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-   -   The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/527897-empire-strikes-back-colour-defective-pilots.html)

Arthur Pape 16th Nov 2013 05:36

The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots
Dear All,


First, let me give you a concise history of the struggle by and for those pilots who have a colour vision defect. My role in the struggle is well documented over many years. I am an Australian GP and Aviation Medical Examiner and have been a lifelong campaigner for the rights of colour vision defective (CVD) pilots.

I started my flying in 1976, at the Mid Murray Flying Club in Swan Hill, Victoria. Within a couple of years I managed to hold a CPL and a Command Instrument rating, but because of my CVD, I was prohibited from flying at night. I was mystified as to why this restriction was in place and after about ten years of research, I appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to have the night restriction removed. In the process of preparation I was assisted enormously by AOPA, both morally and financially. One of the memorable highlights in the preparation was a large meeting held at the club rooms of the Mid Murray Flying Club to which a couple of hundred colour defective pilots flew and drove from across the country to offer support and help plan the assault on the aviation colour perception standard.

The success of my own appeal was a just reward for a great deal of hard work and wide support, but the victory was bitter-sweet, as the Authority of the day refused to let the benefit of my success flow to any other pilot with the colour vision problem. That in turn led to a second far more comprehensive appeal for all the colour defective pilots of Australia. This case was nominally on behalf of Jonathon Denison, a young colour defective commercial pilot who had qualified for night flight in New Zealand, but who was prohibited from night flight in Australia. By mutual agreement between the parties, it was decided by the AAT to treat the Denison appeal as a wide-sweeping test case.

Again, the appeal succeeded and the ban on night flight was overturned for all colour defective pilots in Australia. To this date, the Denison appeal is still the most comprehensive examination of aviation colour vision standards that has ever been conducted in the entire world. The hearings lasted for over 30 days and called witnesses including experienced pilots and air traffic controllers, optometrists and visual perception psychologists to name just a few. As a direct result of the appeal’s success, many such pilots found doors opening to career opportunities that were previously denied to them.

During a period of relative sanity and pragmatism, the (now called) Department of Transport opened the way for colour defective pilots to use the ATPL if they could pass the control tower signal gun test. A pass on this test earned them a clean medical certificate, on which there was no longer any mention of colour vision related restrictions. I myself passed this test, and, had I been a younger man, I could have entertained a career as an airline pilot, notwithstanding the fact I had a diagnosis of deuteranopia, which is one of the more severe forms of colour vision defect. I continued in my medical career and enjoyed a modest participation in aviation. The colour vision issue was never far from my mind.

Many pilots with colour vision defects did pass the control tower signal gun test and many, who prior to 1990 would not have been allowed to fly a C152 at night, made it all the way to the rank of Captain in the various airlines in Australia. A significant number are still employed amongst the most senior and experienced crew.

All would have been well, but for the fact that some competent pilots had trouble passing the control tower signal gun test and as a result they remained banished to the rank of First Officer within the various airlines. As their numbers grew, it became obvious to me that the control tower signal gun test was being used as an arbitrary device to determine if a CVD pilot could be classified as “safe” or “unsafe”.

At the level of airline aviation, the control tower signal gun is a device that no airline pilot is ever likely to have to endure. Not only is the chance of exposure to such a signal almost infinitesimally small, the interpretation of such a signal is operationally impossible. Without labouring the point, imagine a B737 captain finding that he has lost radio communication as he calls “ready” at the holding point of a major runway at Sydney airport. There are three possible signals: white (return to starting point), red (not clear for take-off) and green (cleared for take-off). A 737 at a holding point cannot do a U-turn without entering the runway, which can’t be done without a green signal light, which in turn has the meaning of clear for take-off. It amounts to simple nonsense and the control tower signal lamp (at least for RPT operations) belongs in the aviation museum.

So it is that one of the pilots who is being held back from using his ATPL by his inability to pass the signal gun test has lodged an appeal to the AAT to have his restrictions removed. At first, it seemed that his appeal could be limited to just the issue of whether the signal gun test was a real world “practical test” that realistically delineated between “safe” and “unsafe”, but this is not the way CASA is treating the appeal.

