Color Vision

Zero1Niner

Well-Known Member
I hear ya, but my concern is that at anytime the FAA could decide they no longer accept any one of those alternative tests. You have to do them every year, and if 2017 rolls around and they say "no more FALANT/Optec 2000/whatever", I'll be in my late 30's with no career.
I need a letter of evidence, good for life- but it's unlikely I'll get one if I have to jump through all those new hoops outlined in the new regs. I'm pretty sure I won't pass all that stuff.

Do you fly commercially?
Heres my take. No one knows what coming down the road. Anything can happen. The earth could be hit by a giant meteor next year, and the whole world ceases to exist. You just dont know.

My advice is to do what you love. Thats it. You will deal with whatever happens as it happens. I am not advocating reckless decision making, but at the same time, you dont want to be in your late 40's (or older) wishing you would have followed your dreams.

I am in my late 30's making the career change as we speak (just finished my IR, Multi and Comm...now on to CFI, CFII and MEI). I let many other factors dictate my path along the way, and I could kick myself now for not following my dreams earlier in life. So I am doing it now before its too late.

This industry is not an easy one to say the least. Extremely unstable and cyclical, the need to pass a medical once a year that could end your career in a moment, declining wages, etc. But I would rather have done this for a while just to have experienced it than to never have done it at all.

Think of it this way. Try the alternate test and see which one feels the easiest for you. Stick with that until (or perhaps more likely IF) they make changes to that requirement. Or if you really want to be sure, go jump through the hoops for the FAA LOE and see if you can pass. If you pass, you have an LOE for life most likely. If you dont, then you perhaps move on to something else.

Just a thought. Wish you the best whatever you decide.

::end rant::
 

Coop-814

New Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Heres my take. No one knows what coming down the road. Anything can happen. The earth could be hit by a giant meteor next year, and the whole world ceases to exist. You just dont know.

My advice is to do what you love. Thats it. You will deal with whatever happens as it happens. I am not advocating reckless decision making, but at the same time, you dont want to be in your late 40's (or older) wishing you would have followed your dreams.

I am in my late 30's making the career change as we speak (just finished my IR, Multi and Comm...now on to CFI, CFII and MEI). I let many other factors dictate my path along the way, and I could kick myself now for not following my dreams earlier in life. So I am doing it now before its too late.

This industry is not an easy one to say the least. Extremely unstable and cyclical, the need to pass a medical once a year that could end your career in a moment, declining wages, etc. But I would rather have done this for a while just to have experienced it than to never have done it at all.

Think of it this way. Try the alternate test and see which one feels the easiest for you. Stick with that until (or perhaps more likely IF) they make changes to that requirement. Or if you really want to be sure, go jump through the hoops for the FAA LOE and see if you can pass. If you pass, you have an LOE for life most likely. If you dont, then you perhaps move on to something else.

Just a thought. Wish you the best whatever you decide.

::end rant::
Thank you. I agree to a large extent, but I recently got married and I guess I'm supposed to be 'responsible' or something now, so that's why I feel inclined to err on the side of caution.
Out of curiosity, when you took that alternative test, was it because you failed the standard Ishihara (numbers embedded in a circle of dots) test, or was that just the test your AME gave you? And if you do have color problems, what does an alternating white/green airport beacon look like to you from a mile out?
 

dpgtime

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Im starting a web site based on support and advocacy for color deficient pilots! This has really gone too far and I am in agreement with the previous post that the FAA has purley descriminated against color deficient pilots. I may need peoples help with starting this but I think its time to get the ball rolling! This OCVT test is all the proof we need to stand up to the FAA and call out the ridiculousness of their standards!
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

I think the fact that the FAA even allows color deficient pilots to get a 1st class medical is testimony that they are bending for us.

If you can't pass the Ishihara plates, then you have at least a mild color deficiency. By allowing us to take and pass a "practical" test, they are effectively saying that "yeah, you have a color deficiency, but you can discern everything that's needed for a pilot."

From what I have heard in many other countries, if you can't pass those Ishihara plates, you are SOL.

Coop-814: Don't give up man! Go out to a tower at an airport during the day and have them shoot the light gun at you a bunch of times. Have someone there to help you identify the lights. I think that once you know what to "look" for you should be OK.
 

