Dictionnaire & vocabulaire aéronautique


I am Eliot, the French private pilot who likes to fly abroad.
To help fellow pilots practice their English and pass the FCL055 exam, I write a monthly article entitled « In English, please » for Info-pilote, the French Aeronautical Federation magazine.

This page also is dedicated to aeronautical English practice. The goal is to help pilots work on their listening comprehension skills, expand their vocabulary, review the phraseology, and also – why not? – improve their knowledge of grammar. The practice papers will consist of short exercises, in the form of audio clips, quizzes, word games, and short texts and will be sent regularly.

The answers, and explanations if needed, will be available by clicking on … the « Answers » button.



Practice 22/09/2017

1 – Vocabulary

From Typhoon Hato, in Hong Kong and South China at the end of August, to hurricanes Harley, Irma, Jose, and Maria in the Carribean Sea in September, there has been a lot of talk these past few weeks about severe – even extreme – weather.

But do you know the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon? Do you know the definition of a tornado, a waterspout, or a gustnado?

Let’s find out here.


2 – Wordsearch

Find the following words:

blizzard, cyclone, funnel cloud, gustnado, haboob, hail, hurricane, lightning, microburst, monsoon, sandstorm, squall line, thunderstorm, tornado, typhoon, waterspout, windshear,

in this grid: severe weather wordsearch.

Pick out the words from left to right, top line to bottom line. Words can go horizontally, vertically and diagonally in all eight directions.

When you are done, the unused letters in the grid will spell out a hidden message.


Read more about these phenomena on Eurocontrol’s Skybrary Weather Portal.


3 – Listening comprehension

Watch the You Tube video  « Anatomy of a Hurricane », preferably without turning on the subtitles, and answer these questions:

– When do hurricanes that impact the US develop?

– In the Northern Hemisphere, how do cloud masses rotate? Why?

– What immediately surrounds the eye of a hurricane?

– When does a hurricane die?

– Name some of the by-products of a hurricane


4 – Grammar: How

Let’s delve into the mystery of asking questions with “How”, a very useful three-letter word!

– Use How to introduce questions: How was your flight? How do you do that?

– Use How to get information about numbers and quantities, for example to find out about age, size, length, … : how old, how long, how big, how often?

– Use How much to ask about cost. Also use How much with uncountable nouns.

– Use How many to ask about countable nouns.

– Use How in exclamations before adjectives, adverbs and verb phrases: How nice! How odd! How funny!

– Use How about + noun phrase and How about + -ing form in informal speech to make suggestions: how about going to the movies?

Let’s check your understanding with this short exercise.


5 – Further reading

A hundred years ago this month, on September 11th 1917, the WWI flying ace Georges Guynemer disappeared during a mission over Belgium. His death was officially announced on September 25th.



Read more about Georges Guynemer at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Guynemer and answer these questions:

– How old was he when he died?

– How many victories did he achieve over enemy planes?

– How was his aircraft called?

– Where is it kept now?

– What mottos is he famous for?



Practice 08/09/2017

1 – Vocabulary

Check your knowledge of airport-related vocabulary, along with each word’s pronunciation at:



2 – Airport crossword


3 – Listening comprehension

Listen to the recording and find the missing words in the text here:  Airport shutdowns. One dash is a word.


4 – Grammar: There, their, and they’re

Those three words sound exectly the same but are used completely differently. Here are some tips and tricks, from  http://deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.fr/

There: within this word is another word: here. There usually represents a place. Very often, if you can substitute here in place of there, you’ve used it correctly.

Their: this is a possessive pronoun. If you can replace their with our and the sentence still makes sense, you’ve used it correctly.

They’re: among these three words (there, their, and they’re), this is the only one that is a contraction. It’s an abbreviation for they are. If you can put they are in place of they’re, you used the right word.

Let’s put your knowledge to the test:  There, their, and they’re.


5 – Further reading

To finish on a light note, read  two humorous posts and answer a few questions:

Questions post #1

1 – What are the usual answers to the border guard question?

2 – What is an open-ended question?

3 – What is the opposite of an open-ended question?

4 – What is the meaning of “deadpan”?

Questions post #2

5 – Why is the traveler who is posting the story delayed?

6 – How long is the flight from Edmonton delayed?

7 – What does “get tasered” mean?



Practice 25/08/2017

Practice 18/08/2017


1 – Word game

Find the anagram for the following five words : seat, thorn, sore, stew, shout. Then find the odd one out.


2 – Vocabulary

Practice your weather-related vocabulary  with this crossword on  Clouds, winds and more  :

Find 31 weather-related words, then transfer the letters to the crypted line at the bottom according to matching numbers to discover a very well-known English idiom.


3 – Listening comprehension

Today, the listening comprehension exercise will take you to Ogden, near Salt Lake City (Utah) to listen to the ATIS:

Then answer these questions:

– What is frequency 125.55 for?

– What is frequency 118.7 for?

– Why is runway 7/25 closed?

– How are the PAPIs on runway 21 functioning?


4 – Grammar

Let’s start a review of the different prépositions, starting with « at » and « to » : AT and TO


5 – Further reading

At, http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/mohippo/pdf/9/k/getmet_2015_final.pdf you’ll access a leaflet published by the British equivalent of Meteo France, where you can find, in English, everything you need to know about the weather.

The telephone numbers of the UK’s main airports are also available towards the end of the leaflet. Very useful for practice!

What is the phone number for Southampton ATIS?



Practice 11/08/2017



Hello there!

Here is your weekly wake-up call to practice your English!

Let’s start with a stroll down memory lane with the recollection of a few events that happened in August in the aviation world:

– From August 22nd, 1909, until August 29th, the first international aviation week takes place in Bétheny, near Reims, in France. 23 European airplanes make 87 flights. More on this at http://www.thosemagnificentmen.co.uk/rheims/     

– On August 24th, 1932, Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey). Read more about the well-known aviatrix at: http://www.ameliaearhart.com/

– August 8th, 1967 sees the first flight of the B737-200, part of the B737 family, one of the best-selling commercial airliners. Read the full article on the B737 on Wikipedia’s aviation portal at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737#737-200  



Many internet sites are available to help you improve your English:

For general English try, https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/courses .

When it comes to aeronautical English, listening to live traffic communications between pilots and air traffic controllers at https://www.liveatc.net/ will help your listening comprehension.

In this month’s issue of Info-Pilote, the « In English, please » article will help you work on your English the fun way with a summer quiz on weather, flight plans, and communications.



Practice 03/08/2017



1 – Start with this word game to warm up your brain and switch it into English mode.


2 – It will be followed by a review of aircraft-related vocabulary as well as its pronunciation, here:


What are these?


3 – Next  train your ear with this listening comprehension exercise:


4 – Then, keep up the good work with some easy grammar.


5 – Last, but not least, this reading comprehension exercise, in the form of an article from The Connexion, will take you to Roissy and Orly. Read the article here: www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Border-delays-at-Paris-airports-critical and answer these few questions:

  • How long can passengers have to wait at border checkpoints?
  • What has exacerbated the problem?
  • According to the head of the border police, what is just not possible?