Currently, pilots with defective (but correctable) vision are allowed to pilot airliners if they have at least two pairs of their corrective lenses (typically glasses) with them on board.

Was there a specific moment in time when this was first allowed by law and regulations (prior to which persons with defective vision would have been prohibited from piloting an aircraft, even with corrective lenses)? Or has flying with corrective lenses been allowed since the earliest moments of airliners' history?

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    $\begingroup$ Airliner is not the same as commercial. Commercial may include banner towing and insecticide spraying. You may add which one interest you. Good question by the way. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Nov 16, 2019 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question, although perhaps it's actually about when commercial pilots were first required to wear glasses? In the very early days of aviation more or less anything was allowed because there were no regulations anyway: the first US licenses were introduced in 1926 but passengers were paying for flights as early as 1914. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Nov 17, 2019 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comments. Yes, I am referring to airliners (large passenger and cargo aircrafts serving commercial transportation services) and yes, I am referring to the moment when using glasses or other visual support devices were required. That's about clarification, because the good answer has already been provided. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Nov 17, 2019 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


In the US, the department of commerce had an Aeronautics Branch. It was first responsible for civil aviation safety. On February 28, 1927 it published a list of the first physicians, who were qualified to give medical examinations for pilot licenses.

On December 31, 1926, the Aeronautics Branch issued the first air commerce regulations, that included medical standards. These standards discerned three levels of physical standards one for each class of pilot : private, industrial and transport. The standards included regulations for visual acuity. Private and industrial class pilots were allow to wear corrective glasses.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a link to those original regulations? They'd make interesting reading. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Nov 17, 2019 at 21:19

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