• The Colour Vision Deficient Pilots Association is battling CASA over what it says is discrimination. (CVDPA)
    The Colour Vision Deficient Pilots Association is battling CASA over what it says is discrimination. (CVDPA)

The Colour Vision Deficient Pilots Association (CVDPA) says it will take CASA to the Federal Court to win relief from what it says is a discriminatory test for colour-vision deficiency (CVD).

The CVDPA has been battling the regulator over the CAD test, which it believes bears no relation to operational situations.

In a statement made public this week, CVDPA Director Dr Arthur Pape said that a presentation to CASA Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore and NZ CAA Director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris had left him in no doubt that CASA will continue to use the contentious CAD test.

"As a result of these encounters with both directors, the CVDPA is left in no doubt that CASA’s act of total bastardry in June 2014 in its assault on CVD pilots will not be reversed in any way by the new director," he said.

CASA instigated the CAD test in 2014, which uses a dynamic colour square against a changing-contrast background to evaluate colour-vision deficiency. Prior to that, CVD pilots were required to pass tower signal and PAPI lantern tests, which simulated operating conditions.

Failure to pass the CAD test barrs a pilot from holding a Class 1 medical, and they can fly only VFR by day on a Class 2 medical.

According to the CVDPA, the CAD test does not fairly represent operating conditions, a point it says that Mark Skidmore disputed.

"Of paramount significance were the two points: (1) the CASA Director was shown a film clip of the CAD test and declared that to him the test does simulate an operational situation, and (2) the changes implemented by CASA in June 2014 were just a 'clarification of the standard that was already there'."

In reponse to the statement, Skidmore said that the issue is bigger than just Australia.

"I listened carefully to all the information provided by Mr Pape," he told Australian Flying.

"We had a useful discussion about the issues and I said I was prepared to look at the results from any valid test that has controlled variables and set objectives.

"I did indicate that simply quoting the number of hours flown by pilots with colour vision deficiency is not in itself a complete safety argument.

"It is important to understand this is not just an Australian issue but must be looked at in an international context."

According to the CVDPA, the next step is legal action.

"The CVDPA has therefore, sadly, come to the conclusion that CASA’s claims of being a 'risk based and evidence driven' regulator are mere rhetoric, and we are left with no practical alternative but to litigate in the Federal Court against the lawfulness of the CAD test.

"The CAD test lies at the heart of the above-said act of bastardry, and demonstrates the blind regulatory prejudice that colour vision defective pilots continue to suffer.

"Steps are being now taken to set the process in motion."

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