Military Flight Physicals

rjl2001

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OK, so I'm hoping maybe some of you can help me clear this up. My understanding is that all of the services (USN,USMC,USAF,USA,USCG) have Class I, Class II, and Clas III flight physicals. I'm unclear though whether the requirements are the same for a given class physical throughout all the services. I believe Class I is always pilots and navigators, whereas Class II is usually different aircrew positions.

The main area of concern for me is depth perception. Since I can't pass it I've been told I can't fly at all in the USCG, even as a flight observer. But I've spoke with many Navy Aircrewman who say they never took any form of depth perception tests. Also, I just found out about Air Battle Managers in the Air Force and it sounds like an awesome job for me after I finish my degree. But once again, I'm a little unclear on which flight physical an Air Battle Manager would have to pass.

Appreciate any help, and its not that I'm lazy but am underway right now so it's hard to research that stuff myself.
 

USMCAirWinger

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OK dude I'm gonna help on this one.

First, if you didn't have depth perception you could not fly and do all the stuff you do day to day. The key here is to know exactly what they are testing in order to beat it.

Now with that said, all the services will test your depth perception. The equipment they are using is testing your stereopsis (google it). To some, this requires using your eyes in a different manner that you are used to (like me).

Ok...now...for the plan of attack.

The test: look into the machine and what do you see? Five dots side by side. They tell you that one of them is sticking out. The first set of 4 or 5 are really easy. The only testing strategy is the little unknown fact that in order to make the test work the designers had to use two reference points which happen to be the first and last dots.

You: Train your eyes. go to your local book store and buy a Magic Eye book. There is one specifically titled to "how to improve your vision". Do the exercises (it can be difficult at first) but concentrate on the parallel technique. You can also do it online but I don't recommend it. After you are able to acquire your target within the first couple of seconds then you are ready to go.

Execution: Relax...their medical manual states that they have to give you 2 minutes to get your eyes ready use them and don't rush yourself.
Just imagine that you are sitting at home looking at your magic eye pictures.

If you can't do it after all this...just keep on plugging along as there are alternate tests and waivers.

Good luck.

AirWinger
 

elcid

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Can't say which "class" the flight physical is, but dito on the post above. The depth perception is the hardest part of the physical for me. It is for most from what the testers tell me. They are patient and give you lots of chances to pass. I can barely ever make out which friggin circle is "supposedly" sticking out more. It's almost like a guess every time. Try the book Airwinger mentioned. Good luck.
 

RedDogC130

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I failed the depth perception test when I started UPT. They sent me for more tests and gave me a waiver. I still can't pass the computer depth perception test. My flying has not suffered because I was flying for years before they said I had the problem. If there is a will there is a waiver. Good Luck
 

DocBuzz

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OK, I am going to try to help here, but let me preface this by saying I am not an ophthalmologist, but I have a working familiarity with USAF standards.

First, with regard to flying classifications, Class I means an untrained individual who is pilot qualified. Class Ia is an untrained individual who is not pilot qualified, but is navigator qualified. Class Ia is the same as Class I with somewhat more lenient vision standards. Class II is a trained aviator (pilot, navigator, or flight surgeon). Class III is a "back ender," such as a load (STS) or flight engineer who is exposed to the aviation environment, but not in direct control of the aircraft. Class I is the most stringent for all physical deformities, for obvious reasons, then FCII, and FCIII is the least stringent. Air Battle Managers currently have to meet class III standards, but there is a move to make them Class II as well.

OK, secondly to discuss depth perception. If you have no depth perception, flying would be even harder than if you had "normal" depth perception. That is not to say you can't fly if you have deficient depth perception, as we have other senses and redundant cues. That having been said, the worse your depth perception, the more difficult (and dangerous) such tasks as formation flight and refueling can be.

In the USAF we allow some individuals with mild deficiencies in depth perception to enter UPT. In other words, we give them a FCI waiver, and then follow them through their career. Most do well, perhaps because they recognize their deficiency, are aware, and have a greater reliance on other cues. Frequently there is a correction that can be made with glasses to improve depth perception.