Arowana

New Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

It doesn't matter, the fact is that the FAA is clearly discriminating against the high % of the population that have a very slight color deficiency. They are basically saying that you get 2 shots for the rest of your life to do a test where the conditions are uncertain and things are prone to human error on the inspectors part, etc. And what about all of the flight test stuff where they make you identify the location and significance of aeronautical lights, which clearly has nothing to do with color. Like I said before, if the FAA is so concerned about this being a safety issue, than they would require every pilot who does an eye exam to follow the same procedure, even if they pass the regular plate test! They need to create tests that more closely simulate actual flying conditions which everyone must be required to take.
 

motoboy

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Im starting a web site based on support and advocacy for color deficient pilots! This has really gone too far and I am in agreement with the previous post that the FAA has purley descriminated against color deficient pilots. I may need peoples help with starting this but I think its time to get the ball rolling! This OCVT test is all the proof we need to stand up to the FAA and call out the ridiculousness of their standards!
Go for it! Honestly though we should start some type of petition, seems like the faa has not come up with a firm answer so its worth a shot ha.
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

It doesn't matter, the fact is that the FAA is clearly discriminating against the high % of the population that have a very slight color deficiency. They are basically saying that you get 2 shots for the rest of your life to do a test where the conditions are uncertain and things are prone to human error on the inspectors part, etc. And what about all of the flight test stuff where they make you identify the location and significance of aeronautical lights, which clearly has nothing to do with color. Like I said before, if the FAA is so concerned about this being a safety issue, than they would require every pilot who does an eye exam to follow the same procedure, even if they pass the regular plate test! They need to create tests that more closely simulate actual flying conditions which everyone must be required to take.
Of course they are discriminating. They are giving you another opportunity to become a commercial pilot by offering a practical test.

The plate test weeds out people with ANY color deficiency. If you don't have any color deficiency, then there is no safety issue.

The flight test does not require you to identify the location of any lights. You need to identify the color and give the meaning. For example, if you can't distinguish 4 red PAPIs from 4 white PAPIs, then there would be a safety issue.

The reason they give two attempts is to cover the irregularities you mentioned. Really only one attempt is necessary. Distinguishing these colors is not a guessing game. And having the tower shoot lights at you from 1500 feet away is not rocket science.
 

srleslie

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Well, looks like I'm screwed. Taking the Farnsworth every year isn't worth gambling with a career on, given the chances that I either fail one year, or that they decide 8 years down the road that it's no longer an option.
I'd but my chances at passing the OCVT + Medical Flight Test at slim to none.
My training stops here. Looks like I'll be finding some crappy office job while figuring out how to afford to enjoy my PPL.

The only job I can think of in aviation would be cropdusting, but my new wife doesn't deserve to sit around and worry everyday while I make crap money doing one of the most hazardous jobs in the US.

I find myself thinking the same thing. I just don't know what to do anymore. I think going through all of this has really made me question if its worth it. It seems as though I have lost a lot of my passion for aviation. I still plan on getting my private, but as far as a career, I just don't know anymore. I graduate in may with a biology degree. Pharmacy school is a good option for me. It's a stabe secure job that would pay me 120,000 when I got out. Also, this semester I needed to pick up 2 courses to be full time. I'm taking spanish and a lingustics course, and I am falling in love with the field. I could really see msyelf doing that too. I have to remind myself there are more options out there. An Arabic translator with a few years experience can easily exceed 100K. My problem is I have too many interests. I might be happying flying on the side. I will get my private and re-evaluate things then. When I get out of college I'm going to work at least a year before I make any big decisions. I just can't help but think my passion for flying is dying. Maybe a discovery flight would do some good. Any thoughts?
 

Arowana

New Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Don't get me wrong, I feel that color vision and flying is a very important safety issue. We don't want to put lives at risk because a pilot can't distinguish colors! With that philosophy in mind, lets consider the fact that the FAA is letting all those who were grandfathered in before July 24th keep their letters of evidence for the Farnsworth test. What is the reason for suddenly making people have to take the Farnswoth test at every exam now? Will they argue your color vision can change over time, yet they will still issue a letter if you complete their test. If everyone is so worried about color vision, than every pilot should do the same MFT, since it is so much more thorough than any other test. Remember safety is the #1 concern supposedly! Why don't they make you do this when you get your PPL or something, since the FAA would not have enough resources to test every pilot specially? At least the Farnsworth test gave people a chance who could not pass the plates an opportunity. Finding an AME with a Farnsworth test is very difficult, so you cannot count on them always being available at every examination, which is why this new policy is so ridiculous. You should not have to risk only getting two tries for the rest of your life at a single test in order to get a letter.
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Actually, the Navy gave him the FALANT which he consistently passed. When he went for an FAA medical, the AME gave him the plate test and he failed. Then the AME called the Regional Flight Surgeon and the RFS told the AME to issue a SODA based on his Navy experience.

