Polarized sunglasses are one of our most popular lens choices. They are remarkably effective at eliminating glare, making them an ideal choice for outdoor use by skiers, golfers, boaters, and other sportsmen. However, there is one activity where polarized lenses are actually detrimental: flying.
In fact, the very reason why polarized lenses are so effective is the reason why they are not recommended for pilots to wear. Polarized lenses diminish glare by absorbing and blocking incoming horizontal light, while allowing in vertical light.
First, this effect can cause issues in the cockpit in regards to the aircraft’s instruments. Polarized lenses can reduce the ability to read instruments that already incorporate anti-glare filters. Additionally, they interfere with the ability to read LCD instruments, which emit polarized light.
“Good enough for fighter pilots, good enough for us.”
When looking outside the cockpit, polarized lenses can also cause issues. Polarized lenses interfere with seeing out the aircraft’s windscreen by enhancing striations in laminated materials. And of course, glare can be helpful for noticing another aircraft in traffic situations. Seeing a shimmer of glare come off another plane’s windscreen can be essential for visibility and safety.
Reducing glare is often a desirable effect for your sunglasses. However, pilots too often rely on polarized instruments and polarized windscreens for them to be effective. Even without these issues, pilots need the effects of glare off of other aircraft for additional visibility and safety. If you’re taking to the sky, go with a non-polarized lens in a neutral color such as gray, green, or brown.
Randolph Aviator Pilot Sunglasses
- Military spec construction, worn by US Military pilots and NASA astronauts
- Jewelry metals like 23k Gold, double baked for durability
- SkyTec™ Premium lenses, minimizes lens scratches
- Made by hand in Massachusetts, USA
- Guaranteed for life
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Randolph Engineering and not of individuals or other corporations. Statements are limited to opinions by Randolph Engineering and not endorsements by others.