Medical & Health News and debate about medical and health issues as they relate to aircrews and aviation. Any information gleaned from this forum MUST be backed up by consulting your state-registered health professional or AME. Due to advertising legislation in various jurisdictions, endorsements of individual practitioners is not permitted.


Old 8th Mar 2008, 00:42
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: London
Age: 37
Posts: 120

I am due to head out to Spain to start my ATPL training and would like to glean any knowledge regarding the best sunglasses to wear while i'm out there. The sun is obviously going to be seriously strong and i want to protect my eyes with the best lenses possible.

I am presuming that wrap around glasses that let in a little light around the sides as possible are the best but i knwo nothing about the type of lenses i might need. Polarised? I wear contact lenses too if that makes any difference.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated or if you can point me in the direction of someone who does know something that would be equally as helpful.

Many thanks
chileconcarne27 is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2008, 05:33
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: East Midlands
Age: 81
Posts: 1,510
Sunglasses - In Depth Facts and Discussion

Can be found here
A2QFI is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2008, 08:32
  #3 (permalink)  

Test Pilot for Annick Goutal
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: .
Posts: 1,249
Thanks for posting the thread A2QFI. However, the information is over 5 years old now. Some it might be still applicable. Perhaps others have more up to date info?
Med Mods.
Hawk is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2008, 09:47
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 10
Regarding glasses, I can recommend the Serengeti range of lenses. They are not easy to find in the UK. The lenses are not coated so the good stuff can't scratch off. They cut glare really well but they don't really darken things much which means you can easily see the instruments even if flying into sun.
Make sure you don't buy anything polarised as it will play havoc with EFIS/glass cockpit instruments. Make sure the arms are slim so that they will easily slip under your headset ear seals. Drivers Gradient without polarising is a good lens.
I bought mine new online in Velocity frames for US$99 in America instead of 154 near my home. Try Amazon USA as they have a good range.

Good luck.
whyaren'tuflyingboy is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2008, 11:29
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: GREAT Britain
Posts: 86
I wear a pair of bog standard Ray Bans. Can't remember the type but they have good B&L lenses. They are kind of wrap around too. I seem to remember when I bought them, they had tables of how much UV each pair let through...I went for the ones that let through the least.

They work really well and let me see the screens. They have fairly thick arms but are soft plastic so don't dig in with the Dave Clarks on.

I understand that polarised sunglasses play havoc with the EFIS or the windows....can't remember which but I was warned off them!
Wilton Shagpile is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2008, 16:20
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: East Midlands
Age: 81
Posts: 1,510
My apologies! I knew there had been a prolonged discussion on the subject and I posted the link without checking the date! As an effort to make amends I looked at the Randolph Engineering site, (makers of sunglasses for the US Military) but most of what is on the site seems to relate to specialist glasses for shooters. I have personally used Rayban Ambermatics which I have had for 27 years, I have used their aviator frames with full or partial 'mirrors' and I have a pair of Serengeti Boomslangs (some sort of snake?) which are comfortable and have a strong brown tint. However I was flying Low level in the ME and my experience is probably not relevant to glasses in an airliner cockpit!

Last edited by A2QFI; 9th Mar 2008 at 20:31.
A2QFI is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2008, 08:14
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 1,496
I've owned a succession of ray-bans.... I now use a pair I bought for 3 in a petrol station, they seem to resist the clamping headset better than most.

Last edited by Daysleeper; 9th Mar 2008 at 08:54.
Daysleeper is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2008, 08:56
  #8 (permalink)  
Upto The Buffers
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Leeds/Bradford
Age: 45
Posts: 1,114
According to my HPL ATPL manual, a neutral-grey lens with 15% luminance transmittance is most suitable for flight crew. Mainly because they absorb equal amounts of all wavelengths.

Cockpit windscreens will already provide a certain amount of filtering, so polarised lenses may cause distortion.
Shunter is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2008, 22:09
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: oo
Posts: 140
I just was in the same situastion regarding eyewear.
I bought Serengeti Medium Aviator, with drivers gradient glasses.
Probably the best sunglasses i've head. I often land on snow covered places, and the combination of sunshine and snow, no match for these sunglasses.

