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CASA changes colour vision policy

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CASA changes colour vision policy

Old 27th Feb 2020, 00:50
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Cool CASA changes colour vision policy

CASA has today announced a long awaited and significant policy change that will finally see CVD pilots able to pursue careers to the fullest extent. This comes as a result of years of lobbying from the CVDPA and marks the most important change we have ever seen on this issue and finally untangles the mess created by the previous PMO back in 2014.

CASA will be introducing an Operational Colour Vision Assessment (OCVA) for CVD pilots as the the third tier test to replace the CAD. Pilots who pass this will gain a completely unrestricted medical and will be able to fly at all levels including at night, IFR, ATPL and internationally. Further details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks and it is expected that pilots will be able to undertake the new OCVA at locations around Australia by mid-year, but for now it is able to be undertaken in New Zealand and the results will be recognised with immediate effect. CVDPA congratulates CASA on making this long awaited and landmark policy change!

The CASA Briefing - February 2020

A solution has been found to a somewhat thorny and long-running issue that is important to a group of pilots. The issue is colour vision deficiency and the way CASA manages safety related assessments as part of the medical certification process. Colour vision deficiency affects about 400 Australian pilots and a three-stage testing process has been in place for some time, with a pass at any stage allowing an unrestricted medical to be issued. Where all three tests are failed then a medical certificate can be issued subject to conditions.Research in recent years has shown relying on diagnostic tests alone may be unnecessarily limiting when considering the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety. Advances in technology, operating techniques and human factors training can now mitigate many of the safety risks of colour vision deficiency. Technology to assist pilots has developed significantly and the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety should take these changes into account. These factors have been recognised overseas, most recently in New Zealand where a new approach to colour vision deficiency came into effect in May 2019, which includes an operational colour vision assessment. This assessment comprises a ground-based assessment and an in-flight assessment which looks at a pilot’s ability to interpret visual information. A separate assessment is done for day flying and for night flying.

We have decided to adopt this approach to colour vision deficiency assessment and in the short term we will recognise the New Zealand operational colour vision assessment as an alternative to Australia’s current third level of testing. Work is already well underway on the development of an Australian operational test for colour vision deficiency by mid-2020. Any Australian pilots who wish to use the New Zealand assessment can do so now, although it will require travel to that country. CASA has carefully examined all relevant safety issues and believes this new approach offers a practical alternative assessment for colour vision deficient pilots. We have listened to the views of pilots and made judgements based on research and evidence.

Best wishes
Shane Carmody
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 01:33
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There will be much celebrating by one poster who is lighter than air but weighed down by naturally occurring elements.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 02:21
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I’m not “celebrating” that CASA has finally been sufficiently shamed into dealing with CVD on the basis of evidence rather than superstition and self-interest.

I’m instead continuing to mourn the lives and careers that have been destroyed so far by overreaching CASA AVMED zealots.

Pilots with CVD are the tip of the iceberg.

Well done the CVDPA, and in particular Arthur Pape and John O’Brien.

And well done the Chief Executive of the New Zealand CAA in seeing through the superstition and self-interest and instead regulating on the basis of objective evidence (as well as coincidentally exposing the Australian aviation ‘safety’ regulator for what it is).
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 05:53
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While it is great news I don't trust casa not to bugger up the implementation. There will be some little snag(by instrument, exemption or regulation) that will subvert the intent of this anouncent. This will will mean that few pilots can take up the test and casa will use the limited take up as evidence that they.didnt need to do anything in the begining.

It's great news but keep the pressure on them to make sure it actually happens....
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 09:15
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Indeed. The AVMED zealots have struck back before.

And describing this development as a “change in policy” is a crock. The medical standard is the medical standard, enshrined in law. All CASA has ever had to do was comply with the law by determining (choosing) a ‘3rd tier’ test that simulates an operational situation.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 09:19
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What timeframe is this? I have a young lad interested in all thing flying but is CVD. Would be good to understand where he sits on the CVD spectrum.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 09:26
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I suggest he join the CVDPA and have a chat with Arthur Pape or John O’Brien.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 10:22
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Bravo Arthur Pape ! If anyone deserves a gong for service to Australian aviation it is you Sir. I admire your tenacity and perseverance!!!
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 23:09
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Is the real reason for this rule simply that somebody with CVD could not distinguish between a green light and a red light shone from a tower? Something which I have only ever seen once, and that was because I asked the tower to shine it at me for a check?
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 01:45
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I'm colour "blind" & learnt to fly 40 years ago. I was told the reason I could not fly at night was because I could confuse the navigation lights of an aircraft & whether it was heading for me or flying away. It's always been total BS in my opinion & has severely restricted my career options (even though I now have an ATPL). In my first job as a flying instructor, I wasn't able to fly at night, but slowly (with a capital S), the rules were relaxed thanks to people like Dr Pape & the backing of AOPA at the time.
This development is encouraging, but having seen CASA implement change countless times before, I'm confident it'll be a total fiasco...
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 03:26
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CASA has a track record of modifying “standards” so that they aren’t.
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 08:28
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
Is the real reason for this rule simply that somebody with CVD could not distinguish between a green light and a red light shone from a tower? Something which I have only ever seen once, and that was because I asked the tower to shine it at me for a check?
The real reason for the original rule is that the rules of the air came from the rules of the sea, and navigation by sea required - and still requires - a deck officer to be able to identify colours. That is because, in sea navigation, the colour of a navaid is often itself essential information.

That is no longer the case in a contemporary civil aircraft operations.