Documents lodged to the AAT make it clear that CASA is treating this appeal as a golden opportunity to try to turn the clock back some 25 years in regard to the colour vision standard. It is patently clear that CASA is seeking to reverse every gain made in the Pape and Denison cases a quarter of a century ago and in the years that followed. Their desire is to reimpose restrictions of the most radical nature for those who fail to meet their renewed strict standard. Not only are CASA trying to restrict these pilots from progressing their careers, they are now actively proposing changes that would end their careers entirely.

(TID formatting)

There are two issues I want to bring to the attention of the entire aviation industry of Australia. The pilot who has lodged this appeal is a dedicated, hardworking and very competent pilot, employed as a First Officer on the Dash 8 for a regional airline. He has some 6000 hours of experience in a wide variety of operations. His company, his superiors and his peers endorse his professionalism and want him to assume command. But he does not have access to the sort of funds that CASA will be throwing into the legal battle that is looming. He has managed to obtain legal representation at a substantially discounted rate, but even with the discount, he would have to find a minimum of about $100,000 in costs to present his case and tackle the might and the apparently unlimited financial resources of CASA. We estimate that CASA is spending over half a million dollars on this case.

The second issue is that a failure of this appeal would have enormous ramifications for several thousand Australian pilots who have a colour vision defect. I know of many airline pilots whose careers would be adversely impacted should this appeal fail. Add to that the hundreds of CVD commercial pilots who could once again find themselves restricted to the pre 1989 limitations, and possibly even more drastic restrictions (for example, no instrument ratings, no carriage of passengers, no night flying at all). It is beyond belief, but these are the aims of the current CASA medical staff in regard to this appeal.

It is indeed patently obvious that CASA is treating this appeal as a de-facto appeal against the Denison decision of 1989 and if they succeed I predict a catastrophic result for the entire colour vision defective pilot community of Australia.

The preparation of this appeal is well advanced. We have a strong case and the likelihood of success is reasonable (there are no certainties in life except death and taxes, isn’t that how the saying goes?). The single most daunting obstacle to success is first and foremost the problem of costs. Whereas Denison’s and my appeal were ultimately funded by the Legal Aid system, it appears that such funding will not be forthcoming for this appeal. I am amazed at this fact, as there is no doubt that CASA is treating the appeal as a “Test Case”. If CASA goes ahead in this planned manner, it will be very much a case of “Might over Right”.

There are two things I want to ask the general pilot community to consider. The first is that each and every pilot considers a contribution to a fighting fund to help fund his case. I ask this of all, but more so, of those pilots who have enjoyed the benefits of the struggle waged all those years ago in liberating the thousands of Australian colour defective pilots from the irrational and unjust colour vision standard. The second thing I ask is that people write to their politicians and in particular the Minister, Warren Truss, to voice their disapproval of the tactics being employed by CASA to overwhelm and discriminate against a group of deserving, competent and safe pilots.

Last year I set up a not-for-profit organisation called the Colour Defective Pilots Association Pty Ltd which is incorporated in Victoria - www.cvdpa.com.

Kind Regards,

Dr Arthur Pape
E: [email protected]

Tidbinbilla 16th Nov 2013 08:03

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Dr. Pape. This topic is now stickied on this forum.

May I suggest you contact Nick Xenophon with your concerns on this particular case. I know of at least one other case where he has intervened with the draconian (and backward) AVMED section of CASA, and achieved a speedy and favourable outcome for an aggrieved ATPL holder.


5-in-50 16th Nov 2013 09:41

Could i suggest a PayPal option? It'll widen the scope for potential donors.

Frank Arouet 16th Nov 2013 22:37

What happened to the message.
Is it my computer or has Arthur Pape's message gone?

Ovation 17th Nov 2013 01:11

Is it my computer or has Arthur Pape's message gone?
It's there alright, but only colour blind pilots are able to read it.

triadic 17th Nov 2013 12:43

Subject matter is not there...??

LeadSled 17th Nov 2013 14:43

Seriously, could someone please post Dr.Pape's original message.

Scion 17th Nov 2013 18:28

another problem is their treatment of type 2 diabetics.

anyone out there ready to start another "Sticky"

Arthur Pape 17th Nov 2013 20:27

Earlier post by Arthur Pape
My post "The Empire Strikes Back" is still coming up when I log in. If it has been withdrawn, I can imagine it is only because in the post I ask for financial support. Anyone who wants to see the post and to support this very worthy cause can find the links on the cvdpa.com website. It is vitally important that CASA be prevented from winning this contest in the AAT by suffocating the appellant, John O'Brien.

