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Old 09-03-2008, 12:41 AM   #1  
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Angry Letter of evidence no longer issued for alternate color vision tests???

Now apparently they have a new policy stating that you need to go thru this HELL I went thru EVERY TIME you go to renew your medical certificate? They "mistakenly" sent me a letter telling me that the FALANT was no longer accepted... All this time they were telling me that "My case was under review" was probably because they KNEW the policy was changing and wanted to throw me under this new blanket of discrimination. People with LOE's (Letter of Evidence) can still get by, but they are no longer issued via the FALANT results, so they basically faked an error by telling me that it was no longer accepted just to keep me in the system to backdate my case AFTER the policy came into effect. (Sometime in late July or August) I'm so p1ssed right now. My whole life dream has just been crushed. All the time it took the FAA to get me my amended medical certificate in the mail and now I have to go thru this every time? Not worth the gamble of 60+ grand for schooling for a crapshoot of being able to pass the SILLY unjust number in a bloody pattern test. Let alone fight the bureaucracy of waiting for the FALANT results (AND EXTRA COST TO ME) to fix my medical cert EVERY TIME I try to renew when I have scheduled flights with a company. I just wish I could have discovered this before so I could have saved the 8000 dollars from the costs of the PPL. I never would have continued with it in the first place. This is literally making me hate aviation. I am so discouraged right now that I can't even bring myself to fly anymore. This happened a year ago when I couldn't find a doctor with a FALANT (which is why I haven't flown in a year) and now again since I finally find one and pass it and they ironically change it after I shell out the 120 bux to take the damn thing. (Those and numerous D15 tests that I PASSED by the way, as well as visits to the optometrist.) Vacation days, time, and money all wasted for them to pull a 180 and send me the middle finger in an envelope. I'm half tempted to put the damn cert back in the envelope and send it back to them saying "thanks but no thanks, this won't do me any good. I can't go my entire life battling your incompetent staff and bureaucracy." So much for having goals or ambitions in life, only for members of an ill informed machine to sh1t on them.

So what do I do now, potentially waste money on getting current so I can take the crapshoot in-flight test (with some of the things having nothing to do with color perception? see below for the requirements) and an unknown chance at failing or passing? (Failing this one by the way brands you for LIFE, no more YEARLY FALANT options either.)
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For first or second class medicals:
(a) Successful completion of an operational color vision test (OCVT) described above; and
(b) A color vision medical flight test (MFT). This is an actual flight test and requires the following:
(1) You must read and correctly interpret in a timely manner aviation instruments or displays, particularly those with colored limitation marks, and colored instrument panel lights, especially marker beacon lights, warning or caution lights, weather displays, etc.
(2) You must recognize terrain and obstructions in a timely manner; select several emergency landing fields, preferably under marginal conditions, and describe the surface (for example, sod, stubble, plowed field, presence of terrain roll or pitch, if any), and also describe how the conclusions were determined, and identify obstructions such as ditches, fences, terraces, low spots, rocks, stumps, and, in particular, any gray, tan, or brown objects in green fields.
(3) You must visually identify in a timely manner the location, color, and significance of aeronautical lights. To minimize the effect of memorizing the color of a light associated with a particular light system, the aviation safety inspector should make every effort to not use the light system name during the flight, but rather to ask you to identify a light color and the significance of as many of the following lights as possible:
(a). Colored lights of other aircraft in the vicinity;
(b). Runway approach lights, including both the approach light system (ALS) and visual glideslope indicators;
(c). Runway edge light system;
(d). Runway end identifier lights;
(e). In-runway lighting (runway centerline [CL] lights, touchdown zone [TDZ] lights, taxiway lead-off lights, and land and hold short lights);
(f). Airport boundary lights;
(g).Taxiway lights (edge lights, CL lights, clearance bar lights, runway guard lights, and stop bar lights;
(h).Red warning lights on television towers, high buildings, stacks, etc.;
(i). Airport beacon lights.


If you pass the operational color vision test (OCVT) and the color vision medical flight test, the inspector will issue a letter of evidence that’s valid for all classes and a medical certificate with no limitation or comment regarding color vision.


