Aircraft window tint

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jim_R, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

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    There's a front glass replacement in my future in the next few years, and I may do all of it at the same time while I'm at it. (PA28 with six side windows.)

    In another forum I follow, an owner said he went with light tint up front and darker tint on the back four windows. That got me thinking.

    I did a little poking around during annual this year, and it seemed that LP Aero is the leader in the aviation glass market, but the only way to get UV and IR blocking glass from them is with a tint. They offer UV/IR blocking glass in green and gray with almost identical light transmittance (77% and 76%, respectively). (UV/IR blocking is highly attractive to me, as I live in the south and the inside of the aircraft is like an oven on the ground in the summer.)

    Still, 77% of the available light isn't 100%. While that would be plenty fine during daytime flying, I would rather not give up any light transmittance at night or in IMC.

    That said, I've never flown behind tinted glass and am wondering how big a deal it really is.

    Has anyone else flown at night and/or in IMC behind a tinted windshield, who'd care to give a pirep?

    Does anyone know of a glass provider who offers UV/IR blocking with lighter visible-light tints than LP Aero?


    The obvious solution to maximize visibility and get some heat rejection is to keep the windshield clear, put the 23% tint on the front sides, and consider a darker tint in the farther-back windows. But the windshield is the largest glass panel, and the farther back windows are tiny in comparison, so it's questionable how much that strategy would actually help with heat rejection.

    Any pireps on the value of UV/IR blocking glass in controlling cabin temp in the summertime?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  2. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    IMHO you are worried about nothing. The windshield is only available in clear OR the light tints for the reasons that concern you. Neither LP Aero or Great Lakes Aeroplastics hold Parts Manufacturing Approvals to make windshields in darker tints.

    I really like the gray tinted windshields. I'm pretty sure the one I just pulled out of my plane is green. I've flown green, gray and clear at night for at least 95 hours and have no complaints about any of them.
     
  3. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    §23.775 Windshields and windows.

    (a) The internal panels of windshields and windows must be constructed of a nonsplintering material, such as nonsplintering safety glass.
    (b) The design of windshields, windows, and canopies in pressurized airplanes must be based on factors peculiar to high altitude operation, including—
    (1) The effects of continuous and cyclic pressurization loadings;
    (2) The inherent characteristics of the material used; and
    (3) The effects of temperatures and temperature gradients.
    (c) On pressurized airplanes, if certification for operation up to and including 25,000 feet is requested, an enclosure canopy including a representative part of the installation must be subjected to special tests to account for the combined effects of continuous and cyclic pressurization loadings and flight loads, or compliance with the fail-safe requirements of paragraph (d) of this section must be shown.
    (d) If certification for operation above 25,000 feet is requested the windshields, window panels, and canopies must be strong enough to withstand the maximum cabin pressure differential loads combined with critical aerodynamic pressure and temperature effects, after failure of any load-carrying element of the windshield, window panel, or canopy.
    (e) The windshield and side windows forward of the pilot's back when the pilot is seated in the normal flight position must have a luminous transmittance value of not less than 70 percent.
    (f) Unless operation in known or forecast icing conditions is prohibited by operating limitations, a means must be provided to prevent or to clear accumulations of ice from the windshield so that the pilot has adequate view for taxi, takeoff, approach, landing, and to perform any maneuvers within the operating limitations of the airplane.
    (g) In the event of any probable single failure, a transparency heating system must be incapable of raising the temperature of any windshield or window to a point where there would be—
    (1) Structural failure that adversely affects the integrity of the cabin; or
    (2) There would be a danger of fire.
    (h) In addition, for commuter category airplanes, the following applies:
    (1) Windshield panes directly in front of the pilots in the normal conduct of their duties, and the supporting structures for these panes, must withstand, without penetration, the impact of a two-pound bird when the velocity of the airplane (relative to the bird along the airplane's flight path) is equal to the airplane's maximum approach flap speed.
    (2) The windshield panels in front of the pilots must be arranged so that, assuming the loss of vision through any one panel, one or more panels remain available for use by a pilot seated at a pilot station to permit continued safe flight and landing.

