The European Colour Deficient Aircrew Association
Good evening all. When I was 14 all I wanted to do was fly. I knew I was a bit red/green colourblind but I didn't know that would be a limitation. One day I was at an RAF careers day. It seemed like the world was coming together. I knew I was too tall for fast jets but there was plenty of other interesting things to do in the sky. My grandfather flew Wellingtons and Lancasters during WW2 and it was his passion for aviation that had rubbed off on me... until the moment when the recruitment officer asked about my vision. My sister reminded me recently that I left the event in tears. My dream crushed because of some colored dots on a page.
Fast forward almost 40 years and I've just got my PPL and purchased my own airplane. Next is the IR(R) and then full IR.
The more I think about the colour vision requirements for the night rating the less relevant it seems these days. Tools like ADSB and, actually, the instrument rating make perfect colour vision much less important.
The old lantern test is deeply flawed which is why the CAA and City University, London came up with a computerised version. This test scores your colour vision on a scale of 1 (normal) to 20 (monochrome) along two axes: Red/Green and Blue/Yellow. A score of 6 or less is required for a night rating. I came out at 1.15 on Blue/Yellow and 7.05 on Red/Green when I did this test last year. So near and yet so far.
HI Stuart , I'm very sorry to hear that your CVD has restricted you in achieving your goal to fly in the RAF, but I'm so happy to hear that this has not deterred you in getting your PPL and IR. Your CVD shouldn't restrict you in achieving what you want to be , in fact, it used to be the case that CVD pilots were actually sought after by the RAF as they could see camouflage much better than colour normals. I hope here at ECDAA we can help and create change so you can continue to fly without unnecessary restrictions, there are pilots all over the world with CVD flying safely. It shouldn't be the case that you are discriminated from the same job because of your countries regulation.
The CAA /City uni test you refer about is a majorly flawed and broken test called the CAD. It has so many issues and does not simulate an operational task. It is just a lab-based test like the lanterns. I would argue it is worse the lanterns. The CAD has failed fully qualified commercial pilots ! If you would like to find out more about the CAD test, this is a great article to read, if you look at the research in the useful resource section of the website as well :) 54e2ba_8bf5843731f94fc0b9de87af9eea805d~mv2.jpg (1536×1911) (wixstatic.com)
But at ECDAA we want to introduce a practical flight assessment used by CASA , New Zealand and the FAA called the OCVA which fairly demonstrates a person can fly an aircraft safely, authorities already implement medical flight tests for other conditions, there should be no reason why all authorities cant implement this.
The UK CAA needs to stop using this CAD test as the only test to pass or fail pilots, this is very restrictive, discriminatory and unfair.
We hope this new practical assessment we are trying to introduce will help you achieve what you want to do in your aviation career!
Jordan thanks for responding. I guess the question is whether the CAA are up for a conversation or whether they think this is a done deal. We’ll just have to keep lobbying. :-)
I consider myself very lucky In 1963 a applied for entry into RAF Cranwell passed the selection but failed on the colour vision section of the medical. I was offered a place at Cranwell as a secretarial branch trainee. I declined. After this set back I almost gave up any hope of flying as a career but was encouraged to apply to what was then The College of Air Training at Hamble. By this time I was a gliding instructor. I was up front with Hamble and told them about the colour vision problem. The CGI contacted me by phone and suggested that I go to the RAF Central Medical Board for a commercial medical. I failed the basic colour vision test but they then put me through the "lantern" test an passed me as fit for all civil flying.
I went to Hamble in 1965 and graduated with a CPL (Frozen ATPL) in 1967.
I then flew commercially until 2001 when I retired but still continue to fly light a/c. All this is a a long winded way to say that after the initial latern test I was never tested again.
Good luck to anyone who has this sort of hicup, keep on trying and don't give up!
Thanks Colin for that great story and it sounds like you had an amazing career in the RAF , resilience is definitely key in this industry ! Hopefully we can bring in much more practical flight test for the future testing of CVD pilots.