The USAF utilizes the VTA-DP, or its newer replacement, the Optec 2300 (OVT-DP), for assessment of depth perception in aviators. Passing this test requires the ability to discern depth based on a disparity of at least 25 seconds of arc (line D), although the test is capable of testing as low as 15 seconds of arc. “Normal” stereo vision is considered to be 30-40 seconds of arc, although a few people have stereoacuity that is better than 15 seconds of arc. The limit of human stereopsis is probably around 5 seconds of arc. Verhoeff and Howard-Dolman tests are no longer used in routine screening, but they are utilized by the eye docs in determining potential waiverability of substandard stereopsis cases.

This is long, but I hope it helps. More information can be found at the following URL. http://www.brooks.af.mil/web/consul...phthalmology/Substandard Depth Perception.htm

Good luck, remember the USAF likes to give waivers, as long as it is safe.

Buzz
 

Occam's Razor

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And remember kids...

Never fly with a navigator who doesn't wear glasses, cuz then you don't know WHAT the heck is wrong with him!
 

jumppilot

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Wow, this board is so much different than the regional board....Someone asks a question and people actually help out, not bash the original poster.
 

Fury220

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jumppilot said:
Wow, this board is so much different than the regional board....Someone asks a question and people actually help out, not bash the original poster.
SHUT YER MOUTH.



haha :)
 

BoilerUP

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I busted the depth perception test during my Class I Flight Physical for the Guard. I just had blood drawn and got a bit light headed, so I think that might have played a factor. Doc checked my eyes and said "I see no reason why you would have failed this test today, I guess it just wasn't your day." I had to come back the next UTA to do it again when they advised me they had somehow lost my blood sample and I would have to have it drawn again. I insisted on having the depth perception test first and I passed it although I didn't smoke it like I did at MEPS for an AF OTS medical the year before. A buddy failed his DP test at Indy MEPS a month later, but passed it with flying colors at Grissom ARB a few weeks beyond that.

USMCAirWinger - wish I had seen that post back in Febuary. Thanks!
 

rjl2001

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thanks guys for the good info, especially DocBuzz. i'll give that magic eye book a shot. i've never been able to see one of those pictures before, but i didn't give it much time either. but just knowing a waiver has been given for depth perception before is enough to give me some hope.

also, why don't FAA flight physicals test for depth perception? i don't think i ever did one when i got my class II for my PPL. finally my last question, is depth perception tested on FCIII to the same standards as it is on a FCI/II? if not then i would happily pick another career in the air force such as air battle manager or flight engineer.
 

DocBuzz

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Flying Class III individuals (other than boom operators and individuals required to perform scanner duties) have no standard for depth perception/stereopsis IAW AFI48-123. I can't comment on the FAA's exact reasoning, although the areas of most concern to the military are aerial refueling and formation flying, both of which are uncommon in civil aviation. The FAA is willing to certify airmen with no depth perception, in fact, they don't mind if you are monocular. For a discussion of the FAA standards on depth perception, see the following link: http://www.faa.gov/avr/aam/Game/Version_2/03amemanual/WEB/Chapter 3/3.31-34.htm
 

PilotOnTheRise

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If hired by a Guard Unit, do they do the FCI physical themselves, or have you go somewhere to have it done. Also, I understand that the Guard must comply with Air Force regulations, but I understand the Guard gives a little more "leeway" as far as waivers and such go; such as failing the depth perception test, but being allowed to come back and take it again the next day, as opposed to a DQ. Is this true?
 

BoilerUP

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Others on here are vastly more qualified to answer, but...

In my limited experience, each Guard unit will do the physical at the unit. If you bust something (like DP), you will more than likely be offered the opportunity to retest during the next drill weekend. It would seem to me that a Guard unit that wants you will try everything within their power to get you qualified, whereas active duty has a stack of resumes waiting for your spot in line.

