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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 5th Oct 2015, 21:21
  #661 (permalink)  
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The trouble here is the lack of evidence either way.
Not so, the Denison case was technically/scientifically exhaustive, and there have been no "new developments" since, just CASA wanting to take a giant leap backwards under McCormick/Albanese.

Unfortunately, nobody in CASA is going to take responsibility for reversing the current "policy", so we need a new "test" case, so it is a tribunal or court taking the responsibility.

Tootle pip!!
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Old 5th Oct 2015, 23:34
  #662 (permalink)  
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There is substantial and overwhelming evidence that pilots with CVD represent no greater risk to air safety than pilots without CVD. It's in the Pape and Dennison matters in the AAT, the subsequent safety record of pilots with CVD, the performance of pilots using NVG gear and the active policy of aircraft manufacturers and, in particular, avionics manufacturers in relation to systems design.

It's also between the lines of the O'Brien matter in the AAT, in the manifest intellectual dishonesty of the regulator's arguments.

The prejudice has its source in 19th century maritime navigation techniques, to which the accurate and reliable ability to perceive colours was and remains essential, at least during hours of darkness. Unfortunately, air navigation came after maritime navigation, and the former simply adopted the rules of the latter.

Today's rules of the air are essentially the 19th century rules of the sea. If you search the term "COLREGS" you will find the internationally-agreed codification of the rules of the sea and, if you're a pilot, they will look very familiar. Who gives way to whom, and what coloured lights have to be fitted where, and their meaning, are almost identical on the water as they are in the air.

But all of that stuff was left behind, literally, in aviation, when flying vessels started reaching speeds in the triple digit knots. That also left the CVD industry to cast about for evidence to substantiate its foregone conclusions, rather than revisit their validity in a different context. Citing the FedEx Tallahassee accident is an example.

These paragraphs from the NTSB report (here: http://asndata.aviation-safety.net/r...722_N497FE.pdf ) were quoted earlier in this thread:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the captain’s and first officer’s failure to establish and maintain a proper glidepath during the night visual approach to landing. Contributing to the accident was a combination of the captain’s and first officer’s fatigue, the captain’s and first officer’s failure to adhere to company flight procedures, the captain’s and flight engineer’s failure to monitor the approach, and the first officer’s color vision deficiency.
During postaccident interviews, all three pilots reported observing red and white lights on the PAPI display, consistent with normal PAPI operation. [Added note: the Flight Engineer was a qualified pilot on type. Hence the reference to “all three pilots”.] Although the flight engineer and captain reported seeing a pink PAPI signal on one of the four PAPI lights at some time during the approach, they also reported seeing red and/or white lights (which would have provided appropriate glidepath guidance) at the same time.

In postaccident statements, the flight crew and ground observers indicated that there were no obstructions to visibility along the approach path. However, the comments made by the first officer (“gonna lose the end of the runway”) and captain (“disappear a little”) suggest that they may have encountered a temporary obstruction to visibility (for example, clouds or mist) as they approached runway 9. If such an obstruction existed, it may also have obscured the PAPI lights. Although a temporary obstruction might help explain the flight crew’s failure to recognize the PAPI guidance while that obstruction was present, it does not explain why the three pilots failed to recognize the presence of four red PAPI lights throughout the rest of the approach. Further, according to FedEx procedures (and FAA regulations), if the approach end of the runway became obscured at any time during the visual approach, the pilots should have performed a go-around.
This is worth repeating: "[T]hree pilots failed to recognize the presence of four red PAPI lights throughout the rest of the approach."

I cannot fathom how any intellectually honest analysis of the circumstances described in that report and the findings of the report could be construed as substantial evidence of pilots with CVD being a greater risk to air safety than pilots without CVD.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 13:54
  #663 (permalink)  
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Hello all,
Was chatting with a couple of guys in the aviation industry, including one who gain a class one with the tower light signal test, and we were wondering if the tower light signal/gun test still offered or is it just this stupid cad test?
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Old 21st Oct 2015, 11:36
  #664 (permalink)  
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Pages 92-93 here: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/...lication%2Fpdf
Senator FAWCETT: I am very pleased to hear that. You have said also in point 2 in your regulatory philosophy that where reasonable alternative approaches to the fulfilment of a regulatory requirement can satisfy legal requirements and do not unacceptably compromise safety that you will consider it and look at that. I draw you back to a conversation we have had previously about pilots who have a colour vision deficiency and the fact that previously CASA allowed an alternative approach which was an individual assessment of competence and capacity to operate a particular aircraft type by night and as a result of that we have had 25 years of safe operations, single pilot, multicrew, RPT and so on. Currently CASA has closed the door to that. Would you consider reopening that door in light of your stated regulatory philosophy?

