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Polarized Sunglasses?


Helihead
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Has anyone ever had a problem reading GPS, Digital gauges ect... while wearing polarized sunglasses during flight? I was reading on the FAA web page that it is not recommended to wear polarized sunglasses. I have never had a problem with them in flight, only at the gas pump when refueling my car.... but I have only flown a handful of different aircraft.

I then started to wonder if there are aircraft/instruments that prohibit use of polarized sunglasses, and if it would be mentioned in the POH.

 

http://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafe.../sunglasses.pdf

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I have had a problem viewing a few GPS screens, but otherwise have been OK. It seems like the older the equipment is, the more likely you are to have trouble viewing it. From what I understand manufacturers began rotating the screens 90 degrees from how they used to be installed, and this helped fix the problem (unless you are lying on your side trying to read the screen!).

 

I don't fully understand how polarizing works, but I know that if you wear one set of polarized glasses and hold another set in front of you vertically (90 degrees to how they are on your face) you cannot see through the lense of the second set of glasses.

 

The GPS units that I have had trouble viewing are usually viewable by moving your head to a different angle. It seemed to be the more "squarely" I viewed the screen, the better I could see it. If you plan to wear them a lot while flying, best to check the return policy!

Edited by heli.pilot
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I don't fully understand how polarizing works, but I know that if you wear one set of polarized glasses and hold another set in front of you vertically (90 degrees to how they are on your face) you cannot see through the lense of the second set of glasses.

 

Here is a good animation that explains it:

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/sc...dlight/filters/

 

An LCD screen works by polarizing (filtering) light, which is why it can become unreadable at certain angles when wearing polarized sunglasses. You can try this at home, just hold your polarized sunglasses in front of your LCD computer monitor or TV and rotate them.

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I haven't tried wearing my polarized lenses in the aircraft, mostly because I usually wear my prescription glasses when flying and enjoy flipping my helmet's smoked visor down when needed.

 

That said, I ride a motorcycle 90% of the time and won't wear them under my helmet. I've found that they reduce my ability to make out certain road hazards (wet or oily spots on the road, for instance) and they often have strange interactions with some of the shields I use on my helmets. In general, my optometrist (a fellow rider and racer) recommends against using them for anything but walking and fishing.

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I like and wear polarized brown almost all the time. LCD displays are a problem, as are a very few helo windscreens. If you're overwater, the polarization eliminates reflected glare but makes a smooth sea surface invisible.

 

I forgot to mention that polarized lenses are problematic with clear helmet visors, not as bad as some windscreens. Also, I use a clip on/flip up while flying or the helmet tinted visor if there are issues.

Edited by Wally
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Not sure if brand makes a difference at all? Almost every pilot I work with wears Serengeti shades with polarized lenses, and no we don't get a company discount or anything on them sadly. They are pricey as hell but worth every penny IMO. Some even have perscription ones made just for flying.

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I cant wear my prescription brown tint polarized flying, SkyMap either loose most of overlays and in some lights the whole screen goes patchy, no problem with plain tinted prescription lens.

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I never wear polarized lenses. I've tried them, and I don't like the effects they give. They're OK for fishing, but not much else. I don't even like them for driving. I can't read the GPS, or any other LCD screens, like my mp3 player. In something like the S76C+, all the instruments are videos, and you can't read them with polarized lenses. Even in many light aircraft, there are LCD gauges, and they are mostly unreadable. If you've tried polarized lenses in your aircraft, and are sure you can see everything, then there should be no problems, but I don't like them and won't wear them. I do have some brown Serengetis, but the lenses are not polarized.

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they often have strange interactions with some of the shields I use on my helmets.

 

Polarized glasses can make stress in glass or plexiglass (like a helicopters windshield) visible under certain conditions. The effect is explained in this wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarization

Glass blowers actually use this effect to test their products for stress patterns

http://www.ecu.edu/glassblowing/glassstress.html

 

I wear non polarized Serengetis.

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I have a pair of polarized prescription Oakley sunglasses, and when flying the EC-120, they make it almost impossible to see the VEMD. I'm not sure if it is the age of the screens, or just the sunglasses...I'm also not sure if having an NVG filter would make any difference (no filter on our VEMD.)

 

Ryan

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Right now I'm flying right seat in a fixed wing as a Flight Engineer. I'm running 2 computers, with touch screens, as well as helping the PIC. When wearing polarized glasses, I can see the navigation computer (We're chasing underground pipelines) to my left with no problems, but the one right in front of my face, I can't see.

I've tried all kinds of things for the glare, a hat, and "nose on screen" seem to help most, but like I said, I'm not at the controls. I'm still wearing my non-polarized drug store $10 glasses for what I do with the best results. Like Gomer said though, I'm seriously looking at a brown Serengetti non-polarized pair.

 

On a side note, can't beat them when you're fishing!

Edited by Fastlane
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I like the driver gradient lenses. They're darker at the top, lighter at the bottom, so it's easier to see inside the shaded cockpit, but they still block the sun. I didn't think I would like wrap-around lenses, but I do. They help a lot when the sun is on the side, as it often seems to be. I have the Velocity Titanium, but I probably would have bought the Hurikanu if I could have found them with gradient lenses.

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i LOVE polarized sunglasses. I have never had a problem with them in flight . I think they are a very helpful. make sure you can read the gauges that are digital. as for smooth sea surfaces... how often does that happen... I think the glare they reduce from the water is great, also easier to see where winds are coming from when over open water.

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