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Oakley Flight Deck Review
Cons: Poor lens durability
Bottom line: This is a stylish resort goggle.
With a sleek, fighter pilot-like appearance, the Oakley Flight Deck gives skiers and boarders a big wide open view of the mountain. Keep reading to compare how this model stands up to other frameless goggles, like the Dragon NFX and the POC Lobes. Although lens durability was questionable, the frameless Flight Deck, like the Dragon NFX, is a top performer for lift-served skiers and snowboarders.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Oakley says the Flight Deck has "an unrivaled field of view with a wide range of helmet compatibility"; this description is indeed spot-on. This oversized, rimless goggle delivered the largest field of view of all our test goggles. Maybe not the best choice for carrying in the ski pack, like the Oakley A-Frame 2.0, Smith I/O7 or Smith Squad, but the Flight Deck is definitely at home while hitting the resort slopes.
With increased coverage came decreased breathability to some degree. For resort riding, the Flight Deck performed well, only suffering when the temps really warmed up. Like most of our test goggles, this model has a thin open cell foam at the top of the lens which allowed some airflow, but with the small breathable section at the bottom of the lens, the goggle has less breathability than the Smith I/O7, Smith I/OX, or Oakley Airbrake XL. The decreased breathability did create some fogging as a result.
This model was surprisingly comfortable for almost all of our testing crew, fitting all but the smallest faces. Similar to Oakley's Airbrake XL, the Flight Deck has a three-layer foam padding that cushions the face nicely. The outermost layer that contacts the face is a soft, brushed foam that wicked moisture well. The wide strap felt great with or without a helmet on, providing more surface area for contact, and is easily adjustable.
This model is almost all lens and is compatible with some eyeglasses due to the frame notches at the temple. Initially we were quite pleased with the Flight Deck's optical quality, definitely the great view we expect with Oakley's products. We started with the Persimmon lens on a snowy overcast day and were pleased with the visual quality and overall sharpness. That held true for the first couple uses, but then the sun came out and we switched from the Persimmon lens to the Jade Prizm lens. The Flight Deck's lens is one of the easier models to switch, only slightly more difficult than the Oakley Airbrake. The overall bright light performance was great with some decreased quality in the shade, as is expected of most bright light lenses.
On the second sunny day we used the Prizm lens, we noticed scratching on the interior of the lens, even though the goggles were placed in their protective bag - as per usual. The outer lens held up just fine, although it does provide more surface area for fingerprints etc. With the exception of the scratches on the inner lens, optically correct Prizm lenses performed superbly, but when compared with the inner lens durability of all the other test goggles, the lens was disappointing. This was surprising since we also used a Prizm lens with the Oakley Airbrake and didn't experience any scratches. As we mentioned in the breathability metric, the lenses were prone to some fogging as well. For a better-ventilated goggle with equal lens quality, the Smith I/OX or Smith I/O7 may be a better choice.
Other than the Prizm lens durability issue we discussed above, the durability was decent and we didn't see any obvious weak points. The beefy frame, though not obvious due to the "frameless" style, provides a very durable platform. Although we didn't have any big spills, we have no doubt the Flight Deck would stand up to even the biggest yard sale on the mountain. Another solid performer in this regard is the Dragon NFX which also sports a beefy frame.
With the sheer amount of coverage the Flight Deck provides, the protection was excellent. The goggles are 7.25" wide and 4.05" high - virtually all lens due to the frameless design. Oakley didn't randomly choose this name, which is based on the visors of aviation helmets. The solid feel of this goggle is in part due to the rigid frame that keeps the lens secure. The Flight Deck is heavier than other offerings in our test, like the Oakley Airbrake and POC Lobes, but with that extra weight comes extra protection.
The lens covers a good portion of the skier's face and provided a good seal from the elements, keeping out the sun, wind, snow, and rain. Due to the large size, the Flight Deck may not be the best choice for riders with smaller facial structures due to gapping on the edges of the goggle and they may be happier with a smaller goggle like the Oakley A-Frame 2.0 or Bolle Carve. For those skiers and riders who like the large, modern, frameless style, the Dragon NFX is another option.
Oversized with a smooth, sleek, modern appearance, the Flight Deck is a great option for riders looking for a solid, trendy goggle. Our testers who occasionally hike with their goggles on preferred other choices like the Smith Squad or the POC Lobes which also has a more modern look. For a similar but slightly different style, the Dragon NFX is another good choice for those skiers and riders seeking a larger frameless design.
The Oakley Flight Deck is a stylish goggle that really shines in its resort performance, providing a big wide-open view of the slopes. It offers great eye and face protection with a stout, rigid frame and a nice wide and easily adjustable strap.
— Jason Cronk
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