    If I had to do it all over again, I'd put tinted ones all the way around. As it stands, only the windshield and back window (no side windows) will be tinted on the Cardinal.
     
  4. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    You won't be able to tell there's any tint on the windows @ 70% or higher light transmittance. The major benefit to having the tint (in addition to UV protection) is glare reduction. I prefer the gray tint, personally.
     
  5. Bravo

    Bravo Pre-takeoff checklist

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  6. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    This probably sounds silly, but:
    When the kids were little my wife bought a bunch of tinted vinyl plastic and cut it so it fit on the windows in the "Kid Mover" minivan. All you did was unroll it and it stuck to the windows all by itself. It comes in a variety of shades of grey, green and even high contrast yellow.
    A couple of years ago she did the same thing for the plane. She even made a strip that goes completely across the top of the windscreen and keeps the sun out of my eyes while flying. When you don't need it anymore, just take it down (it peels right off) roll it up, and put in back in the bag.
    It's a good, cheap way to cut down glare in the cockpit.
     
  8. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Those are great! Everyone should have a movable sun shade even if the windows themselves have a tint.
     
  9. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's an interesting idea--thanks for sharing. I may have to give that a shot. (Reminds me of "Colorforms" from back when I was a kid!)
     
  10. Gsxrpilot

    Gsxrpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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  11. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    for the windscreen and pilot/co-pilot windows buy tinted windows.

    For remaining windows auto tint (like the Gila) work great. We did this on Cherokee 6 and are very happy with it. We did take out all the rear windows and did the tinting application on the workbench, then reinstalled them (all under A&P supervision) Took a little longer and cost a little more but the results are better than if we tried to apply to the windows in place.

    YMMV
     
  12. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    For reference, your typical clear house windows likely have less than 70% visible light transmittance. You probably never thought your windows looked tinted and they probably aren't. Unless your airplane interior is lighted you won't have any problem flying in the dark.
     
  13. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've never been travelling at 100mph in my house while trying to land in a rainstorm, so I've never really worried about those before.

    The point is still taken, though. Thanks to all for the insight. ("Outsight"? :) )
     
  14. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    Tint is permanent, sun glasses are removable. I have a window replacement coming up too but I'm not going to get tinted plastic in the rear.

    For comfort in cruise, I give my kids two of my Sun Foil window shades (the ones with suction cups) and let them stick them up in such a way as to shade themselves - whatever they need. With a high wing, this is either the rear side windows in the very early morning or, more commonly, the rear window. Some aircraft don't even have a rear window so I don't GAF if that one is blocked in cruise.
     
  15. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm mostly interested in anything I can do to reduce the heat input to the cabin on hot summer days. Sunglasses won't make me cooler.
     
  16. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    Take off? :D
     
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  17. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Would be nice if some bloke put the different types of windshields side by side on the ramp over a thermometer on a sunny day and let us know the results.
     
  18. winrose46

    winrose46 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have the D'Shannon tinted green windows. I replaced my front with thicker and the sloped version on my S Bonanza. When my back windows cracked with my autopilot malfunction (pitch was misswired), I replaced the side windows with the same green and to add the copilot vent windows, that forced the thicker window and the cost to fabricate larger hinges to fasten the windows and the interior was very expensive (I think more than the windows.) I do not notice the tint unless I am looking for it and it does not seem to cool the interior.
     
  19. Justin Rundle

    Justin Rundle Filing Flight Plan

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    Why do some pilots always give people a hard time. This gent is asking a legitimate question.
    .
    Any tint that reduces light will also reduce heat. That's pure physics. It would be nice to block UV rays as much as possible to prevent damage to the interior and the passengers.
    .
    I have some follow up questions to this post. Are there any UV blocking tints that can be used on plexiglass windows of a light sport like a Skycather C-162?
     
