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Color blindness/deficiency


Guest Enrique123

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Guest pierce79

I think the only way you can get a waiver for color blindness was if you are already flying. Which means you have been flying in the AF for quite some time. That is more than likely not your problem. I think your quote sums up your situation.

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Guest pblarson7

You will not be considered for a pilot, or nav slot if you are color deficient. Any color deficiency will automatically disqualify you from FCI and FCIA.

Color Vision, Classes I, IA, II and III. Color vision testing must be performed monocularly under an approved and standardized illummant (i.e., Illuminant C). Five or more incorrect responses in either eye (including failure to make responses in the allowed time interval) in reading the 14 test plates versions of one of the following Pseudoisochromatic Plate (PIP) sets is considered a failure: Dvorine, the original version of the AO (excludes Richmond PIP version), or Ishihara (record responses as correct! total).

NOTE:No other PIP versions, such as the Richmond PIP, or Beck Engraving versions, or other tests for color vision are authorized for qualification purposes. Also note that the Farnsworth Lantern (FALANT) has been dropped as an USAF qualifying test.

Flying Class I/IAIII/III: Must possess normal color vision as demonstrated by passing the approved PIP.

Flying Class Il-Flight Surgeon Applicants: Same as above.

NOTE:FS applicants with mild color vision defects may be considered for a FCIIA waiver. FCIIA waiver authority is delegated to HQ AETC/SG. Controversial cases will be referred to AFMOA/SGOA.

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Guest c17flyingjayhawk

Maybe no waivers, but try for an Exception to Policy. Basically, it's a waiver for a waiver. I know two dudes who just got em. Neither were color blindness issues and both already had pilot slots. One had a pilot slot and back problems were discovered at Brooks, whilst the other was one month from UPT graduation when the docs finally got together and decided he didn't qualify for a depth perception waiver. So they applied for an ETP. ETPs are kept pretty quiet though, because they don't want everyone and their cousin applying.

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Guest c17flyingjayhawk

The real reason I'm posting. New 17 Driver at McGuire, took my first post UPT annual physical and failed one of three color blindness tests the AF has decided to start administering now. Needless to say, I'm now dnif through Wed., pending my "in depth eye exam." Should I have to go to Brooks, anybody know/hear of anyone rated getting a color deficiency waiver?

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Guest doctidy

No one already trained will be DQ unless a threat to flying safety.

The whole reason for this review of aviator color vision is the increased use of color in the cockpit, the lack of consistency in application of color vision standards and the fact that color deficients take more time and make more errors evaluating information than color normals.

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  • 2 years later...

first of all, hello. i'm new here, this is my first post.

ok, here's my story

since i was younger sometimes i'd make an error with colors, parents thought its just coincidence. maybe a year ago i was reading some enyclopedia and found something about color blindness. it said that its genetic and mostly males have it, my mother says that grandfather used to make errors with colors and my cousin too. anyway today i found some tests, spotting a number in a mix of colors. some things that my sister and mother found easy, i couldnt see. but others that they couldnt see i did. later i looked at results and it said that things that i saw normal people couldnt, and everything made sense. i read about it also, there are four types of vision: Trichromat(normal, three color pigments,red/green/blue), anomalous trichromat(3 colors but you make errors with one <-- thats the thing with me, errors with red color), dichromatic(two colors), monochromatic(no colors). altough i clearly see all the colors i do have a slight deficit, and it will probably cost me of everything. what a bad time to find that out, just when i started preparing, concentrated on studying...

i've got few questions: are contact lenses that allegedly can improve seeing certain color allowed to use on tests or in flight? i'd like to know that because they are pretty expensive i think so i wouldnt like to give money for nothing.

i think that i have a mild color blindness, it never stopped me from functioning, i mean i can see colors of objects around me just like everybody else. how perfect does the color vision have to be for a fighter pilot?

The thing that makes me saddest is that i see everything ok and i wouldnt have problems with signalisation but ishihara tests give me problems. Right now i'm experiencing some of the worst feeling i ever had. something that i wished to be for all my life and learned about suddenly becomes impossible even tho i could do the job(atleast when its up to colors). i think i know what the answers will be on my questions but i wanted to check if i have any chances, atleast slight chances so i can still try to get my dream job. Answers from people with knowledge and experience about this are greatly appreciated.

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Guest P27:17

I don't want damper your hopes...but if you truly have ANY color problems you won't fly. You never know until you go through the process though...with the cockpit environment we have these days there are color schemes and shades that make good color vision a must.

