I would like to know if there are any official reports pointing Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) as a major contributing cause of an air accident/incident. Not only related to flying but also maintenance or ATC for instace.

So far, I have only come across with FedEx flight 1478, in which a CVD F/O misjudged the PAPI lights. However, the report does not point how severe was the F/O's deficiency (all crew survived the accident). And more important is that the Captain and Flight Engineer (with normal color vision) could neither detect the wrong glidepath.

My final goal is to research the topic of color-blindness in aviation with real case instances and hopefully draw some conclusions about the actual impact of this disease in aviation for candidate's medical certification.

  • $\begingroup$ CVD is only disqualifying for night flying or "color signal control". I don't think this is one of the regulations that is "written in blood" as many others are. Many flying cues are by color and if you can't distinguish colors, you need restrictions. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 17 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Things in general are so much more flexible now. In Canada at least you can hold a Cat 1 while blind in one eye and even with Type 1 diabetes (albeit with a lot of restrictions). $\endgroup$ – John K Feb 17 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Yes, there is no doubt that aviation jobs require color discrimination capabilities. The thing is that CVD varies greatly among candidates. The issue here is where to draw the line where safety is not compromised. My own experience has shown me that values are kept very conservative using empyrical tests (such as Ishihara test plate) and I am afraid that a more pragmatic approach is missing. For instance, creating simulator scenarios where color discrimination is at stake for safety. $\endgroup$ – ppinto Feb 17 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @ppinto Please add country-specific tags to your question if you want country-specific answers. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 17 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ One of the flaws in this line of questioning is that until recently most regulators have largely prohibited pilots with CVD from flying, you certainly won't find 2 pilots in an airliner who both have CVD. This is slowly changing so this question is worth revisiting in maybe 15 years time. $\endgroup$ – Ben Feb 17 at 22:15

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