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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

Old 12th Mar 2015, 02:54
  #581 (permalink)  
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the PAPI

One issue to be aware of.

The disability discrimination act requires parties (including CASA and all airport owners) to modify their equipment as much as reasonably possible to accommodate workers with disabilities. This would clearly encompass removal of PAPIs and replacement with T-VASIS systems. The official reason why most airports removed the PAPI and replaced it with the T-VASIS was to save money.

If the PAPI is the only system in aviation that CVD pilots demonstrably can't use, then under legislation it is the PAPI, not the disabled workers, that must go.

CASA must show that the requirement for good colour vision is an unavoidable, inherent concomitant of aviation, not just the need to interpret one solitary instrument that could easily be replaced. They can't legally discriminate solely on the basis that a simulated test shows that the pilot can't use the PAPI.

Even if such a simulated test existed, which it currently does not.

And even if CASA could show that CVD pilots can't use the PAPI, which CASA cannot.
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Old 12th Mar 2015, 05:14
  #582 (permalink)  
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But the regulator has already made its mind up, unperturbed by an objective analysis of the evidence. And it is practically unconstrained in the resources it can bring to bear in its crusade to save the world from the dangers of CVD.

Therefore, it’s just a battle of resources. Best to use the meagre resources of industry for the greatest potential effect, because the regulator has no compunction in bleeding it dry.

All necessary for the safety of air navigation, don’t you know.
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Old 12th Mar 2015, 06:43
  #583 (permalink)  
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Creampuff, once again and in a most eloquent and concise manner, you have hit the nail right on the head. I fully concur with your assessment in regard to the CAD and especially in regard to the “medical zealots and experts with their snout in the CVD industry trough” description. As already stated earlier, there are new appeals that have been lodged at the AAT on the CVD issue, and I have no doubt that CASA would roll out the same medical zealots and experts to once again sing the praises of the CAD, hoping that this time they might get a different outcome. OR, they could have the CASRs changed to have the reference to “simulates an operational situation” removed from CASR 67.150(6)(c). As written, CASR 67.150(6)(c) is the Achilles Heel of the aviation colour perception standard as legislated in Australian law. I may be wrong, but I believe no other ICAO state has the option of a “simulation of an operational situation” in their version of the relevant CVD legislation.
I am of the belief that the way forward is in a Federal Court challenge to the narrow question of whether the CAD test (which I thoroughly endorse as a very smart and reliable test of colour vision) meets any criteria that qualify it as a test of “correctly identifying all relevant coloured lights in a test, determined by CASA, that simulates an operational situation”, which is what the law requires. My feeling is that such a narrow challenge should not cost the earth, and a dedicated group of people could make this happen at not too great an expense. This is something I am looking into at the present moment. Once I have an estimate of costs, we can start planning the challenge. Thanks again, Creampuff. You are a genius!
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Old 12th Mar 2015, 09:37
  #584 (permalink)  
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Not really relevant to this thread. The new head of ICAO is Fang Liu not John McCormick according to China Daily and Wall Street Journal.
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Old 12th Mar 2015, 20:26
  #585 (permalink)  
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Genius? Far from it.

The prospects of success of a challenge to the validity of the determination by CASA of the CAD test for the purposes of CASR 67.150(6)(c) are not certain, and CASA will still want to turn it into an argument about how scary dangerous CVD pilots are.

In essense (and there are deeper complexities) the applicants would have show that the determination of the CAD test is so unreasonable that no reasonable person would determine it. Still, given that the CAD test doesn't simulate operational sh*t, it's not impossible.
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Old 13th Mar 2015, 05:45
  #586 (permalink)  
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A quick squiz at the pommie rules indicates why they use the CAD test: They are stuck in the Dark Ages (to which CASA is trying to return Australia).

The pommie rules point to Annex IV to the EASA Aircrew Regulation. In relation to colour vision, that Annex says:
MED.B.075 Colour vision

(a) Applicants shall be required to demonstrate the ability to perceive readily the colours that are necessary for the safe performance of duties.
Straight out of the 19th Century Big Book of Ship Sailing!