Arthur Pape

Arthur Pape 17th Nov 2013 20:30

The Empire Strikes Back
Oh, by the way, if you are having problems seeing the original post, try to have it re-posted by contacting the moderator in a private message.
Arthur Pape

Frank Arouet 17th Nov 2013 22:01


Is it possible to get sponsorship through somebody in the optical game.

A lot here are on the bones of their bum so to speak and probably wouldn't make much of a difference in the big scheme of things. Support goes without saying, so we all hope some philanthropists who normally prefer to remain anonymous will send you a PM.

I'll send a couple of emails to worthy Lawyers and mention the words Pro bono. I know this generally makes them choke on their T bone steaks, but something like this could benefit them more in advertising than cash. I'll ask them to contact you direct, so you may keep us informed personally.

The other thing I can think of is a Government grant from The Public Interest and Test Case Scheme if it is still going.

Perhaps Creampuff knows if this is still an option?

Keep up the good work Arthur.

F.Nose 17th Nov 2013 22:30

It amazes me that CASA are being so regressive. Colour vision restrictions were regulated way back in the 40's and 50's when they actually had some context. With the technological advances of today I can't think of a single application that is affected by colour vision. My bet is CASA will be playing the international standards card.

I am happy to make a donation to this fight but I agree with Frank, I doubt that the Pilot fraternity as a whole will raise the required funds. Surely there are CVD Pilots out there who are members of the AFAP or other unions. If so, and their jobs are threatened by this (as they will be), then the their union must have an obligation to protect them.

The AFAP in fact offer substantial Loss of License insurance to their members. My guess is they would have a financial interest in this as well as an obligation.

717tech 17th Nov 2013 22:32

This may be a stupid question but wouldn't a union like AFAP be interested in something like this?

F.Nose 18th Nov 2013 01:03


Have another read Dr Pape's post. It appears quite clear to me.

Biggles66 18th Nov 2013 01:08

maybe you can sticky this to the airliner / rpt forum too (Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific - PPRuNe Forums) considering they could be adversely affected and probably have more funds than your average GA pilot.

Hot High Heavy 18th Nov 2013 02:51

Just to clarify, does the control tower signal gun test refer to or cover the Farnsworth Lantern test? Or are they different tests??

johnobr 18th Nov 2013 03:51

Thanks Tidbinbilla for stickying this important topic.

Are CASA proposing a colour vision test more restrictive than the tower gun signal test?
Yes. As a result of these proceedings, we have become aware that CASA are 'reviewing' their testing procedures with a view to introducing the new 'CAD' test into Australia. For CVD's, this test is even harder to pass than the signal gun test. See below for a demo:

It is important to acknowledge that CVD's will always perform poorly in any colour vision test. The issue is whether this bears any resemblance to our ability to fly safely.

CASR 67.150 (6)(c) requires a test which simulates an operational situation. Up until now, the signal gun test has always been used for this purpose. Despite it's highly questionable relevance to modern aviation as Arthur has already explained, the CAD test is far worse. If anyone can tell me how this above test simulates anything a pilot does in an aircraft then I'd be very interested to know!

Further, we are aware of professional pilots who have attempted this CAD test and failed it. For example, we personally know of airline Captain's in Australia (who have got there by virtue of passing the signal gun test) and have gone through the recruitment process for overseas carriers such as Emirates but have been unsuccessful because they have failed the CAD. So they are safe to return to our shores and be Captains of B737's and A320's, yet they are considered 'unsafe' to fly similar aircraft overseas.

The CAD, like most colour vision tests, does a very good job of diagnosing one's CVD, but it in no way reflects a pilot's ability to fly an aircraft safely. To make matters worse, AVMED are recommending that for those who fail this CAD test should it be introduced here, that we be issued with VFR only medical certificates, valid for daytime operations only and with no carriage of passengers.

Clearly any restrictions such as these would make CVD pilots unemployable and be a complete reversal of all the gains made since the Pape & Denison decisions.

Fundamental to our argument is that as professional pilots, we are required to demonstrate on a regular basis our ability to fly safely by way of passing sim and line checks. Arthur delivered this very insightful presentation to the International Congress of Aviation and Space Medicine in Melbourne last year which highlights the lunacy of the situation:

This may be a stupid question but wouldn't a union like AFAP be interested in something like this?
We are in contact with the various unions including AFAP, as well as various politicians and are requesting their support. If people cannot afford to contribute financially, as Arthur mentioned one vital thing which everyone can do is to email their politicians as well as their respective unions to encourage them to support this matter.