But pilot CVD has been such a noble cause for some safety zealots for such a long time that it’s difficult to wean them off it. They know - just ask them - how crucial it is for HCRPT aircraft to achieve separation through the identification and interpretation of the Nav lights on other aircraft. They also know - just ask them - that one day the only thing stopping an aviation catastrophe will be a signal light gun in a control tower, and the CVD pilot who can’t understand the signals (as well as being inexplicably unable to see what’s happening on the runways and their approaches despite being able to see the tower...) will cause the catastrophe.
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 13:46
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Good on you Dr. Pape and all the others who have worked tirelessly in the background to make this happen.
A fantastic result after many many years. The hardest battles have the sweetest victories!
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 17:14
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The part that has always concerned me, as a CVD pilot, is what is the likelihood of CASA backflipping on their change after a few years? After countless CVD pilots have been given the green light (pardon the pun) to do their training and invest enormous amounts of money, just to be have CASA reverse their decision for some ridiculous reason and severely limit the licences and ratings that can be obtained. I know it's silly to live in a state of constant fear but if it wasn't such a huge financial and personal investment to get to a well paying flying job, it wouldn't be such a concern.
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 20:42
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Originally Posted by vee1-rotate View Post
The part that has always concerned me, as a CVD pilot, is what is the likelihood of CASA backflipping on their change after a few years? After countless CVD pilots have been given the green light (pardon the pun) to do their training and invest enormous amounts of money, just to be have CASA reverse their decision for some ridiculous reason and severely limit the licences and ratings that can be obtained. I know it's silly to live in a state of constant fear but if it wasn't such a huge financial and personal investment to get to a well paying flying job, it wouldn't be such a concern.
I would suggest once you have the physical medical in your hands it will make it very hard for CASA to take it off you provided you never let it lapse. Would open them up to a huge court case for sure.
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Old 28th Feb 2020, 21:34
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Having suffered first hand the experience of dealing with the AvMed zealots and being forced to drag through the AAT process 6 years ago on this issue, I can absolutely appreciate the level of cynicism in some of the comments here and agree that it has taken much longer than it should have. We shouldn't have needed to wait for NZ to take the lead last year and as Lead Balloon has said on countless times, all CASA ever needed to do was to apply the law correctly and we would've never been in this predicament. While the CAD is an excellent test of colour vision, it was never an operational test.

Having said all that, I genuinely believe we have turned an important corner. A new PMO only recently started at CASA (Dr Simon May) who comes from within the industry (ex. Virgin and Qatar) and is highly regarded. He has been very much supportive of getting these changes through, even prior to joining CASA. Hopefully with a changing of the guard we'll begin to see some positive changes in other aviation medicine areas too.

CVDPA has had several meetings and discussions with CASA over the past 12 months and the leadership team we have been dealing with behind the scenes has been highly supportive. The result we've now ended up with is a very good one and even better than what existed in the 25+ years prior to the draconian changes that were introduced in 2014. It finally recognises and assesses a CVD pilot's ability to perform operational tasks (ie. not another colour naming exercise) and once passed a medical certificate is issued with ZERO restrictions.

What timeframe is this? I have a young lad interested in all thing flying but is CVD. Would be good to understand where he sits on the CVD spectrum

Pilots are able to travel to NZ now to undertake the OCVA and CASA will recognise the results and re-issue the new unrestricted medical.

They are currently about to provide further guidance and training to the instructors/flying schools etc who will be tasked with performing the OCVA and pilots should then be able to undertake the assessment at locations around Australia by mid-year.

We're expecting CASA to publish some further info and guidance material on their website in the next week or two.

Cheers,
John O'Brien

Last edited by johnobr; 28th Feb 2020 at 22:32.
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 01:26
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I think any intended changes to CVD policy will only last as long as the CASA Principal Medical Officer at the time is happy with the policy, because most of us remember the damage a certain Dr Pooshan Navathe wreaked on CVD pilots when he held this position...
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 02:21
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Rkggkr

Hi guys,

Like seriously why the negativity! ??
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Old 29th Feb 2020, 09:21
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Originally Posted by vee1-rotate View Post
The part that has always concerned me, as a CVD pilot, is what is the likelihood of CASA backflipping on their change after a few years? After countless CVD pilots have been given the green light (pardon the pun) to do their training and invest enormous amounts of money, just to be have CASA reverse their decision for some ridiculous reason and severely limit the licences and ratings that can be obtained. I know it's silly to live in a state of constant fear but if it wasn't such a huge financial and personal investment to get to a well paying flying job, it wouldn't be such a concern.
Unfortunately, your concern is well-founded vee1-rotate.

Fortunately, the probabilities of a return to the dark ages are reducing.

At this link is an analysis by the CVDPA of some material about CVD that shows how intellectually dishonest and inappropriate the zealots can be: http://www.cvdpa.com/images/news/upl...PMO_Review.pdf One could be forgiven for thinking that the material was created by an adolescent as a sick joke.

Unfortunately, the material was not created by an adolescent as a sick joke. It was instead created by someone who, along with his like-minded colleagues, were put into positions of power in bureacracies and then proceeded to wreak havoc (as VH-MLE among others have observed).
Fortunately, the NZ CAA finally realised what was going on and took action to deal with it. Australia's CASA has been shamed and embarrassed into pretending that it coincidentally came to the same view as that of the NZ CAA.

We - all of us, but pilots with CVD in particlar - must remain ever-vigilant for these kinds of zealots. Make no mistake: The zealots will be remaining ever-vigilent for tragedies that can be spun into: "We told you these CVD pilots would cause a disaster."

I'm confident that the NZ CAA is now much less likely to return to the dark ages. FWIW: I think you should at least rely on the NZ CAA to stick with the evidence-based approach.
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Old 3rd Mar 2020, 02:26
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Good to see some common sense prevailing.
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