Mr Skidmore: I have stated to those people involved that I am more than happy to look at the empirical test that is actually defining the variables and actually understand the implications in regards to the tested results themselves and if they prove otherwise then we will look at those.
Why is the onus on "those people" to "prove" anything?
Senator FAWCETT: So, that could include a practical test in the aircraft type that they were seeking approval to operate?

Mr Skidmore: Currently in regards to regulations, as far as I am aware, we specify the Ishihara test is the first level, the Farnsworth test is the second level and then a third test. Currently we recommend the CAD test.
No Mr Skidmore, "we" don't "recommend" sh*t. The word "recommend" infers a choice. There is no choice as to the means of demonstrating compliance with the colour perception standard.

The supporters of that nice-little-earner the CVD prejudice industry in CASA have determined the CAD test for the purposes of CASR 67.150(6)(c).

Unless of course no test at all has been determined, or other tests have been determined, and no one in industry has been told.

Nothing AVMED does would surprise.
Senator FAWCETT: What I am saying to you is that we have demonstrated that there are pilots who have safely operated for more than a decade in a range of very challenging roles who have failed your third test, the CAD test. I am asking would you consider allowing them to do what CASA has previously done, which is to do a practical flight test, or now possibly in a simulator, to demonstrate what they are individually capable of in a real scenario?

Mr Skidmore: I have to consider all the situations involved and understand the implications in regards to that. If we consider it is an acceptable means of compliance then I should look at it.
Meaningless waffle. Translation: Meh.
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Old 24th Nov 2015, 22:44
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Thumbs up Red Green Protanope

Hi Arthur,
Long time no see,
the old ugly issue rears its head again.
You will remember me I came to visit way back in 80s holding a fresh CLASS 3 DAYLIGHT Rating with 50Hours IF and NO NIGHT as I failed to meet ICAO requirements.
My old green licence on PAGE XIII stated:-
The holder of the licence is not permitted to pilot aircraft'
1/. At Night
2/. within CTA unless fitted with VHF radio
as he fails to meet the medical colour perception standards specified by ICAO.
I remember how you intervened on my behalf back in March 1990 when I was given permission and more importantly my instructor was given permission to train me "to the minimum amount necessary" to land at night.
So on 18th March 1990 I did Night Circuits for an hour then next night consolidated them and got STAMP in LG stating FIRST SOLO IN TYPE
this occurred at 3120 hours total time and 3000 PIC and 320 IF logged.
I put 15 hours of NIGHT in at that time.
Section CAO 47.3
A few weeks later I did two cross countries of 100 miles to remote areas and qualified for but never obtained the NVFR rating.
So I flew under the provisions of the CIR SE/A NGT IFR
And did the mandatory three landings and 1 hour or so each six months, and then TVASIS approaches and PAPI and now new LED lighting.
Never missed the runway and never came close to another aircraft at night.
Never had a lantern flashed at me from a tower at night or by day.
I have landed at BKSY, YPAD and YMMB at night and countless long distance cross countries and outback ever since..

Well here we are 2016
My old green licence on PAGE XIII has stamps all over the page stating "RESTRICTIONS LIFTED"
And on next page.
"SUPERSEDED" which refers to flight at night.
I now have 30 command IR renewals all restrictions lifted and 5000+hours PIC, Canadian and FAA licences 2 years in ARCTIC ALASKA (where there is no such thing as NGT VFR) and about 800 night IFR hours no NVMC rating and still alive.
My current new licence states amongst other things Holder of licence does not fully meet ICAO Convention Chapter 6 requirements.
My FAA licence makes no mention.
My Canadian requires the Aussie lic to be carried and all limitations from that licence apply.

My PIR FPAs deemed down from my CIRSEA back in 2004
granted me NGT and VISCIRCLING
amongst the other 10 or so approvals for SE SIDS and IDS.

So what went wrong with the system and why now?
Maybe I should present myself to Canberra DAMEs again?
A do the demonstration flights in CTA zone again picking out all the planes in the night sky and landing on the runway not the road?
Even managed to use the runway at Merrill Field AK at night some 300m adjacent and to left of Spenard Street which runs right through centre of Anchorage AK.

And thanks by the way..

Last edited by ZAZ; 24th Nov 2015 at 23:05.
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Old 24th Nov 2015, 23:06
  #666 (permalink)  
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I think you should ground yourself immediately.