My bet is CASA will be playing the international standards card.
That is certainly one of the things they are trying to do. It is well known that Australia is already one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to CVD standards. However, that is only as a direct result of the hard work of Arthur and others during the Pape & Denison appeals which was a victory for common sense as well as using empirical evidence based on facts. It is a matter of record that on the final day of the Denison hearings that both parties agreed that it was the most thorough and exhaustive examination of colour vision standards that had ever been undertaken in the entire world. Both sides agreed that whatever the result, they would accept it and promote it internationally. The CAA back then ultimately lost decisively and of course never did promote the result amongst other ICAO nations, which is part of the reason why Australia is still out on a limb all these years later.

There is an attitude within the current medical hierarchy to set right their failure in both of these previous cases, which is why they're going into this current battle with the view to literally win it 'at all costs'.

Thanks in advance for your support and feel free to email myself or Arthur should you wish to find out more info.

[email protected]

mates rates 18th Nov 2013 05:41

If you pass the Farnsworth lantern test you don't require the tower light test.

Creampuff 18th Nov 2013 07:06

So what, precisely, are the so-called ‘representative bodies’ being paid to do, if not support this pilot?

And why is it going to cost $100,000 to copy and paste the submissions from the Pape and Denison matters into the submissions for the new matter?

4Greens 18th Nov 2013 09:04

Can a colour restricted pilot tell the difference between a red and starboard nav light?

Capt Fathom 18th Nov 2013 10:21

Does it affect the safe operation of an aircraft 4Reds ?

In all my years of night flying, I have never had to assess wingtip lights and decide in they were heading left or right, coming or going!

Apart from winning or losing a bet! :E

mates rates 18th Nov 2013 21:37

Could it be the changeover from T-Vasis to PAPI that is causing the concern in Canberra? No I don't think they are that smart!!

Sarcs 18th Nov 2013 22:16

Top sticky mods!

May I suggest you contact Nick Xenophon with your concerns on this particular case. I know of at least one other case where he has intervened with the draconian (and backward) AVMED section of CASA, and achieved a speedy and favourable outcome for an aggrieved ATPL holder.
From Senate Estimates yesterday it would appear that Senator Fawcett has taken up the baton for this matter and Senator X was in attendance so squeaky wheel and all that..:ok:

Once Hansard is released will copy and paste the Senator's questions...interesting by play with the DAS i.e. he was very cagey in reply!:ugh:

Top stuff Dr Pape and good luck John.."may the force be with you!":D

4Greens 19th Nov 2013 07:38

If you get low on some approach light guidance systems they turn red - is this noticed by colour defective pilots?

johnobr 19th Nov 2013 10:20

If you get low on some approach light guidance systems they turn red - is this noticed by colour defective pilots?
4Greens - Have a look at the YouTube presentation I posted on page 1 of this thread regarding the Case Studies of Professional Pilots with a CVD.

You will see that between these 3 pilots, there has been a combined total of several thousand PAPI approaches flown. As one of these pilots, I can honestly say that PAPI has never posed an issue for me.

CVD pilots are required to pass the same high standards in flight and sim checks as colour normals. 23 years worth of evidence in Australia indicates we are just as capable of performing all required tasks with no difficulties.

Foundandlost 19th Nov 2013 10:56

I completed my commercial after the Denison ATT decision and have based my entire career on the fact that I most likely wouldn't be able to fly command for an airline (still can't understand why).... but would however be able to fly commercially. (This I have done for over 19 years and 8000hrs, with many of these hours with a reputable aeromedical organisation flying day and night into both capital cities and black hole station strips without incident) I think if the decision was reversed there would be a lineup of insurance company's forced to payout loss of licence cover looking to recover a very large sum of money....... Good luck with the fight John and Arthur.

Sarcs 20th Nov 2013 00:55

Senator Fawcett on CVD in Estimates
As promised :ok:: Senate Estimates 18/11/2013 - CAsA

Senator FAWCETT: Are you aware of the case of the Commonwealth versus Denison, in the late 1980s?

Mr McCormick : No, not personally.