Good luck

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I think P27 was speaking strictly for the AF. The AF will ONLY accept the plates. Navy will take the FALANT (as Hijole said). So yes, you WILL NOT fly for the AF, but you could very well still fly w/ the Navy. This happened to a buddy of mine. Based on what happened to him and what Hijole is saying, sounds to me like the Navy doesn't give a rats ass if you can't pass the plate test, they just care about you passing the FALANT. Also, don't they have a few other tests you can take? My buddy made it sound like they had 5 or 6 tests and you just had to pass one of them. Is that true? Either way, give the Navy a shot.

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Guest Hijole

I see the color vision standards as being one of a host of discriminators, to narrow the applicant field. It is, in actuality, ridiculous. One who is not "color deficient" cannot possibly understand the subtleties involved. The topic is an easy segway into a rant about the overly cautious aviation physical standards required. I just think some of the requirements are silly. Military cockpits these days are more and more configured and altered for NVG compatibility. Much navigation and systems monitoring is accomplished through HUDs, and NVG-compatible lighting in a dim cockpit environment makes, in many mission modes, mesopic vision prevalent at best. Oh yeah -- the rest of the world looks green or amber to you anyways. The color vision thing is just outdated. Why the services would want to move in a more restrictive color vision standards direction is beyond me. But you're right. I got into Army flight school passing the FALANT. I understand they don't accept it for initial applicants any more. The Navy still does.

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  • 1 year later...

Thread revival...

I'm looking to retrain as a UAS operator (in Contracting now) in a few years as a jr. Capt. Does anyone know where I can find the color vision requirements for said job? Is there even an AFI out yet? Have a good one!

Edited by brassplate
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Guest goducks
Thread revival...

I'm looking to retrain as a UAS operator (in Contracting now) in a few years as a jr. Capt. Does anyone know where I can find the color vision requirements for said job? Is there even an AFI out yet? Have a good one!

Brassplate,

Most vision standards for UAS operators are much more lenient than the FCI standards. Color vision is one exception- same rules apply. 10/14 on PIP I, 9/10 on PIP II/III and pass F2.

These were in a USAF Surgeon General memorandum from Oct, 2008. They will be incorporated in a rewrite of AFI 48-123 soon (don't know how soon, the re-writes always drag out). Don't know if it's been posted anywhere at this time.

GD

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  • 1 month later...

Did a search, followed protocol, but no luck. Listed below is the reg containing the tests for color vision for an FC1. I'm familiar with the PIP I test, but can't find any info on what PIP II, PIP III or F2 are. Anyone have any idea what these are?

A4.11.1. Classes I, IA. Color vision deficit or anomaly of any degree or type.

A4.11.1.1. All Flying Class I applicants must pass definitive color vision testing during MFS.

Established color vision testing during MFS is determined by the following tests approved by AF/

SG.

A4.11.1.1.1. PIP I (minimum passing score 10/14 OU tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.2. PIP II (minimum passing score 9/10 tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.3. PIP III (minimum passing score 9/10 tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.4. F2 Pass or Fail.

A4.11.1.2. All Flying Class

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Did a search, followed protocol, but no luck. Listed below is the reg containing the tests for color vision for an FC1. I'm familiar with the PIP I test, but can't find any info on what PIP II, PIP III or F2 are. Anyone have any idea what these are?

A4.11.1. Classes I, IA. Color vision deficit or anomaly of any degree or type.

A4.11.1.1. All Flying Class I applicants must pass definitive color vision testing during MFS.

Established color vision testing during MFS is determined by the following tests approved by AF/

SG.

A4.11.1.1.1. PIP I (minimum passing score 10/14 OU tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.2. PIP II (minimum passing score 9/10 tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.3. PIP III (minimum passing score 9/10 tested monocularly).

A4.11.1.1.4. F2 Pass or Fail.

A4.11.1.2. All Flying Class

Tough question. The difference in PIP tests or pseudo-isochromatic plates are the number of plates, PIP1 is 15 I think, 14 test and 1 example. Not fimiliar with II and III but I imagine they test a different level of color vision it you fail one of the othere. The F-2 plate (Farnswoth or Tritan Plate) is just another test they use. If you fail one hopefully you pass the other. Fail all of them, they call you color blind.

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Guest goducks
Great...thought they stopped using the farnsworth test at brooks?

You may be thinking of the Farnsworth lantern or FALANT vs. the F2 color plate. Totally different tests. Brooks does not use the FALANT, but does use the F2 plate. The difference in PIP plates and F2, beside the number of plates, is that each tests a different aspect of color vision. Some are designed to pick up congenital deficiencies (those you're born with), while others target aquired deficiencies.

The FALANT is (or was, don't know if anything has changed recently) used by other services brances. It is designed to separate those with a mild color defiency from those with a more severe deficiency.

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First of all, the screening tests for color vision are just that - screening tests. If you fail, they will do "further color testing" to include the anamaloscope.