You don't comprehend the risk you pose to the safety of air navigation. The new regime in Avmed do comprehend the risk, because of all the "evidence" they've collected from those experts who make money out of the CAD test.
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Old 29th Nov 2015, 13:02
  #667 (permalink)  
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if you can see what color the nav lights are you-should be submitting a near miss report!
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Old 6th Dec 2015, 14:50
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farnsworth lantern test

hello all

I moved to Australia some time ago. never had a chance to fly previously because where i was from medical was extremely strict. having colour deficiency meant i had zero chance of being able to fly.

Presently I'm starting my PPL after finally saving enough money. I'm getting a class 1 medical to see how far i can go in Australia in regards to having a career in Aviation. Obviously i failed the Ishihara test and have been referred to a DAME for a farnsworth lantern test. Any tips and any idea where will i go from here if i fail the farnsworth lantern test?

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Old 6th Dec 2015, 19:28
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See thread above. Lots of info there.


Last edited by halfmanhalfbiscuit; 6th Dec 2015 at 19:29. Reason: Fhghgg
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 06:38
  #670 (permalink)  
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Initial Class 1 Medical for CVD pilot

I thought i should document my Class 1 Medical process here

Class 1 Medical Exam $400
all okay. But due to failed Ishihara Plate test, referred to Eye clinic 1

Eye Clinic 1, $180
Did this online
Color Management System, Services & Software from X-Rite
failed. referred to Eye clinic 2

Eye Clinic 2, $200
Ishihara test,
Optec Lantern, failed

Now test results with Casa. pending referral for a CAD test.
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Old 11th Mar 2016, 19:43
  #671 (permalink)  
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CVDPA Update

Latest CVDPA update sent to members and supporters this week...

Colour Vision Update - March 2016

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Undoubtedly many of you are probably wondering what’s been happening since our last update in July 2015. Firstly, we apologise for the lack of communication since this time, however we wish to assure you that there has still been activity occurring behind the scenes. We trust that this newsletter serves as an update to inform you of recent events. More importantly, we hope that it encourages you to get involved as we need your help to reinvigorate our campaign and bring an end to the unjust discrimination that CVD pilots continue to endure.

Dr Arthur Pape

As some of you are aware, Arthur’s health has been rapidly declining over past few months due to an aggressive lung disease. Unfortunately, the condition has been so severe that he has had to stop work as a GP and DAME and he is now on 24 hour oxygen and requires an urgent lung transplant. The good news is that after extensive testing, he has made it onto the official transplant list and he is now awaiting a compatible donor organ before a transplant can occur. Please keep Arthur and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Arthur has devoted well over 30 years of his life for pursuing rights for CVD pilots and without his efforts, many would not be in aviation careers today. His infectious enthusiasm for the cause and his endless pursuit for ensuring regulations are evidence based continues to be the driving force behind CVDPA’s efforts as we progress into the future.

In fact, despite his declining health, Arthur delivered his most recent presentation in September 2015 to the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine held in Adelaide. In this presentation, he once again delivered an irrefutable argument to show how CASA’s use of the CAD test as a test that “simulates an operational situation” (as required by the regulations) is both illegal and discriminatory. A video copy of this presentation is available below:


You may recall in the last update we flagged the possibility of a Federal Court challenge against CASA’s continued refusal to implement a lawful, operationally based test to satisfy the requirements of CASR 67.150 [6][c]. Since that time, CASA has continued to require applicants who fail the first two level tests (Ishihara and Farnsworth) to sit the CAD test for the purposes of compliance with sub-regulation [6][c]. Anyone who has undertaken this test will know that it does not remotely simulate any operational situation encountered in an aircraft and is therefore not compliant with the regulations.

The fact that it does not simulate an operational situation was conceded under oath by the inventor of the test, Professor John Barbur, during the O’Brien vs CASA Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) hearings in 2014. Moreover, the tribunal in this matter determined that the CAD test “did not reveal any significant new or relevant information” about Mr O’Brien’s CVD condition and they subsequently placed greater weight on his operational experience as a pilot in determining that it was appropriate for his ATPL restriction to be lifted.

Despite these findings, CASA still continue to require new CVD pilot applicants to sit the CAD test and those who fail it are being restricted to Day VFR only, or in some cases are having the issue of a Class 1 medical refused entirely. This practice goes completely against a 25+ year safety case and ignores the findings of three independent tribunals.

