Aviation is one of the unique industries with its own iconic eyewear style. Do a quick Internet search for “aviator sunglasses,” and you’ll immediately recognize it. You’ll undoubtedly see images of Tom Cruise in “Top Gun,” pop up or perhaps Brad Pitt on the red carpet. Although they look stylish, aviator sunglasses serve an important safety function for pilots chartering private and business jet charters everywhere: They reduce glare and allow pilots to focus on their instruments. However, the eyewear they choose isn’t polarized. 

So, why don’t pilots wear polarized sunglasses during business jet charter flights?

Cockpit Displays

The answer lies in the evolution of cockpit displays in commercial and business jet charter flights.  Since the early days of aviation, flight information was displayed on a variety of analog dials and gauges. A pilot could wear polarized glare-reducing sunglasses and still read the cockpit display. However, the advent of LCD displays and touchscreen controls has changed what a pilot sees. LCD displays contain polarizing plates that limit whether light passes through them or not. 

The problem with polarized sunglasses is that they are also designed to filter light. In some circumstances, the screen and the sunglasses together will filter ALL the light, and the screen appears to be black. You have probably experienced this when looking at your cell phone while wearing sunglasses. If you turn the phone 90 degrees, the screen looks black. So what is a pilot to do?

Safety in the Skies

Polarized sunglasses can interfere with a pilot’s ability to see LCD displays in the cockpit.

Fortunately, there are several solutions to ensure the safety of business jet charter flights. Aircraft manufacturers have added anti-glare laminates to cockpit windshield glass, reducing pilot eye-strain.  System display manufacturers have also modified the materials, optics, and position of crucial displays for maximum readability, even in bright conditions.  

Finally, aviation sunglasses manufacturers have created and promoted alternative eyewear. Many pilots have switched to non-polarized lenses in neutral colors such as gray, green, or brown. 

Safety is the bottom line.  You may not be aware of this, but a pilot’s health, including their vision, is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.  Before a pilot is ever issued a permit for commercial or business jet charter flights, they must demonstrate excellent distant, near and color vision. Corrective lenses are permitted, as long the standards are met. 

Stratos’ Commitment to Safety

Stratos Jet Charters goes a step further, requiring at least 250 hours in the type of aircraft, so a pilot is completely familiar with the controls and instrumentation. We also require two pilots to crew a business jet charter, even if the aircraft is rated for one pilot.  Four eyes on instruments are better than two.  

If you would like to know more about Stratos safety initiatives, have a look at our Air Charter Safety page


Your safety and comfort are our priorities. When you are ready to book a jet charter flight anywhere in the world, call Stratos Jets Charters at 888-593-9066.