Well-Known Member
I have a question. I was wondering how bad does colorblindness have to be to keep one from flying for the big boys. Thanks
You'll probably have to get a SODA (Statement of Demonstrated Ability). I don't have any firsthand experience with it, but I know people who have done it with no problem- although I'm not sure for what class of medical. I'd give AOPA a ring, I'm sure they can answer your question more definitively. Good luck!
I second the suggestion to contact AOPA.

My understanding is that you have two options;

First, you should try to take an approved alternate test. The test is administered by an opthamologist and if you pass the results are sent to the FAA. The FAA will then send you a letter that basically states you meet the color perception standards and do not have to be tested at future medicals. This is the way to go. You will not have a SODA, so it shouldn't be an issue in hiring.

Second, if you don't pass the alternate test, you make arrangements with the FAA for a SODA. If you opt for the SODA first, I don't believe you can try to take the alternate test. The SODA test for all three classes of medicals is the same. I believe you have two, maybe three chances to pass the test. For me, the FAA Inspector stood outside with me and had the ROC tower shoot the light gun in my direction. I identified red, white and green and the test was over. This was 15 years ago, so it may have changed some.

Good luck.
heres a list of the possible alternate tests you can take. just give your local FSDO a call and they can tell you where to take them or you can call local optomotrists and ask if they have the tests and then mail the results off to the FAA. just try to avoid a SODA if at all possible. The AOPA is also a great resource to help you out.

alternate tests

hope this helps if you have any more questions you can PM me.
I just spent 4 months going through the whole FAA waiting for results and alternate test thing. but it all worked out for the best i finally got my first class. the key is when dealing with the FAA is to be patient.
So here's another question. I have a 1st Class medical right now (well, TECHNICALLY it's 3rd class at this point), and I passed the color blindness test when I got it. I have never renewed a medical before, so what exactly do they do? Am I going to have to take the whole thing over, or just the eye chart, etc?
Each time I have renewed my first class, I have done the entire exam over. The color test I get administered is the one with the big circle and a two digit number hidden inside with clashing colors.
Every time you go they do the whole test again.....unless you have taken and passed one of the alternative tests like I have. You then show the AME proof of your passing the alternative test and you are exempt from him testing you on that again.

I had to take to Farnsworth Lantern Test in order to pass, it's probably the easiest. It is supposed to simulate light gun/vasi lights of differing intensities, strengths, etc...

If you are unable to find an opthometrist to administer the tests look up opthometry schools in your area. They will usually be able to administer any test you need. Again, that is what I had to do...
I'm only SLIGHTLY colorblind, but sometimes I might miss like one or two plates. I passed it last time. The AME didn't say anything, so I guess I got them all right. I just get nervous over things like that.
I took the Farnsworth lantern test, passed it, and supposedly I won't have to take any colorvision tests as long as I have proof that I passed the Farnsworth.
I did the test where the FAA examiner takes you down to the ramp and the tower flashes red, green, and white. I passes and the examiner gave me a letter stating that I do not have to do any more color tests for any medical. On the letter it specifically states that this is not a waiver it is a SODA.
I'm 17 and want to start my avaition career next summer by passing (or trying to pass) PPL in England. But i have blindness - green and yellow SOMETIMES seemes for me the same (probably other colors as well, but i didn't mention it). It there point to start this career or it will be to much difficult to pass higher ratings for me and so on?

Best regards, George