Pilot Monovision Cited

Pilot "Monovision" Cited

NTSB Targets Contacts in Airline Accident 

On Tuesday, June 17,1997, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met to consider the Delta Air Lines MD-88 accident that occurred at New York's LaGuardia Airport on October 19, 1996. Three passengers (of 58 passengers and 5 crew members) received minor injuries during the accident in which the aircraft was substantially damaged on landing short of the runway. 

The probable cause of the accident was determined to be an undershoot on landing caused by the captain's use of a monovision contact lens, which, they found, had degraded his depth perception. The Board concluded that the pilot's ability to perceive distance and attitude was further affected by visual illusions caused by the light conditions, irregular spacing of runway lights, rain, and fog. Contributing to the accident was the lack of instantaneous vertical speed instrumentation available to the first officer. Read the full story on the crash.

The NTSB further found that there is incomplete guidance available to Aviation Medical Examiners, optometrists, and pilots about the effects and limitations of monovision contact lenses when flying. Among other recommendations, the NTSB advised that the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute should publish information on the hazards of monovision contact lenses and that the Application for Airman Medical Certification (FAA Form 8500-8) be revised to elicit contact lens usage information from applicants. The Office of Aviation Medicine is considering these recommendations.
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