Senator FAWCETT: It is a trial case that was put up to determine whether pilots with a colour vision deficiency should be able to operate in night operations, RPT operations and commercial operations, and it was found that they could. In fact a whole new test was devised—the tower-gun test—to clear that, and we now have pilots who have been flying for a number of years and thousands of hours in RPT aircraft, single-pilot operations with multifunction displays, very safely. To my understanding there have been no incidents. Can you confirm whether or not it is correct that CASA is looking to review that, on the application of one of the pilots who seeks to become a captain, exercising the rights of his ATPL, on the basis of the safe flying record, and that CASA is looking to challenge that and obstruct it in the AAT?

Mr McCormick : My understanding is that following on from an AAT decision about colour deficiencies—it may very well be the case you are referring to, but I am not sure—CASA now allows pilots with colour deficiency to fly, up to commercial pilot licence standard. To my knowledge we are the only major regulator in the world that allows this.

The FAA does not allow it, neither does Canada and the ICAO standards do not allow it. I believe the matter before the AAT—and I will refer to my general counsel if necessary—involves the pilot applying now to go not only from commercial but he wants an Airline Transport Pilots Licence. We are already out ahead of the world on this. The actual matter is before the AAT, hence I would prefer not to comment on it until we get a result. But as I said we are very liberal with this already, compared with ICAO and the rest of the world.

Senator FAWCETT: I recognise that, and if you look at Australian aviation history, with things like DME and T-VASI we have led the world on a number of occasions and the rest of the world now thanks us for that. My concern is that there is considerable talk and concern within the industry that CASA is not only seeking to prevent this person from exercising the privileges of an ATPL but is in fact seeking to wind back the decision to pre-1989—pre the Denison case—to realign itself with the FAA and other people. I am just trying to understand whether there is in fact that intent, but, also, if the evidence base is very clear both in the Denison case and in the thousands of hours of flying since, that pilots can operate safely, then what is the safety case for not actually allowing someone to exercise the privileges of an ATPL?

Mr McCormick : As to the exact nature of the AAT proceedings, I would prefer not to talk about it. We will take on notice your question about whether we are attempting to withdraw anything. The issue around medical standards is that quite a lot of these medical standards are not set by CASA. In fact we do not set any medical standards. We use whatever the expertise in that particular area says is the requirement, unless we have good reasons to do otherwise. The fact that we have had many years without accidents or incidents—and I will assume for moment we have not, but I will take that on notice—I think we are in a situation where, to go even further, we would need more than a safety case. We would most probably need medical science to tell us that that is probably not too far. As I said, we are already out in front of the world on this. So, we are not actively trying to stop anybody doing anything, but we do have to exercise some degree of caution.
And later on with the ATsB:

Senator FAWCETT: I assume you have been watching on the monitor the proceedings with CASA. Are there any accidents or incidents or concerns in Australia that have been brought to ATSB's attention as a result of a pilot having a colour vision deficiency?

Mr Dolan : I am not aware of any investigations we have undertaken where a contributing factor to an accident was colour vision deficiency. My colleagues might have a different view.

Mr Walsh : No, we would have to take it on notice to do a search of the database to see if we have any cases on record.

Mr Dolan : We will search the database to confirm, but we are reasonably certain that we do not have one of those.

Senator FAWCETT: It would be great if you could do that. Perhaps I should have asked CASA, but do you have an indication of how many pilots are operating on a licence with a CVD restriction?

Mr Dolan : We would not have that information. It is a licensing issue for CASA.

