Real Answers from Real Pilots

Monocular vision medical question?

(Dallon Hill) #1

I am new to flying, my friend took me on a ride while hes working on his cfi and I loved it. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot but never thought it would be possible with my vision, but have since learned it is possible. I have amblyopia and 20/200 vision in my left eye my right eye however is perfect it’s 20/15 anyways, I am wanting to go to flight school to get my commercial license and hopefully fly for the majors one day. Anyways, I need to get a medical and I know it will get denied and I will need a soda I’m just curious if anyone knows any good Ames to go to somewhere in between Dallas San Antonio and Lubbock Texas, I live in Abilene but we have only one here and they don’t know how to handle the paperwork for that. So I’m looking for someone that knows how to submit all the nessecary paperwork and that can walk me through the process. I was hoping to start flying to get my ppl in the next couple months. Also if anyone has any tips for me as I am scared I will be wasting my money by getting some flight hours in and then not being able to pass the soda. Also confused at what point in training I would attempt to get the soda as well. Thank you!



I can’t help with the AME but a Google search or this site: should. I think however you answered your own question. You don’t want to waste time and money only to discover you have a problem and you need at least a Third Class to start taking instruction so I’d get working on that ASAP.




I would not do any flight training at all until you have a First Class Medical.


(Dallon Hill) #4

But to my understanding I can’t get a first class without a soda, I don’t think I can even get a 3rd class without a soda, I’m pretty sure the only thing I can get is a student pilot license which means I can fly as long as I’m with someone else that has a license. Then after the instructor feels I’m competent to solo I would then get a soda done, also I know how to find ame but that’s how I found my local one that doesn’t know much about waivers.



Technically you’re correct, you don’t need a medical until you solo and you can obviously do what you like. Here’s the thing, even if you find an AME who’s more knowledgeable they’re not going to just hand you a SODA. There’s paperwork involved and these things can and often do take time. Personally I wouldn’t want to train, get to the point where I could solo and then have to stop and wait a month or more before I could fly again. These are perishable skills and just because you were signed off to solo, and that endorsement is valid for 90 days, you may not feel so warm and fuzzy after that long a break. Totally your call.

Btw, please refrain from using inappropriate language on the forum. This forum was created for people who aspire to be professional aviators and we expect participants to act as such. Failure to do so will get you removed.




SODAs can take many months to be approved, if they are at all. Again, I would wait until you had a medical to begin your training.

(Dallon Hill) #7

So I’m confused by the advice you guys are giving me? Im looking for an ame. I want to get it done prior to starting. I agree with that, I don’t know anyone that has experiance with waivers for eyes so I need help finding one. You guys are making it sound like I can get the medical without flying? I thought the only way for monocular vision to fly is with the soda… only way to get a soda is to learn to fly. And I understand that Just because I have a good ame doesn’t mean they will give me a medical but i do need one that knows I can get a waiver. The local one told me it’s jot possible to fly with my vision. Which isn’t true.



We are not medical examiners. Your case sounds rather complex, as such, you will need to seek advice from an AME. We are also not able to recommend AMEs. Good luck in your search.


(Sam Johnson) #9

Looks like even if you only had one eye you could get a first class medical:

(Peter Vermilyea) #10

I know exactly your situation - my 17 year old son was in the same boat. We have been fumbling our way through this over 2 years now, and maybe you will find this helpful. My son started taking lessons once in a while when he was 15, just to get his feet wet and make sure he really wanted to do this before we met with the AME. After a few hours (and many months later), he met with the AME did the application for a 3rd class license, which of course didn’t get approved due to my son’s eyesight. But the FAA did send him a 3rd class restricted certificate to allow him to fly for the medical exam only with an FAA inspector. But since my son only has 25 hours, he isn’t ready to fly solo, but the medical check flight can be performed with his flight instructor beside him. So basically my son and his instructor will fly to the FAA office together (1 hour flight away), pick up the FAA person, fly around for a while while the FAA person quizzes my son, and then they will drop the inspector back off, and then fly home. That way my son won’t feel like he needs to solo first before the medical check flight. Assuming he gets the SODA approved, then we will go back to an AME for a 1st class exam and see if he can get that approved. I don’t claim to be an expert in this whole process, but this is how we are doing it.
One other thing- we used Dr. Bruce Chien to help us with the process. He charged us a flat rate of a few hundred dollars, but he helped me take the right steps at the right time. I’m not sure if he’s taking any new clients right now though. Google his name and you’ll find him. He is a peculiar guy, but very helpful and is a straight-shooter.