Originally published December 1995
Note from the ed. Here's some more info from the intemet, on sunglasses this time.
From a thread before I actually started flying, I remember you all like Serenghitis (sic) or something like that. I need a pair of sun glasses because mine (Ray Bans) hurt with the headset due to the large plastic ear pieces. What are the advantages of your faves over, say, RayBan Aviators? Is polarization important? Photochromatic sensitivity? Are Serenghetis the best? What kind of ear pieces should I get (nearly straight or wraparound temples)?
Tony: I use RayBans for driving and everyday use, but a couple of years ago I was introduced to Zurichs. They come in different color gradients and you can wear them over your other glasses (if any). This year, they came out with a Velcro-ed band to hold them as loose or tight to your head as you want. With the band instead of the regular side pieces (they just snap off) you can wear these under a headset with no problems, too.
Very topical that you asked. I have just returned from a day of flying about the midwest through general haze and fog. I had my Ray Bans on, and was not finding it easy to see. I don't know why I had them on as they are my backup pair. When I realized what pour I was wearing, I switched to the Serengettis and it made an incredible difference. In the fog and haze they seen to be more comforting to my eyes and make it easier to see. It could be all in my head, but that's my opinion.
I have a pair of Ray Ban Aviators with the G15 color lenses with a mirror gradient that I use for those early morning, due east, flights right into the sun. They are really dark.
If I had to have one pair, though, it would be the Serengenis.
Let me add my voice to the chorus.
Stay away from the polarized lenses if they cause a problem (the windshields on the big iron are polarized semi-randomly, for some damned reason, and turn to a mass of black spots at certain times of the day, but I had no problems in small airplanes.)
I prefer the Blu-Blockers, and my copilots are constantly asking me "How can you see that through all this haze?" And many of them are wearing those fancy Ray-Bans I used to break and lose regularly. Now, I spend $20, and can't lose them if I try when they get beat up. No wire frames in the cheapies, though, and that might cause a headset seal problem (I use a Plantronics, no usable intercom on the 727.) I'll have to reevaluate when I start flying little stuff again (can't wait!) because I intend to get the ANR headset that I loved so much, and will have the same problem.
Blu-blockers are cheap, work well, and are readily available if you lose a pair. Use 'em if they work for you.
There's more if you're interested. I got a $7 pair of clip-ons (I have to wear glasses to read now) at the open house. They're called 'True Blue' and do the same as Blue-blockers. It does improve vis in the haze. My wife tried them but objected to a yellow color tint they have. I guess she prefers the rose colored tint she has in her own glasses. >ed.
Contents of The Leading Edge and these web pages are the viewpoints of the authors. No claim is made and no liability is assumed, expressed or implied as to the technical accuracy or safety of the material presented. The viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of Chapter 1000 or the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Revised -- 22 February 1997