If you fail the signal light test portion of the OCVT during daylight hours, you will be able to retake the test at night. If you pass the nighttime test, your medical restriction will read, “Not valid for flights requiring color signal control during daylight hours.” If you cannot pass the OCVT during day or night hours, the restriction will read, “Not valid for night flying or by color signal control.”
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Can't AOPA get involved here and throw some advocacy out there? Half of the doctors don't know JACK about color vision because there is no cure therefore no money to be made in researching it. Yet so many of us get told no, no, no, in life career choices because of something none of them even understand. (The cases vary from extremely mild to severe. Big difference)

What about the pilots out there now that are flying with LOE's? I'm sure there are plenty of them. What happens when the FAA decides to stop accepting them in the future?

This isn't even worth the stress or money anymore. I'm telling you I'm this close to selling all of my pilot stuff, and I'm so sad/angry/discouraged from all of this.

I even took some tests (Non FAA ones, administered by an ophthalmologist) that suggested I have completely NORMAL vision. Yet the stupid plates I can't pass all of them.

Imagine having 1 dream in life since you were a child. Then imagine being told by a piece of paper that you are destined for a life under fluorescent light bulbs rustling papers in front of a computer screen for the next 60 years of "your" life. This is about how I feel right now.

Aren't there people with HEART PROBLEMS actively flying with 1st class medicals now? And a perfectly healthy young guy can't just because he can't see a silly number in a silly pattern, yet can tell every other color apart?

I cannot enjoy PPL privileges as I cannot afford them nor justify the cost unless leading to a career.
Excuse my anger, but I feel compelled to express my feelings toward the FAA right about now, since my entire future life was affected by it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:43 AM   #2  
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I'm not up to date on all the details here, but if you missed a grandfather deadline because you were "under review" even though you had taken the test before the deadline you might contact your congresspeople and see if they can talk the FAA into including you under the grandfather...seems only fair.

Good Luck.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:36 PM   #3  
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Sorry to hear this. From what I heard this is because of that FedEx 727 crash that occurred in Tallahassee a few years back. The F/O was landing the plane under the Captains supervision. The F/O turns out to be color-blind, but is granted a medical since he had flight experience from the Navy.

The FAA has now changed the rules on color vision impairments partly because of this accident.
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:06 AM   #4  
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After reading this, I'm sick to my stomach. I have been flying as an FE in the Navy for 20+ years and started my civilian career as a PFE. The whole time I was taking the FALANT because I can't pass the plates. My med is due in January and if this is true then my dream of getting my ratings and upgrading to FO or even just keeping my current, wonderful job may be over as well. What gets me so angry is I see every color or colored light just fine and have never had a real world issue when seeing and identifying anything, but there are always about 4-5 plates that to me are either unreadable or I guess wrong because it is either a 3 or an 8 and they make the pattern so close that if you are just slightly color weak they know you will have to guess. Any Flight Docs here that can offer some advice?
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:57 AM   #5  
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http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...ech/item52/et/

I just checked the FAA web site and this link claims the page was updated on Sept 5th 2008 and still lists the Farnsworth as an acceptable test. It also lists what plates are required to pass the Ish test depending on the version the Doc uses. I also found this link with the full 38 plates. I would imagine there are different vesions but it is good practice. Better if you can speak French. http://daltonien.free.fr/daltonien/a...3?id_article=6
I also thought an LOE wasn't required for a FALANT. My last med was done with a FALANT and nothing needed to be passed on to the FAA. The Doc said it was a perfectly acceptable test. I just hope this is still the case for those of us who use it. Hopefully your issue is just an administrative error that some one misinterpreted.

