“This is your captain speaking and I meet minimum standards of English” – started the radio show on BBC4, called PM, the other day (2008 March 5, Wednesday) on communication in aviation and air traffic control.
The stories and the short recording from a real situation would have been funny, except that they were rather horrific, especially if you are a frequent traveller on planes.
Until today, international pilots and air traffic controllers “only” had to use a basic radiotelephony, phraseology restricted set of phrases. Now the so called Operational Level 4 communication skills are mandatory.
While it might be a bit of a stretch to call the phraseology mandated for air traffic controllers and pilots a Domain Specific Language (DSL) in IT terms; it is still a pretty close equivalent to DSLs, and it certainly operates with the same principles for the domain of air traffic control.
One of these principles is clarity in communication and being able to capture and communicate the concepts of a specific domains. I have written about the importance of DSLs in IT Architectures regarding communication before – see the developerWorks article referenced in a previous blog entry.
Recently I have read an excellent article from Markus Völter: Architecture as Language: A Story. Markus uses DSL in his story to achieve clarity in communicating architectural concepts and decisions. The story gets even more interesting when you discover that it is about building a new flight management system.
Play the short snippet from the BBC4 Radio show – PM – is available here.