Can You Be an Air Force Pilot and Have Bad Vision?

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Few positions in the military are more sought after than that of an Air Force pilot. While competition for these positions remains fierce, the Air Force has relaxed its requirements somewhat for these positions. Prospective pilots no longer have to have perfect vision, as was required in years past.

History

  • The requirement that pilots have perfect vision was a long-standing belief in the military. There weren't, however, any safety studies or statistics that backed up this perception. As a result, the military lost out on a lot of very qualified applicants due to less-than-perfect vision.

Flight Physical

  • Military pilot candidates have to pass a physical known as a Flight Class 1 Flying Physical. The current requirement as of 2010 is for uncorrected distant vision of 20/70 corrected to 20/20.

Lasik Surgery

  • Effective May 2007, pilot applicants who have had lasik surgery to improve their vision are no longer automatically disqualified. If you are considering lasik surgery, consult with a pilot recruiter beforehand to learn which procedures are recommended.

Color Blindness

  • Color blindness or lack of depth perception are disqualifying conditions for Air Force pilots.

Near Vision

  • You must have 20/20 uncorrected near vision to be an Air Force pilot.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of chuckyeager
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