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Perfect Vision for Aircrew Applicants

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Perfect Vision for Aircrew Applicants

Old 10th Feb 2016, 21:26
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sp6
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Perfect Vision for Aircrew Applicants

Given that my new issue specs don't fall down my nose when pulling g, and that contact lenses are allowed (despite a few issues) - do we still need to insist that new Aircrew applicants have to have good uncorrected vision?

Aptitude standards have both gone up and down, but medical requirements seem fixed (in the past?). Given the need for new Aircrew, are we excluding a group of otherwise suitable applicants?

I buy into the need for the 9g Typhoon mate to be (initially) free of glasses, but I question 20/20 for ISTAR, 2 Gp or JHC assets. Those desirable Playstation systems operation skills come at a price - myopia and vitamin D deficiency.....
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Old 10th Feb 2016, 21:33
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I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
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sp6, applicants are streamed after recruitment. On eye sight it is not known to improve with age.
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Old 11th Feb 2016, 13:53
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just another very easy way of cutting down the list of Applicants

If we needed 100,000 crew to fly 1000 Lancasters they'd have a place in the cockpit to store your white stick
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Old 11th Feb 2016, 15:14
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I was rejected for aircrew training on eyesight grounds in 1964, which is how I initially became a Rockape. When I applied for nav training in 1968 I was accepted, even though my eyesight was below the standard normally required. As I spent most of my time as a nav staring at an H2S screen less than 3' away from my nose it never presented a problem!

When I was luckily enough to get a ride in a Lightning T4 I was somewhat surprised to see the pilot complete his start up checks and reach into his pocket and put on a pair of aircrew specs (not sunglasses). Somewhat spoiled the "steely eyed fighter pilot" image, but he seemed to manage ok.

At the age of 60 I passed my flying medical for a PPL with the stipulation that I wore specs when flying (and carried a spare pair). I was surprised to discover that eyesight requirements for a PPL are somewhat less exacting than for an HGV licence.
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Old 11th Feb 2016, 17:48
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I've always been confused about the entry standards for eyesight.

When I went through OASC in the late eighties I recall being called in for a chat after the medical by a gp capt medic. He asked me if I realised that I was short-sighted, to which I replied no. Nothing more was said and I toddled off for the hangar exercises.

Some weeks later the brown envelope dropped through the door offering me a bursary as a pilot, and not long after accepting that offer an appointment to see the optometrists at Kelvin House came through the post. I was fitted for corrective flying spectacles before starting the UAS syllabus and went on to have a 24 year flying career wearing specs, and contact lenses after they were authorised. IIRC there also a baby nav on my UAS in the early nineties who wore CFS. I remember that to be able to see properly did come as a real revelation after spending the first 18 years of my life unknowingly short-sighted!

Either I was deemed to be supremely gifted by the selection folk at Biggin Hill and they felt that they couldn't miss the opportunity to employ me, or the entry standard did not require perfect uncorrected vision. I suspect it was the latter sadly.
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Old 11th Feb 2016, 18:40
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I'm personally delighted that contact lenses are now authorised ... I spent an inordinate amount of time in MB staffing the subject ['cos that's what DAFSD did - pick up the bits and pieces] including inviting the gp capt Medic to let me re-draft his scribble of a 'paper' before passing it up the pipe to ACAS.
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Old 11th Feb 2016, 22:45
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NTOLAE
EALOTN
LNETHOA

Last Aircrew Medical seven years ago. Local optician, quite by chance, is called Memory.
My railway medical, bottom line:

HURNDFENZ

Had to do it backwards too. Proper Krypton Factor stuff (as I remarked to the nurse...)

Always remember my raf medical at Biggin Hii, GC doc wore milk bottle lense glasses and two hearing aids. I thought "I'm IN!"
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 11:34
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"perfect vision for aircrew applicants"? wonder how long before THAT picture pops up (BofB, Ms York) - well, she was a perfect vision at the time!
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 12:38
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"perfect vision for aircrew applicants"? wonder how long before THAT picture pops up (BofB, Ms York) - well, she was a perfect vision at the time!
But Section Officer Harvey may also have contributed to blindness in some ........
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 12:54
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^^^ ^^^
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 16:31
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sp6
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Hmmmm, intelligent interpretation of the rules in some worthy cases then. Myopia is more prevalent no doubt due to the use of electronic devices. I wonder how long before harsh statistics invoke a rethink of med standards!
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 16:58
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Lots of aircrew students around wearing glasses these days. I don't think perfect eyesight is an entry requirement any more.
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 17:20
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There was a time when they were worried that repeated exposure to loud disco music was the cause of some of the failures on the audio test.
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 18:26
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Once went out with a girl who wanted to join the police but her eyesight was below the required standard (which is of course why she was going out with me, I'll get that one in before anyone else does...), went an optician who was a close family friend, who said "shortly I'll be asking you to read this line on the chart, but I just need to nip out for a moment ".

Strangely enough when he came back she was able to read the letters perfectly...
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 19:37
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I joined the RN as a helicopter pilot in 1967 having spotted the loophole which allowed HSP with 6/18 vision. The DCI upping the eyesight standards was issued while I was at Dartmouth, closing the loophole!

50 years (first PPL in 1965) and 15,000 hours later it hasn't made a blind bit of difference, so I sympathise with those who miss out on their dreams because of a somewhat unrealistic restriction. Although I do have a set of "plain" glasses to wear instead of multifocals when firebombing; it was embarrassing not to be able to properly see the bucket on the end of a 100' line
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 09:06
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@ John Eacott ... same here, HSP, albeit 1963. At the time it was the only pilot option for those with slightly deficient eyesight, which made it a bit tricky at BRNC as I wasn't really that keen on an RN career. Anyway, my [email protected] flying skills solved the problem quite easily

I was never quite sure what the exemption was based on, but subsequent work on contact lenses later in my career [see previous post] certainly suggested that several factors may have been in play.
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 11:33
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I joined the RN as a helicopter pilot in 1967 having spotted the loophole which allowed HSP with 6/18 vision. - John Eacott

I was never quite sure what the exemption was based on - MPN11

By no means an authoritative answer, but I would hazard a guess that the "loophole" or "exemption" arose around the time that General List officers of the Supply Specialisation (now the Logistics Branch) were being encouraged to volunteer for service as helicopter pilots, with a consequent variation in the required visual standards, and presumably applied to all specialisations until the door was subsequently closed.

Just for the benefit of our light blue colleagues, I would add that the Supply Specialisation and the Royal Marines both produced helicopter pilots who attained four stars, long before the light blue caught up......

Jack
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 11:35
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it hasn't made a blind bit of difference
Excellent choice of words!
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 11:57
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Originally Posted by Rosevidney1 View Post
There was a time when they were worried that repeated exposure to loud disco music was the cause of some of the failures on the audio test.
Pardon?

CG
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 19:03
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I'm personally delighted that contact lenses are now authorised
Can they really be allowed for air crew? Speaking as someone who wears contacts lenses, I know that they need to be changed regularly and that eyes become very tired and irritated when they remain in for more than a few hours.

I can't imagine a pilot needing to find the time to put eye drops in while flying a mission, or having to escape-and-evade for any prolonged period of time if they're ever unfortunate enough to have to eject over enemy territory while wearing their lenses.
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