I think all UPT candidates have to go to Brooks AFB for another physical right before training begins. If I'm wrong, somebody will correct me.
 

jstock

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I you guys have any questions about what is going on at Brooks now let me know. I just had my FC1 there last month.

As far as the DP tests, 2 of the guys that I went there with had problems with it. They retested these guys 2 or 3 more times. 8 out of 15 of us had some sort of problem that had to be retested. The people there were very cool about it and didn't seem like they were just there to eliminate us.
 

rjl2001

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OK, so just happened to be reading the Navy's pub for flight physical info and all that the other day. From looking at it, it says that Naval Flight Officer's are not required to be tested for depth perception. Naval Flight Officer includes RIO/WSO jobs as far as I know. So anyways I'm stoked, normally wouldn't have considered the USN, but if I can be a Nav for them that would be awesome. Not to mention at least having a chance of flying in fighters.
Too bad the USAF doesn't have the same standards for their Navigators.
Now I wonder if I would need a tech degree and lots of civilian hours to be competitive for a NFO slot?
 

Birdstrike

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Here's some more advice that's probably worth what you're paying for it, rj, but what the heck.

Ref that DP circle-donuts test; the five circles where you have to pick the one closest: I also had some initial problems with it. Two pieces of gouge that helped me;

Go with your first inclination; when your eyes hit the scope, they do tend to pick out that closer donut, even if its subliminal. Resist the urge to second guess yourself and change answers. Go with that first impression It's like the SAT, nine times out of 10 you had the right answer the first time.

I had some success with off-angle viewing; instead of burying your forehead so deep into the eyescope that it leaves marks, back off a bit, even an inch or two from the eyepiece. Relax, take another look from a right or left angle at about an inch away and then try again. It seemed to help me.

The Army offered an alternative test as a last resort but it wasn't much better. ..and remember, DocBuzz notwithstanding, the Flight Surgeon is NOT your friend. Never forget that and never drop your guard. Don't volunteer anything. The most innocuous piece of information can balloon and needlessly become a DNF offense that will take weeks to sort out with the stroke of his pen...
 

viper548

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The people giving this test are usually an E-3 or E-4. Be REALLY nice to these people, they may be the difference between passing and failing the test. I moved my head up and down. I noticed that one ring moved different from the others in its row when I did this.
 

AD SUPT Hopeful

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viper548 said:
The people giving this test are usually an E-3 or E-4. Be REALLY nice to these people, they may be the difference between passing and failing the test.
Bingo! I didn't know how to take the test way back when I first applied and the tech gave me a "second chance." Thankfully, now that I know what I'm looking for I dont need that but they know the test is bogus and will help you out as such.
 

F16TJ

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DocBuzz said:
Class II is a trained aviator (pilot, navigator, or flight surgeon).

Buzz
EXCUSE ME! Since when the *uck are "Flight surgeons" trained aviators?
 

RJP

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BoilerUP said:
I busted the depth perception test during my Class I Flight Physical for the Guard. I just had blood drawn and got a bit light headed, so I think that might have played a factor. Doc checked my eyes and said "I see no reason why you would have failed this test today, I guess it just wasn't your day." I had to come back the next UTA to do it again when they advised me they had somehow lost my blood sample and I would have to have it drawn again. I insisted on having the depth perception test first and I passed it although I didn't smoke it like I did at MEPS for an AF OTS medical the year before. A buddy failed his DP test at Indy MEPS a month later, but passed it with flying colors at Grissom ARB a few weeks beyond that.

USMCAirWinger - wish I had seen that post back in Febuary. Thanks!
It certainly helps to take your physical at a bast like Grissom. The Guard and Reserve generally let everyone pass with "flying colors". Just wait for the real physical at The Puzzle Palace in San Antonio. That's where they separate the men from the boys (so to speak) and you get to watch your heart valves go flip-flop on the ultra-sound. Good times.
 
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