Best Aviation Sunglasses For Pilot
Pilots need to maintain their distance visual acuity since vision is their most essential sensory asset in the cockpit. As per the Federal Aviation Administration regulations, a pilot must have a 20/20 distance vision to have a first-class medical certificate.
According to FAA, the exposure to ultraviolet rays increases by 5% after every 1,000 feet, which is why it is necessary for pilots to use glasses that protect their vision. The administration even requires all commercial pilots with vision problems or refractive errors to wear eyeglasses fitted with their prescription that takes their visual acuity to 20/20.
To safeguard their eyesight, pilots need a good pair of sunglasses that optimizes their performance. Sunglasses help fight the sunlight and protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation in the cockpit. Moreover, these glasses minimize the stress on the pilot's eyes and guard their vision from sudden decompression, flying debris, or aerobatic maneuvers.
If you look in the market for some great pilot sunglasses, you will find a wide variety of products from hundreds of brands. With this many options, you would probably be confused about the most suitable glasses for you.
Below are the ten best sunglasses for pilots to make it more convenient for you to make a choice.
10 Best Sunglasses for Pilots Reviews
There are plenty of brands, such as Ray-Ban, Randolph, or Serengeti, that offer premium quality sunglasses. So, here's a list of the best pilot sunglasses from these renowned companies:
1. Ray-Ban Rb2140 Original Wayfarer Sunglasses
Ray-Ban is a renowned brand that makes all types of sunglasses, including the Wayfarer design worn by a lot of celebrities and pilots. The Ray-Ban RB2140 features the original Wayfrayer design that complements your fashion style.
This comfortable pair of glasses protect you against harmful ultraviolet rays and even reduces eye strain. Made for both men and women, these sunglasses are available in polarized as well as non-polarized options.
You can use these glasses during glaring light conditions as they improve your visibility and help you see clearly. Moreover, the high-quality acetate material adds to the frame's durability and makes it light in weight.
It offers you a plethora of frame colors, including black, crystal green, metallic pink, and much more. Coated with 100% U.V. protection, the lenses protect your eyesight from the harmful effects of U.V. rays.
Each pair of these glasses will come with a case and a cloth to clean the dust from the lens and protect it from scratches or damage. So, if you need a classic Wayfarer design, the Ray-Ban RB2140 is the best flying sunglasses.
2. Ray-Ban Rb3386 Aviator Sunglasses
This is another pair of sunglasses offered by Ray-Ban in the Aviator style. The frame of these glasses is made of metal with a wrap design for full coverage. Like most sunglasses from this renowned brand, these glasses are available in a variety of colors such as silver, gunmetal, and Arista.
You can choose the color combination that fits your personality and style while buying these flying sunglasses. The lenses are coated with 100% U.V. protection to protect your vision from harmful ultraviolet rays.
The wrapped metal frame covers your eyes perfectly and provides extra security to the pilots when flying a plane. The oversized frame gives these glasses a retro but sporty look. Other than the enhanced style, they will also improve your visibility to help you see clearly even in the worst situations.
Made specifically for the pilots, these sunglasses won't disappoint when it comes to durability and performance. Moreover, these glasses fit all face shapes and sizes and also fit well on the nose without falling off.
3. Randolph USA Bright Chrome Classic Aviator Sunglasses
Randolph is one of the most popular companies in the sunglasses market. The company is operating since 1973, making it a reliable brand for pilots who need good quality sunglasses while flying.
This Bright Chrome Classic Aviator Sunglasses is specially built for the U.S. Military. Some of the world's best pilots use the Randolph sunglasses because these glasses are battle-tested and can work in the most demanding situations.
Handcrafted in the USA, these aviator sunglasses feature a bright chrome finish frame and SkyForce American non-polarized lens. The backside coating is made using the Vector Anti-reflective technology. Moreover, the Blue Wave HEV technology reduces the stress on your eyesight and even improves the user's visual acuity.
