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pilot4

Depth Perception DQ and Waiver info

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I am in a tough situation and would really appreciate any and all advice that I can get, so thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post. I got sponsored by a reserve unit for the June board this year. Went through MEPS, and submitted my paperwork requesting my FC1. My recruiter came back and said that I failed depth perception, got a "PASS C", and that I am DQ'ed, that there is no waiver, and that I am done and cannot be a pilot. I find this very hard to accept as I have devoted everything in the past few years to achieving this goal. Luckily my sponsoring unit has not dropped me, and they are asking around to see if there are any solutions. I have tried looking on the forums for an answer to this but can't find one. So my question is this, is there any way to get re-tested for depth perception? I understand that it is not waiverable if I truly do have a DP issue, but if I could get re-tested and achieve passing results, then what would happen? I am going to see a civilian optometrist as soon as possible, just to have my own answers and to see if I do have a DP issue or not. Once again, thanks for your time in helping to shed some advice on this for me, I appreciate it.

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There are multiple DP tests out there besides the standard "circles" test the AF uses. I have a friend who was able to pass other DP tests and was granted a waiver. So, it is possible, but he did have a pretty difficult uphill battle. A recruiter's word is worth jack shit...don't give up.

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YMMV since I'm not a pilot, but I was granted a depth perception waiver for CSO a few years ago when I was going through the process. The process was long and included several trips to the nearest flight medicine clinic and then eventually Brooks for an evaluation. If you've got any questions, feel free to PM me. Best of luck with it. Keep your head up.

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There are multiple DP tests out there besides the standard "circles" test the AF uses.

True. I failed the circles while at Laughlin and got to do about six other tests and passed them all just fine. The minute you failed the circles they should have sent you to the eye doc to do the more detailed and accurate tests. At a minimum they should have checked your eyes and had you redo the circles with any prescription that they found you needed. Check AFI11-248 and the associated AFPAMs which describe how to administer a flight physical. These should detail the follow-on tests that they are required to give you.

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pilot4 -

I had LASIK done. I was sponsored by a reserve unit a few years ago, and did the same process. After MEPS, my recruiter called me and said "Your vision is outside the limits pre-op, so you cannot be a pilot. Period. Dot."

This is where being informed about the regs will work for you. I told him, that is incorrect, then I cited the reg that was recently updated to show that my pre-surgery eye sight was JUST at the limit for FC1. He thought about it for a minute or two, then reluctantly said he would forward it to the AFRC top flight surgeon guy and see what they said. I faxed him all the applicable regs, with the appropriate sections highlighted and underlined.

1 week later I got a call back saying I was approved to go to brooks.

Get in the regs. Learn them. CALL brooks, talk to someone there and see what they say. I would find it hard to believe that they can DQ you based solely on a crappy MEPS depth perception test. Your looking to provide your recruiter with information to pass up the chain to get you a brooks date. It IS possible to do.

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I agree with everyone else, i have no experience as i'm going through the application process myself but after recently having a randot test (the one with the circles) and finding it hard to pass, my eye doctor said that it really is a stupid depth perception test to DQ someone for and is usually only used as a cursory test. The AF i believe requires you to pass 25 arcs minimum, which my doctor said was ridiculous with this test; if you have not taken it before, its hard to do, yet does not mean you have bad depth perception. He gave me some eye exercises to do and i took the test a week later (hes an old family friend) and i passed no problem. Do what others have said, go above the recruiters head if you have to and get a REAL test done. MEPS from what i hear, can be such a pain sometimes, i wonder why they don't have a separate unit specifically for pilots prior to getting your FC1, or just bypass MEPS and go to FC1? i dunno

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If you normally wear glasses or contacts to achieve 20/20, you are allowed to wear them for the depth perception test. It makes a significant difference.

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I'll pile on. Way back in the 90's, I had an Airman write down that I failed the depth perception test. It took work by an Air Force Ophthalmologist at the same base to submit a waiver request to DODMERB indicating that I passed all subsequent depth perception tests. I got to pilot training. It can be done.

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The AF Recruiting service is an abysmal failure, and recruiters are some of the worst individuals the AF has to offer. Do not EVER take anything they have to say as the final word. I've had three instances in my family this past year where AF recruiters have either given entirely wrong information or not done the most basic aspects of their job.

Lots of good advice on here but I’ll throw my two cents in…way back in the day I was in the same boat with the depth perception ring test, I failed it time and again. Finally I was very lucky that I had a good med-tech explain to me “how” to take the test. If I remember correctly his advice was similar to looking at those “hidden-picture” posters. You have to look through the rings and focus “behind” them…it worked like magic and 15 years later I still can pass the test with no problems. My civilian eye doctor at the time who was a retired AF flight doc said exactly the same thing, very few people actually fail that test…most often they just don’t take the test correctly.

Edited by Catbox

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Good advice all... Retake the test. Try Catbox's technique, also try scanning back and forth, side to side, letting your eyes go blurry almost, and only look at the bottom half of the circles. A doc told me this trick once and it worked very well. Good luck to you.

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I'll pile on. Way back in the 90's, I had an Airman write down that I failed the depth perception test. It took work by an Air Force Ophthalmologist at the same base to submit a waiver request to DODMERB indicating that I passed all subsequent depth perception tests. I got to pilot training. It can be done.

Confusion.....your name has WSO in it.

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pilot4

...failed depth perception, got a "PASS C", and that I am DQ'ed, that there is no waiver, and that I am done and cannot be a pilot...is there any way to get re-tested for depth perception?...