The rule assumes as true that which used to be true but has been proved to be untrue in modern aviation. The ability to perceive actual colours is no longer necessary for the safe performance of pilot duties.

What the EASA rule would say, if it were based on evidence, is that applicants must demonstrate the ability to perceive readily the meanings of signals, symbols and indications that may be coloured and are necessary for the safe performance of duties.

As I’ve observed before, the current rule is just like the language test that used to be imposed on potential immigrants to Australia to ensure the ‘wrong ones’ were filtered out: “Applicants shall be required to demonstrate the ability to understand readily the languages that are necessary to become a good Aussie citizen.” The prejudice was dressed up as an objective criterion for achieving an unassailably important policy outcome.

This language test is necessary for the preservation of the fabric of our nation! Who would want to risk weakening the fabric of our nation?

Well, as a matter of fact, the test was not necessary for the preservation of the fabric of the nation, but rather the product of narrow-minded, paranoid bigotry.

The ability to perceive colours readily is necessary for the safety of air navigation! Who would want to risk the safety of air navigation?

Well, as a matter of fact, the ability to perceive colours readily isn’t necessary for the safety of air navigation.

MED.B.075 of the EASA Aircrew Regulation goes on to say:
(b) Examination

(1) Applicants shall pass the Ishihara test for the initial issue of a medical certificate.

(2) Applicants who fail to pass in the Ishihara test shall undergo further colour perception testing to establish whether they are colour safe.
Because the basic rule is that the applicant must be able to perceive colours readily, it’s no wonder that they’ve opted for the CAD test, because the CAD test is just a glorified colour vision test which, as noted by the AAT, just tells us what we already know: The applicant doesn’t have the ability to perceive the colours that a proper, red-blooded, patriotic pilot can perceive, so the applicant must be a danger to the safety of air navigation. Who could argue with that?

PS: For the person who PM'd me but whose inbox is now full, the UK CAA medical assessment review and appeal process is explained here:


Last edited by Creampuff; 13th Mar 2015 at 05:52. Reason: Added PS
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Old 23rd Mar 2015, 22:49
  #587 (permalink)  
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what next for cvds?

hi guys just wondering whats basically the next process step in terms of the cvd situation?
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 22:20
  #588 (permalink)  
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Assisted by the disunity and weakness of the aviation industry, and encouraged by governments who’ve abdicated responsibility for anything other than their own political interests, CASA will continue to pick off and wear into the ground all existing CVD pilots with privileges beyond day VFR, and only issue certificates restricted to day VFR to new applicants.

All in the name of “air safety” of course. Pilots with CVD are scary-dangerous.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 06:47
  #589 (permalink)  
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"All in the name of “air safety” of course. Pilots with CVD are scary-dangerous."

Creamie you cynical old basket you!!

Used to fly with a guy years ago, profoundly colour blind. He used to pass the Inshalla, oops Ishihara test by learning the pages off by heart. Best damn pilot and safest I ever flew with. Its a Crock!!
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 07:34
  #590 (permalink)  
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Of course it's a crock.

But it's also a trough of low-risk, stress-free, busy-work for bureaucrats and a rich vein being mined by the CVD industry.

Who cares if some people's careers or career aspirations are destroyed?

Think about the hundreds of people killed in 'heavy metal' incidents in just the last few years. If only the pilots had been CVD-free.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 09:06
  #591 (permalink)  
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I fly a plane full of white, and some blue and amber switch lights on the overhead panel. The colours are supposed to indicate something...but really its the fact of illumination more than the colour.

On a few of ours, some lights that are supposed to be white are amber, three that are supposed to be blue are green. CASA is aware of this, and they are ok with it. So much for colours...
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 11:57
  #592 (permalink)  
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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots


Last edited by Radix; 18th Mar 2016 at 02:18.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 13:52
  #593 (permalink)  
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For a better appreciation of the CVD issue, you should read a selection of the posts by Dr. Arthur Pape, some of which are on this thread.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 20:38
  #594 (permalink)  
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Hang on, we're not making the point here that colours don't matter, are we?
Yes we are (or at least I am).