The Randolph Bright Chrome Classic Aviator sunglasses are designed for both men and women. You can choose three different sizes – 52 millimeters, 55 millimeters, and 58 millimeters.
These sunglasses come with an embossed hard case and a cleaning cloth made of high-quality microfiber.
If you are looking for durable sunglasses made of quality material that makes your vision clearer, you should go for the Randolph Bright Chrome Classic Aviators. The company provides a lifetime warranty on all its sunglasses.
4. American Optics Flight Gear Original Pilot Sunglass
American Optics is one of those brands that supply its sunglasses to the U.S. Air force. And this Flight Gear Original sunglass is their most demanded product because of its eye-catching design.
This classic aviator can attract anyone looking for a stylish, secure, and comfortable fit for their eyes and temple. It features a bayonet temple that ensures high levels of comfort, better performance, and protection.
The lenses are available in polarized and non-polarized options and coated with 100% U.V. protection to fight against U.V. rays and protect your vision. The wide variety of color variants can help you decide which one suits your face the most.
The polarized lenses are resistant to scratches and damage, while the non-polarized options reduce the sunlight's intensity. Furthermore, the no-slip grip prevents the glasses from falling off your head. These pair of sunglasses would be perfect for fighter pilots as it meets all the military specifications and lasts longer than most glasses.
5. American Optics Flight Gear Original Pilot Sunglass
If you need good quality flying shades but are low on budget, the Serengeti Summit sunglasses would be your best option. These glasses offer you plenty of features at an affordable rate.
Pilots who have used this sunglass admire the clarity that these glasses provide in different situations. Its frame, made of nylon, is quite flexible and lighter in weight. Moreover, the frame can withstand multiple ground shocks and still sit comfortably on your head.
The non-polarized lenses ensure a clear vision and keep the UVA and UVB rays away from your eyesight. The borosilicate mineral lenses are 20% thinner than all the other lenses available in the market.
Moreover, Serengeti uses photochromic lenses with color-enhancing Spectra Control filters to make unique sunglasses that improve the pilot's visibility. The anti-reflective coating on the backside of these lenses cancels the scattering light that would cause reflective glares.
6. Ray-Ban Rb3136 Caravan Square Sunglasses
The Ray-Ban RB3136 Caravan Square Sunglasses are one of the oldest glasses in the industry made for pilots. These sunglasses came out in 1957 and are great alternatives for aviator-style sunglasses.
The nose pads and the lens of these glasses feature Ray-Ban's signature logo that gives it a unique look. The clear nose guards allow the pilot for a customized fit and a tight grip. These glasses have square-shaped frames and lens, unlike the aviator-style teardrop shape.
The Ray-Ban RB3136 Caravan Sunglasses come in a wide range of frame tint colors such as arista gold, gunmetal, silver, and much more. You can also find a variety of lens color variants as well in these Caravan sunglasses. All these lenses have a 100% U.V. protection coating to prevent the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on your eyes.
The thin wireframe is made of metal, while the arm tips are all plastic to add comfort to the glasses. In case you have an eye prescription, these glasses are your best option as you can get them fitted with your corrective prescription.
7. Ray-Ban Rb3025 Classic Aviator Sunglasses
Designed for the U.S. Army pilots in 1937, this is another Ray-Ban aviator sunglass with extraordinary features. They became quite popular and are one of the best sunglasses for pilots available in today's market. These glasses are unisex and offer you a wide selection of frames and lens.
The RB3025 sunglasses feature Ray-Ban's own G-15 non-polarized lens that offers superior protection to your eyes against harmful UVA and UVB rays. These glasses ensure efficient visual clarity along with 100% UV protection.
Other than the colors, you also get various size options of this sunglass to choose from. These sizes include 55 millimeters, 58 millimeters, and 62 millimeters. If you have a narrow face, go for the smallest size. And the biggest one would work well on those with larger or wider head shapes.
These Ray-Ban pilot sunglasses, made for men and women, will give you a stylish look with excellent performance and comfort. Not only will the lens provide protection, but it will also enhance your vision in different light conditions.