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GearMonkey

True. I failed the circles while at Laughlin and got to do about six other tests and passed them all just fine. The minute you failed the circles they should have sent you to the eye doc to do the more detailed and accurate tests. At a minimum they should have checked your eyes and had you redo the circles with any prescription that they found you needed. Check AFI11-248 and the associated AFPAMs which describe how to administer a flight physical. These should detail the follow-on tests that they are required to give you.

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Gray Beard

If you normally wear glasses or contacts to achieve 20/20, you are allowed to wear them for the depth perception test. It makes a significant difference.

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guim

Just look to see which circle looks darker...

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Catbox

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O Face

...also try scanning back and forth, side to side, letting your eyes go blurry almost, and only look at the bottom half of the circles. A doc told me this trick once and it worked very well. Good luck to you.

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Always test with your glasses.

AFI 48-123

6.44.11. Depth Perception/Stereopsis.

6.44.11.1. Flying Class I, IA, II. Failure of either the Vision Test Apparatus (VTA-DP), or its newer replacement, the OVT is considered disqualifying if the failure occurs with best corrected visual acuity regardless of level of uncorrected visual acuity. See aircrew waiver guide

6.44.11.1.1. Failure of the VTA or OVT stereopsis testing requires completion of a local preliminary ocular motility and macular examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist, and review by both AETC and the ACS. The test must include all of the following:

The AFI proceeds to list several other tests, which are the mandatory exams for possible waiver.

See my signature for the link to the waiver guide.

You should also be able to retake the test. My advice is GO SLOW. Take your time, the test is not a race. Also, try wiggling your head VERY slightly. Don't rock the machine; only move your head 2 or 3 times a fraction of an inch. One of the circles is closer to you, and should move barely more than the others.

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Thanks to advice I found on here and elsewhere, I think I have my situation resolved. Apparently for a civilian coming off the street and going through the process trying to a FC1 at Wright-Patt, everything done in MEPS is supposed to be a one-time screening process and is supposedly non-waiverable. However, in my case, I went to a civilian optometrist and found out that I needed a pair of glasses because I am farsighted in one eye and have astygmatism in the other. Due to the fact that I needed glasses and was unaware of this when I went through MEPS, that warranted getting my eyes re-tested. So I went to my sponsoring unit's base, and got retested for everything and passed the DP test with a perfect score. I am so grateful to the advice I got on here, not only in regards to a possible appeal process, but also on how to take the test effectively. The first time I took it at MEPS, I assumed it would be a cake-walk, so I went through it really quickly, and did not take my time and try the focusing techniques mentioned on here. Once again, thanks for all the advice and suggestions, baseops forums are an awesome resource for people trying to get to UPT.

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Definitely practice the "hidden picture" method that catbox brought up. I read about it on this board in another thread and never had trouble passing it after using that method.

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Good to hear! I went through this process too. Originally at MEPS they only passed me up to a C and pilots need at least a D, E or F score. My recruiter told me this and scheduled me for the next day to retake the test and I passed it with ease. I think they just rush people through it at MEPS. I also had my civilian optometrist do some DP tests and they said I had perfect DP. I think the randot test may be outdated. They also made my civilian optometrist give me a cyclo refraction exam prior to scheduling me for IFC1 at Wright Patt.

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for any RPA pilots out there - how important is depth perception to operating an RPA? [preface: yes, I've read 48-123 and the waiver guide already for initial FCIIU standards]

i have passed "line D" multiple times as well as several of the additional tests, but they had me do some of the extra tests anyways and apparently failed one of them (was not wearing my glasses, which probably made a huge difference)

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for any RPA pilots out there - how important is depth perception to operating an RPA? [preface: yes, I've read 48-123 and the waiver guide already for initial FCIIU standards] i have passed "line D" multiple times as well as several of the additional tests, but they had me do some of the extra tests anyways and apparently failed one of them (was not wearing my glasses, which probably made a huge difference)

If you lack depth perception, you mave have trouble grabbing your bag of Cheetos from above the touchscreen menus.

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If you lack depth perception, you mave have trouble grabbing your bag of Cheetos from above the touchscreen menus.

that's what i was thinking too, thanks for confirming

It's never 1 or 5...just sayin'...

fortunately i've never had problems passing THAT test. but for some reason i was given a bunch of other depth perception tests and got DQd. does not make sense to me - why would they have me take the alternate tests if i pass the primary??

Edited by eb287

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I don't really have an answer for you, but you may want to PM 81L BLR. My only question is are you certain you passed through category D and failed in E? It sounds more like you reached D, but only passed through C (a failure).

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I don't really have an answer for you, but you may want to PM 81L BLR. My only question is are you certain you passed through category D and failed in E? It sounds more like you reached D, but only passed through C (a failure).

Yeah I'm sure i passed line D based on what the official paperwork says. PMd 81L BLR - thanks.

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You watched a 3d movie lately? It's the same principle, I have heard some people will watch a 3d movie and something just clicks. Did it for my last depth perception test of which I had a waiver but managed to pass, go figure...

Edited by Snooter

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If there are any flight docs knowledgeable about depth perception issues, can you kindly PM me? I had a few specific questions regarding a recent depth perception test.

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Passed the depth perception "five circles" test today at the Tyndall med group after originally failing it at MEPS. It really was as simple as taking my time, focusing, moving my head a little, and taking a break if nothing was popping out before trying again.

The med group gave me a full eye workup, which I'm not sure if is because I failed DP at MEPS and now they wanted to check everything to be sure, or if that is standard before going to WPAFB for the FC1.

  • Upvote 1

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