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Light Gun Test

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New member
Aug 29, 2002
I recently took my medical for my 3rd class certificate and the doctors told me that I was color deficient. I have to take a light gun test and tell them the difference between red, green, and white to get the night restriction taken off. Does anyone know what all is involved in this test?
I had a student years ago that had the same problem... He had to go down to the FSDO... they went outside and called the tower to flash some light gun signals at them... he told the FSDO Inspector what each one was, got his waiver and was on his way.... I wouldn't sweat it, was a non-event...
Falcon Capt has the correct info.

I too am "color deficient" and took the same test in the eighties. Then to get a 1st class medical, you must take an actual flight (at least that's what I did a few years later). Same basic test but identifying colored lights on the ground. I lucked out and got a little help from the Fed and passed with flying colors (even though I couldn't see them):cool:

PS: Just don't ever drive near me since I can't even tell the colors of the stop lights!!!
I have heard of this once before

I have heard of this once before. Where a person went to the AME and was found to have color vision problems. He was required to go take a test. The examiner said it was rediculous that he was even there in the first place. I think. The person got their medical and they too were on their way. Don't worry about it.

I had a student take this test. It was no problem. Go to your local airport (one that has a tower) and ask them to flash the lights at you on the ground. I think they give the test in the same order each time they give the test... Hint,hint,hint.
Good Luck
Before you schedule the light gun test contact AOPA or check out aviationmedicine.com. I took the light gun test about 14 years ago and it was no big deal, but there is an alternate test that an opthamologist can administer. If you pass the alternate test, the FAA sends you a letter stating you meet the standards. For future medicals you simply provide the letter and you do not have to take the color perception portion of the medical. The benefit to this, as I see it, is that you are not issued a SODA. For the alternate test you can take it as many times as you want. The opthamologist only sends the results to the FAA if/when you pass the test. With the light gun test, I think you only have two chances to pass. If you opt to take the light gun test first, the alternate test option is no longer available to you. This is as I understand it. I could be wrong, but I strongly suggest you contact AOPA. They have provided me with some info on this in the past.

Best Wishes!

Thank you all for the information that you have given me! I believe that I am going to take the alternate test first...I know that I am not completely color blind, but I still don't want to risk losing my career interest because of failing a vision test! Thanks again!
I took the light gun test this past November, for I too allegedly have a color deficiency. If you can tell what color traffic lights are, you'll have no problem with the light signal test. An FAA examiner will meet you at the FSDO and will walk you or drive you to a point 1000 feet from the control tower. The FAA examiner will call the tower over the radio and ask them to flash the light gun at you. It may take a while for the controllers to figure out how to use the gun, since they don't use the gun very often. But the examiner will see the same lights you see, so don't sweat it if it takes a while for the lights to show up.
After you tell the examinor the color of the light flashes, you'll then move back to 1500 feet and they'll do the test again. When you pass the test, they'll hand you a new medical with the night restriction removed and they'll hand you a "Statement of Demonstrated Ability", (S.O.D.A.)., which you'll want to keep in a very safe place for as long as you intend to exercise pilot privledges.
Like you, I was nervous about taking the test, so I went to my local airport, (not the one where the F.S.D.O. is located and where I took the actual test) and took a self-administered practice test. I called the tower from my airplane radio and asked them to flash the light gun at me. They were more than happy to oblige, (of course, I called them on the phone first to let them know I was coming out and why I wanted them to shoot the light gun at me).

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