We've adopted a new approach that allows pilots to demonstrate competency through colour vision medical tests and operational flight assessments.

Who can take the colour vision assessment?

  • Current pilots holding class 1 and/or class 2 medical certificates with colour vision restrictions
  • Trainee pilots applying for a class 1 and/or class 2 medical certificate
  • People wanting to become a pilot who are yet to enter expensive pilot training

These assessments do not apply to air traffic controllers who are required to obtain a class 3 medical certificate.

What are the three stages of the assessment?

  • Stage 1 - Colour vision Ishihara screening test. If successful the applicant will have no restrictions on their medical certificate.
  • Stage 2 - If unsuccessful, applicants can take the Holmes-Wright lantern test, Farnsworth lantern and Anomaloscope, Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (computer-based) or Farnsworth D15 tests; to meet medical standards and have no restrictions.
  • If unsuccessful they will have restrictions on their certificate:Class 1 - Not valid for air operations carrying passengers.
    • Class 1 and 2 - Not valid for night flying.
    • Class 1 and 2 - Not valid for flight in the vicinity of a controlled aerodrome unless the aircraft is in radio contact with aerodrome control.
  • Stage 3 - Unsuccessful Stage 2 applicants can take the operational colour vision assessment (OCVA). The OCVA allows applicants to be assessed in daytime, or day and night time on the ground and in the air.
  • If the applicants pass the daytime OCVA they will have the following restriction:
    • Class 1 and 2 - Not valid for night flying.
    • Class 1 and 2 - Not valid for flight in the vicinity of a controlled aerodrome unless the aircraft is in radio contact with aerodrome control.
  • If the applicants pass the day and night time OCVA they will have the following restrictions:
    • Class 1 and 2 - Not valid for flight in the vicinity of a controlled aerodrome unless the aircraft is in radio contact with aerodrome control.

Resources

Colour Vision Assessment - Guidance [PDF 375 KB]

Operational Colour Vision Assessment - Guidance for Candidates [PDF 489 KB]

CAA form 24067-212 Operational colour vision assessment [PDF 40 KB]

Medical information sheet 006 Colour Vision [PDF 30 KB]

Medical Examiners’ Medical Manual 3.11 Ophthalmology

Colour Vision Deficiency - General Directions Notice 2019 [PDF 8 MB]

New Zealand Medical Examiners

OCVA Assessors

Operational colour vision assessment - guide for assessors [PDF 1.2 MB]

I have colour vision restrictions - can I still apply to do the operational colour vision assessment (OCVA)?

Contact your aviation medical examiner first to determine what is required, as your previous colour vision testing might limit the requirement for additional testing.

Pilots can read Medical Information Sheet 006 Colour Vision.

You can contact an aviation medical examiner:

How can I apply to do the OCVA?

Contact your aviation medical examiner first to determine if the OCVA is a suitable assessment for you.  We advise you to also seek guidance from a trained A or B Cat flight instructor from your local flight training school/aero club about the nature and timing of the assessment.

Then contact an approved OCVA assessor directly to book your assessment.

You will be debriefed on the results and these will be sent to your aviation medical examiner who will make any resulting changes to your medical certificate.

If you fail the OCVA, you can take the test again.

How do I prepare for the OCVA?

There is more information below on the content of the OCVA regarding what is assessed and how to apply:

Operational Colour Vision Assessment - Guidance for Candidates [PDF 489 KB]

CAA form 24067-212 Operational colour vision assessment [PDF 40 KB]

It's your decision, in consultation with your aviation medical examiner, on how much of the OCVA testing process is undertaken. This may depend on your career aspirations to be either a commercial or private pilot.

Stage 2 and Stage 3 costs are set by providers and not the CAA. The applicant is responsible for paying the fees direct to the provider.  Stage 1 colour vision tests are included in medical examiner fees.

 Ask us about medical matters

If you have any questions about this topic, use our contact form, or email med@caa.govt.nz