Color Vision


New Member
I have a question fo you guys regarding color vision.

Lets say you took the Farnsworth lantern test and hold a First Class Medical Certificate. What will happen if you are invited to an airline medical physical (after the interview) and they administer a conventional color vision test? Will they exempt you from taking that color vision test because you have passed the Farnsworth lantern test? Will they just not hire you? /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif
I had to pass the Farnsworth test...and although I am far from being a professional pilot, I have talked to a few that have done the same. They told me that as long as you can pass the FALANT test you are basically "exempt" for lack of a better word from having to pass one of those color plate tesats. Both are approved by the FAA so I don't believe it matters much.
Can you still get your First Class Medical if you have your color vision test done with the Farnsworth Lantern? /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif

Yes...there is no difference either in the eyes of the FAA. If you have any questions as to whether you will fail, I would suggest getting the FALANT done first. You can take it as many times as it takes you to pass, but once you do, you're golden. Then when you go to get your 1st class medical, all you have to do is produce the letter from the FAA stating that you have passed the FALANT, and the AME will not give you any color vision tests.
What do the Farnsworth Lantern and the FALANT tests look like? /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif
Farnsworth and FALANT are the same is just the acronym that they use.

It is a black box that they sit about 10 feet away from you that has two lights about 1/8" wide and about 1" apart. The 2 lights will shined and you must tell what color they are. It can be any combination of 3 colors (red, white, or green) and also one of three shades (light, normal, or dark). They will shine them randomly at you nine times, you must get 8/9 twice.

You must identify white over red, red over red, green over white, etc......

It takes some getting used to and is definately a learned behavior. The first time I ran through I got 5 wrong....then three......then 1......then 1 again. Who hoo I passed!

Good luck.

Let me know if you have more ?'s.
Okay, lets say I get a first class medical. From what I understand, you need to renew your First Class Medical Certificate every 6 months. Would I have to take a Farnsworth Lantern Test every 6 months or is it just a one-time deal? /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif

Also, can you really just go to an FAA physician that administers the Farnsworth Lantern Test to take the color vision test without getting the physical, and obtain a letter to transfer for an FAA physical from a different doctor? How would I do that? Thanks. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif
Every time you need to renew your medical, you just need to show the FAA doc the letter from the FAA stating that you have passed the Farnsworth test and you will not have to pass it again. You can have it administered by any doc though, it does not need to be an FAA doc. It will be hard to find tough, I had to call up one of the local optometry schools.

Also, the lantern test is completely seperate from the physical. After you pass the lantern test you can bring those results with you to your FAA Doc for your medical (AME). He will note on your paperwork that you have satisfied the color vision requirements and will simply not give you that part of the physical. The FAA will send you a letter in the mail stating that you have passed the color vision portion, and in subsequent visits to the doc you will just need to produce that letter.
Lets say I pass the Farnsworth Lantern test. Will the optometrist that performed the test on me write the letter that certifies my completion of the color test, or will he or she have to send the results to the FAA so that they can write the letter? /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif
Can you get a "Medical Waiver" for color blindness?

I gather that once you have that on paper, all you have to do is disclose that during your physical.

I flew with a colorblind pilot over at Skyway, but I've lost contact with him.
I'm also partially colorblind, and I need to take the Farnsworth latern test soon. I've have been searching for places to take this test, and I found this website that has a few practitioners that offer the test.
Hope this helps, and good luck taking the test. I'm going to make a appointment soon too.
Leftseat will charge you TONS OF MONEY!!!! Call your local optometry schools....if they can't administer it, they can tell you who can.

Also the eye doctor will give you a report. You can then immediately take that to your AME who is administering the first class physical. He will take that as evidence that you have completed the color vision requirement and will give you your medical cert (assuming you pass everything else). You will then send in the test results that you got from the eye doc to the FAA in Oklahoma City (I can give you the number of the aeronautical medicine people later when I get home). They will issue a letter saying that you have passed the Farnsworth test, and that in subsequent renewals you will no longer be required to pass the color vision test. You must present that letter to the AME at each physical after that.
Also, I got the optometry school to administer a complete eye exam while they were at it....that way my insurance picked up the entire cost. I just had to pay my $20 deductible.

Good luck

Let me know if you have any more questions.
Thanks for you answers/input guys!

d_gelling, that’s is really great that you only had to pay only $20! Did you have to get authorization from your primary care physician? Or did you use a vision plan? My health insurance is an HMO and I am not too familiar with my vision plan. Who do you think I should contact to see if they would cover the costs of the eye exam and FALANT? Thank you for answering SEVERAL of my questions! /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

Good luck Jake on the FALANT…

Doug, was the Skywest pilot you flew with partly colorblind or completely?
SkyWAY! It's ok, it happens all the time. I remember people saying "Funny, I didn't think Skywest flies 1900's"

Anyway, I'm not sure of the extent of his colorblindness but he had a MFW (medical flight waiver) and was a UAL intern and was waiting to be called up for a job when I met him.

I'm not even sure why they test for it as I'm not even sure why it's important in IFR flight.
My plan didn't have any primary care physicians....and it definately didn't have anything for the vision part of it. I just went there, and when it was over they said "Ok, what's your copay?"....
Okay, I feel a little more comfortable now. I will set an appointment with an optometrist ASAP! The closest optometrist from where I live that administers the FALANT that I can find is in Berkeley, which is a 7 hour drive away from where I live (which is in Southern California). I’ll set an appointment for sometime within the next two weeks; when ever my father can drive me.

Thanks for the help Dan, Doug, and Jake /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif


How do the airlines handle color vision SODAs (Statement of Demonstrated Ability) issued by the FAA upon completion of a control tower light gun signal test?

I don't specifically know how they handle SODA's, but I know, but have lost touch, with some guys that had SODAs for color defificiency.
I'm just curious, you guys are saying that if you pass the FALANT, you can get a letter so that you never have to take a colr vision test again for the FAA. So can you get one of those letters if you just pass a normal pseudoisochromatic plate test? I'm just wondering because the FALANT is hard to find, and sometimes I can pass the plate tests, and sometimes I can't.

Also, how would you get one of these letters exempting you from having to take a color test again?