Aviators are some of the best sunglasses for pilots around, but have you ever wondered why aviators and pilots seem to be synonymous? Sure, they look cool, but there’s more to it than just that.

5 Reasons Why Pilots Wear Aviator Sunglasses

Eye Coverage

Aviators, with their large, teardrop shaped lenses, give pilots’ eyes more coverage than any other sunglasses thanks to their design covering the entire field of vision.

As pilots fly at such high altitudes, the sunlight can also become unbearably bright, so pilots need all the protection they can get from all around.

Pilots, however, should not wear polarized sunglasses.


Aviators have a long and storied history in the US military. Way back in 1935, the first aviator style sunglasses were the U.S. Army Air Corps D-1 Sunglasses produced by American Optical. These were contracted by the US military, and since then aviator sunglasses have stuck with the HGU-4/P by Randolph Engineering being standard issue since 1982.

Fighter pilot or not, it doesn’t seem to matter. Aviators are the sunglasses for private pilots, airline pilots and anyone else who gets behind the cockpit.

Cool Factor

From General Douglas MacArthur landing on a beach in the Philippines that became a lasting image of the Second World War to Tom Cruise in Top Gun, there’s no doubt that aviators are associated with coolness.

Celebrities from Slash, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury and countless others have also been seen wearing aviators.


Aviators certainly have that cool factor down (arguably more so than Oakley sunglasses designs or other brands) but part of what makes them so cool is their appearance. Instantly recognizable and somehow suiting most face shapes, nearly everyone looks good wearing a pair of aviators, especially pilots.


If you were a pilot, and you had to choose a pair of sunglasses unseen, there’s probably a good chance that you would choose a pair called aviators. After all, an aviator is literally a pilot. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.