Not all “aviators” are the same! Sunglasses – no matter the name – are important for pilots as they protect their most important sensory asset: their sight. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “a quality pair of sunglasses is essential in the cockpit environment”. The right pair of sunglasses helps reduce eye fatigue, decreases the effects of harsh sunlight and protects your eyes from solar radiation.
So what makes a quality pair of sunglasses for a pilot? Pilots DO have different needs for their sunglasses. Did you know that exposure to UV radiation increases by about 5% for every 1,000 feet of altitude? Or that polarized lenses (found on many “aviators” today) are not recommended by the FAA because they can reduce or eliminate the visibility of instruments that incorporate anti-glare filters?
We’ve compiled a list of sunglasses we think are best suited for a pilot’s needs:
1. Randolph Aviator Sunglasses. We’re starting this list strong because Randolph Engineering has made a concerted effort to cater specifically to pilots with these sunglasses. Available in several metal frame and lens colors, these sunglasses both retain the classic aviator shape while also providing a glass, non-polarized lens with 98-100% UV protection coating. Many eyewear manufacturers only make one size, but these Randolph Aviator Sunglasses come with a lens width of 52mm, 55mm, or 58mm, so make sure you select the right one for you.