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Old 09-16-2015, 09:14 AM   #11  
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Originally Posted by BBurke View Post
Here's my scenario:

I would be taking a 1st class OCVT (Operational Color Vision Test) and MFT (Medical Flight Test) this coming spring with the FAA to renew my 1st class medical and continue my pursuit of airline flying (I'm a 22 year old 530hr CFII who only needs the 1000 hours). The 1st class color vision test contains several parts, as I've hinted at.

1) The local FSDO (IND, in my case) takes you out to the local airport with a tower, and has the tower shine the light gun at you, randomly changing the colors. Your job is to correctly identify the color shown.

2) There is a brief session of identifying colors on sectional charts.

3) MFT - the medical flight test requires you to differentiate and identify various colors both inside and outside of the airplane while in flight.

Worst case scenario, if you do not pass the light gun test during daylight hours, you can take it again at night. I know I could pass it at night. I'm 99.9% sure I can pass it during the daytime, too; as I have done a light gun test before, for my 3rd class about 4 years ago.

If I don't pass it during the daytime, but do at night, I would have a restriction on my medical reading "NOT VALID FOR FLIGHT DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS UNDER LIGHT GUN SIGNAL CONTROL" or something to that effect.

Here's the actual question: Would this be disqualifying to a regional airline such as Republic, Compass, SkyWest, ExpressJet, etc? This could obviously be an employer-specific question but a friend recommended I try this forum as well. Thanks for any and all help.

-Brady
I went through this process in April.. Finally got my LOE.. Make sure you learn colors of things you don't even think of, like the colors of the Annunciator Panel lights.. On a 172, some are Orange-Amber, some are Red..
The Chart was simple enough.. Just look at and learn the Sectional, WAC every day.. Know them COLD. They didn't spend a lot of time on this for me, but it's good to know regardless. They asked about terrain shades, maybe a yellow spot on a sectional (city), and the blue water.. They didn't go too much into detail with the things I sometimes have issues with (MOA vs Restricted.. sometimes over water the blue and purple are hard for me to tell.. but it doesn't matter as this is obvious because of the R-Number, P-Number, etc.) Just learn the redundant cues.. 99% of anything aviation related involving color is redundant. Also not a bad idea to learn the IFR enroute chart colors... They might ask you about those too, but they didn't do that to me. Practice with a color normal for help. Go do the light gun test a bunch of times.. Know that there are several different light gun models, and the green's on some are more "blue" than others.. On some they are more "yellowish green" than the blueish ones.. Whites can vary too.. Some are bright LED white, others are more incandescent Yellowish white.. My tower had 2 diff light guns and I had them show me both! Also check the distance on google maps.. Make sure you aren't getting screwed over.. 1000 and 1500 feet. They let me retake it once because I called one wrong (actually I think he might have seen it wrong himself.. he never pre-arranged the colors ahead of time with the controller as they are supposed to, so it was a he saw vs what I saw on a green vs white.. ), but I emailed them with a screenshot stating that the distance was 3000 feet, not 1500. They were like OMG you're right, we'll let you do a re-take. I nailed it the second time. I did so well on the whole thing that he was like "Jeez I hope I didn't get it wrong the first time because your vision is fine.. Maybe I did." He was happy that I passed, excited for me.. They truly don't want to ruin anyone's dreams.. they are just doing their job in reality.

As we waited for the sunset, he had me do a weight and balance, call flight service and check the weather.. by the book sort of stuff.
After that we went on a night flight right after sunset.. This was easy. 3 trips around the pattern..
Before take off "What color is this light?" (VAC light on an Archer.. It's orange.. I called it orangeish reddish.. he accepted.. Not like it matters anyway!)
"Are those trees or grass? Houses or Factories? What colors are those taxiway signs.. ?"
On landing "Tell me when the first red PAPI comes in to view" etc. No issues at all. Again he said "You def see better at night than I do.. (I'm more than 20 years younger) Let's finish the last 2 landings and call this thing done".

Shook my hand, best of luck in your future sir.

I had to call them to get my letter as they forgot to send it.. but they sent me a PDF copy and a paper copy which I keep with me when flying, but it's in my gmail account for good regardless. "This letter serves as evidence that you meet the color vision requirements for a first or second class airman medical, etc etc etc. Carry this with you when flying, take it to your AME every renewal, and they must issue unrestricted medical if you otherwise meet the requirements."

8 years of agonizing over every renewal even though I could pass a bunch of the office based tests (but not all of them), and this was the
BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. Pass or fail, it allowed me to move on with my life and my career(s). If you are going for a job and are iffy on the alternative tests, then study up, try out the light gun a bunch of times for practice, and go this route. A private pilot might be fine sticking with the alternative tests, but as a career pilot it's too dicey. Best off getting the iron clad answer.

