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October 18, 2005



CARs stands for Canadian Aviation Regulations. It is an original text of regulations for pilots in Canada. Whenever we need to know the exact rule or definition about flight regulations, we can look it up to get the correct answer. It was originally provided as huge files of paper documents and now we can get it on the Internet for free. I'm now reading it almost everyday to prepare for the written exam. This is an example of a sentence in the documents.

When an aircraft is operated in the standard pressure region, each flight crew member who occupies a flight crew member position that is equipped with an altimeter, shall immediately before conducting a take-off from an aerodrome, set the altimeter to the altimeter setting of the aerodrome or, if that altimeter setting is not obtainable, to the elevation of the aerodrome.

This sentence is too complex and difficult to understand, especially for ESL students like me. Why don't they write it in a simpler way so that everyone can understand it? If I was the writer of Cars, I would write the sentence above like this;

In the standard pressure region, before take-off, the altimeter should be set to the altimeter setting of the aerodrome. If it is not available, it should be set to the elevation of the aerodrome. This setting should be done by the crew member positioned in front of the altimeter.

Which sentence do you think is easier to understand?


While your version might be 'easier' to read and understand, you introduce ambiguity with your version. For example, your example doesn't tell me when I should set my altimeter (immediately before t/o). And in the second sentence you use 'it' twice, and the reader isn't really sure which noun each 'it' is referring to. I understand where you are going with this entry but ultimately when rules are made, they must be made such that there is little or no place for interpretation, especially when misinterpretation could result in lives lost.


> Douglas

Thanks for your comments to my blog. You are right because regulations should be precise and they should not have obscure points, however, in my opinion, it should be considered a little bit about who read CARs. It is pilots who are simple and stupid as they themselves accept. If the regulations are completely precise, if they are not read or understood by pilots, it is meaningless.

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