Any advice/experience with a MFT for a vision waiver?


Filing Flight Plan
Aug 18, 2021
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Hello all, I hope all is well for everyone this month. I am writing again today for your advice/help for me and getting my certificate. I am at about 33 hours now just completing the cross country portion of my training and then it’s just honing down my maneuvers and landings until I take my checkride.

Unfortunately my vision does not qualify for a class 1 medical certificate (20/40 corrected left eye) and I am needing that class 1 to make this a career. So my AME said my only hope is once I get near my checkride we will have to write some people and get a special examiner to fly with me and if I satisfactorily fly I can get a SODA for my vision requirements and go on to get a class one medical.

I do not know what is involved in a FMT or how they usually work, is the same inspector for my Vision also able to examine me for my PPL or do I have to have 2 people in the plane at the same time? Does anyone have any experience with these or know what general guidelines or questions I would have to answer/perform for a exam on low vision?

Thanks for the help everyone I’m just starting to stress out because I went from being terrified flying to actually sincerely really loving to fly and I really want to make this a career and this is my only shot so I’m just really trying to get this right the first time.

Thank you all for the advice!!
In my case the S.O.D.A. was conducted by an FAA examiner. I don't believe designees can do it. It is not a "check ride" per se. Essentially, you will be asked to fly a normal flight and quizzed about what you can see and what you can't. Things like: "do you see a railroad track?" "There's an airplane at ten o'clock can you point it out?" Having said all that, I do not know if the there is a difference between class II and class I on a S.O.D.A.

As a funny aside, I had to rent a Diamond because there was no one at the FSDO qualified in conventional gear.
Just because you get a class I doesn’t necessarily mean that an airline will hire you with an asterisk on your medical certificate: * SODA vision.

I’d ask at the airlines before I got too deep into this. (I know of cases where carriers will allow SODAs for current employees. Not for new hires. )

Defective color vision relegated me to the 2nd tier in a couple of careers. I’d done SODA with the light gun test for my 3rd, but was a lot further down the line in training before the military & airlines both burst my bubble over color acuity. We all learn to live with disappointment.

However, just because you cannot fly at the level you want doesn’t mean you can’t fly as an adjunct to some other career. Frankly, flying is a brutal way to make a living. I build data tools & fly for fun. Sometimes when it‘s too nasty to fly, I code from the hanger & putter on the plane while I think.
Thanks for the info everyone. I do understand a SODA is not a garuntee of a successful commercial piloting career but I also know personally of at least 2 pilots who had long careers with one and heard of others, if it’s the best shot I have I figured it would be a waste not to try I might possibly have an in with a family member for a charter flight service . Plus I’m hoping that since it’s not like I’m actually blind my left eye is 20/40 which although not meeting the standard requirements at least I can still see out of it.

If anyone else has any advice or is familiar with the process I’d love to hear it.

Thanks everyone