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Can a color blind person become pilot?

Before delving further into the article, it’s important to note that there are no color blindness restrictions for private pilots. However, other categories of pilots may face certain limitations, as will be discussed later in the article.

Color Blindness Test for Pilots

Most people with color vision deficiency, commonly known as color blindness, can still see some colors well, but they might have trouble distinguishing certain shades or hues. It’s rare for someone to completely unable to see any color at all.

The ICAO medical provisions in Annex 1 — Personnel Licensing, state that an applicant “shall be tested for the ability to correctly identify a series of pseudoisochromatic plates”.  Such a test displays different numbers (or shapes or letters) that are made up of dots that are coloured differently from background dots. Colours are chosen so that individuals with a colour vision deficiency cannot reliably differentiate the number from the background.

Individuals who fail to achive an adequate score in this test can nevertheless be accepted for licensing if they can “readily distinguish the colours used in air navigation and correctly identify aviation coloured lights”.

Colorblindness regulations for pilots

Depending on the country in which the application is made, this secondary test may take the form of a device (called a “lantern”) that requires an applicant to identify different coloured lights e.g. red, green and white and sometimes, depending on the exact lantern type, additional colours. There are other tests becoming available that make use computer technology for assessing colour vision. As different countries apply different tests it is necessary to inquire of a particular Licensing Authority the details of the test it employs.

For private pilots only, if an applicant fails both color vision tests, they can still be licensed with a restriction allowing them to fly only during daytime.

ICAO Reference:

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