The Ray-Ban RB3025 sunglasses became even more famous when featured in the 1980s movie Top Gun. The company provides you a protective case and a cloth to keep your lens clean and protect it from scratches and damages.
8. Kate Spade New York Amarissa Aviator Sunglasses For Women
These classy metal frame shades from Kate Spade come with metal frames and a plastic lens. They are also quite durable and sturdy with good quality material employed. Moreover, the 59-millimeter-wide lenses provide good coverage and protect your eyes.
They have a designer look and will fit any face quite elegantly. Additionally, they're well-suited for a pilot as they are non-polarized and easy to handle. To top it off, they provide you with 100% UV protection and will protect your eyes from direct, harmful rays of the sun.
There a good UV protective coating on the lens, and the lens is made of superior quality nylon. That makes it quite effective from an optics point of view. Moreover, you get to choose from amongst four beautiful shades; silver black, gold Havana, dark gray, and gold pink.
9. Coach Women’s Aviators, Gold- OHC7063
These luxurious sunglasses from Coach are set in gold color, labeled as wild beast by the brand. While the shades are made of high-end metal, the lenses are constructed using superior quality plastic. Moreover, with 58 x 51millimeter measurements, the lens is quite large and will provide you optimum coverage.
These pilot sunglasses come with a double bridge, and the lens is non-polarized for your safety. Rest assured, they will only aid an outstanding performance and won't be a hindrance in any fashion. Additionally, this is a domed piece of jewelry that you can be wearing to any event or place and stand out from the crowd.
The fashionable brown gradient lens is designed with some blush gradient glitter around the temple area for aesthetics. Additionally, with only 0.8 ounces of weight, these are relatively lightweight and won’t cause you any trouble under the helmet.
10. Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses
Like all the other aviators selected by us, these are branded Serengeti velocity and carry a status symbol with them. Also, the velocity collection by Serengeti has some well-crafted, classic, and timeless pieces to adorn your face beautifully.
They have titanium frames and a glass-constructed lens that are very high in terms of quality and durability. Moreover, these have a sophisticated yet adventurous feel about them and provide you with protection and safety at the same time. The lens is gradient, and these are ideal for pilots and driving purposes.
The best part is that these Serengeti velocity non-polarized sunglasses fit really well and exceptionally lightweight, and well-suited for long flights. You won't even feel them as the mineral glass is incredibly light. Moreover, the titanium espresso frame is quite comfortable, and you can keep it on while wearing a headset or other headgear.
What Makes The Right Sunglasses For Pilots?
While sunglasses are mere accessories for others, they hold a lot of prominence for a pilot. They help safeguard your vision as a pilot, one of the most important senses as a pilot. For enhancing your visual performance, your sunglasses must have the following features.
If you're a pilot, then you can't afford to opt for a quality that's below par. Moreover, it would help if you used polycarbonate, plastic, or glass sunglasses as they partake in your vision enhancement.
The lenses constructed with plastic or glass have a better quality in terms of optics. In contrast, those with polycarbonate lenses are more impact resistant and are much lighter as well.
You should select the tint with utmost care. While it should optimize your visual performance significantly, it shouldn't maximize color distortion.
Moreover, it's best to pick out sunglasses with 15-30% of light transmittance having a neutral grey tint. At the same time, they should minimize the visual color distortion for the best performance.
The plastic or glass lenses of your chosen sunglasses should offer you 100% protection from ultraviolet rays. Additionally, the material used must be high-quality, and you should emphasize quality over aesthetics.
Plastic, polycarbonate, and glass are some of the best materials and will be durable and conducive to your vision enhancement.
The aviator sunglasses for flying that you select should be non-polarized. That is because you can't use polarized lenses with aircraft cockpits.
Moreover, your ability to spot another aircraft may be rendered useless. That is because these aviator sunglasses give off too much glare when faced with shiny objects.
Another crucial factor that you must consider is that they must slip on and off with ease. Since you'll put on helmets or a headset pretty much for the whole flight, they need to be hassle-free.
