Warbird flying and helmets

Discussion in 'News' started by evangilder, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Some of the folks I fly with insist on all passengers and photographers wear helmets. We have all seen the results of bird strikes and what kind of damage they can do to aircraft. A bird coming through the canopy at your head can do serious, or worse damage to you head. One of the flight leads that I fly with, Viper, had a bird strike over the weekend and sent me this e-mail:

    He was very lucky to have his canopy hold and to suffer only superficial damage to the aircraft. I have witnessed bird strikes where helmets have saved lives. If you want to fly in these old warbirds, they are a blast, but please make sure you are properly equipped for emergencies, as they can happen.
     
  2. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Amen.
    I've got a friend who was flying a bi-plane when a flying wire broke. The helmet he was wearing was leather-covered kevlar, and the broken wire opened up the leather like a knife. You can just imagine what it would have done to his head.
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    He was real lucky, Gumby! You never know what can happen up there. the more prepared you can be for it, the better off you will be.
     
  4. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    My dad related an incident of a flock of gulls descending in the path of a Corsair as it was making its approach to the runway. The Corsair was promptly waved around for it. The gulls, they weren't budging their flight-path.
     
  5. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    When I picked my helmet up they had one on display that had protected a guy 3 times in one accident:
    He had an engine failure and ended up upside-down in the trees. In the initial impact, he hit his head on the instrument panel hard enough to split the leather - that's one.
    There was a flash-fire, and the helmet has a leather flap that goes down your neck (to keep out the wind, but it appears to work for flames as well) - that's two.
    As he was climbing out of the aircraft, he came crashing down out of the trees and landed on his head - thats three!

    Amazingly, the shell of the helmet was relatively undamaged, but the leather and goggles were trashed.
     
  6. jimh

    jimh Active Member

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    I'll never argue the safety points of a hard hat...I can say that spending 5 to 8 hours in a hot cockpit of a Mustang and even a T-6 is extremely fatiguing. I have a fitted HGU-55 that is really comfortable but the heat and sweat make it impractical. I have a Clarity Aloft headset that I swear by, and wear an original leather helmet over top of that.

    Jim
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    A leather helmet is still better than a baseball cap for protection. The hard shell helmets are definitely not as comfortable, but the added benefit for me is that it gives me a place to mount a video camera.

    I just got these in e-mail of a T-34C bird strike a bit ago. Look at the thickness of the front canopy. It went through that canopy and splattered on the pilots helmet. If he hadn't been wearing a helmet, he would almost certainly have been killed.
     

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  8. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Not a mess I would want to have to clean...


    Wheels
     
  9. J dog

    J dog Member

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    Definitely pays off to wear a helmet! It would stink to be not wearing a helmet if that happened. :(
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #10 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Dec 15, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
    Don't forget the itchy hot spots that you can get on the forehead. I remember wearing my flight helmet over in Iraq for 8+ hours a day, and wanting to rip it off sometimes. Thing got smelly as **** too from all the sweat.

    Here is a bird strike we had one flight.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/personal-gallery/military-memories-5408.html

    We had a much worse one on another flight. It went through the windshield and blew feathers, blood and pieces of bird all over us and the passengers. I had a nice chunk of wing sitting on my crew seat. :lol:
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Man...that T-34 look hideous...thank God the jockey was alright!!

    You would think that in a warbird, they have an armored windscreen to protect the pilot from frontal assault but other types don't have this luxury. I remember when I was a kid, a friend of the family was tooling his Corsair up the Newport Estuary to get into approach to Orange County AP and he flew through a flock of seabirds...it was a nasty situation, but he came out alright. Nothing breached his cockpit/windscreen but the leading edges of the F4U were dinged up pretty good along with the prop and remains were crammed into the cowling...but all was repairable. There was so much gore on his windscreen, he had to open the canopy and peek to get 'er down.
     
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