Last edited by MJP8251; 09-06-2008 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:29 AM   #6  
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The same thing happened to me as Dan...I went to a new (stupid) AME and could not even see the first plate which is a control...I think his machine was improperly lit..so I had to put my job on hold and spend about a month to take a falant and get a new unrestricted medical. I had never had any issues with the my 3 first-class medicals. I then submitted the FALANT results to the FAA in Ok. City for the LOE and got screwed around for 4 months only to get a letter at the end of August telling me that they could not accept the test for a LOE. I refuse to take the flight test with the FAA because I feel that they are actually looking to fail people. I can see all the lights but refuse to put my entire career on the line to an organization that cares nothing for the people it governs or says they want to protect.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:57 AM   #7  
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Maybe one of you guys should organize a campaign...throw up (or borrow) a website and organize some congressional pressure.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:09 PM   #8  
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The more I look at this situation I think I am understanding it differently. I think as long as you pass a Falant, or any of the other substitute tests annually or bi-annually for a 1st class med you are good to go. I think the problem is the FAA used to issue a letter of evidence (LOE) or statement of demontrated ability (SODA) based on the tower light gun test or passing a FALANT and this waived you from ever having to pass another color vision test? Is this how it is/was? I can pass a FALANT annually if that is all that is required and it appears that it is according to the FAA link I posted a few threads back. I hope so. I have received two same day med certs based on passing a FALANT with out the AME ever sending anything to the FAA. My doc who is also a Navy Flight Surgeon and designated FAA examiner has told me more than once that the FALANT is the law even on the civilian side. Docs like to use the plates because of cost. A Falant machine costs about $6K compared to a $150.00 book. I have also read on one of those pilot med sites a report about color vision and he said anyone who can pass a plate test will pass a FALANT but not always the other way around. Lends credibility to docs using the more stringent test. It guarantees perfect color vision if you pass it where as the FALANT only apparently guarantees acceptable but possibly flawed color vision.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:36 AM   #9  
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Ok here is the deal...EVERYONE LOSES COLOR VISION AT HIGHER ALTITUDES DUE TO HYPOXIA...HYPOXIA IS FELT IN MOST PEOPLE AROUND 5,000 FT. A lot of airports are over 5,000ft.

So the idea of using colors is stupid anyways...I am a 135 pilot and there are 4 times when color supposedly plays a huge roll.

1. Beacons- First off they are not critical to navigation. The FAA does not even regulate them and they often get faded out in the sun...so the so called "green" varys from airport to airport. Cross referencing with VORs and GPS along with good old pilotage solves a lot. You can't even see the dual peaked white in military beacons until you get right over the beacon. But if you were using that to make a determination you would have probably busted airspace a long time ago if you weren't flight following. Besides, just because you can see a beacon does not mean you can see your runway and that is why controllers often vector planes to final. Proposed Solution-If you are color deficient you must carry a back up hand held radio and GPS and preflight it before you take off.

2. Airplane Navigation Lights-I have ALWAYS been able to tell which way an airplane is moving just by seeing the main airplane beacon. I have never been so close that I needed to use the colored lights. Proposed Solution-Instead of using colored lights use SHAPES. IE Three XXX's mean left wing and three circles 000 mean right wing along with color coding.

3. Light Gun Signals-This could be solved in a number of ways. Proposed Solution-Every color deficient pilot must carry a back up hand held radio that is preflighted before every flight. You could also replace the light gun with a panel about 3ft by 3ft and instead of using colors project a huge number or shape. IE 1=cleared to land 2=continue circling etc...

4. VASIs/PAPIs-If safety truely is the concern then since people become hypoxic at higher altitudes/elevations (Think Colorado/Montainous areas) color vision should not be relied upon. Proposed Solution-use projectors that shoot different Letters/Shapes/Numbers...IE XX=Low 00=high and say X0=on glideslope.

Yes...this will cost money...but since EVERYONE gets hypoxic at higher altitudes and it directly relates to safety, money should not be an issue. The FAA should move in this direction. By using color vision the FAA puts more risk on passengers lives. Again I strongly urge everyone to remember that everyone gets hypoxic and therefore loses color vision. How often do people land in Colorado where the elevation is over 5,000 ft.

I rest my case. There is no system that involves color vision that is superior to my SOLUTION. My solutions work for people that are truely color BLIND.

Thanks to all those who read this.
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:02 AM   #10  
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Well said Capt. Teezy and such a simple solution. It makes sense. You are right about the cost however and is probably the only reason it wont change. It would have to be adopted by every nation as well as our own. Not impossible but certainly difficult.
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