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bqmassey

Vision

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I'm currently enlisted, E-4, one deployment (OEF) under my belt, and going to the board soon.

 

I have always wanted to do two things,.. serve in the military, and fly. The natural path would be to fly for the military, but I have an issue. I'm partially blind in one eye.

 

My left eye is 20/20, my right eye has a blind spot in the center. I have all of my peripheral vision in that eye, there's just a blind spot in the center that covers the focal point of the eye. The resulting vision is, at best, 20/400.

 

I know I can't walk in and pass a flight physical based on the requirements. What I'm wondering is if there is any shot in hell of getting a waiver of some sort and being able to fly for the Army. As far as I know, I meet, or will soon meet, all of the other requirements and will only be held back by the medical issue.

 

I'm stationed at HAAF. I see the helos flying all day every day. I'd do anything for an opportunity to fly them.

 

In the mean time I'm using money that I've saved up to get my rotorcraft PPL at a school at KSAV. I'm at about 18 hours and progressing just fine. If it's impossible for me to become an Army aviator, my plan is to ETS and use my GI Bill to get my ratings (through CFI) on the civilian side. I'll still be happy having served my country before becoming a pilot, but I'd rather do both simultaneously.

 

I need ideas.

 

Thanks.

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Neg. When I was a child an ocular vessel burst. Fluid pooled along the retina blocking vision. Only solution to stop the hemorraging was a laser procedure that, as an unfortunate side effect, left a scar. Now I have a blind spot from the laser.

 

The condition is stable, as it has been since the surgery when I was four or five. I maintain great peripheral vision in that eye. It just so happens that the scarred tissue covers the area of the retina that is used for focused vision.

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Nobody here will be able to give you a definitive answer. You really need to talk to a flight surgeon.

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Sorry for the delay, just returned from a field exercise.

 

If the test was with both eyes open, I would pass. If they test each eye individually, I would pass with my left eye, fail with my right.

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I've known Army aviators that had limited to no vision in one of their eyes, but their vision loss was after they earned their wings. I have never heard of a case like yours prior to getting winged. As for flying, would you be satisfied as a non pilot crewmember ?

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Not 100% satisfied, but definitely more so than my current, non-aviation MOS.

 

I considered reclassing to MOS 15T, but from the research I did it appeared as though you might get stuck in the hangar. There didn't seem to be any guarantee that you'd be a crewchief.

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I'm just wondering, if that problem precludes you from obtaining a Flight Physical for pilot, wouldn't it also keep you from passing the flight crew Flight Physical?

 

I also had a vision issue that didn't allow me to pass the flight physical for a pilot slot, and as far as I could tell in all five branches it also meant I could not pass the flight physical for aircrew. (only exception was USN NFO, but was already too old)

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You can pass flight crew physicals with 20/400 vision. You could also pass your annual rated aviator physicals with 20/400 vision, it's the initial physical which requires 20/50 that will be the problem. And the whole "blind spot" issue will be an even bigger problem. That's disqualifying for initials, annuals, and nonrated crewmember physicals. You might be able to get a waiver but the only way to find out will be to get a flight physical and let the flight surgeon at Rucker make a decision.

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What I'm wondering is if there is any shot in hell of getting a waiver of some sort and being able to fly for the Army.

 

As far as I know, I meet, or will soon meet, all of the other requirements and will only be held back by the medical issue.

 

 

I've known Army aviators that had limited to no vision in one of their eyes, but their vision loss was after they earned their wings.

 

I have never heard of a case like yours prior to getting winged. As for flying, would you be satisfied as a non pilot crewmember ?

 

 

I also haven’t heard of a case like this being waived prior to getting winged, especially under the current environment.

 

Unless you can have your vision medically corrected (Note: Army regulations may impose stipulations on some medical procedures or surgeries), your vision issue will make it very difficult to obtain a waiver and a waiver is what you’ll need. As an initial pilot applicant without any prior military wings, it’s very unlikely such a waiver would be issued.

 

You have to look at it from the Army’s viewpoint. If the service is bringing in sufficient numbers of fully qualified applicants, there’s little justification to waive current set standards.

 

"Requests for exceptions to class 1A medical entry standards are discouraged and not routinely granted. In exceptional cases, however, HQDA (DAPC–OPA–CV) may grant an exception to policy for minor medical disqualification when such action is clearly in the best interest of the Department of the Army. Any request for exception must be forwarded by the member’s chain of command with complete justification and contain the recommendation of CDR, USAAMC prior to forwarding to HQDA (DAPC–OPA–CV), Alexandria, VA 22332–0400 or C, NGB, ATTN:NGB–ARO–ME, Edgewood Area, Aberdeen PG, MD 21010–5420. Prior telephonic coordination of such a request is encouraged by calling HQDA (DAPC–OPA–CV)..." AR 611-110

 

There was a period during the Vietnam War were the Army issued a large number of pilot waivers, due to heavy crew losses, but short of war breaking out in the Middle East, which could be the case, think about going the civilian route with Uncle Sam’s money.

Edited by iChris

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