What matters is a whether a person has the ability to perceive readily the meanings of the real-life signals, symbols and indications that are coloured, or depend on the differences between colours, and are necessary for the safe performance of duties.

Don't the focus on the means; focus on the ends.

The conga line of medical zealots and experts with their snout in the CVD industry trough focus on the means: There are coloured lights with meanings. Therefore a pilot with an inability to perceive the colours of those lights is scary-dangerous.

Objective people focus on the ends: Does a pilot perceive readily the meaning of real-life signals, symbols and indications that are coloured, or depend on the differences between colours, and are necessary for the safe performance of duties. If a candidate with CVD perceives, as efficiently and effectively as candidates without CVD, the meaning of those real-life signals, symbols and indications, there is no objective safey basis on which to discriminate against the candidate with CVD.

And we know what the first-hand, real-life evidence shows.
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Old 26th Mar 2015, 22:52
  #595 (permalink)  
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CVD people may see what we know as green as being brown. However they know it's green because it's the same color as grass which everyone knows is green. It's a matter of perception being reality. Oh, and somebody told them that when they were kids.
ASI's are coded with both color and numbers. That argument doesn't count.
The CAsA stance is flawed in both science and common sense. It's a crock.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 06:03
  #596 (permalink)  
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DAS announces AvMed review


For a good read on the scientific flaws with the ICAO colour perception standard, check out this peer reviewed article written by Dr Pape a few years ago which was published in an aviation medicine journal:

Colour Perception Standards in Aviation: Some implications of the AAT decisions regarding colour perception and aviation

On another note, DAS Skidmore has just announced a review of the CASA AvMed department:

CASA Briefing - March 2015

The management of aviation medical certificates is an issue of interest to many pilots and air traffic controllers. I recognise some people have strong views about CASA’s aviation medical system, the decision making processes and medical rulings. This is not surprising as we process more than 25,000 medical applications each year. But the debate about CASA’s medical system needs to be put in context – in 2014 we refused 102 applications out of 25,855 and in the second half of the year there were 13 official complaints. Despite this low level of complaints and medical refusals I believe we can do better and the relatively small number of complaints we receive can be reduced. That is why I have initiated a full review of CASA’s AvMed capabilities. This review is now underway and I expect it will be completed in the second half of 2015. It is looking at our strategic approach to aviation medicine policy standards and clinical practice development, options for the better delivery of medical services in the future and the recruitment and retention of qualified and experienced aviation medicine doctors. Our bottom line is to find ways to improve medical service delivery, ensure our decision making processes are transparent and evidence-based, as well as improving the management of complex medical matters.

In addition to the broad review of aviation medicine CASA will undertake a review of the arrangements that currently allow approved Designated Aviation Medical Examiners to issue and renew class 2 medicals. The results of this review will facilitate an examination of the potential for DAMEs to renew class 1 and class 3 medical certificates in the future. I will ensure CASA consults widely and effectively with the aviation community during the course of these aviation medical reviews. Where criticism is warranted I will make sure the causes of problems are identified and addressed as quickly as possible.

I believe the aviation community and CASA need to build a closer working relationship based on our mutual interest in achieving the best safety outcomes. This relationship must be based on respect and trust. CASA is open and committed to an appropriate ‘safety partnership’ with the aviation community and I am devoting a good deal of time and energy towards working to the achievement of this goal. Of course a closer relationship between the aviation community and the regulator does not mean CASA can agree to every proposal or view put to us. Not everyone will get what they want and consensus may not always be possible. However, I will make sure we are listening to your views and criticisms and we respond in a considered and respectful way to your comments, questions, concerns and complaints.

You can read my speech on the way forward in aviation medicine which was recently delivered to the aviation Medical Society of Victoria.

Safe flying
Mark Skidmore AM
If the new DAS is truly serious about making sure AvMed decisions are "evidence based", he would be well placed to look at Australia's 25 year history of CVD pilots operating safely and to take notice of the AAT's findings in CASA's three CVD losses (Pape, Denison & O'Brien) at the tribunal.

