Did You Know: Why Can’t Pilots Wear Polarized Sunglasses?


When we imagine a pilot marching through the airport, looking as cool as Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, his sunglasses are probably the first thing that comes to our mind. Aviator sunglasses provide an attractive benefit. Unfortunately, good-looking sunglasses are not the only criterion when a pilot gets to choose a new pair of flying glasses.

Let’s start from the beginning. Polarized sunglasses are probably the most popular choice among each of us. They are perfect for its safety feature to eliminate glare. However, this particular feature is the reason why they are not recommended to be worn by pilots.

First, glare-reducing effect can cause problems in the cockpit when a pilot needs to read instruments with incorporated anti-glare filters. LCD displays, which can be found in a cockpit, emit polarized light. Therefore, polarized sunglasses reduce the ability to read those LCD displays. Moreover, glare is very helpful when another aircraft appears on traffic. A pilot with polarized sunglasses on could fail to see a shimmer of glare given off by another aircraft’s windscreen.

As you may now realize, there is always a risk of something being blocked from view if a pilot wears polarized sunglasses. Instead of these, experts recommend for pilots to choose a pair of non-polarized, well-fitting sunglasses which are large enough to ensure sufficient protection from the sunlight. As it was mentioned previously, a pilot has to look cool by all means but firstly evaluate functionality and safety while choosing his/her pair of sunglasses.