Colour blind test

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Colour blind test

Post by gandalf »

It seems to be a bid of a grey area if you'll excuse the pun but what is the story for a budding pilot who discovers he/she is colour blind. What are the alternatives? Can you get your PPl, CPL etc? Any experts out there?


Post by Guest »

No way you will get a JAA licence unfortunately,
However I hear (Only hear, don't really believe) that if you can proove to an FAA air traffic controller that you can read all the signs and can tell which way an aircraft is facing at night, etc etc, it is within there rights to give you a certificate that you can then produce to an FAA certified Aero Medical Examiner on your Medical, which will enable you to fly privately, maybe NATCA FWA can shed some light in that..

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Post by Flyer1 »

As far as i know there are extremely tight restrictions on colour blindness. I have heard of cases where colourblind people can fly microlight,s only on their own.

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Post by Kevlar »


you can in fact get your Jar PPL if you are colour blind. But you will only get a VFR PPL. I know of at least one guy in Weston who is colour blind and has a restriction stating that he must be VFR only. Also did you know that only males can be colour blind :!: :wink:
Regards, Kevlar

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Post by flatspin »


You can get a PPL or possibly a CPL, there are a couple of options.

First and foremost you should have nothing to do with the IAA, Stay away from them at all cost.

If you are interested in going the JAA route Go to the UK CAA at Gatwick and do the Eye test, It dosen't cost much for the eye test I think it is around ?30. They have two alternative colour vision lanterns to test you with

1. the Holmes wright lantern

2. the Beyne Lantern

If you pass either of these tests then you will be declared colour safe for life and as long as you are otherwise medically qualified you will have no restrictions on your medical

If you fail both these tests then you can still qualify for a class 2 (PPL) JAR
medical, The CAA will put the restriction 'Valid for flight by Day only' on it

You can also qualify for a restricted Class 1 medical, currently this is only good for commercial flying restricted to flight instructing by day in UK airspace.

If you feel inclined you can go to the Swiss CAA and try their alternative lantern test, the spectrolux, if you pass they will send the results to the CAA and they will remove the restirctions from your medical.

The FAA route is much more reasonable.

If you fail the colour test in the AME's office then he will restrict your medical 'not valid for night flight or by color signal control'
The same restriction applies to any class of medical.

The FAA then have a list of acceptable alternative tests as long as your arm, pass one of these and they will remove the restriction from your medical and issue you with a letter of evidence that you can show to your AME at all subsequent medicals.

If you fail all the alternative tests there is still one last chance.

The signal lights test

This involves going to an FAA tower with an FAA inspector and correctly identifying RED, WHITE and GREEN flashed at you from the aldis signal lantern at various distances.

This the easiest test to pass the colours look like traffic lights.

IF you pass then you are given an unrestricted medical on the spot and a letter of evidence as above.

Most people who are diagnosed as colourblind are not actually colourblind, most are anomalous trichromats, meaning that they see most colours, the ishihara test (colour dots on the page) is carefully designed to detect these people, its fine if you pass it but if you fail it gives no indication of how bad you are.

A 'colour normal' person can see approx 9500 colours, shades and tints

It is quite possible for a person to be able to ditinguish 9000 colours, shades and tints and fail the test just as if the can only seee black and white.

Here is alink to an interesting article. ... /color.htm



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Post by NATCA FWA »


:shock: I can see it now, a color blind controller giving a color blind pilot a color blind test. We had one controller that was color blind when a pilot asked how he liked his paint job on his airplane respond that it all looks grey and white to me.

A color blind pilot can get an FAA license, I'm not sure of the process but I'm sure if you get on the FAA web site, find a link to the FAA Aero Medical website (in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) you may be able to find the FAA medical requirements for passing the eye test when you are color blind.

I have had pilots call while parked on the ramp asking for me to flash the vairous light gun colors so that a color blind student pilot can determine if they can see any difference between the Red and Green light guns, some can and some can't.

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Post by taildragger »


It is possible for a person with a colour vision defect (CVD)to obtain a CPL. However, there will be a night-flying ban imposed on this, which, also affects your instument rating. As you cannot obtain in IF Rating without night flying privilages.
However, if you are someone with a colour vision defect, and can pass either a holmes-wright lantern test, farnsworth lantern test or even a practical test at a controlled aerodrome and can safely distinguish between the different coloured light signals then you can have the night flying restriction removed from your license and be endorsement free!!

It seems to be a long winded prcess to do this in europe, however, states, Australia and NZ are more rceptive to prospective pilots with CVD.

Hope this helps....

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