If they achieve ICAO level 5, they may decide to take the ELPAC level 6 test. The ELPAC level 6 test is an additional 20-minute test specifically focussing on the level 6 aspects of the ICAO Rating Scale. The outcome of the ELPAC level 6 test is a pass or a fail, which will result in a final ICAO level 6 or ICAO level 5.

How do I prepare for an ELPAC test?

Is there material that I can study in preparation for the test?

Test takers should prepare themselves by taking the ELPAC Paper 1 sample test and by watching the ELPAC Paper 2 sample video. This information can be found on the ELPAC website: http://www.elpac.info. Additionally they should study the guidelines for ELPAC test takers which will be provided by the ELPAC test centre after registering for an ELPAC test.

Is it possible to do a mock or progress test before taking the actual test?

Yes, Test takers can (in fact should) prepare themselves by taking the ELPAC Paper 1 sample test and by watching the ELPAC Paper 2 sample video. This information can be found on the ELPAC website: http://www.elpac.info.

How to become an ELPAC test provider

Does my organisation have the right profile to become an ELPAC test provider?

Usually ELPAC test centres are managed by Air Navigation Service Providers, Airlines, Civil Aviation Authorities or Aviation Training Organisations. In order to administer ELPAC, you should ensure that you have suitable staff for the following ELPAC roles:

  • ELPAC test centre administrator. For this function, other than basic computer skills no specific background is required
  • ELPAC Operational examiner. For this function a background as air traffic controller and/or pilot is required. Alternatively a thorough understanding of the job of an air traffic controller and/or pilot may also suffice. Training in the use of ICAO phraseology is required. Administering ELPAC ATC requires an ATC background, and administering ELPAC Pilots requires a pilot background. Suitability for the task will be evaluated as part of the ELPAC accreditation training.
  • ELPAC English Language Expert. For this function a professional background in the English language is required (teacher, etc.). Alternatively a very good command of the English language combined with suitable professional experience may also suffice. Suitability for the task will be evaluated as part of the ELPAC accreditation training.

 

What are the necessary steps for becoming an ELPAC test provider?

To become an ELPAC test centre, your organisation should sign an ELPAC licence agreement with EUROCONTROL. The licence agreement covers basic responsibilities, e.g. privacy of the test taker’s information, integrity of the ELPAC test system,confidentiality of the ELPAC test system content, etc.

In order to administer ELPAC, you should ensure that you have suitable staff for the following ELPAC roles:

  • ELPAC test centre administrator. For this function, other than basic computer skills no specific background is required
  • ELPAC Operational examiner. For this function a background as air traffic controller and/or pilot is required. Alternatively a thorough understanding of the job of an air traffic controller and/or pilot may also suffice. Training in the use of ICAO phraseology is required. Administering ELPAC ATC requires an ATC background, and administering ELPAC Pilots requires a pilot background. Suitability for the task will be evaluated as part of the ELPAC accreditation training.
  • ELPAC English Language Expert. For this function a professional background in the English language is required (teacher, etc.). Alternatively a very good command of the English language combined with suitable professional experience may also suffice. Suitability for the task will be evaluated as part of the ELPAC accreditation training.

ELPAC examiner accreditation training is provided in Luxembourg or, on request,on the premises of the user organisation.

Do I need the approval of the local Licensing Authority?

The use of ELPAC itself does not require the approval of the local Licensing Authority. However, if you wish to assess EASA licence holders, you need to seek approval as a Language Assessment Body from the Competent Authority first. Still, it would be good to involve the local licensing authority as they will be the organisation accepting the Language Proficiency test results and entering these in test takers’ licences.

Can ELPAC be provided exclusively to my organisation within my country/region?

No, ELPAC is available to every organisation that meets the requirements for setting up an ELPAC test centre and signs an ELPAC licence agreement with EUROCONTROL.

ELPAC Licence Agreement

What is an ELPAC Licence Agreement?

An ELPAC licence agreement is an agreement between EUROCONTROL and the ELPAC user organisation. The ELPAC licence agreement covers the conditions for the use of ELPAC and addresses aspects such as privacy of personal data, confidentiality of the ELPAC test system content and integrity of the ELPAC test system.