If he is serious about "consulting" with the aviation industry, a good starting point would also be for him to actually meet with Dr Pape and some of the many CVD professional pilots operating in this country to hear first hand "real life evidence" of their experience and career histories.

Maybe he could then explain why new CVD pilot entrants into the industry are now being denied medicals or having them severely restricted to Day VFR only, when their fellow pilots have been operating safely for decades.

In the speech referred to in his article above, Skidmore makes the following comments on the CVD issue:

My speech won’t be complete if I don’t touch on the delicate subject of CVD. Australia does differ from other countries in relation to the requirements surrounding CVD. Australia is more flexible in allowing applicants to sit multiple sequential tests for CVD where they record a fail and can issue a medical certificate if at any stage any of the three-level tests are passed. Most overseas regulators do not allow this level of flexibility. For example the UK does not allow for any second chances if an applicant fails their only test, the CAD test. They do not receive a Class 1 medical certificate.

In mid-2014, it was determined that the handling of pilots with CVD had not been in strict accordance with Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 67 (Medical). CASA advised industry of its new process relating to the regulations in June 2014. This was done to provide industry with information to assist in understanding their obligations in relation to the regulations. The new processes related to new applicants only and there were no impacts on existing pilots. In response to some of the correspondence received, CASA updated the CVD information on its website.

In February 2015, CASA had 134 Class 1 medical certificate holders and 252 Class 2 medical certificate holders who have failed the Ishihara test.

CASA is considering the Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test as a third-level test. CASA has determined the CAD test is suitable as an aviation specific test for detecting CVD. It is used by the UK and is also available in the US as an option for testing for CVD. CAD provides for colour and diagnostic testing, which can determine the degree of colour deficiency, which is something that is currently not able to be determined by the Ishihara or Farnsworth tests.

Whilst I am not considering further changes to policy or standards at this time, any proposed changes will be consulted through the SCC Medical sub-committee. Pilots with existing CVD restrictions will require no other tests related to CVD, unless other medical reasons determine a need to do so.
Mr Skidmore, everyone agrees that the CAD is a brilliant CVD test. However, it doesn't remotely come close to fulfilling the requirements of the third level test under CASR 67.150 (6)(c). CASA still cannot answer the question - "what operational situation does the CAD simulate?" It's a fairly basic and fundamental question...

He also states that they are "considering" using the CAD test as the third level test. This is also a blatant lie, as AvMed are already using it for the third level test. Here's just one example from Bill Smith's post last year:

CASA has determined the Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) to be an appropriate test for the purposes of regulation 67.150(6)(c).
In the O'Brien AAT hearings, evidence was also heard that the former PMO wrote to Mr O'Brien prior to his medical renewal last year, refusing to re-issue his Class 1 medical at all, unless he undertook the CAD test. This was despite his medical being renewed repeatedly for the previous 15 years without issue.

Mr Skidmore needs to stop blindly following the advice of the AvMed zealots on their crusade to save the world from CVD pilots. He needs to actually take the time to listen to the other side of the story from pilots with the operational expertise to see what they think should be an appropriate test of an operational situation for the purposes of CASR 67.150 (6)(c). Maybe he might be able to hear first hand examples of why colour useage in aviation is not as important as the AvMed zealots would have him believe.

Perhaps then we can then start leading the world at an ICAO level with our "evidence" on CVD issues, rather than following it based on the "assumptions" of other countries like the UK!

Last edited by brissypilot; 27th Mar 2015 at 11:42.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 21:00
  #597 (permalink)  
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in 2014 we refused 102 applications out of 25,855 and in the second half of the year there were 13 official complaints. Despite this low level of complaints and medical refusals I believe we can do better and the relatively small number of complaints we receive can be reduced.
I wonder whether Mr Skidmore is really so naive as to believe that's anything other than a cynical manipulation of terminology and statistics.

What is an "official" "complaint", Mr Skidmore?

What about all the people who weren't "refused" certificates, but were f*cked around with delays and operational conditions that had to be appealed and overturned through AAT review, Mr Skidmore?