Excerpt from the accident report:

"The first officer told investigators that he never had a color vision problem in the
Navy. However, during a July 24, 1995, evaluation for an FAA medical certificate,​
61 the

first officer did not pass a color vision screen that was conducted using pseudoisochromatic plates (PIP).62 The FAA-designated medical examiner who conducted the evaluation
contacted the FAA.s Regional Flight Surgeon for advice and was told to issue the first
officer.s medical certificate for use with a SODA for the color vision deficiency. In a July
25, 1995, letter to the Regional Flight Surgeon documenting their discussion, the medical
examiner stated that the results of the first officer.s color vision screen indicated .a color
vision loss on pseudoisochromatic plates, missing numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6. This suggests
mild red-green defect. Per your instructions I gave him his certificate..Please notify me
about any SODA number that he is issued.. The FAA issued a SODA on August 1, 1995,
and, in a same-day letter to the first officer, the Regional Flight Surgeon stated, .based on
your operational experience, I have determined that you are eligible for a first-class
medical along with [a SODA] for defective color vision.. When the first officer obtained
his most recent first-class medical, dated October 9, 2001, he was again issued the​
certificate with a SODA for the color vision deficiency."
 

dpgtime

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

"On August 29, 1992, the pilot of a Mooney 20F, with a "waiver for partial color-blindness to red and green," was startled by a near miss, and decided to land on the first runway he had in sight. The runway he chose was marked ''closed'' with orange crosses on the soil 50 feet beyond each end. The pilot stated that he had checked the NOTAMs and was aware that the N-S runway was closed. The Board listed his limited ability to detect the orange closed marking as a factor."


This is the most insulting and discriminative finding I have ever read in my entire life. The FAA basically stated that they think this pilot was blind...as in cant see giant "X's" on the ground..........The guy almost had a near collision and WANTED TO LAND! He obviously didn't care about the closed runway in his mind it was an emergency! This case leaves me in shock that they took this into account...The FAA should be ashamed...Why do we have the worst bureaucracy for the greatest profession? This is what we are up against.....people working in some office with some or no degree, maybe a high school diploma deciding on issues they have no knowledge in. I just couldn't imagine the head FAA Flight Surgeon coming up with that big of a bogus description of the facts..
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

This is the most insulting and discriminative finding I have ever read in my entire life. The FAA basically stated that they think this pilot was blind...as in cant see giant "X's" on the ground............
This did not have anything to do with the FAA. The NTSB's probable cause was:

"THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE RUNWAY HE SELECTED FOR LANDING WAS CLOSED. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S ANXIETY FOLLOWING THE NEAR-COLLISION, AND HIS LIMITED ABILITY TO DETECT THE ORANGE-COLORED MARKING."

The Mooney pilot did not even make it to the under-construction runway. He landed short and ripped of the landing gear.

Did an emergency exist after the near middair? Probably not. My guess is that this guy was rattled and basically gave up trying to fly the airplane. Was his color deficiency a factor? Maybe. It certainly did not help.
 

dpgtime

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

The NTSB might as well be the FAA, they all infer wrong information and that is not acceptable. Sorry Matt but I fundamentally disagree with the fact that you think that in this particular case the pilots color vision had anything to do with this accident. Also, if the pilot was so startled that he could not perform his duties of flying the plane (as shown in his inability to even land on the runway)...then that is an emergency.
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

The NTSB might as well be the FAA, they all infer wrong information and that is not acceptable. Sorry Matt but I fundamentally disagree with the fact that you think that in this particular case the pilots color vision had anything to do with this accident. Also, if the pilot was so startled that he could not perform his duties of flying the plane (as shown in his inability to even land on the runway)...then that is an emergency.
I would agree that he turned the situation into another emergency where it need not have been.

I agree that the color deficiency issue may not have been a factor. But he attempted to land on a marked closed runway. Why? He could have landed on the other runway as part of his self-induced emergency.
 

dpgtime

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Thanks for seeing the Light! I knew you were better than the last post, defending the Feds Against Aviation! hahha

I believe that he landed on the X runway rather than the open one because he didn't give a crap what runway he was landing on....He just wanted down.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

This did not have anything to do with the FAA. The NTSB's probable cause was:

"THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE RUNWAY HE SELECTED FOR LANDING WAS CLOSED. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S ANXIETY FOLLOWING THE NEAR-COLLISION, AND HIS LIMITED ABILITY TO DETECT THE ORANGE-COLORED MARKING."