Over the past few months, we have attempted to constructively engage with CASA in our ongoing efforts to come to a rational, lawful and evidence based outcome. This engagement includes the correspondence below (click hyperlink):

Holding Redlich (law firm) to CASA

CASA response to Holding Redlich

CVDPA to CASA CEO Mark Skidmore

CASA CEO Mark Skidmore to CVDPA

It is important to emphasise that the comments and proposals that CVDPA outlined in letter #3 to CASA were collectively endorsed by Australia’s four major pilot associations – Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA), Australian & International Pilots Association (AIPA) and the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA). Together, these organisations represent thousands of professional and recreational pilots across Australia, including many with a CVD.

Today we received a disappointing, but somewhat predictable response from CASA CEO Mark Skidmore (letter #4). It is quite clear from Mr Skidmore’s reply that CASA has no intention of considering any rational, lawful or evidence based alternative for the purposes of compliance with the regulations. Unfortunately, Mr Skidmore also refused to acknowledge our request for a further meeting to consult with us on these issues prior to making the decision he outlined in his letter.

It seems plainly obvious that CASA do not care about objective evidence or objective risk and subsequently the only viable way forward from here is a further legal challenge in the Federal Court against their unlawful use of the CAD test.

Further Demonstrable CASA Inconsistencies

To further highlight the inconsistencies in CASA’s approach, another of our members lodged an application with the Administrative Appeals Tirbunal to seek to have his own ATPL restrictions removed. This pilot’s application to the AAT was in response to the tribunal’s findings in the O’Brien v CASA matter. He is an experienced B737 First Officer working for a major airline with many years of incident free flying experience under his belt, supported by excellent results throughout his training and checking history.

Despite several years of CASA’s refusal to remove his ATPL restriction, it is clear that when legal pressure was applied and the pilot commenced proceedings at the AAT, CASA backed down as they were unwilling to risk a fourth embarrassing loss at the AAT. This particular matter progressed as far as a mediation conference, at which point CASA agreed to allow the pilot the ability to use his ATPL privileges, meaning that he may also now progress to the role of Captain in the future.

What this result appears to suggest is that CASA lack both evidence and conviction to support their own decisions, particularly with regards to denying experienced pilots the opportunity to exercise ATPL privileges. It also reinforces the fact that they are selectively targeting new aspiring CVD pilots by issuing them with medical restrictions which essentially deny them the same opportunities to enter into the industry.

CASA’s inconsistent handling of new pilot applicants versus existing experienced pilots further demonstrates that this is not a safety issue as they claim, but is a political issue motivated by prejudice.

New Zealand Colour Vision Review

The interests of CVD pilots were proudly represented in November when a group of independent experts travelled to Wellington to present to a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) panel reviewing the NZ colour vision testing procedures and policies. The panel’s task was to review all the information and to deliver a report to the CAA Director with recommendations on a proposed way forward.

The presentations to the panel provided an invaluable opportunity for experts to speak directly to the panel members and to allow them to ask questions. The primary objective was to encourage the implementation of an operational test conducted either in an aircraft or flight simulator so that CVD pilots have an opportunity to demonstrate they can perform their duties safely and can pursue careers in aviation.

Speakers included:

  • Tim Woods – Colour Vision Aviators (NZ) Administrator
  • Capt Phillip Maguire – Meeting Facilitator
  • Capt John O’Brien – CVDPA Director
  • Dr Robert Liddell – former CASA Director of Aviation Medicine
  • Associate Professor Geoff Stuart – Monash University Accident Research Centre
  • Dr Boris Crasini – Ret’d Professor of Psychology – Deakin University
  • Ryan Brookes – Director (Applied Vehicle Systems) – NZ Defence Technology Agency
A special thanks must go to Tim Woods and Phillip Maguire for their efforts in bringing all these experts together in what was a culmination of many years of work to get to this point. The presenters complimented each other by discussing the evidence through their own individual area of expertise and we are confident a positive impact was made on the day.

We still await an outcome from this process (expected within the next 1 – 2 months) and will provide an update as soon as further information comes to hand.

Additionally, Ryan Brookes also recently published a comprehensive paper which is well worth a read. It analyses the evidence and raises further questions about the suitability of current clinical test regimes. The report is available via the below hyperlink:

Colour Vision Requirements for Aircrew - DTA Report 405

The Future – Your Help Needed

Now more than ever, we need the support of members to get involved and to help reinvigorate our campaign. For the last few years, the day to day management of CVDPA has been looked after by Arthur Pape and John O’Brien, all on a voluntary basis. Particularly with Arthur’s ill health in recent times, we need your assistance in a variety of areas to help share the workload and to help us develop strategies on progressing our campaign successfully into the future.