I was told by a civilian doc that because I could not see the numbers in those tests that I was "color blind," which is of course not true. But just to be sure, I paid out of pocket to see a civilian doc before heading off to my FC1 with the Air Force. She gave me multiple versions of the Farnsworth test and told me that I actually did better on those tests, which are more accurate than the books, than most people with normal color vision.

Bottom line - don't give up or get discouraged if you can't see all the numbers in the book. It just means that you may have some color issues, not that you do have issues.

But just to be sure, I went ahead and ordered the color vision books on my own to "practice." There is nothing illegal or unethical about testing yourself ahead of time. When I went through, the Brooks thing was further down the training pipeline (after you were commissioned but before pilot training), so I wanted to be sure before I started my Air Force journey that I would be able to pass the tests.

If you want to invest the money (and they are very expensive), you can order the tests online. Otherwise, try and look up the names/ISBN numbers and find them in a library.

Ishihara 14 plate test - used at most FC1's

Dvorine test - used at some FC1's

SPP 1 test used at Brooks

SPP2 test used at Brooks

SPP3 is just a combination of plates from SPP1 and SPP2

I wouldn't' recommend wasting too much time with online tests - they just are not the same as the books, no matter how good your monitor is.

Again, don't give up because you think you might be color "blind" due to a crappy screening test. To this day, I still miss several of those plates when I break them out. But after a few minutes of conditioning, I can see all of them in random order, backwards, upside down, and from a distance in low-light. Not to mention that I fly in a "colorful" cockpit and do a lot of low-light NVG operations. I have no problem seeing the colors, even when we have the lights in night-vision mode (which limits the color differentiation in the cockpit even more).

Good luck.

Edited by JS
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  • 6 months later...
Guest Brett Mather

So I'll start my story about 3 years ago when I began applying to become an Air Force Pilot through OTS. I was in my senior year at Virginia Tech working on my degree in Aerospace Engineering. After turning in my application to OTS I had to wait a while for the boards to make their decision, so I asked to have my flight physical done so that I would know if I was medically qualified before I even entered the Air Force. With the exception of distant visual acuity everything went well and I was given a waiver for my vision (20/200 uncorrected). I passed the PIP1 color vision test with 13/14 each eye. Unfortunately I ended up not being accepted to OTS and was quite disappointed.

Searching for what's next, I found the possibility of a 2-year AFROTC program I could do while working on my Masters degree. I looked at school and was accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Aerospace Engineering Master's program and the AFROTC program their. During my first year their I was selected for a Pilot slot before even going to field training.

I went on to complete my work at Embry-Riddle and commission 3-MAY-09. I had to sit around all summer waiting to EAD but finally did on 3-SEP-09 and began to long drive to Laughlin AFB to wait for ASBC at the end of October, IFS, and someday UPT. I've been at Laughlin for just over a month now and received orders to go to Brooks AFB last Wednesday for MFS (Medical Flight Screening). At MFS they did a a few tests, but the only thing I was a bit worried about was my distant vision waiver. All of my tests went fine except for color vision. I scored 10/14 for the PIP1 for each eye failed a few other tests. They kept me for additional color vision tests and determined that I have hereditary red-green (deuteranomalous) green-weak, color deficiency. This is completely disqualifying for Pilot, Navigator, ABM (not sure about this one), Combat Control, Combat Rescue, Special Tactics Officer, OSI, Test Pilot School as an Engineer, and 99% of Astronaut positions.

This has been quite devastating since all of those jobs I listed have been my dreams and backup plans in case my dreams didn't work out. Having them all stripped away in one day has motivated me to fight this to the end. I've been researching quite a bit to come up with anything I can do. I don't really know who to contact but I'm planning to start with my commander. I plan to tell my whole story and explain why I believe I am fit for at least one of those jobs.

I've gone my entire life (24 years) without knowing I had any form of color deficiency and have accomplished a lot; I just don't see how it can be so bad that I would be at a disadvantage now. I've read about potential advantages that red-green colorblind people have such as better night vision (which I found one paper going against this), being able to see "faster" (I haven't found any scientific evidence), and most notably being able to see through and detect camouflaged objects more easily (still don't have a solid source, just mentioned in other sources).

From what I can tell the only way I might be able to get around this is to get my commander or someone above him to write an "exception to policy" that would basically say that they are willing to take a risk on me since I might be able to make up for a deficiency with other aptitudes. Other than that, political figures may be able to use their pull somewhat to get me around this (but I know none personally).

If anyone has any information that may be useful to my cause please contact me at bmather9@gmail.com. Otherwise I'll be busy looking for other careers (which don't require perfect color vision) that will be as exciting, dangerous, noble, and challenging (both mentally and physically) as that of an Air Force Pilot.

