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Old 07-28-2018, 05:31 AM
mountainride mountainride is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Golden, Colorado
Posts: 32
Default Canopy Tint

I need to give my canopy tint choice to Vans first thing Monday morning to finalize my finish kit order. I am having trouble selecting the correct tint even after combing the archives. I am hoping some folks here can share pictures and experiences.

From what I know the standard Van's canopy is #2515 Light Smoke or Clear. This allows 76% light through which meets Part 23.

Back in the 2000's it appears "Todd's Canopies" was an option many builders were going with. From my understanding he sold tint #2094 (45% light transmittance). Does anyone have any photos of this example?

Right now I am leaning towards canopy tint #2514 Medium Smoke but now that I am looking at all the options am also considering the bronze tint #2539. Did anyone on VAF go with the bronze tint and have any photos?

The last thing is that I will most likely tint the baggage compartment window with #2537 (33%) or #2094 (45%) to keep the airplane cooler in the summer. I was looking at a Cirrus on the ramp last night and it was at least that dark behind the pilot. MY guess is the read windows are somewhere near a 20% tint. Seeing the tint on the Cirrus really made me question how they got it to pass 23.775 on the windshield as it appears at least as dark as #2514 from the photos I have seen online.

75% of my flight will be during the day in Colorado. The other 25% at night. I have always tinted the windows on cars I own right away and feel it improves the comfort of the vehicle dramatically.

I would love to see any pics and description of different canopy tints other than standard if anyone has any to share. I have yet to see a pic of the bronze tint.


§ 23.775 Windshields and windows.
(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.

Transmittance (all thicknesses)
Color number
Solar energy
Visible light
Neutral Gray #2538
Neutral Gray #2537
Gray #2064
Gray #2074
Neutral Gray #2094
Neutral Gray #2514
Neutral Gray #2515
Bronze #2370
Bronze #2412
Bronze #2404
Bronze #2539
Bronze #2540
Haze values for all solar control colors is less than 3%
RV-14 Builder

Last edited by mountainride : 07-28-2018 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 07-28-2018, 06:28 AM
chrispratt's Avatar
chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 671


When I built my RV-8 15 years ago there was no option from Vans, only the standard 2515. When I spoke with a Vans rep back then I was told that darker tints were not legal for night flying and consequently were not offered. However, they did give me the company name of the canopy supplier and I called them directly. They said the darker tint 2514 was legal and was standard on many OEM and other EXP aircraft. So I went that route. (The canopy company shipped the darker canopy to Vans for inclusion in my finish kit.)

My rationale was that I fly in Texas under a very hot sun much of the year and the extra tint would help. It does.

Having said that, I seldom fly at night and to Vans point when I have flown at night I have noticed that night visibility is reduced. I haven't done any scientific or empirical measurements but suspect there is some validity to the visibility comment.

So, my 2 cents, if you are going to fly 25% at night, you might want to err to the side of greater visibility and go with the 2515 while adding a Kroger (sp?) shade or similar for daytime flying.

Chris Pratt (2019 VAF DUES PAID)
RV-8 Flying, 775+hours
Lycoming O-360-A1A, Hartzell CS
52F (Aero Valley Airport, TX)
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Old 07-28-2018, 06:55 AM
Mel's Avatar
Mel Mel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 10,276
Default A word of caution!

When I built my Moni Motorglider, I opted for the tinted canopy because I had no intention of flying it at night.
Just for reference, one evening, I flew around the pattern at sundown.
The instant the sun disappeared behind the horizon, the runway lights disappeared also. IOW, no "twilight" with the tinted canopy.
If you intend to fly any significant time at night, I would strongly recommend that you avoid the tint.
Mel Asberry..DAR since last century
A&P/EAA (LifeTime) Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor/Nat'l Test Pilot School
Specializing in Amateur-Built and Light-Sport Aircraft
North Texas (8TA5)
RV-6 Flying since 1993, 172hp O-320, 3-Blade Catto (since 2003)Sold
Legend Cub purchased 12/2017
FRIEND of the RV-1
Eagle's Nest Mentor
Recipient of Wright Brothers "Master Pilot" Award
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:13 PM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Ponte Vedra, FL
Posts: 940

Most important for me is UV protection so I ordered "SC-15" canopy which blocks about 99% of UV in both bands. It has enough tint to easily notice while looking at it, but meets legal criteria for night flight.
Turner Billingsley
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:46 PM
Robert Anglin Robert Anglin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: houston, texas
Posts: 900
Default Long time now.

We looked at this while doing our 8, years ago now. I was lucky to have been around some Part 23 people with military work as well. We found that there was a mill-spec that was just dark enough in the day and still allowed the pilot to see well enough at night. We did much the same as above. We got the name and number from Van's for their supplier and called them. They made the canopy and sent it to Van's to be put in our kit. I do not recall that spec right now, but if you look at the canopy of an F-16 it is the same tint and color. This is good for day and night safe as well. I think the old NACA reports are a good place to look at this subject, as they address night safety and vision needed for it through a tinted window. It has worked very well, but we do put sun shields over the panel and the canopy cove over it if it is to set in the hot sun for long. Hope this helps, Yours, R.E.A. III # 8-888
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Old 07-28-2018, 06:01 PM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 3,252
Default Sc-15

Originally Posted by mturnerb View Post
Most important for me is UV protection so I ordered "SC-15" canopy which blocks about 99% of UV in both bands. It has enough tint to easily notice while looking at it, but meets legal criteria for night flight.
Same here. I ordered one as well.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/27/2018. Plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (2,000+ hours)
HS SB, empennage, tanks, wings, fuse, working finishing kit
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:36 PM
Yank Yank is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Spotsylvania
Posts: 32

Has anyone seen the Bristle LSA canopy? Itís got an interesting overhead design that keeps the sun off but still allows a great view. Iíll try to post a few pictures...wish me luck
Spotsylvania, VA
RV-14 Tail kit in progress
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:55 PM
DaveO DaveO is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Greenfield, IN
Posts: 296

I ordered the uv protection bubble. the only option that was night legal. If I ordered the darker then it was not night legal.
I order gal, did not even give me any another options of any sort, only regular, uv or dark.

RV-7A N1243A Sold
#140479 RV-14A N1479B Reserved
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Old 07-29-2018, 04:29 AM
Northernliving Northernliving is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 148

Originally Posted by mturnerb View Post
Most important for me is UV protection so I ordered "SC-15" canopy which blocks about 99% of UV in both bands. It has enough tint to easily notice while looking at it, but meets legal criteria for night flight.
What Turner said x10
Brian J.
Boston, MA
RV8 Based at ORH - Purchased
RV8 - The Dream - Under Construction
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:17 AM
Aluminum Aluminum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 197

Originally Posted by chrispratt View Post
My rationale was that I fly in Texas under a very hot sun much of the year and the extra tint would help. It does.
I don't think the visible tint has very much effect on cabin temperature--the canopy itself still gets heated at full power and contributes to overall cabin heat by reducing conduction cooling and by radiating back at you. What you'd need to remove significant heat from the cabin is higher albedo, not darker material. Some car windshields have "Low-E" coating that reflects infrared, but the glass looks clear in visible. Tinted windshields aren't necessarily "Low-E". Is there a "Low-E" coating for acrylic?
Dan V
'91 Zodiac flying since 2013
RV-14A in progress
2019 dues worth every penny
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