The first thing you have to do is actually figure out if you are color blind or not. I fly 767's for AC
, and was initially told I could never fly because I was colorblind. I fought it.
When you initially go to an AME, they will give you a color test with the Ishihara Color Test. It is the test that has a bunch of multi-colored dots and you are supposed to be able to see a number. If you are color "perfect" you will see a certain number. If you have a deficiency you will see other numbers.
Now. I know what I am talking about here because I have Cat 1 medicals in the US and Canada so the same standard applies to both countries.
There are three tests available to candidates that can determine color "efficiency." The problem is, most AMEs do not know this. Most AMEs only have the "dot" test because it is the most cheap test available to doctors. It's just a little flip chart. The next test, which is actually the "gold standard" when it comes to color "blindness" is the Farnsworth D-15 color saturation test. This comprises of 15 pastel "pucks" that are numbered 1-15. The doctor mixes them up and you match the closest shade to the baseline shade. This test will actually tell the examiner if you are colorblind or not. The Ishihara test will only tell the examiner if you have a color deficiency.
The last test is the FAA and TC
basic test. In Canada they call it the lantern test. Two shades of green lights, a white and a red light. If you can tell the difference between them, you pass.
I am color deficient. But I pass the Latern and Farnsworth but the Ishihara says I have a major deutan (?) blue/green defiency.
I reserached this like crazy and I hope you read this because that goddammed Ishihara test prematurely ended more possible aviation careers than you could imagine. Where it stems from is the second world war. Everyone wanted to be a pilot and they were looking for any reason to weed people out. Despite the other tests being relevant, medical examiners in the USAAF used the most restrictive test as there were ample "able" candidates to fill the demand.
The problem is, this practice carried on. My older brother was told he could never fly because he failed the Ishihara test. I came along and failed it to but would not take no for an answer. I had to call all sorts of AMEs in Canada and finally found these other two tests buried in their manuals. I had to drive four hours to an AME who had the Farnsworth test and passed it easily. The sad thing was years later my older brother took the farnsworth test and passed. He could have flown for a living but took the doctors word for it.
If there is one thing I could ever do, I ask you make them prove your color blindness. Don't take no for an answer. Too many people in the past have been told this and never knew there were options. I have always wanted a forum to tell this story and I hope as many people with this problem read it. Best of luck, and I hope you pass!!!!!
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