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So I'll start my story about 3 years ago when I began applying to become an Air Force Pilot through OTS. I was in my senior year at Virginia Tech working on my degree in Aerospace Engineering. After turning in my application to OTS I had to wait a while for the boards to make their decision, so I asked to have my flight physical done so that I would know if I was medically qualified before I even entered the Air Force. With the exception of distant visual acuity everything went well and I was given a waiver for my vision (20/200 uncorrected). I passed the PIP1 color vision test with 13/14 each eye. Unfortunately I ended up not being accepted to OTS and was quite disappointed.

Searching for what's next, I found the possibility of a 2-year AFROTC program I could do while working on my Masters degree. I looked at school and was accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Aerospace Engineering Master's program and the AFROTC program their. During my first year their I was selected for a Pilot slot before even going to field training.

I went on to complete my work at Embry-Riddle and commission 3-MAY-09. I had to sit around all summer waiting to EAD but finally did on 3-SEP-09 and began to long drive to Laughlin AFB to wait for ASBC at the end of October, IFS, and someday UPT. I've been at Laughlin for just over a month now and received orders to go to Brooks AFB last Wednesday for MFS (Medical Flight Screening). At MFS they did a a few tests, but the only thing I was a bit worried about was my distant vision waiver. All of my tests went fine except for color vision. I scored 10/14 for the PIP1 for each eye failed a few other tests. They kept me for additional color vision tests and determined that I have hereditary red-green (deuteranomalous) green-weak, color deficiency. This is completely disqualifying for Pilot, Navigator, ABM (not sure about this one), Combat Control, Combat Rescue, Special Tactics Officer, OSI, Test Pilot School as an Engineer, and 99% of Astronaut positions.

This has been quite devastating since all of those jobs I listed have been my dreams and backup plans in case my dreams didn't work out. Having them all stripped away in one day has motivated me to fight this to the end. I've been researching quite a bit to come up with anything I can do. I don't really know who to contact but I'm planning to start with my commander. I plan to tell my whole story and explain why I believe I am fit for at least one of those jobs.

I've gone my entire life (24 years) without knowing I had any form of color deficiency and have accomplished a lot; I just don't see how it can be so bad that I would be at a disadvantage now. I've read about potential advantages that red-green colorblind people have such as better night vision (which I found one paper going against this), being able to see "faster" (I haven't found any scientific evidence), and most notably being able to see through and detect camouflaged objects more easily (still don't have a solid source, just mentioned in other sources).

From what I can tell the only way I might be able to get around this is to get my commander or someone above him to write an "exception to policy" that would basically say that they are willing to take a risk on me since I might be able to make up for a deficiency with other aptitudes. Other than that, political figures may be able to use their pull somewhat to get me around this (but I know none personally).

If anyone has any information that may be useful to my cause please contact me at bmather9@gmail.com. Otherwise I'll be busy looking for other careers (which don't require perfect color vision) that will be as exciting, dangerous, noble, and challenging (both mentally and physically) as that of an Air Force Pilot.

If you believe the flight doc is/was in error with his/her diagnosis, your best bet is to get an outside (civilian) opinion. However, if you truly do have this condition, then your options are limited. Any type of color deficiency is generally not waiverable. A lot of research goes into deciding what conditions are waiverable, and while it might not make sense to us, there USUALLY is some reasoning behind it. You can try an ETP (usually worked through your CC), but know that those are rare to nonexistent and require CSAF approval (not likely). Unfortunately, I don't have much other advice to give you...good luck.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest Brett Mather

If you believe the flight doc is/was in error with his/her diagnosis, your best bet is to get an outside (civilian) opinion. However, if you truly do have this condition, then your options are limited. Any type of color deficiency is generally not waiverable. A lot of research goes into deciding what conditions are waiverable, and while it might not make sense to us, there USUALLY is some reasoning behind it. You can try an ETP (usually worked through your CC), but know that those are rare to nonexistent and require CSAF approval (not likely). Unfortunately, I don't have much other advice to give you...good luck.

Military Color Vision Regs will change, its just a matter of time: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3912/is_201002/ai_n52372967/

It’s hard to tell what degrees of color vision deficiency will pass and which will not. There’s an online demo of the test mentioned: http://www.city.ac.uk/avrc/colourtest.html

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Guest goducks

Military Color Vision Regs will change, its just a matter of time: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3912/is_201002/ai_n52372967/

It’s hard to tell what degrees of color vision deficiency will pass and which will not. There’s an online demo of the test mentioned: http://www.city.ac.uk/avrc/colourtest.html

There is work currently being taken to try and link clinical tests (ie. color vision, visual acuity, etc) to operational demands. Hard to say which way these projects may shift medical standards, but it's coming.

OBVA

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  • 1 year later...

Has anyone around here recently run up against being DQ'ed for color vision due to the changes in standards? My last flight physical has me DNIF'ed for this, and I'm looking to compare notes with folks knowledgable if at all possible. Gracias.

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