I was wondering if it is possible to get the proficiency language level in German for example, as it is not an official language for ICAO. If I would want to apply for a German airline as a pilot, can I get that document, the same as I can get it for Spanish or English? I am not 100% sure but I think pilots in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can communicate in German so I guess they need those competencies (although when being native you don't have to take the exam)

Maybe it's a dumb question but I haven't found an answer yet.

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    $\begingroup$ If you want to fly IFR, or fly to any other country commercially, you need to be proficient in English. VFR in Germany can be conducted in German, but they try to limit it to local flights or emergencies. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Aug 7, 2018 at 2:21

2 Answers 2


As the others pointed out, there's no ICAO language proficiency test for German.

How it works for German at least in Germany is with a special "Radio operator license" (Sprechfunkzeugnis) that's part of (German) pilot licenses. For IFR that's only in English, but for VFR you have the choice of doing it in English, German or both. It's called BZF I (English + German), BZF II (German) or BZF E (English). According to the German Wikipedia, there are similar systems in place in Austria and Switzerland.

Even for VFR in Germany it's totally possible to do it in English, as I believe there are no more German-only speaking airfields. But especially on smaller fields where radio services are provided unpaid by people in their free time, they are a bit happier when using German.

And even on the bigger VFR fields with professional ATC personnel, my experience is that it's sometimes hard for them to remember, which aircraft in the pattern is communicating in English and which in German and then they try to translate position reports they get in one language from one aircraft into traffic advisories for other aircraft in another language. That's why it's sometimes recommended for pilots flying more often VFR in Germany to maybe also do the BZF in German as most VFR traffic is still done in German.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Florian:) you solved my doubts. I have looked for BZF and downloaded a book to get a bit into it . I can speak German perfectly but I have no idea about German comms though. Regarding your experience, would you say it is important to get that Sprechfunkzeugnis in order to be able to apply for a German airline? $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2018 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Flightfighter No, I wouldn't say so, they should just care about IFR, which is English anyways. $\endgroup$
    – Florian
    Aug 7, 2018 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ Alright!!! Thank you mate;) safe landings! $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2018 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Florian There is no language proficiency test for German, but you can still get LP6 written into your licence/BZF for German if you request it from the license issuing authority. I have BZF I LP5 EN and LP6 DE in my license. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2018 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ @SentryRaven so then it’s actually possible to get it. But for a no native German speaking person like me, it is necessary to take the BZF exam and then request it from the license issuing authority, in this case the Spanish one, right? $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2018 at 10:36

English is the only requirement, though in countries where a language is spoken that's also an official language that language may suffice (Spanish in Spain for example).

German may be spoken unofficially in German language countries for non-controlled flight only (though controllers providing flight services to VFR pilots may well communicate in German if called in that language).

As German is not an ICAO language, there is obviously no German ICAO language proficiency test. Maybe EASA's German sister agency has a test of their own, you'd need to contact them or a flight school providing theory training.


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