Real Answers from Real Pilots

Color Vision Test

I am an aspiring pilot. I currently have my FAA 1st Class Medical, I passed that no problem. But I have noticed lately, that weird mixtures of colors and having a small sample size of it have been giving me trouble. For example, a greenish yellow dot on paper I would have trouble identifying. I have no trouble when it comes to identifying all the color signals when flying. I can see the red, yellow, white, green and blue just fine. I do have trouble with someone of the online tests as well. Can anyone give advice as too whether or not there alternative tests they accept? Because the tests compared to the real thing are honestly different and don’t do them justice. Thank you for your time.

Matthew,

If you passed the FAA First Class color test you should be fine but yes there are alternate tests. Here is a good piece from the AOPA on the subject which also has a link to the available tests.

https://www.aopa.org/go-fly/medical-resources/health-conditions/vision/color-restriction-removal

Adam

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Thank you. Do you know of any pilots in the industry who have had trouble with this? Could it even be a mental thing because sometimes I am fine sometimes not. Also, you fly the A330 for Hawaiian Airlines if I remember correctly? Do you fly from Las Vegas ever? I was just on Flight 7 from Vegas to Honolulu over the new year… Oddly enough, you could have been my pilot. By the way, thank you for responding to people who post on here. We share your passion with you!

Matthew,

My pleasure. I don’t know any personally with this problem but I’m certain there are. Most pilots don’t discuss their medical issues so you never know. You could of course go to a vision specialist and get some testing to be certain. Most AME’s, while administering the tests aren’t specialists in vision so if it’s a concern (which it seems to be) I’d get it checked.

I do LAS from time to time. Unfortunately the dealers have my number so it’s usually an expensive trip! Over the New Year I flew to PPT Tahiti so that wasn’t me. Maybe next time?

Adam

Thank you for your advice! The Hawaiian flight was awesome. Vegas beats me too what a rip off!

Glad you enjoyed. Not their fault. We’re grownups and know the risks. After my last stay though they sent me an email survey asking about my stay:

  1. Did you encounter any problems during your stay?
    Me: Yes you took my money
  2. Is there anything we can do to remedy the problem?
    Me: Yes, give it back.
    After I actually got a call from mgmt. explaining to me the risks involved in gambling. I thought it was a nice gesture. I explained I was just being silly :slight_smile:

Adam

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I am too, my brother just moved there and he hasn’t spent a cent gambling. We all work too hard for our money to risk it.

On another topic, what do you know about Middle Georgia State Universities Flight Program. I could get a Bachelor’s in Flight and a Minor in Airline or Airport Management. That is my most likely route now. I am just wondering if you know anything about it.

Matthew,

My concern on this is that you might have a vision problem that could later develop into something that would prevent you from flying. You might want to think about going to an opthalmologist (not an optometrist) and getting this checked out.

Chris

Matthew,

I had never heard of that particular school but I did some quick Googling. They seem to have a good program, includes multi and all CFI’s and the price for the training appears to be reasonable (although they don’t mention what happens if you go over their estimated training hours?). My only question is do you have any idea where you’ll work afterwards to build your time?

Adam

Hey Matthew. My name is Kevin and I’m new to this ATP forum. My son is wanting to start training soon and I am an Airline Pilot currently. As far as your color vision test question goes. Talk to your AME, I have had the same issues you describe above. I ended up taking a test called the “Farnsworth Lantern” test (I believe). This is an alternate color blindness test that an eye doctor administered and I submitted to my AME. I did this probably 20 years ago now. Once I passed this I was exempt from ever having to take another color blindness test for an FAA medical of any class. There are no restrictions on your medical certificate. I’m sure they still offer this or something else like it. Like you describe, sometimes I could pass the blot test and sometimes not or had trouble but could otherwise see colors fine. In any case, I don’t think this is a game stopper for you.
I have flown as an instructor, as a corporate pilot and for three 121 carriers including TWA and Delta. Was not an issue in my case.

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I will get in touch with him and ask. I appreciate this encouraging advice Kevin. This is my dream. I will accomplish it one way or another. Have you ever had troubles with it during your career while operating aircraft? I don’t ever remember having any myself. And just out of my curiosity, what routes to you fly for Delta? I live near DTW which is of course a hub. Also, to clarify, if I passed a color vision test the first time I never need to do it again?

-MI

I fly the B-717 at Delta. If you are not familiar it is really a new DC-9, or shorter MD-88/MD-90.
I fly out of Atlanta and this is mostly a domestic airplane, but we do have flights to the Caribbean and Canada as well. It’s currently the smallest airplane in Delta’s fleet at 110 passenger seats.

And yes, I took this test one time, passed it and I never have to take the normal color blindness test for my first class medical. There is no indication on my medical certificate for using this test either. Since I took it so long ago, you need to check to see if this type of test is still available. I was told that a person’s color vision does not change throughout their life. I’m not a doctor so can’t speak to that directly. Good luck with that.

Wow that’s awesome. They fly those out of Detroit too I’ve seen a couple. About the size of a CRJ-700? And my AME says he gives the color test every year so if my vision doesn’t change… I am in. Can’t wait to fly in the big leagues one day.