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What are Aviation Goggles?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 23, 2024
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Aviation goggles, also known as aviator goggles, are protective eye gear originally used by pilots in small open-front airplanes to protect their eyes from damaging wind. They are generally thick with round lenses and a band extending to the back and around the wearer’s head to keep them snuggly in place.

Aviation goggles are not only used for pilots flying in small one-engine planes, they are also staples for motorcyclists. The original design is still being used for many styles, as well as several more recent renditions. Today’s aviation goggles can be shaded or colored, with the traditional wrap-around band or with side fittings much like sunglasses.

Although these goggles still protect the eyes from wind and weather, newer versions can also have tinting to protect them from the sun’s rays at the same time. Various colors and shades are available, each one protecting against a specific kind of light. For instance, yellow tinted aviation goggles help reflect the sun’s glare to prevent UV rays from damaging the eyes.

It is important that aviation goggles have a good fit in order to be most effective. Goggles that have a full band should fit tightly against the face without being tight enough to cause discomfort. This ensures that no wind, insects, or flying debris can pass through the rims on the sides.

Aviation goggles should also be made specifically for the task they are being used for. If goggles are bought for sun protection but are not made for that purpose, UV rays may still be able to damage the eyes. The same principle goes for wind protection, especially if the goggles are actually worn in an airplane at high altitudes. Alternately, aviation goggles should also not be used for tasks they were not designed for, such as welding or in various construction-related fields.

To find aviation goggles for purchase, check bike shops and other stores who offer biker gear. The store employees or manager should be available to answer any questions about specific brands and models, and may be able to help pick out the exact kind of goggles needed. Many convenient designs are now available, including ones with adjustable nose bridges and frames with lenses that can be removed and replaced with others; allowing riders to customize the goggles for each activity or time of day.

Caring for aviation goggles is important, but not difficult to do. Specialize aviator goggle cleaning kits are available from most goggle retailers. Many cleaning solutions also help prevent scratches and smudges, ensuring that lenses are in good working order at all times.

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