It would be best to strictly avoid photochromic lenses to hinder your vision when faced with bright environments. Moreover, it will take a significant time for them to do away with the excessive brightness. That will be a massive issue for you if you fly at nighttime or during mainly cloudy days.
Why can't pilots wear polarized Aviator sunglasses?
To understand this, you must first be well-versed with the difference between polarized and non-polarized aviator sunglasses. Polarized lenses are built to block the intense horizontal light entering your line of vision. Meanwhile, they also reduce the glare and discomfort for the wearer.
However, this may be desired for other professions, but it’s a big no for a pilot. The following are the reasons behind this.
It's pretty natural to have a few questions regarding the best aviation sunglasses. Thus, in this section, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding aviation sunglasses to guide you better.
1. What aviators do pilots wear?
There is no "one aviator fits all," and what works for one pilot might not work for you. However, there are certain preferable features of aviators that have not changed, even after 70 years.
The aviators worn by most pilots offer broad coverage and have a teardrop shape. Some of the best sunglasses also have a rectangular shape, but both have large lenses. Additionally, this is a non-negotiable feature as it protects your eye-sockets.
Moreover, one important thing to note is that these pilot sunglasses are set quite close to the pilot's face. While flying, you need to move them quite often with your headset and helmets on. Thus, this fact, combined with the bayonet design, makes it easy for you to lift them on and off.
Due to these critical factors, Randolph aviator and ray ban sunglasses for pilots are pretty popular. Randolph Engineering is such that they are not only functional but also highly fashionable. Moreover, Ray-ban aviator sunglasses for pilots are a favorite amongst pilots and ordinary people alike.
2. What sunglasses do air force pilots wear?
The air force pilots understandably utilize the best of the best equipment to have no difficulty flying in extreme lighting conditions. That is precisely why they have stuck with Randolph aviator sunglasses for flying for decades.
The Randolph engineering sunglasses for pilots allow you to fit in a broad range of glass lenses in a single type of frame. Thus, it becomes pretty easy for a pilot to customize them as per individual requirements while retaining the quality.
Its authentic military sunglasses had remained very popular since 1978, when the military pilots first used them. Moreover, the SkyTec lens technology it puts to use is used to protect its vision. Even the SkyForce lightweight sunglasses for flying are exceedingly popular.
The backside of the best sunglasses for military pilots is anti-reflective, and each lens has superior quality coatings. Fighter pilots mostly put on the Aviators, Aviator II, and Concorde sunglasses as they have all the qualities mentioned earlier.
3. Why do pilots wear non-polarized sunglasses?
Even though polarized sunglasses are considered ideal by many professionals such as skiers, pilots choose to steer clear of them. The primary reason behind this occurrence is that they end up hindering your vision instead of facilitating it.
They decrease the strain on your eyes when faced with a highly bright environment, but only when it's direct. The glass and screens in the cockpit are already glare-free, so this feature is practically useless. Moreover, while you're flying, you need to see the bright patches of light as it helps you navigate air traffic.
Another apparent reason is that; nighttime vision is wholly destroyed with polarized sunglasses. They distort the vision, and as a result, you see blurry, distracting patterns on the cockpit screen. Moreover, they are non-functional for VFR pilots and reduce the crucial ground reflections.
4. Why do pilots prefer wearing sunglasses?
Sunglasses for pilots are an extremely crucial accessory that they need enhance their visual performance. Also, optical performance is the core of flying an aircraft. Pilots buy high-quality sunglasses while flying because of the following reasons.
Since you have a plethora of options to choose from, arriving at a decision is extremely tricky. Moreover, this choice is further complicated as you cannot afford to compromise on aviation sunglasses' quality.
To make the best possible decision, you must align and compare your needs with our aviator reviews. However, whichever aviator sunglasses you pick, you won't regret making that choice that they are all superior in quality.
Just keep your budget, needs, and preferences as a guide and make a well-informed choice by following our advice. Happy flying!