In a recent post on Golf Hotel Whiskey by Matthew Stibbe he posted “Two reasons a pilot should invest in an expensive pair of sun glasses” describing two incidents where a pair of expensive sunglasses could have helped avoid accidents.
I attempted to locate the NTSB reports that these incidents were reported in but could only find one of them – the one on the Taylorcraft. The other he mentioned was a Cessna 152 taxiing in Ephrate, WA that ran into a fire hydrant damaging the wing when the pilot encountered extremely bright sunlight when he came around a hangar. Obviously a good pair of aviator sunglasses would certainly have helped avoid that accident.
Hiller UH-12E N440NR Accident Report
Here is the NTSB report on this incident:
NTSB Identification: WPR10CA094
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Friday, January 01, 2010 in Tipton, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2010
Aircraft: HILLER UH-12E, registration: N440NR
Injuries: 1 Minor.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
While maneuvering at low level over a field during an aerial application flight, the helicopter pilot took his hand off the collective to adjust the sun visor because the sun was in his eyes. The pilot reported that he had used his leg to block the collective from moving as he adjusted the visor. The helicopter hit mild turbulence and bumped his leg away from the collective. The collective slipped down, and the helicopter impacted the ground and rolled over on its side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tailboom and cockpit. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter’s flight control system or engine prior to the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from terrain.
Aviator Sunglasses Would Have Helped
Aviator sunglasses have been considered important by the U.S. Military since the early days of flight. The government over the years has contracted with suppliers to provide aviator sunglasses for all of their flight personnel.
Over the last 40+ years Randolph Engineering has provided their flagship product Randolph Aviator sunglasses to not only the U.S. Military but for military pilots around the world. These world class aviator sunglasses are not inexpensive, but the quality and durability makes them well worth the cost.
Pilot Blinded By SunIn a report by General Aviation News on December 27th, 2012 by Meg Godlewski another pilot blinded by sun was involved in an accident:
Aircraft: Taylorcraft BC-12-65. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: College Place, Wash. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot departed for a short local flight. About 20 minutes later, he returned to land. The sun was low on the horizon, and as he turned onto the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, his view became completely obscured by the sun’s glare. The airplane hit trees about 250 feet to the right of the runway.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to abort the landing when he lost sight of the runway due to sun glare.
Are Aviator Sunglasses Expensive?
As you read about these accidents it becomes clear that a good pair of aviator sunglasses are not expensive when you consider the damage to aircraft and injuries to crew and passengers.
But you don’t want to just buy any old sunglasses – be sure and do your research and find a pair of aviator sunglasses that block 98-100% of harmful uv rays, allow 12-18% transmittance of visible light and are comfortable to wear when choosing the right sunglasses for yourself.
To learn more about how sunglasses can help pilots visit Aviator-Sunglasses.net.
In the meantime keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
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