fury 20th Nov 2013 02:10

There are a number of issues that need to be examined.
1. Is colour vision really needed and relevant in aviation?
2. Does the CASA Medical Section have the ability to move with the times and apply modern thinking?
As a young pilot we had to perform such tasks and tests that seemed relevant, but at the best they were obscure. The Nav light test was one that I can think of, surely TCAS has taken care of that? I am joking, but never have I had to look at another aircraft at night and decide is it coming toward me or going away. Modern airliners have a number of aids to navigation and safety enhancements that make piloting skills more about management of systems than raw talent. I think colour detection falls into this category. Besides in a two crew environment any deviation from laid down parameters will be brought to the attention of the other pilot. I believe if you did a risk analysis of the threats that this colour deficiency poses and the mitigators would make the risks in the low to medium range.
CASA's Medical Section has over the years shown it's decisions and attitude has be driven by who is leading the section. At the moment it is very risk averse and would rather give decisions that ground pilots and justify it in the interest of safety. The problem with this is that it interferes with peoples lives and livelihoods for arbitrary reasons. I have known a number of people who have lost there medical due to injury and it has taken a extraordinary amount of time for them to get it back, even when the weight of professional opinion has said that they were fine. I believe colour defects fall into this category as the weight of evidence suggests that it has no relevance in aviation.
Finally lets talk about ICAO and it's guidelines. Although ICAO is an entity in it's own right it is made up of member states, these states contribute to policy and guidelines. ICAO does not get it right all the time and if they are anything like any government department in Australia or even the UN they get it wrong, the guidelines are out dated or there is some vested interest at play. In the case of colour defectiveness the guidelines are out of date and have no relevance in a modern aviation environment. Australia used to lead the world in aviation thinking, but, in recent times we have stepped away from that role. This is one area where we as an aviation community can show leadership and make change for the better.

johnobr 20th Nov 2013 19:13

Contact your pollies!
If you're concerned about these latest developments, it's vital that you contact your pollies including Senator Fawcett and others to voice your concerns. :ok:

Your Local MP
Senators & Members Search Results - Parliament of Australia

Hon. Warren Truss MP
Federal Transport Minister:
E: [email protected]

Senator David Fawcett
E: [email protected]

Senator Nick Xenophon
E: [email protected]

Kharon 20th Nov 2013 19:46

Cherry picked lines from Hansard.

The FAA does not allow it, neither does Canada and the ICAO standards do not allow it.

But as I said we are very liberal with this already, compared with ICAO and the rest of the world.

that quite a lot of these medical standards are not set by CASA.

I think we are in a situation where, to go even further, we would need more than a safety case. We would most probably need medical science to tell us that that is probably not too far.

When they wind in this advanced, modern, scientific, fully supported exception to ICAO, it will probably be the only part of ICAO for which as exemption has not been filed...More regulations and restrictions make for more safety – what a narrow, bureaucratic, black letter law, prehistoric approach.....http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/sr...lies/pukey.gif

Even ICAO don't want to deal with this puppy; a sad, sorry state of affairs, when you consider what it costs to keep other ICAO compliant countries baffled; deciding if Australia is compliant in fact, rather than on paper. (refer Boyd - Hansard Maintenance).

Anthill 20th Nov 2013 20:05

The FAA DOES allow the signal gun test. The NZ CAA allows colour defective pilots on a case-by-case basis.

johnobr 20th Nov 2013 20:23

NZ CVD Standards

The NZ CAA allows colour defective pilots on a case-by-case basis
Slight thread drift away from Australia for a moment, but there is currently a review underway into CVD standards in NZ at present. Very interesting read below:

Colour deficient pilots: Is there light at the end of this tunnel?

What is interesting is that the restrictions which CASA are trying to reimpose here are the same as those currently applied to many NZ pilots. Just a coincidence that our PMO previously worked for the NZ CAA?

The Leader of the NZ First Party - Winston Peters - has also recently taken up the baton on this matter:

