Pilot Color Vision

Color Vision issues surprise many would be pilots. For some, private pilot status is all they seek while others are about to start a journey to become a commercial airline pilot. Before the flight physical is completed it’s a good idea to find out if the FAA color vision test will be an issue. The most common test is the Ishihara Plate Test and this is typically what aviation medical examiners will use during the FAA medical examination. It’s a good idea to perform a screening test even if you have passed a color vision test before.

Contact us at 405-787-0303 to discuss your options.

7 replies
  1. Stan M
    Stan M says:

    I am about to start my journey to become a commercial airline pilot once I get my FAA flight physical completed. I’ve heard horror stories of people taking a test, having issues and never being able to fly. I obviously don’t want this to happen, especially after I’ve worked so hard to get to this point. I have concerns about the color vision test. I have always had issues with color vision tests; especially the Ishihara Plate Test yet I passed FALANT test in the military. Is this something you can help with? Do you have working relationships with AME’s or other doctors that perform this type of testing? Do you offer any sort of “practice test” before the official FAA color vision test?

    • admin
      admin says:


      We do provide help to pilots with color vision issues. And, in answer to your question; we do have relationships with doctors who provide alternative FAA color vision tests. We provide guidance concerning which tests are not recommended and which FAA accepted color vision test may be the most practical choice. It is a good idea to take a “practice” color vision test and “yes” we do have a color vision “practice” or screening test on our website at: http://www.leftseat.com/evaluations/color-test/.
      Contact us at 405-787-0303 to find out more.

  2. Casey
    Casey says:

    Do remote pilots have the same color vision standards as manned commercial pilots? I was contemplating becoming a UAV pilot which requires an FAA Remote pilot part 107 certification.

    • admin
      admin says:

      This is a good question. The answer is complicated.
      (1) FAA medical certification is required for commercial pilots.
      (2) Drones flown under FAA Part 107 do not require drone pilots to undergo an official government medical test such as an FAA medical examination. It does require that they be fit to fly.
      (3) In FAR Part 107, Chapter 5, the FAA outlines essentially “self-examination” which requires that drone pilots flying a drone which is under 55 pounds not exercise their certificate if they know or have reason to know of something which might jeopardize safe flight.

      Here is the complete verbiage related to medical issues for drones (which are less than 55lbs):
      Chapter 5.6 Medical Condition. Being able to safely operate the sUAS relies on, among other things,
      the physical and mental capabilities of the remote PIC, person manipulating the controls,
      VO, and any other direct participant in the sUAS operation. Though the person
      manipulating the controls of an sUAS and VO are not required to obtain an airman
      medical certificate, they may not participate in the operation of an sUAS if they know or
      have reason to know that they have a physical or mental condition that could interfere
      with the safe operation of the sUAS.

      5.6.1 Physical or Mental Incapacitations. Obvious examples of physical or mental
      incapacitations that could render a remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, or VO
      incapable of performing their sUAS operational duties include, but are not limited to,
      such things as:
      1. The temporary or permanent loss of the dexterity necessary to operate the CS
      to safely control the small UA.
      2. The inability to maintain the required “see and avoid” vigilance due to blurred
      3. The inability to maintain proper situational awareness of the small UA
      operations due to illness and/or medication(s), such as after taking
      medications with cautions not to drive or operate heavy machinery.
      4. A debilitating physical condition, such as a migraine headache or moderate or
      severe body ache(s) or pain(s) that would render the remote PIC, person
      manipulating the controls, or VO unable to perform sUAS operational duties.
      6/21/16 AC 107-2
      5. A hearing or speaking impairment that would inhibit the remote PIC, person
      manipulating the controls, and VO from effectively communicating with each
      other. In a situation such as this, the remote PIC must ensure that an
      alternative means of effective communication is implemented. For example, a
      person who is hearing impaired may be able to effectively use sign language
      to communicate.

      5.15 Operations while Impaired. Part 107 does not allow operation of an sUAS if the remote
      PIC, person manipulating the controls, or VO is unable to safely carry out his or her
      responsibilities. It is the remote PIC’s responsibility to ensure all crewmembers are not
      participating in the operation while impaired. While drug and alcohol use are known to
      impair judgment, certain over-the-counter medications and medical conditions could also
      affect the ability to safely operate a small UA. For example, certain antihistamines and
      decongestants may cause drowsiness. We also emphasize that part 107 prohibits a person
      from serving as a remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, VO, or other
      crewmember if he or she:
      • Consumed any alcoholic beverage within the preceding 8 hours;
      • Is under the influence of alcohol;
      • Has a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent or greater; and/or
      • Is using a drug that affects the person’s mental or physical capabilities.

      5.15.1 Medical Conditions. Certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, may also create a risk
      to operations. It is the remote PIC’s responsibility to determine that their medical
      condition is under control and they can safely conduct a UAS operation.

      Chapter 6.3
      Be in a physical and mental condition that would not interfere with the safe operation
      of an sUAS.


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