Since I failed the first medical (This is when I discovered I truly had a color vision mild deficiency for sure..) they gave me the restricted medical.. I had it lifted through use of other tests such as the FALANT, and even certain ishihara books I can pass. (They allow like 6 or less errors on the 14 plate version plates 1-11) I pass that no problem, but still wasn't worth chancing it to me.
After a bunch of phone calls to the FAA, they let me "re-open my case" because of my initial failure.. I explained to them I want a more permanent answer because I plan on going for a career change to aviation and can't do it unless I know that my color vision is not going to cost me my job. They understood and let me go this route. If you never failed one they don't let you take the OCVT/MFT until you do.. Not saying you should fail on purpose, but that's basically what you have to do if you never had a night flight restricted medical.
I read they were gonna tighten up the standards soon, get rid of alot of the older tests they allow (especially the 6 plate ones.. they apparently FAIL too many people with NORMAL COLOR VISION, but they also are subject to memorization)..
Proposed new standards:
First level > Ishihara or Dvorine..

If fail then Second Level> CAD test (this is a computer based test. And it's not easy. I failed it myself during a research study).

If fail then Third and Final Level> OCVT/MFT (continuing the current policy of allowing a "practical test option")

They might even invent a new practical test to prevent the need for costly flight.. but that's all only on paper.. no action as of now. So either way it's worth it to do the OCVT/MFT and get it out of the way.

PM me if you need help or want any more info.. I've been through the gauntlet with this thing. Best of luck and spread the word.. You CAN fly if you don't have normal color vision.. You just need "adequate" color vision, and no, there is no real safety issue. People adapt. Good luck!

Last edited by Dan64456; 09-16-2015 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 09-16-2015, 09:15 AM   #12  
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https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...ch/item52/amd/

There are the requirements..
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:11 AM   #13  
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I read they were gonna tighten up the standards soon, get rid of alot of the older tests they allow (especially the 6 plate ones.. they apparently FAIL too many people with NORMAL COLOR VISION, but they also are subject to memorization)..
Proposed new standards:
First level > Ishihara or Dvorine..

If fail then Second Level> CAD test (this is a computer based test. And it's not easy. I failed it myself during a research study).

If fail then Third and Final Level> OCVT/MFT (continuing the current policy of allowing a "practical test option")
Can you reference where you read this? The only document I could find was written in June of 2009 and reflects the current standards.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:42 AM   #14  
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Can you reference where you read this? The only document I could find was written in June of 2009 and reflects the current standards.
Here it is:
https://d2jug8yyubo3yl.cloudfront.ne...c5c89b3a81.pdf

Note that they reference the Tallahassee case.. That's a red herring. Fatigue was the cause of that accident hands down.. Not to mention not following the procedures. (I can't stand when they quote that sham of a case. argh!)
Also check out Colour Vision Defective Pilots Association (CVDPA)
Great info there (even about the Tallahassee case). It's a group that lobbies against the color vision standards based in Australia..(Dr. Arthur Pape is a pilot and a Doctor who leads the cause.. They have had successes past and present) But they have their eye on standards all over the world, including the FAA. The FAA's is actually pretty liberal believe it or not, even though it's a pain in the ass to get scheduled for an OCVT/MFT.

So as you can see it looks like the OCVT/MFT will be here to stay.. If you rely on a test not listed on that document, then consider the OCVT/MFT so you don't have to constantly worry about this anymore. If you want to try the CAD test, ERAU has it and they will more than likely let you try it out, but you need to take the trip down there. If you pass the Ishihara, Dvorine, or especially the Richmond HHR as of now, you are most likely good to go. Note that the FAA allows more errors on these tests to account for adequate(as opposed to what's in the test manual to be considered normal) color vision. You can see those allowed errors in the link to the FAA site above. Note that I can pass the Dvorine and certain ishihara tests according to the FAA standards, but I opted to take the OCVT/MFT anyway. (I failed one of those 6 plate tests initially which is why they allowed me to go this route, after 8 + years even).
Also note that in the study, "Acceptance of Risk" (of those who they believe squeak by the current standard) is a proposed option. AKA they probably recognize it's political and not a true safety risk based on god only knows how many people flying safely for 20+ years and tens of 1000's of hours who wouldn't pass under the proposed standards..
Anyway good luck and keep me posted.. I'll help anybody any way I can with this.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:37 AM   #15  
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Interesting and thanks for posting.

I found a YouTube video of what I believe is this CAD test. How does this work? Are you supposed to follow the box on the screen with a finger or verbalize the colors as the box moves?

The costs associated with this look fairly high. I believe they FAA would be pushing more AMEs out of the business. Nothing has changed since this recommendation almost 2.5 years ago, so have you seen anywhere else the FAA is adopting this as the new policy?

The accepted risk comment is interesting too. I'm curious what the NTSB is thinking.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:56 AM   #16  
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Interesting and thanks for posting.

I found a YouTube video of what I believe is this CAD test. How does this work? Are you supposed to follow the box on the screen with a finger or verbalize the colors as the box moves?

