Take the Glare Out of That Glareshield

With bare aluminum the sun can be absolutely blinding to the pilot.

Many popular aircraft kits‭ ‬utilize a sheet of aluminum to form the‭ ‬glareshield‮—‬that‭ ‬“shelf”‭ ‬located above‭ ‬the instrument panel and below the‭ ‬windshield‭. ‬While this component‭ ‬provides a cover to the avionic components‭, ‬it also can function as a mirror to send blinding sunlight into your eyes and block‭ ‬your vision‭. ‬A more accurate description of the problem is that this glareshield reflects sunlight back up to the inside of your‭ ‬windshield‭, ‬obscuring the view outside‭. ‬Of course this does not happen all of the time‮—‬you have to be traveling in just the right direction relative to the sun‭. ‬When it does occur‭, ‬it is annoying and even dangerous‭ (‬e.g‭., ‬when on final to land‭).‬

The problem with the glareshield in the kit you are building may be that it does not provide a‭ ‬“shield”‭ ‬as aluminum is highly reflective by nature‭! ‬So it is your job to find a way to reduce or eliminate this reflective surface‭. ‬The‭ ‬kit manufacturer knows that this is also a cosmetic choice only the builder can pick‭. ‬One‭ ‬popular option is to paint the surface‭. ‬Keep in mind that many paints are glossy and can still reflect considerable light‭. ‬And‭, ‬if you choose this solution‭, ‬the‭ ‬glareshield often cannot be easily painted once installed in the aircraft‭. ‬There is little room for painting in the narrow corners where the windshield is attached‭. ‬Builders are often only convinced about the glare problem when they experience it firsthand‭ ‬in flight‭, ‬so this step is often neglected during construction‭.‬

Some sample “trunk liner” fabrics. When shipped, these can arrive extremely wrinkled. Fifteen minutes in the dryer fixes this problem.

Another favorite option to reduce‭ ‬glare‭ (‬and can be addressed even after‭ ‬the aircraft is finished‭) ‬is to use‭ ‬auto trunk carpet‭, ‬also known as‭ ‬speaker box liner‭. ‬Search Amazon and other internet stores using these terms‭. ‬Similar to felt fabric‭, ‬this material is black‭, ‬very lightweight‭, ‬inexpensive‭, ‬extremely thin and easy to cut‭. ‬It is not the same as the carpeting in your car‭, ‬which is much thicker‭ ‬and heavier‭. ‬The flat‭, ‬black‭, ‬slightly‭ ‬fuzzy surface is ideal for eliminating‭ ‬reflections and provides a professional‭ ‬appearance to your aircraft’s interior‭. ‬It can be found at hobby and craft stores‭. ‬Be careful when shopping for this material online as it may be difficult‭ ‬to determine its weight and thickness‭. ‬There is no ideal thickness‮—‬you need to make a personal evaluation for best choice‭. ‬If the online product reviews exclaim dissatisfaction because it is too thin and‭ ‬allows light to pass through‭, ‬you may‭ ‬have found the correct material‭! ‬

With fabric in place, glare problem solved!

Installation is simple‭: ‬Using scissors‭, ‬cut the fabric to the desired size and‭ ‬shape and then glue to the glareshield‭ ‬surface‭. ‬For aluminum‭, ‬simply use a‭ ‬light spray coat of fabric adhesive for a good bond‭. ‬It can always be pulled off later if desired‭. ‬I used a large sheet‭ ‬of paper to design a template while‭ ‬experimenting for the best appearance‭. ‬You can choose to cover all or just part of the glareshield surface‭. ‬

You may find other areas of your aircraft interior that can make use of this liner‭. ‬While not durable enough for use under your‭ ‬feet‭, ‬its light weight and simple installation makes it great for dressing up other metal interior surfaces‭. ‬As for your new glareshield that genuinely eliminates glare‭, ‬you may also find that Velcro covered objects will stick nicely in place to this material and provide for an easy reach while flying‭.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.