New Zealand Parliament - 6. Pilot Licensing?Colour Vision Requirements

6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Transport: Why does Civil Aviation Rule Part 67 require that the applicant for a commercial or airline transport pilot licence have no deficit of colour vision to an extent that is of “aeromedical significance”?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development) on behalf of the Minister of Transport: Civil Aviation Rule Part 67 contains colour vision requirements that are designed to meet the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization—known as ICAO—in line with annex 1 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. Annex 1 requires contracting States to the convention, of which New Zealand is one, to test applicants to ensure there is no colour vision deficiency that could interfere with the safe performance of a pilot’s duties. In practical terms, pilots need to be able to discern different colours used in aviation—for example, on navigation charts, in cockpit instruments, in airport lighting, and in air navigation lights.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is he aware that Australia’s implementation of the Aviation Colour Perception Standard enables pilots with all types and degrees of severity of defective colour vision to operate VH-registered aircraft across the globe, and that these operatives are flying planes into New Zealand?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The reality is, in relation to Australia, that New Zealand and Australia do apply the same standards, as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, they don’t.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: —well, just hear me out—and use the same primary screening method. However, in Australia’s case the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal has made some decisions on some individual cases that require the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Australia, which is the safety regulator there, to issue medical certificates to applicants with some colour deficiency. The authority endorses the individual’s medical certificate as not conforming with the requirements of annex 1 of the convention, and commercial pilots are limited to co-pilot duties only and, I understand, are not able to fly commercially into New Zealand.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is he aware that these colour vision defective pilots in Australia continue to meet the most stringent of operational training, testing, and ongoing review requirements imposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Australia and their airline employers, and that these operatives have been for the last 25 years flying into New Zealand?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, I am advised that that is not the case. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority Australia requires pilots to get approvals from the regulator of the country that they are flying into. In the absence of any such approvals, the Minister is not aware of any Australian colour vision deficient commercial pilots flying in New Zealand.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is he aware that over the 23 years that Australia has followed this implementation of the Aviation Colour Perception Standard there have been no accidents or accidents reported in which the colour vision status of the pilot has been found to be implicated causally, so why is he insisting upon fictional standards unsupported by countries like Australia?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I am sorry, but that does not appear to be the case in relation to the matters that the member has raised.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: You don’t know what’s going on, that’s why.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: No, you are wrong, Mr Peters. The reality of the situation is that the Chicago convention requires New Zealand to sign up to the same tests. Australia has the same tests, as I have explained to the member. It has an appeals tribunal that has allowed some pilots to fly, but with restricted practices. In terms of New Zealand’s standards relative to the rest of the world, we are seen as having standards that are more liberal than some countries and also slightly more requiring than others, but all are under the Chicago convention.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, that is the point. I have done my homework and you have not.

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If there has not been one recorded aviation-related fatality anywhere in the world in which the colour vision of the pilot has been implicated causally, can he provide the evidence upon which the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority continues to justify its implementation of the Aviation Colour Perception Standard, whereby New Zealand certified pilots with defective colour vision have imposed upon them restrictions so severe that they make a professional career—

Hon Member: Who wrote that question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am able to write my own question, not like the bozo over there, all right? I am able to write my own question, not like the dumbo over there.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is not going to help the order of the House. It starts because of interjections from my right-hand side. Would the member please complete his question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: So here we go—whereby New Zealand certified pilots with defective colour vision have imposed upon them restrictions so severe that they make a professional career in aviation a practical impossibility in their own country, and yet if they get a job in Australia, they could fly planes into New Zealand? How ridiculous is that?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: First let me say that I think the House must admire the generosity of the member in bringing this issue up, because he is not known for colour blindness himself. But the reality—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Is the member raising a point of order?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, I am, and it is that the Minister, as the Standing Orders require, should try to answer the question—he has never been much of a wit; in fact, he has been half of a wit most of the time—and get on with being a responsible Minister.

Mr SPEAKER: Would the Minister please just address the question to help the order of the House.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I suppose you could call that one all, but I do not think so. The reality of the issue that the member raises is a very important issue, because if you look at some of the examples—he asked whether it has ever effected any accidents anywhere in the world. There are actually two documented aviation incidents—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, there are not.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: —and one accident in the United States where colour vision was seen as a contributing factor.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, that’s been contested—overruled.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, the member can say that, but, actually, the job of the air safety regulator is to ensure that it meets the international rules, and that is what it is doing in this case. If the member is saying that he knows better than the aeronautical regulator, that he should be trusted to make some judgments that, actually, our tests do not need to be as strong as they are internationally, well, he is fine to have that view, but the reality is that we trust our regulator every day to provide the sort of safety that New Zealanders depend upon. It is a serious subject, and, actually, we are required to sign up to the international regulations.

bankrunner 22nd Nov 2013 01:55

Can a colour restricted pilot tell the difference between a red and starboard nav light?
The rear facing whites are always brighter and easier to see from a long distance than the red or greens. You can figure it out just based on those and the other aircraft's movement long before the reds/greens come into view. (Speaking as someone with perfect colour vision.)

YPJT 1st Dec 2013 01:43

As one who has benefitted fro Dr Pape's work all those years ago I will be signing up to CVDPA and contributing as well as contacting my local member whom I do get on quite well with.
When I first gained my PPL back in 96 my medical was endorsed "day VFR Pvt.
It wasn't until I attended a CASA safety forum a year or so later that the then boss of CASA av med told me that I could progress to CPL, IFR, NVFR. I never bothered trying to do the twr light test as I wasn't going to try and progress towards ATPL.
I, like many others will be p1ssed off if they do wind back the clock and remove three of my licence priveleges.