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  20. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    I got dark tint on rear windows. When on the ground I would use either custom foil shades or canvas hull cover. I have the hull cover from PO, it will also protect against frosted windows. I went with gray tint.
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have UV blocking, grey tinted windows on the pilot and passenger side that I put in 6 months ago. Have flown at night and in IMC with them and can't tell any difference. Do see a bit less heat (subjectively). I also did cling tint on the rear 4 windows. Used the Gila cling product. Would not use that on windows I need to see out of, a bit distorted and too dark.
     
  22. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    I tinted the rear 6 windows in my 36 and it really helped out. Followed instructions on CSOBeech.com I left the front two windows and the windshield untouched so it's still pretty toasty in the summer up front but the back is way way cooler, thus the whole plane has benefitted. IMG_1418.jpg
     
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  23. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    grey tint here from LP Aero. no issues at night.
     
  24. Unkljohn

    Unkljohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Jet shades makes a removable solution, but they are expensive and I have no idea how effective they really are.
     
  25. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Just to add to the mix, in my experience, if you're looking for sun/UV solution while flying then a Rosen visor or similar product seems to work best and if looking for a solution while the aircraft is parked removable interior sun shields, custom cut to every window, definitely work the best. Since a lot of my experience is on the helicopter side which usually have a lot more window area, the above methods had the best success, with the static stick on filters second for flying options.
     
  26. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Have a hard look at Great Lakes Aero windows. They are an OEM manufacturer for CIrrus, Mooney, and others. Quality is first rate.

    I’m flown extensively behind all 4 tinting option in all conditions.

    4 levels of tint/effects:
    * Opt 1 - No Tint / Extremely high glare / Max heat transmutation of solar heat / lowest cost

    * Opt 2 - Gray or green standard tint to FAA max tint. This is the exact tint is shipped on all new Cessna’s, Cirrus’s, etc.
    / Reduced glare / Industry standard / No visibility issues at night or IMC

    * Opt 3 - Dark gray, nearly black. Not FAA approved for front windows needed for flight
    / Inappropriate for flight operations / No glare / Low heat transmitting / different tints from fore to aft / Frequently used a “poor mans” choice for aft windows instead of Solar control gray

    * Opt 4 - Grey standard Tinit with UV-A UV-B protection (solar control grey)
    / Take the best of option 2 & 3 and combine them / Lowest heat transmission / excellent visibility / can be combined with standard tint on other windows and looks the same appearance / most expensive

    I went with solar control grey all around and would not pick any other option. I hardly ever wear sunglasses when flying any more after installing these windows. The windows are essentially lightly tinted sunglasses. As @Bell206 said, I use a Rosen shade if extra protection is needed. When the plane had clear windscreen, the Rosen and sunglasses were barely enough.

    Every thousand feet the negative effects of UV on health & interior finishes intensifies.

    Have a look here for more specifics regarding the installation in my 182P: http://welch.com/n46pg/category/windows/
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
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  27. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    Anything you can do to reduce UV penetration is probably a good thing. Pilots have a much higher incidence of malignant melanoma than the general population. My dermatologist pointed this out after I had a stage 0 melanoma diagnosed and removed. Fortunately, there was no treatment required other than removal, and the FAA was easily satisfied with the pathology and treatment documentation I provided. Those years I spent under the bubble canopy of my AA-1A probably didn't help.
     
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  28. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Worth mentioning that 77% tinting is not 3/4 blackened. The percentage of tinting is not a linear number representing a level of darkness. It would be very very surprising if you got into a tinted gray window aircraft and had any meaningful obscurity of vision at night or in IMC. For me personally it’s more difficult to find traffic in a non-tinted window aircraft. Others may have a completely different experience. Remember nearly 100% of factory airplanes have tinted gray windows, and have done so for many years.

    I’ve flown extensively behind clear wind screens and gray tinted wind screens, and I see better out of the gray tinted in all weather conditions. The glare that comes through perfectly clear windscreen can be painful to the eyes. The glare coming through fog for an IMC example can be intense.

    Give Great Lakes Aero a phone call and ask them for a free sample kit of their window products. They will send you a set of small squares of each type and you could look through it yourself in different conditions and judge.