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Joshua60111

Is a Solo Skydive with reduced vision possible

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EDIT:  Reposted in 'Skydivers with Disabilities' section.

Hi everyone,

I completed my first tandem skydive a few months ago from 15K and want to complete a solo dive through an AFF course.  I was given all the details for it on the day to which I enquired about whether it would be possible with my visual impairment.  I will try to explain it as best as I can as far as I understand it. 

I suffer from Oculocutaneous albinism meaning I have a reduced ability to produce pigment / melanin which is essential during the formation of the eye.  This leads to a reduced concentration of receptors on the retina ( reducing the 'resolution' or visual acuity ) and also allows way more light to pass through resulting in photophobia ( increased sensitivity to light).  

The photophobia is manageable and could be completely negated with a pair of tinted goggles, similar to the kind that i've used to participate in motocross and other sports, however my best corrected visual acuity BCVA is about 20 / 75 left eye and 20 / 100 in the right.  I can read a car number plate at a max distance of around 13 meters with tinted prescription glasses which is below the typical standard to drive.  I have no problems with depth perception or field of vision, the condition is completely stable and i'm otherwise fit and healthy. 

I have read various articles which suggest discussing with both a qualified doctor and with individual drop zones and know of some extreme cases involving completely blind jumpers like John Heming and Dan Rossi, however the medical forms seem to quite clearly draw the line at 6/12 (20/40) minimum required BCVA.  Is there any way that I could be deemed as safe to participate in an AFF course or am I solely limited to tandem dives ?  

If I was jumping in a low traffic DZ, to reduce the chances of collision, with instructors aware of my condition and possibly audio alerts for different altitude levels and radio communication and possibly even a ground spotter is this visual handicap something that could be worked around ?  I would really like to participate in an AFF course, if possible, and tick the 'solo dive' off my bucket list.  Any further information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all!

Edited by Joshua60111

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All sorts of accommodations can be made as long as the DZ is aware and willing to do it. However, to fully assess the impact of your visual conditions on the ability to perform a safe skydive is likely beyond anyone on this forum.

My advice: seek out an aeromedical examiner that is familiar with skydiving (bonus points if the doctor is actually a skydiver as well). Such a person has the skills to assess the impact and the necessary adjustments.

Calling individual dropzones asking for suggestions on where to find such an aeromedical examiner is a good starting point.

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If you’re in Britain and the BPA is clear, you may have to go to another country to get certified.

Wendy P. 

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