As for the PAPI question. Nailed it every time. :ok:

Interestingly, a few people I know who worked as aircraft refuellers have been stopped due to at least one company enforcing CVD exclusions. Despite the fact that they could easily differentiate the different colours of fuel in sample jars. Not to mention the alternative measures such as density checks, aroma and unambiguous delivery system labelling.

I'll bet the refueller that mis fuelled a Cessna twin many years ago wasn't CVD. :mad:

Arthur Pape 1st Dec 2013 03:03

Nav lights colour code
Nav light colour coding goes back to before aeroplanes existed. Aviation adopted the marine nav light code whose origin lies in antiquity. There is only one thing that is fundamental in collision avoidance, and is characterised by the acronym CBRD, which stands for "constant bearing, range decreasing". If you see an object or a light satisfying the CBRD criteria, you are going to hit it! Remember, bearing in aviation is in two planes, vertical and horizontal. If the CBRD criterion is satisfied, then the appropriate manoeuvre (reaction) is anything that changes the rate of bearing change to other than zero. Think about it, colour has no relevance to the action needed to be taken for collision avoidance. There is no correct response to a red (or green or white) light that is specified by the colour. The need to correctly name the colour of an observed nav light in order to avoid collision is a myth


Sarcs 8th Dec 2013 04:43

Lessons to be learnt from the EAA on FAA sleep Apnea rules
Perhaps the US EAA approach can be learnt from and also highlights what can be achieved by concerted pressure on your elected politicians..:ok::

EAA Urges Support for Bill on Sleep Apnea Policy

December 4, 2013 - EAA urges members to contact their congressional representatives and express support for a bipartisan bill that would force the FAA to subject its new draconian sleep apnea policy to a formal rulemaking and public comment process.

The legislation (H.R. 3578) has been approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is now headed for the full House. EAA and other GA organizations support this bill and are asking their members to urge their representatives to join as co-sponsors.

The FAA's new policy, introduced in November, would require any airman applying for a medical certificate with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater and a neck size of 17 inches or greater to be evaluated by a sleep specialist and, if diagnosed with a disorder, receive any treatment deemed necessary prior to receiving certification. FAA's federal air surgeon, Dr. Fred Tilton, stated that "once we have appropriately dealt with every airman examinee who has a BMI of 40 or greater, we will gradually expand the testing pool by going to lower BMI measurements until we have identified and assured treatment for every airman with OSA."

EAA and its Aeromedical Advisory Council believe the new FAA policy is unnecessary and overreaching, and would place additional burdens and expense on individual aviators. EAA has expressed its objections to both the policy and the process under which it was enacted to FAA, but the agency dismissed those objections.

H.R. 3578 requires the OSA policy to undergo a formal rulemaking process before it can go into effect. Rulemaking includes an opportunity for public comment and a cost-benefit analysis. A similar bill concerning sleep apnea rules in the commercial trucking industry recently passed by unanimous consent.

"We urge EAA members and other aviators to act now to gain the necessary congressional support for this bill," said Sean Elliott, EAA's vice president of advocacy and safety. "This policy needs full rulemaking review and cost-benefit analysis as required by FAA's own policy, because it would have far-reaching implications for those holding airman medical certificates."
And a link for the proposed bill H.R.3578 :D

Tankengine 8th Dec 2013 07:46

Cleared to enter,
One of the really silly things with this is that it was discovered in WW2 that colour defective people can often see through camouflage built by "normal" colour people, so are in fact potentially better soldiers! :ugh:

brissypilot 10th Dec 2013 07:25

VIPA Support
It's great to see VIPA getting in and supporting this cause:

Media Release - December 9 2013 - Pilots' Careers put at risk by Court Appeal | VIPA

Kharon 10th Dec 2013 20:17

BP# 44 –"It's great to see VIPA getting in and supporting this cause:
Bravo Virgin, well done (again). Couple of good points there, (i) Why is this 'sticky' relegated to the GA pages when it clearly affects all pilots, the issue of medical certificates and the way Avmed are currently operating. In secundus, where are the AFAP, IATA and that doyen of robust GA representation AOPAA ? in this matter. This is not, as you all well know just about the few with colour vision 'issues'. It's not you know, just ask your DAME.

YPJT 12th Dec 2013 12:49

Great news. Surely support from a major airline pilot's association will have to add significant weight to the argument.

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