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Why Pilots Can’t Wear Polarized Sunglasses?

Now before we talk about a normal set of sunglasses and a pair of polarized ones and how they affect your vision we quickly need to discuss unpolarized and polarized light waves.

The light emitting from the sun releases light particles, better known as Photons. These photons vibrate up and down, or side to side creating a bundle of light waves flying towards planet earth.
Which means that the light provided by the sun flys in horizontal or vertical waves, therefore making the light waves unpolarized.
But, the sunlight can untangle itself pretty easily. Those light particles just have to strike something, like a lake or in our case clouds, and they’ll start vibrating in the same direction.

Meaning all the photons start oscillating in the direction that’s perpendicular to that surface. So, the light particles that bounce off a horizontal surface will then begin oscillating vertically.
Meaning the reflected particles suddenly have fallen into sync reflecting as polarized light.

Which brings us back to our polarized sunglasses. I admit the name was not well chosen, they should have called them “sunglasses with vertical or horizontal bars”, which are able to block polarized light.
So let´s say the sun light which gets reflected off a cloud, is coming vertically towards you, giving you that nasty glare. Now if you put on your polarized sunglasses with “horizontal bars” in them, they will block the vertical light waves and reduce the glare.

Now you´ll think that´s great, cause pilots see sunlight reflecting clouds most of their time, so why can´t they wear polarized sunglasses? Here comes the problem!
Watch the rest of the video to learn more about polarized sunglasses influence your vision in a modern airliner cockpit!

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