I was reading about TACA Flight 110 that amde a successful emergency landing on a New Orleans levee and I found out that the Pilot in Command was blind in one eye.

Just curious, under current FAA rules would such a pilot be able to get the Airman's Medical Certificate needed?

There's a related question, but that only discusses getting a PPL and even there the responses are quite skeptical. And here we're talking about a CPL, or more accurately a type-certified ATPL.

Have regulatory regimes become stricter? Even if the rules allowed it, would risk-averse/litigation-averse airline companies allow it? Are there other cases known?

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    $\begingroup$ What's the other question you're referring to? If it's this one, I don't see much skepticism apart from one answer that currently has zero votes (possibly because it isn't very accurate). $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 26, 2015 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about FAA regulations, but there are definitely issues with a change from binocular to monocular vision for any reason. The UK official advice is that you should not drive a car "until you have been advised by your doctor or optician that you have fully adapted to monocularity" which "may take up to three months or more". I once had a minor injury to one eye which required wearing an eye-patch for a time - the temporary reduction in the field of view was very noticeable. gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/… $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Sep 27, 2015 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @alephzero Yes, that's true and if you check the link I posted in my answer you'll see that the FAA recommends 6 months as the adjustment period for pilots $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 27, 2015 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


Under current FAA medical regulations a pilot with one functional eye (called monocular vision) can get any class of medical, including the class 1 required for airline pilots:

An individual with one eye, or effective visual acuity equivalent to monocular, may be considered for medical certification, any class, through the special issuance section of part 67 (14 CFR 67.401)

As the same page says:

it has been repeatedly demonstrated that binocular vision is not a prerequisite for flying

Incidentally, one of aviation's most famous pioneers, Wiley Post, had only one eye. As for today, it's legal and possible to get any class of FAA medical with only one eye and therefore in principle you could fly for any US airline. Whether or not an airline would hire you is a different question, but if you're legal and qualified then why not? Blindness in one eye isn't even considered a disability by the US government if the other eye is fine.

It's also possible that if an airline declined to hire you because of your monocular vision even if you hold an ATP and class 1 medical, you might have a case for suing them for discrimination. But that's speculation, and you would need to ask another site about that. In any case, there may be more pilots out there than you think with physical limitations (for want of a better word), including ones with prosthetic limbs.

  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the last paragraph, according to EEOC, ADA only applies if you're considered to have a disability and also does not protect against discrimination due to a disability if that disability poses "a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others" and that risk cannot be mitigated through a reasonable accommodation. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Sep 1, 2016 at 18:51

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