So, what areas do we need assistance with?

  • Strategy and planning
  • Management experience
  • Marketing our message
  • Advertising
  • Political lobbying
  • Fundraising / crowdfunding
  • Legal advice
  • Finance and book keeping
  • Assistance with website reinvigoration and updates
  • Membership newsletters and communication
  • Responding to general emails and website enquiries
  • Social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
As you can see, there’s lots to do. Understandably we all live busy lives, but if any member has a particular area of expertise that you believe could be of assistance in helping us manage any of the above areas, we would love to hear from you. Many hands makes light work and ideally we would like to form a working committee so that responsibilities can be delegated. Please email [email protected] if you are able to contribute.

Additionally, please be reminded that CVDPA members are able to access a Members Only Forum through our website. This forum provides a convenient means for us to discuss ideas and suggestions openly with likeminded individuals. To log-in, you will require your user name and password and you are then able to contribute to discussions (anonymously if desired). If you have any difficulties logging on, please email [email protected].

With several million colour defective persons across the world, including Australia, our potential audience is huge. CVDPA has approximately 200 members, so we clearly have a lot of work to do. If we had 1000 members prepared to contribute $1000 each, we would have one million dollars – enough to fund some serious legal challenges! The evidence is very much on our side, but without funding we are unable to take the challenge right up to CASA or other authorities. Without the funding to mount a challenge in the Federal Court, this project is virtually doomed. CASA will respond to our demands only when we are prepared to back up with a serious legal challenge.

Donations can continue to be made via our website:

Your Support - Donations

Please consider what you can do to help us bring an end to this discrimination once and for all. We’re all in this together and we need your support!

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Old 11th Mar 2016, 22:32
  #672 (permalink)  
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Saw something on, I think, Catalyst or a similar show about a pair of glasses that "cure" colour blindness allowing the wearer to see red and green as clearly as someone with normal vision. I don't suffer from colour blindness myself or know anything about it but if I was, I would be Googling these glasses.
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Old 13th Mar 2016, 10:28
  #673 (permalink)  
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Sad to hear about Arthur's Heath.

Quick question, is the Optec 900 approved by CASA,I was under the understanding it was not but just noticed that they list locations that have them?
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Old 16th Mar 2016, 22:10
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EnChroma glasses - see reactions of people to seeing colours at https://www.reddit.com/r/enchromareactions/
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 08:44
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Firstly let me say that I am on the side of the affected CVD pilots, but not having followed this thread for some time and not knowing just what the CAD test was, by using Mr Google's fantastic search engine I stumbled upon a Keynote address by Mr Skidmore to the "Aviation Medical Society of Victoria" delivered on 28 February 2015 in which he states among other things, the following -
"Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD)

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." and here is the link -

It seems from this that pilots already "in the industry" with CVD are not to be effected by the restrictions, so it would also seem that AVMED, as usual, are making up their own rules by placing such restrictions on already operational pilots.

Have a god read of the excerpt and see if you come to the same conclusions
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 12:26
  #676 (permalink)  
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Everybody already knows CASA's approach to CVD is based neither on objective evidence nor objective risk. It inevitably follows that the outcomes are patently incoherent and illogical.

Mr Skidmore's defence of CASA's return to the dark ages was the point at which his credibility plunged to zero in my judgment.
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Old 8th Apr 2016, 07:47
  #677 (permalink)  
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Hi everyone,

Just had my medical renewed today. To my surprise DAME pulled out Ishihara's book. When i asked "why?", i was advised that this is a new CASA initiative. According to my doc - this test will be presented with every renewal.

Be prepared
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 05:45
  #678 (permalink)  
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Did my renewal last week. Yes the dreaded Isihara test came out. The online system wouldn't let the AVMED doc proceed without listing errors on the plates!
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 06:52
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If existing guys are to be left alone then why are they requiring the Ishihara plates now at every medical? It looks to me like they want to know how many pilots can't read the plates, they will then know how big the "problem" is. There will be a lot more than 400. Make no mistake, if they intended to do nothing with the test results then they wouldn't bother with the test. IMHO, not one CVD pilot is safe from CASA unless you can pass the Farnsworth Lantern or the CAD, and that goes for those who have no restrictions on their medical as well.

Something is brewing and I don't like the smell of it!

Last edited by PPRuNeUser0161; 3rd Jun 2016 at 10:12.
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 08:50
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I'm sure you mean "Not one CVD PILOT is safe from CASA" 😏
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