Have you read the submissions to the Forsyth Review, Mr Skidmore? What did AOPA say was the single biggest complaint of its members? What did some of the professional pilot associations' submissions say about Avmed? Do those submissions constitute just one "complaint" each, or no complaints at all?

What about all the people who signed up to the petition on CVD, and wrote letters to the Deputy Prime Minister and local members of parliament, Mr Skidmore?

I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that you've joined the long line of people who are part of the problem.

Last edited by Creampuff; 29th Mar 2015 at 07:34.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:31
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In case Mr Skidmore hasn't read the submissions to and report of the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review, here are some quotes.

From pages 10-11 of the submission by that hot-bed of aviation fringe dwellers and risk-takers, the Australian and International Pilots’ Association (AIPA):
AIPA’s most frequent and often most frustrating interaction with CASA is through the Aviation Medicine Branch. The frustrations arise due to the inconsistent administration of medical clearances and certificates, the near impossibility of being able to talk to anyone about the administration processes and, most critically, what most members report as the CASA-unique approach of disregarding practicing medical specialists’ advice in favour of “riskbased” decisions made by non-practicing medical bureaucrats.
AIPA is most concerned about the immediate uncertainty caused to a member when the often expensive advice and tests are considered to be acceptable by DAMES and specialists but not by the Principal Medical Officer (PMO). Where else are they to turn? The problem is often exacerbated by the turnaround times, the best of which is 28 days, but as the applicant you will rarely be made aware that the clock has not started because some component of the required information is “missing”, at least until you can break through the communication firewall to ask as to what point your certificate has progressed in the administrative sequence.
Paragraph 13 of the submission by the aviation equivalent of base-jumpers, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP):
13. The Aviation Medicine section of CASA in particular appears to act without due regard for the impact its decisions have on individual pilots and the industry. There is little or no communication about delays in the medical certificate renewal process or transparency about the reasons for delays occurring. Certificate holders are obliged to follow up with the section to find out why their certificates have not been renewed only to receive requests for additional medical reports and tests. The Federation has received numerous complaints from members as to the apparently arbitrary nature of decisions and the bureaucratic and incompetent processing of renewals. These delays threaten the livelihood of our members, and undermine the productivity of the businesses for whom they work. We have previously surveyed members and written to the former Minister on this issue1. An overhaul of the Aviation Medicine section of CASA should be a priority. This would include additional resources, clearer processes, specified service standards and improved training of staff.
From page 7 of the submission by a representative of notoriously inexperienced aviators, the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia:
One area in particular that struggles with continuous improvement is CASA’s aviation medicine branch. Examples are plentiful of questionable rulings on pilot medicals that fly in the face of genuine expert opinion (for example in cardiology) and result in the trashing of careers for no safety purpose. The ability of the branch to hide behind the facade of medical qualifications is well known in industry and under current systems, is an almost unassailable position that has drifted far from actual safety issues, or the leading non-CASA advice on medical issues.
AOPA's submission, paragraph 9:
9. Medicals. This is probably the single biggest continuous issue that causes acrimony between GA pilots and CASA. Problems with Avmed include delays in dealing with medical assessments, rejection of DAMEs opinions, demands for ever more complex specialist reports that many would consider unnecessary, and which are then frequently ignored by Avmed itself. Avmed has unique medical opinions which sometimes do not agree with overseas experience, eg; FAA. Communication between CASA, AVMED and pilots has often been poor.

For what purpose? Most GA pilots intend to fly themselves and perhaps a few associates, mostly in VFR during daylight. Motor vehicle licencing is nothing like this, yet driving is only slightly less stressful.

CASA should rely on its own DAMEs for issue of class 2 medicals, and where specialist opinion is required, CASA should at least listen to specialist opinion.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 07:38
  #599 (permalink)  
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Not that much I can add to that Creamie.
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Old 31st Mar 2015, 01:41
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Creamie, that is all too true!

CASA should not have the right, nor the power to blatantly disregard the expert medical opinions obtained by the applicants treating doctor.
It is absurd to have a glorified GP in Cantberra destroying careers & livelihood due to this loophole.
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