Best IFR glasses
If you ever want to fly at night, in clouds and fog, you need to take Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) training. This exercise teaches you how to fly in low-visibility situations using your plane’s instruments only.
To take the training, you need a piece of equipment that can effectively limit your peripheral view while allowing you to see everything on your instrument panel. For this, you could go for IFR hoodies or glasses.
When it comes to the latter, there are simply too many best IFR glasses to choose from on the current market. Fortunately for you, you do not need to spend hours doing research to find the right glasses for your training.
The ranking below is based on opinions from experienced pilots, comfort, ease of use, realistic Instrumental Meteorological conditions (IMC) simulation, durability, weight, quality, and many other essential factors.
1. KMD Aero Aviation Flight Training Glasses
The first piece of equipment on our list of the best IFR training glasses is the KMD Aero model. These spectacles are the perfect accessory for any pilot out there who is about to start IFR training. The glasses are made of high-quality material, with adaptable frames that can fit any pilot's head.
And not only do they have UV rays protection, but they can also be worn under pilot headphones! This way, you can stay in communication with your trainer and any nearby control center. What's more, these glasses are lightweight and portable. You can carry them in your pocket, unlike hood or visor options which need a large back.
The KMD Aero glasses offer a limited certified view. They effectively block all your peripheral views while allowing you to see the instrument panel clearly. However, they are not designed to fit over other glasses. If you usually wear spectacles, this equipment might be too uncomfortable for your training flights.
2. BLOCKALLS IFR View Limiting Device
Next up on our list is the BLOCKALLS IFR glasses which are designed by pilots for pilots. These IFR goggles solve all the limitations of other training glasses. For starters, they are made with polyurethane materials that weigh less than one ounce. The aviation foggles are so light that you’ll forget you have them on during your training.
These glasses also come with a streamlined shape and soft earpieces, and nose pieces. Their lightweight and streamlined design make it easy for you to slide the glasses on and off without taking off your headset.
What fascinates us the most about these glasses is their opaque finish blocks. The finish perfectly and accurately simulates low visibility situations by blocking unwanted light and UV rays from the windscreen.
The glasses won't completely block your vision; they're designed to offer a clear instrument panel vision.
3. Crystal Pilot IFR View Limiting Device
Crystal Pilot IFR training glasses are among the best choices for those who want a simple yet effective solution to limiting their view. You do not need to adjust their sensitivity, delay time, or anything else to use this equipment. The glasses will passively prevent you from seeing through the windscreen.
And if you are worried about how durable these glasses are, rest assured that they are made out of high-quality materials. This gadget has shatterproof and impact-resistant plastic that will outlast any other cheap option.
When you purchase this equipment, it will come with a free cloth case and a bag tag. The bag tag has a medium-sized IFR-VFR placard where you can write your name. The name card makes it easy to identify your equipment from others owned by classmates.
4. Foggles IFR Training
Last on our list, we have these excellent IFR training glasses specifically designed for those who want to limit their field of view during flight lessons. To achieve a limited vision, they use frosted polycarbonate lenses. A small notch in the middle of each lens allows you to focus on the instruments.
What's more interesting about these glasses is that they are lightweight, compact and also meet all the IFR training certification requirements. They're perfect for those trainees who don't want to carry around bulky equipment when flying.
What sets this gadget apart from the rest is that it features a similar design to regular prescription glasses. All you need to do is slip the glasses on and off as you would with regular glasses.
What to look for before buying?
As you probably know, you don't purchase an item based on its looks and color. It would be best to consider several factors to make sure it fits your needs. Here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing the right pair of goggles:
The top factor that should be considered when purchasing flight glasses is weight. For this, go for the most lightweight option available.
Flying a plane needs maximum attention, especially when the view is limited. Having heavy glasses adds unnecessary stress to your nose and ears. To relieve such stress, you must keep holding them with one of your hands. With a single hand on the controls, you will face lots of challenges such as the inability to control your plane effectively and so on.
Training to fly in low visibility situations takes a lot of hours. As such, you must get comfortable glasses that won't hurt your ears or nose after wearing them for long hours. The goggles must also fit tightly so you don't experience discomfort or irritation.
We recommend going for a model with adjustable temples. These allow you to tighten the straps to ensure comfort throughout the day. The glasses must fit in seamlessly while wearing your pilot headset.
You should always have your corrective spectacles on for clear instrument panel visibility if you have defective eyesight. That means you should have IFR foggles on top of the glasses. You would be better off with a specifically designed model to fit over your prescription glasses.
3. Field of View (FOV)
The main aim of these lessons is to teach you how to fly in low visibility. Hence the best goggles for this job must block all your peripheral view. There's no point in taking this training if you have the equipment to see through the windscreen clearly.
Good IFR equipment will also let you see the instrument panel clearly while obstructing your windscreen view. You need to see every parameter and read the information displayed on the screen. If not, you might end up crashing your plane because you can't see what's happening outside.
4. IFR certification
You should only buy a product that has been certified by the FAA. This certification ensures that the equipment meets all safety standards. It also makes sure that the manufacturer has taken its responsibility seriously.
Such a piece of equipment will simulate low visibility reliably. It also ensures that you get the most from your IFR training.
Most of the time, you'll be flying at high altitudes where the air gets thinner and erratic temperatures. In such conditions, there might be a lot of turbulence. Your plane will bounce around, yawn, pitch or even roll.
It would be best to have glasses that won't fall out of place during turbulence and vibrations. Hence, go for a model that fits in properly in your nose and ears.
6. UV rays and sunlight protection
As you maneuver your plane with less visibility, you need to see the instrument panel clearly. If you have glasses that do not prevent UV rays or sunlight from passing through, you might not see the instruments effectively. The light will cause glare on the lenses, making it difficult to see the display clearly. Hence, it would be best to have UV and sunlight-resistant glasses for your IFR training.
It doesn't matter how much money you spend on buying a pair of goggles. What matters is whether they are durable enough to withstand the rigors of your daily life.
Excellent IFR glasses should be made of rigid material that is scratch resistant, shatterproof and impact resistant. They should be able to last through your IFR training without losing their quality.
Go for cheaper quality models on the market. You don't want to break your budget when trying to learn something new. Also, these glasses will be worthless after you complete your IFR training. So, why spend a lot of money on something you will use for several weeks?
1. Are IFR hoodies better than glasses?
IFR glasses are better than hoodies. The latter does not block peripheral visibility effectively. You can see your surroundings with a hoodie if you tilt your head. The main aim of these classes is to teach you how to fly without any visibility.
Hoodies also don't feel comfortable when your pilot's headset is on or corrective glasses.
2. What kind of goggles should I wear for my first IFR flight?
It would be best to choose goggles that fit well in your face. Go for a size that allows you to clearly see everything on your instrument panel. The foggles must also be compatible with your pilot's headset. If you have corrective glasses, the training glasses need to fit on top of them seamlessly.
3. How many pairs of IFR goggles should I buy?
One pair is enough as the training lasts for days or weeks. After completing it, you will never need to use IFR glasses again. So, what's the point of getting so many pairs only for them to gather dust in your garage after the training is complete?
Having the best IFR glasses is essential for an excellent learning experience. Such foggles will create realistic simulations of low visibility. The next time you find yourself flying in fog, it will be a piece of cake as you have practiced with realistic simulation glasses.
The foggles reviewed above are all great options for trainees. They are durable, lightweight, affordable, ergonomically designed, and most importantly, offer realistic low visibility simulations. Some glasses also have additional features such as UV light protection and a streamlined ear/nose piece design for the best learning experience.