Aviation seems to create its own special products out of ordinary categories. Want proof? Try pricing a portable GPS designed for aviation and then go down to the boat store and check the sticker on the marine unit. See? Its no different in sunglasses, though were well past the days of all Ray-Ban all the time. Three of our own have been flying with new shades lately. Heres the report.
Fritz: VedaloHD Roma
VedaloHD sent my wife, Li, and me two pair of its $165 Roma sunglasses recently, and we are quite impressed. We tried the same frames with the Copper-Rose and Smoke lenses. The glasses are made in Italy; VedaloHD has 37 styles and variations so you’ll easily find your look.
To improve clarity, VedaloHD has embedded a proprietary material right into the lens. The effect is to boost the red end of the visible range, reducing the effect of haze without using a polarizer. I preferred the darker color, Smoke, while Li instantly adopted the Copper-Rose set with a somewhat orange cast.
Chris Pederson, VedaloHDs marketing director, says the drawback to this lens material is that the company has been unable to offer a prescription version. From what we’ve seen (pun intended), thats not a problem for most folks because VedaloHD also offers a clip-on for regular eyewear. A favorite with aviators would be one of several models with titanium wire frames that are hinged, so that annoying springy-ness of the non-hinged versions is avoided when they’re being put away. The standard frames that we tried stood out a bit too far for me and allowed noise in past the headset cushions. Li, with not so narrow a face, had no problem.
Cook: VedaloHD Rosso2
Ill second Bob and Lis recommendation for the VedaloHD brand of glasses. Bob didn’t mention it, but the big problem with most off-the-rack, consumer-grade sunglasses is that they’re polarized. Fine for driving, but deadly to the LCD screens common to most EFISes such as the twin Dynons in my Sportsman. Every so often I hop in to reposition the airplane wearing my street Natives and end up double-checking that the Dynon EMS-D120 on the right side of the panel is even working. With the polarization doing its thing, that far right screen is totally black through the Natives.
So the VedaloHDs-in my case a set of Rosso2s that I found discounted from the $249 retail price at a local pilot shop-fit the requirements of an EFIS-staring pilot perfectly. The lenses are the NXT Copper-Rose color, perhaps a bit orangy for my taste, but they cut through haze effectively. The glasses are also light, and this style has commendably thin earpieces; they let in almost no additional noise under my Sennheiser ANR headsets.
The Rosso2s are hingeless designs, and that makes them a bit of a pain. In fact, I had to return mine because one of the stems had been bent too far and broke. The glasses have a two-year warranty, with a fixed $12.95 repair cost-its $19.95 if you cant find your receipt. I received mine back a couple of days later from the West Coast service center, looking brand new. If I were to buy again, Id consider the Rappalo model, which is similar to the Rosso2 but with hinges in the earpieces. Overall, though, I love the Rosso2s, and am trying real hard not to lose them.
For more information, call 800/801-4523 or visit http://www.vedalohd.com/.