What Type of Sunglasses Do Pilots Wear? 

Pilots don’t have to wear any specific type of sunglasses; you can choose for yourself as long as the sunglasses fit basic criteria. In general it is recommended that you choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. You can choose glass or plastic lenses and tints that will help you effectively pilot. If corrective lenses are needed, it is a good idea to choose sunglasses that can accommodate this vision correction since pilots cannot wear contact lenses. Plastic lenses tend to be lighter than glass, especially if vision correction is needed.

Sunglass Frames for Pilots

The aviator frame style is a popular frame style that is commonly associated with pilots, but in reality pilots can choose any style frame they prefer. It really is a matter of personal preference. Any frame you choose should be highly functional. If you wear special headsets and communication devices then you need sunglasses that can accommodate this equipment.

In general frames with larger lenses are better for pilots since they provide more UV protection than smaller lenses. Visible light and UV radiation can pass around the outer edges of lenses; larger lenses therefore provide much more protection.

Frames also need to be sturdy. If your flying alot your using your sunglasses a lot so the frame needs to be long lasting and durable. It should also fit well. You need your sunglasses to remain in place even if there is slight turbulence in the helicopter.

Choosing Lenses

Once you choose an effective frame, you need to devote attention to choosing the lenses. Lenses should provide high levels of UV protection (100% is preferred). The tint should be one that helps with piloting. The FAA recommends a tint of light gray with 15%-30% of light transmittance. Any sunglasses with a tint of gray, gray-green or brown will work well. Gray distorts color the least of the three choices. You shouldn’t choose sunglasses with blue, amber, yellow, orange or violet tints as these can distort color and make it difficult to see instruments and navigation lights. Additionally tints that block more than 85% of light should be avoided.

While polarized lenses are great for regular sunglasses, they aren’t the ideal choice for pilots. Polarized lenses can distort instrument readings.

What sunglasses do pilots wear? The answer is entirely up to the you. You have a wide range of choices when it comes to sunglasses. The main requirements are lenses that will protect without distorting the vision and frames that are sturdy and large.