Pilots are required to demonstrate that they possess the necessary active and passive skills in the languages used in aviation radio telephony. The requirements depend on the type of licence and the intended use of licences (VFR, IFR, etc.).
In order to be authorised to communicate on the radio during flight it is mandatory to hold a qualification for aeronautical radiotelephony. This qualification is issued after having passed an examination consisting of two parts: a written part which is examined in the framework of the official theoretical examinations for the acquisition of the licence respectively the instrument rating, and a practical part (simulated flight). In this exam, the candidate must demonstrate mastery of the ICAO standard phraseology and knowledge of the relevant regulations and procedures. Pilots are required to demonstrate sufficient language proficiency in order to obtain radiotelephony qualifications. From 1 January 2022, it is possible to take a language test at the same time as the practical radiotelephony examination. Balloon pilots, glider pilots and on-board technicians do not have to provide proof of language proficiency.
The practical radiotelephony examination for visual flight rules may be taken in English, German, French or Italian. To acquire an airline pilot licence or an instrument rating, the practical radiotelephony examination must be passed in English.
As of 8 April 2020 it will be possible to obtain an EASA glider pilot’s licence in Switzerland without holding a radiotelephony qualification. As of the date of application, glider pilots have two options with regard to radiotelephony:
- If a pilot wishes to fly in a controlled airspace, they must sit a theory exam to obtain a radiotelephony qualification. Following this change of practice, they are free to choose when to sit this exam.
- If the pilot only flies in airspaces in which they are not dependent on air traffic control services (ATS), they may choose to forego sitting the exam. Blind transmissions are permissible in such cases.
A radiotelephony qualification is still required to obtain a TMG rating.
Theoretical and practical training in radiotelephony must be taken at an approved flight school. The content of the training and the examination is based on the respective programme according to EASA FCL.
Unrestricted radiotelephony licences or certificates acquired abroad will be recognised for endorsement of radiotelephony privileges in a Swiss licence, provided that the applicant holds a pilot license issued by the same country or a confirmation from the issuing authority. However, authorisations which are restricted at national level, e.g. limited to airspaces G and E, cannot be recognised.