Where can I find detailed information about the Licence Agreement?

An outline text of the ELPAC licence agreement will be provided on request to organisations interested in the use of ELPAC. Please use elpac@eurocontrol.int to get in contact with EUROCONTROL regarding the use of ELPAC and the associated conditions.

How long does it take to establish a Licence Agreement with EUROCONTROL?

In general it takes 6-8 weeks to complete the process of signing the ELPAC licence agreement by both parties after the organisation interested in using ELPAC first indicated that they would like to sign such an agreement.

How much does it cost when the Licence Agreement is signed?

There are no costs associated with the signing of an ELPAC licence agreement. However, the first 10 tests will be invoiced in advance upon signature of an ELPAC licence agreement.

ELPAC examiners

Is ELPAC examiner training compulsory?

Yes, ELPAC examiner accreditation training is compulsory. This is a one-week course organised regularly in Luxembourg. On request, the course may take place on the premises of the ELPAC user organisation.

ELPAC examiners also need to follow annual ELPAC examiner refresher training. This is a two-day course organised regularly in Luxembourg. On request, the course may take place on the premises of the ELPAC user organisation. The ELPAC examiner refresher course is available as an online course via the EUROCONTROL Training Zone. It is recommended to follow a classroom ELPAC examiner refresher course at least once every three years.

How many examiners are needed to provide ELPAC tests?

The minimum required to administer ELPAC is one ELPAC operational examiner and one ELPAC English language expert examiner. Some of the processes in ELPAC require a third examiner.

Where can I find more details about ELPAC examiner courses at IANS in Luxembourg?

More information about ELPAC examiner training in Luxembourg can be found in the EUROCONTROL IANS Course Catalogue.

Search for ELPAC.

How often should ELPAC examiners attend refresher training?

ELPAC examiners need to follow annual ELPAC examiner refresher training. This is a two-day course organised regularly in Luxembourg. On request, the course can takeplace on the premises of the ELPAC user organisation.

The ELPAC examiner refresher course is also available as an online course via the EUROCONTROL Training Zone. If using the online ELPAC examiner refresher course, it is recommended to follow a classroom ELPAC examiner refresher course at least once every three years.

Is it possible to deliver the ELPAC examiner training locally on the premises of the ELPAC test provider?

ELPAC examiner training can be provided on the premises of the ELPAC user organisation. ELPAC examiner training in Luxembourg is free of charge. For on-site training a quote will be provided on request.

Pricing

What is the price for an ELPAC test that a candidate has to pay?

The ELPAC user organisation defines the price for ELPAC tests administered at its ELPAC test centres.

Often ELPAC is used internally within an Air Navigation Service Provider or Airline and in such cases, ELPAC is free of charge for their licence holders.


What is the price that ELPAC a test provider has to pay to EUROCONTROL?

ELPAC user organisations pay €95 to EUROCONTROL for every ELPAC test they administer.

Is the price for ELPAC negotiable with EUROCONTROL?

No, the price for ELPAC to be paid by ELPAC user organisations to EUROCONTROL is not negotiable. The price is the result of a consultation process with the EUROCONTROL Member States and is fixed.

Are there any other costs that an ELPAC test provider has to consider apart from the cost of each test?

An ELPAC test centre should consider:

  • Office costs, e.g. test room, computers, logistics, etc.
  • Staff costs for ELPAC examiners.
  • Cost of training and refresher training of ELPAC examiners.
  • Cost of approval as Language Assessment Body (EASA) or approval from the CAA.

 

Is there an annual licence fee associated with ELPAC?

No, there is no ELPAC licence fee. ELPAC user organisations pay per test used by these organisations.

What is the price for ELPAC examiner training at EUROCONTROL IANS in Luxembourg?

ELPAC examiner training in Luxembourg is included in the ELPAC licence agreement and is free of charge. On-site ELPAC examiner training is subject to a separate quote.

ELPAC examiner refresher training (classroom in Luxembourg and/or online) is included in the ELPAC licence agreement and is free of charge. On-site classroom ELPAC examiner refresher training is subject to a separate quote.