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Politeness is a Problem? Clarity and Miscommunication in Pilot-ATC Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  Aviation Politeness 4 the most vulnerable. In fact, Mason (1993) suggested, A that pilots are more dangerous than the aircraft they fly @ (Murray, 1997, p. 83). A host of studies have indicated that nearly three quarters of all aviation accidents are a result of some human error (McFadden, 1997; Nagel, 1988; O = Hare, Wiggins, Batt, & Morrison, 1994; Rouse & Rouse, 1983; Stark, 1988; Wiegmann & Shappell, 1997; Yacavone, 1993). In the words of Admiral Don Engen (a former FAA administrator), A We spent over 50 years on the hardware, which is now pretty reliable. Now it = s time to work with the people @ (Lederer, 1988, p. xvii). A study by Phillip Tompkins indicated that in the Aviation Safety Reporting System data over 60% of the reports included communication errors (Communicate for safety, 1988). Billings (1981) noted in an analysis of ASRS incident reports that 73% of them contained some kind of problem with information transfer. Of those with information transfer problems, 85% involved aural communication. Cushing (1994) argues that miscommunication is extensive in aviation interactions. Deihl (1991) and Nagel (1988) argue that errors in incident data occur in the same proportion in accident data. Based on Deihl = s (1991) and Nagel = s (1988) assertions, communication problems have almost certainly played a role in a significant proportion of accidents. One area of communication that has been studied in aviation is politeness behaviors. Politeness and Aviation Goguen and Linde (1982) and Linde (1988) found that politeness affected speakers = communicative success in flightdeck interactions. Palmer, Lack, and Lynch (1995) found that (a) captains issued more direct commands than first officers, and (b) first officers never initiated a direct command when the captain was flying. Politeness has a role in flightdeck communication. It is likely that it has a role in pilot-ATC interaction as well. Brown and Levinson (1978) described face in terms of what they called A wants. @ Face

Authors: howard, john.
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Aviation Politeness 4
the most vulnerable. In fact, Mason (1993) suggested,
A
that pilots are more dangerous than the
aircraft they fly
@
(Murray, 1997, p. 83). A host of studies have indicated that nearly three
quarters of all aviation accidents are a result of some human error (McFadden, 1997; Nagel,
1988; O
=
Hare, Wiggins, Batt, & Morrison, 1994; Rouse & Rouse, 1983; Stark, 1988; Wiegmann
& Shappell, 1997; Yacavone, 1993). In the words of Admiral Don Engen (a former FAA
administrator),
A
We spent over 50 years on the hardware, which is now pretty reliable. Now it
=
s
time to work with the people
@
(Lederer, 1988, p. xvii).
A study by Phillip Tompkins indicated that in the Aviation Safety Reporting System data
over 60% of the reports included communication errors (Communicate for safety, 1988). Billings
(1981) noted in an analysis of ASRS incident reports that 73% of them contained some kind of
problem with information transfer. Of those with information transfer problems, 85% involved
aural communication. Cushing (1994) argues that miscommunication is extensive in aviation
interactions. Deihl (1991) and Nagel (1988) argue that errors in incident data occur in the same
proportion in accident data. Based on Deihl
=
s (1991) and Nagel
=
s (1988) assertions,
communication problems have almost certainly played a role in a significant proportion of
accidents. One area of communication that has been studied in aviation is politeness behaviors.
Politeness and Aviation
Goguen and Linde (1982) and Linde (1988) found that politeness affected speakers
=
communicative success in flightdeck interactions. Palmer, Lack, and Lynch (1995) found that (a)
captains issued more direct commands than first officers, and (b) first officers never initiated a
direct command when the captain was flying. Politeness has a role in flightdeck communication.
It is likely that it has a role in pilot-ATC interaction as well.
Brown and Levinson (1978) described face in terms of what they called
A
wants.
@
Face


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