English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication

A test to assess ICAO English Language Proficiency for pilots and air traffic controllers

Discover ELPAC

The ELPAC suite comprises three tests: ELPAC ATC, ELPAC pilots, ELPAC level 6. The ELPAC test suite has been designed to assess the level of proficiency of air traffic controllers and pilots in the context of radio telephony communications and in accordance with the ICAO language proficiency requirements that were put in place in 2011.

The ELPAC ATC test assesses the full range of communicative tasks at ICAO levels 4 and 5 that an air traffic controller maybe confronted with in the OPS room or the ATC control tower. Air traffic controllers rely on ICAO standardized phraseology in everyday situations however in an unexpected situation they may have to use plain English and they may have to shift between using standardized phraseology and plain English in order to adequately deal with and support the flight crews.

The ELPAC pilot test has been designed to assess the ability of pilots to communicate effectively with air traffic control at ICAO levels 4 and 5. This means that pilots in the test have to demonstrate their ability to make requests, to report unexpected situations, to negotiate and to resolve potential misunderstandings.

Traditionally language tests assess the ability of the test taker to show off their language ability as best they can. As such the highest scores are usually awarded to test takers who can impress with the range of their vocabulary or the complexity of their grammar. The ELPAC level 6 test however has been designed to assess the ability of pilots and of air traffic controllers to communicate effectively using radiotelephony communications. Effective communication is achieved by demonstrating the ability to adapt to a less proficient speaker or a speaker from a different cultural background. It also means dealing adequately deal with misunderstandings and identifying and resolving ambiguity.

ICAO recognition

The ELPAC test fully meets ICAO standards and recommended practises. The ELPAC test for air traffic controllers is fully recognised by ICAO for being in compliance with ICAO Doc 9835. The ELPAC test for pilots is being reviewed by ICAO. Test construct and test format is similar in both versions of the ELPAC test and we are expecting a positive decision soon.

ELPAC in figures

organisation icon

Organisations worldwide use ELPAC
candidates icon

Candidates tested
examiner icon

Accredited ELPAC examiners
passed icon

Tested candidates pass ELPAC at first attempt

Find an ELPAC test provider near you

Meet the ELPAC team

ELPAC is developed and managed by a dedicated and highly motivated team.


Pieke Satijn

ELPAC service manager at EUROCONTROL.
Air Traffic Controller.


William Agius

English language expert.
Deputy director of the Centre for Aviation at
the Zürich University of Applied Sciences.


Roland Tichy

ELPAC team member


Øyvind Meistad

CEO of ENOVATE in Norway
and ELPAC software developer.

Have you discovered FEAST?

Be engaged

Subscribe to ALC newsletter to receive news about ELPAC.