The man behind PittsPilotSunglasses
Dr. John Pitts is a medical doctor and a private pilot. His full qualifications make him Dr. John Pitts MB ChB LLM DAvMed FRCP FRCS FRCOphth, but he goes by Dr. Pitts to save time. Graduating from Glasgow University in 1983, he worked in various fields, including in pathology, neurology, general and emergency medicine. Then, he continued his training to specialise in ophthalmology and aviation medicine.
He trained at the Tennet Institue of Ophthalmology at Glasgow, Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. His qualifications in the field of aviation medicine includes a Certificate in Aviation Medicine from RAF Farnborough and a Diploma in Aviation Medicine from Kings’ College.
Dr Pitts is a registered specialist in ophthalmology by the General Medical Council and an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is one of just a handful of consultant ophthalmic surgeons in this world. This experience and training has given him a unique insight into the requirements of pilots, specifically in aviation ophthalmology.
His clinical attachments include Los Angeles, New Orleans and Melbourne, and he has worked in Brunei and Barbados. He has published 20 papers in ophthalmology and has contributed to specialist textbooks.
Dr. Pitts is also an enthusiastic pilot with a lifelong interest in aviation. As a medical student he learned to fly in the Scottish Aviation Bulldog as part of the University Air Squadron. He obtained his private pilot’s licence in 1985 and has flown Tomahawks, Warriors and Cessnas. He has flown aerobatics with Ultimate High. His adventures in aerial hitchhiking have had him in Sea King and Merlin helicopters but his personal high point was a flight in a Lightning from RAF Binbrook. Currently he flies the PA-28 from Elstree and the C-172 at the Barbados Light Aeroplane Club.
As a result of his experiences as a specialist in aviation ophthalmology and as a pilot, Dr. Pitts decided to engineer a pair of sunglasses specifically suited to the demands of flying. After much work, the Pitts Pilot Sunglasses was born.
Unique to eyewear products, Dr Pitts then subjected his product to vigorous testing in real flight conditions. A number of pilots were drafted to help test the product in a variety of unusual and demanding environments; flying in the Alpine snow, and in the desert.
There was a flight across Alaska to the North Pole; this was in association with Flying with Diabetes project which set a speed record in the process. You can read more about this epic 17-hour, 1130 nautical mile flight here. And there’s a video of the landing.
The Pitts Pilot Sunglasses was used by pilots in a range of flying machines, from helicopters to fixed wing aircraft. The result was continuous improvement, ultimately achieving a quite superb product, chosen by professionals in high performance environments.
Dr. Pitts believes in a customer-driven design initiative.
My philosophy is that any design can continually be improved. I want to continue listening to my customers and let them suggest improvements for future marks of Pitts pilot sunglasses