The costs associated with this look fairly high. I believe they FAA would be pushing more AMEs out of the business. Nothing has changed since this recommendation almost 2.5 years ago, so have you seen anywhere else the FAA is adopting this as the new policy?

The accepted risk comment is interesting too. I'm curious what the NTSB is thinking.
CAD test- no need to name any colors.. You hold a controller with 4 buttons at each corner. You press the button that coincides with the direction the colored box went. It gets more and more faint as the test goes on, and adapts to your responses.

About the powerpoint:
They reposted this presentation somewhere in 2014, slightly revised.. no real differences though.. I don't remember where that one went, but they probably fixed a few things just to clean up the presentation. The latest rage is the DNA based color vision testing. This probably a decade off, but they think they can tell exactly the type and severity of your inherited color vision deficiency.. Prob won't see any of this come into play for a long time however, but who knows. Even so they still will probably have the OCVT/MFT. The letter of evidence you get for passing is grandfathered either way.

NTSB is just justifying their existence (funding) during their downtime.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:45 PM   #17  
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CAD test- no need to name any colors.. You hold a controller with 4 buttons at each corner. You press the button that coincides with the direction the colored box went. It gets more and more faint as the test goes on, and adapts to your responses.

About the powerpoint:
They reposted this presentation somewhere in 2014, slightly revised.. no real differences though.. I don't remember where that one went, but they probably fixed a few things just to clean up the presentation. The latest rage is the DNA based color vision testing. This probably a decade off, but they think they can tell exactly the type and severity of your inherited color vision deficiency.. Prob won't see any of this come into play for a long time however, but who knows. Even so they still will probably have the OCVT/MFT. The letter of evidence you get for passing is grandfathered either way.

NTSB is just justifying their existence (funding) during their downtime.
Great write ups, Dan. Was it hard for you to find alternatives to the Ishihara? That is all I can find, and no two doctors adminster their Ishihara tests the same. I have heard of My Flight Surgeon out in PHX, and it sounds like they offer everything for color testing, which is awesome and extremely rare. But for many folks that is a long ways to go. Any ideas on how to track down doctors that offer alternative tests/know what they are talking about? I wrote AOPA's medical folks and asked for a list of doctors who had alternative tests, and AOPA said they don't make referrals.

P.S. I can't even get anything but Ishihara samples online!!!! Grrrrrrrr.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:57 PM   #18  
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Great write ups, Dan. Was it hard for you to find alternatives to the Ishihara? That is all I can find, and no two doctors adminster their Ishihara tests the same. I have heard of My Flight Surgeon out in PHX, and it sounds like they offer everything for color testing, which is awesome and extremely rare. But for many folks that is a long ways to go. Any ideas on how to track down doctors that offer alternative tests/know what they are talking about? I wrote AOPA's medical folks and asked for a list of doctors who had alternative tests, and AOPA said they don't make referrals.

P.S. I can't even get anything but Ishihara samples online!!!! Grrrrrrrr.
Really the best way to find an AME with a certain test is to list all first class AMEs from the FAA search tool and start making phone calls.. Write down their test options next to their names. Ask for an off the record color vision consultation (You might have to pay still). It's a hassle I know.. Or you can bite the bullet, study up, and take the OCVT/MFT (if you failed before and have or had a restriction on your medical ) Check out Ohioame.com too. They have several tests..

http://www.ohioame.com/medical-services/advanced-color-vision-testingadvanced-color-vision-testing

AME search:
https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:20 AM   #19  
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Here's the actual question: Would this be disqualifying to a regional airline such as Republic, Compass, SkyWest, ExpressJet, etc? This could obviously be an employer-specific question but a friend recommended I try this forum as well. Thanks for any and all help.
In the past airlines have specified a medical with no restrictions other than corrective lenses.

Regionals seem to have eased up on that, probably due to the pilot shortage, they may want to at least see what your medical says before they make a decision.

The light gun limitation would have essentially no relevance to real-world ops but airline pilots are expected to be able to do it.

I suspect an airline (or at least some of them) would accept the (very low) liability risk, but they would also need to satisfy their FAA CMO. That might involve a limitation of not flying with another pilot with a similar restriction?

Majors would be more likely than regionals to not accept such a restriction...I suspect most of them would not.

Better pass the test. If you don't, then you'd need to contact individual airlines about their policy. Consider carefully at that point...if nobody will hire you but the worst bottom-feeders, planning a career airlines might not be a good idea.

91/135 might offer a path of less resistance than 121.
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:39 AM   #20  
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Really the best way to find an AME with a certain test is to list all first class AMEs from the FAA search tool and start making phone calls.. Write down their test options next to their names. Ask for an off the record color vision consultation (You might have to pay still). It's a hassle I know.. Or you can bite the bullet, study up, and take the OCVT/MFT (if you failed before and have or had a restriction on your medical ) Check out Ohioame.com too. They have several tests..

http://www.ohioame.com/medical-servi...vision-testing

AME search:
https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/
Link was bad sorry about that..

Advanced Color Vision Testing - Ohio AME
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