I bought mine at opticsplanet, at about 100 or so dollars, not to expensive, now a days due to falling dollar currency!

good look with your pick!
A10Warthog is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2008, 01:24
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: England... what's left of it...
Posts: 161
Whichever shades you choose, make sure they have optimal UVa protection. As well as comfort and view, shades should protect your eyes from sun damage. Any shaded lens will make your pupils dilate in a search for more light. With crappy lenses, your retinas will therefore be subjected to more UV (and potential damage) than if you didn't wear them....
Overdrive is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2008, 18:07
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Worcestershire
Age: 54
Posts: 79
Sun Glasses


If you go to the CAA website medical section its all there. I took the info to my opticians as i wear glasses. Standard sun glasses are usually too dark at 85% filtering so i had some made at 75%. Wrap around glasses can cause distortion to your perhipheral vision, particularly if you need prescription glasses.

Hope this helps.

nickyjsmith is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2008, 21:33
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 19
Further to what Nick said, above, the FAA also has a document about sunglasses for pilots. It's in the Health section. It talks about desirable features and characteristics of sunglasses, not brands, but you can use the information to shop for the kind that's best for your situation.

Here's the link:

FAA: Sunglasses for Pilots

(It's a 3-page 'pdf' document.)

Hope this helps.
DocSullivan is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2008, 17:52
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: FL410
Posts: 383
I can recommend the serengeti range - i've got velocity titanium ones with drivers' gradient lenses. They are really good - very comfortable and ideal for flying. They don't have the darkest lenses though so I found the sun rather bright when the sun is directly ahead. In all other circumstances they are about the best you can get. The drivers' gradient allows you to see the instruments very clearly and they fit really comfortably under yr headset.
My advice is NOT to get Oakleys - the frames are a real pain. Raybans are ok.
I went to and they shipped me a pair for about 50 (they cost about 130 in the UK). I had to pay import tax on them but they still worked out really cheap.
Hope that helps!


I'm confused as well... I don't think I'd been drinking.

Last edited by D O Guerrero; 17th Apr 2008 at 17:29.
D O Guerrero is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2008, 19:16
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK
Age: 32
Posts: 359
A lot of people have been recommending Serengeti, they appear to be well sought after. I am however confused as to why the previous poster thought he was pm'ing .
poss is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2008, 07:42
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: NZ
Posts: 1
just wondering if any of those sunglasses mentioned here come with prescription lenses? I have a pair with prescription lenses, however, those lenses are just the ones that are available from my optometrist, hence, not the original ones.
baldo9 is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2008, 18:58
  #16 (permalink)  
PPRuNe supporter
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,679

Model 6691 Velocity with the Gradient lens, great glasses and easy to see the glass.
Dream Land is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2008, 19:05
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Inside the roster matrix
Posts: 608
Get a pair that slightly curve in. This stops the sun bursting through the side.

RB3218 model

Don't get a slim pair as you will be squinting all the time.
Duty free in good airports have a good selection these days.
STN especially.

Don't get the drivers lenses. They are not dark enough in my opinion, but that is a personal opinion. Darker ones do, however, make the glass EFIS a tad harder to see, but it beats getting sore eyes from the sun.
Try and try a few if you have any friends with different shades. All our faces are different, and some may hurt you with heatsets on. Oakley is a prime example.
PAPI-74 is offline  
Old 24th Mar 2008, 07:48
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 10

I have had a pair of the Serengeti Lamone with the non polarised Driver Lens. I work in the tropics and found them excellent under full sun and also good under low light conditions. The photochromatic lenses seemed to go light enough when the vis was marginal and dark enough when the sun was at full strength.

I consider myself to have sensitive eyes, hate being out in the sun without sunnies on. I will also mention that I am a VFR chopper pilot, so that may mean what is good for me may not be ideal for an IFR Jet Pilot! I have put a few scatches in my current pair (after a lot of drops - glass lenses are the best for scratch resistance) so am also in the market for a new pair. Am planning to stick with Serengeti though.

I would recommend the S-flex temples as a great option under a headseat - very low profile. I get a headache after half an hour if the temples are too thick under my David Clarks. I've worn my Lamones with the S-flex temples for 8 hours straight with no issues.

I have worn polarised lenses in the chopper with no issues (low tech cockpit helps!), but have heard one pilot say that he'd never wear polarised glasses in the low level environment because in makes it harder to see wires. Am tempted to try the gradient lens but don't know if i'll get too much light coming in through the bottom windows of the chopper - esp over water.

Think I'm going to go with the Saltos this time. Good Luck with your shopping...
helifella is offline  
Old 25th Mar 2008, 20:33
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 2,838
Another vote here for Serengetis with Drivers Gradient lenses. Absolutely the best sunglasses for flying on the market.
Bravo73 is offline  
Old 25th Mar 2008, 23:43
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Surrey
Age: 40
Posts: 899
does anyone know of stores in the UK where you can actually try on Serengeti's? Sunglasses huts don't stock them any more!
Blinkz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.