top of page is looking for a graduate student volunteer to work on the Taxonomy, to link examples and explanations to the categories, and to digitalize the Taxonomy so that it becomes an interactive, online tool. If you are interested, write and send your resume to Elizabeth AT

The Taxonomy of Communication and Language Factors in Aviation

Click TAXONOMY to access clear pdf copy of Taxonomy.

Typically, human factors texts, manuals, and accident or incident reporting schemes list "communications" as a single category without clarifying the myriad ways that communications can affect aviation safety.  


The Taxonomy of Communication Factors in Aviation is a first step to clarify communication factors in aviation. 


It is important for accident investigators and human factors specialists to distinguish between often overlapping but different kinds of communication issues: 

  • Technical factors

  • Procedural factors

  • Language factors

    • First language USE

    • Second language proficiency

    • Use or misuse of ICAO phraseology

  • Cultural and sociolinguistic factors


The Taxonomy is necessarily a work in progress.


As our understanding of the interplay between all Communication Factors improves, the Taxonomy will reflect our improved understanding. You are invited to contribute your observations to the Center. Write us at Elizabeth AT

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