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Update: Color Vision Evaluation for Pilots

    The initial test for color vision is similar to the previous standards and utilizes the color plates.  If you cannot read the required plates the limitation would be placed on your medial certificate: NOT VALID FOR NIGHT FLYING OR BY COLOR SIGNAL CONTROL.  What has changed is the process for permanently removing this color vision limitation.


Class Three Medical Certificates

 
    An applicant for a class three certificate who has defective color vision and requests a medical certificate without the color vision limitation must demonstrate the ability to pass an Operational Color Vision Test (OCVT) during the day.  This test consists of the following: 

bulletA Signal Light Test (SLT): Identify in a timely manner aviation red, green, and white lights

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bulletAeronautical chart reading: Read and correctly interpret in a timely manner aeronautical charts, including print in various sizes, colors, and typefaces; conventional markings in several colors; and, terrain colors.

    The test should be taken during the day, and if you pass there would be no color vision limitation and you would receive a Letter of Evidence (LOE) applicable to Class 3 privileges.  If you fail you can take the test at night and if you pass this the certificate limitation would be: NOT VALID FOR FLIGHT DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS BY COLOR SIGNAL CONTROL

 

 

Class One and Two Medical Certificates


    An applicant for a first  or second  class medical certificate who has defective color vision and requests a certificate without the color vision limitation must first pass a daylight  OCVT and then pass a color vision Medical Flight Test (MFT).  This MFT is performed in an aircraft, and includes in-flight testing.  It consists of the following:


bulletRead and correctly interpret in a timely manner aviation instruments or displays

bulletRecognize terrain and obstructions in a timely manner

bulletVisually identify in a timely manner the location, color, and significance of aeronautical lights such as, but not limited to, lights of other aircraft in the vicinity, runway lighting systems, etc.

Applicants who take and pass both the daytime OCVT and the color vision MFT would have no color vision limitation and you would receive a LOE applicable for all classes.  Applicants who can only pass the daytime OCVT will be given an LOE valid only for third-class medical certificate

 

Caveats and Notes

    The FAA stipulates tests can only be taken once and if you fail a test you cannot have a color vision limitation removed at a future date by passing one of the approved color plate tests.

    The Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners has a flowchart summarizing the above and a full discussion of the color vision standards is in Part 52 of the guide.  If you are an ATCS your color vision evaluations are different from those of pilots and refer to the ATCS requirements which are also in the guide

 

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This page was last updated on 04/20/19