The Mooney pilot did not even make it to the under-construction runway. He landed short and ripped of the landing gear.

Did an emergency exist after the near middair? Probably not. My guess is that this guy was rattled and basically gave up trying to fly the airplane. Was his color deficiency a factor? Maybe. It certainly did not help.
I think a panic attack would warrant an emergency. Nothing scares me more than near mid-airs.
 

flyTotheSky

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

Does this mean that if they limited these tests, would that apply to those who had already used the alternate tests, or just to future applicants?

There is also promising evidence that gene therapy will cure color blindness in humans. It's worked in apes, and one of the researchers I have been corresponding with says human trials are 5 to 6 years away. Maybe one day this won't be an issue for us.

I'm curious about this question too since I have a Letter of Evidence stating that I've passed the FALANT test....
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

I think that is saying a bit too much. If this guy was so color "blind" that he couldn't distinguish 4 red lights from 2 red, 2 white, I submit he could never pass "legally" a FALANT Test. I may have my facts of the accident wrong however.

As I see this, we have a handful of aviators who made very bad mistakes, I fault no one for making mistakes this is a very unforgiving thing we do, BUT these few have chosen to lay blame on their color deficient vision instead of where it belongs, their lack of proper ADM.

Just double checking, I found this article, note what the lawyer says:

And Don Maciejewski, an aviation lawyer for the pilots, said the crash probably was caused by malfunctioning warning lights. He said Frye has a "blue-green color problem" that would not affect his ability to see red.
If this is true, then the Navy consistently looked the other way when they administered the FALANT on multiple occasions. He also passed a light signal test subsequent to the accident.

Excerpt from the NTSB report disagrees with what the lawyer said:

During this evaluation, the first officer passed the FALANT color vision
screen but failed seven additional red/green color vision tests. The USAFSAM specialists.
report stated that the first officer had a severe congenital deuteranomaly that could result
in .difficulties interpreting red-green and white signal lights.. The report also stated the
following:​
We believe that he would definitely have had problems discriminating the
PAPIs.because the red lights would appear not to be red at all, but.more
indistinguishable from white than red..it would be extremely unlikely that he
would be capable of seeing even the color pink on the PAPI.more likely a​
combination of whites and yellows and perhaps, not even that difference.

If what the lawyer said is correct, then the only alternative is that he DID recognize the 4 red PAPI as such and then took no action. BTW, the NTSB looked at the PAPI and they were ok.
 

400A

New Member
Re: Color Vision Letter of Evidence - Status

If this is true, then the Navy consistently looked the other way when they administered the FALANT on multiple occasions. He also passed a light signal test subsequent to the accident.

Excerpt from the NTSB report disagrees with what the lawyer said:

During this evaluation, the first officer passed the FALANT color vision
screen but failed seven additional red/green color vision tests. The USAFSAM specialists.
report stated that the first officer had a severe congenital deuteranomaly that could result
in .difficulties interpreting red-green and white signal lights.. The report also stated the
following:
We believe that he would definitely have had problems discriminating the
PAPIs.because the red lights would appear not to be red at all, but.more
indistinguishable from white than red..it would be extremely unlikely that he
would be capable of seeing even the color pink on the PAPI.more likely a
combination of whites and yellows and perhaps, not even that difference.

If what the lawyer said is correct, then the only alternative is that he DID recognize the 4 red PAPI as such and then took no action. BTW, the NTSB looked at the PAPI and they were ok.

Ok, if this is true than that FALANT test (I have never taken it, got my SODA by doing the signal gun thing many moons ago) is either severly lacking in its ability or some test the pilot was given was way off. The NTSB is basically saying this guy can't tell a red light from a green light or red from white, they all look the same to him. That isn't color deficient, that is color blind.

Something doesn't add up here, I don't get how this guy could get through Navy flight training, carrier landings and the such and be this color blind, only to smash in a 727 because he couldn't interpret the PAPI?? I still think blame is trying to be shifted from an ADM mistake to the color issue, where it doesn't belong. Just my opinion though. Those out there that can take a FALANT test everytime and can see a traffic light with no problem should have zero problems getting their medical, until the FAA decides that test is no good either.
 
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