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Helmets - Should you? and Which?

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Helmets - Should you? and Which?

Old 22nd May 2002, 11:08
  #81 (permalink)  
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I'm obviously preaching to the converted here but I'd feel very strange flying around without a bone dome.

I've banged my head countless times whilst attempting resus, the dark visor is more practical (and less wannabe) than a pair of Oakleys and the clear visor invaluable during hot loads.

My only 'helmet pet hate' is fellow crew members (a minority) who insist on wearing one away from the aircraft during an incident. They cannot hear a thing and risk damaging a valuable piece of kit. We provide kevlar safety helmets for that sort of thing!!!

Also, most UKHEMS operators require paramedics to share helmets (normally 3 between 30) often resulting in an ill fit (despite multi-fit velcro tabs). I know it's probably a charity/money thing but surely a lose helmet is going to do more damage than good if we cream in?
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Old 22nd May 2002, 11:22
  #82 (permalink)  
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I've always worn a helmet when crop dusting in either an airplane or helicopter. Two years ago while spraying a field my engine starting spooling down without any advanced notice. I was headed for a large area of trees, which were probably 85 to 100 feet high, so I pulled up and turned left 90 degrees out over another field and proceeded to land. As luck would have it we had just received 8 inches of rain so the field I'm landing in is wet to say the least. The first part of the rollout was not bad but as the wheels began to sink in the mud the tail started coming up. We were pretty slow by then but not enough to keep from flipping over on her back.

We fly Ayres Turbo Thrushes which have enclosed cockpits. As the bird flopped on her back the cockpit stuck down in the mud and crushed the top of the fiberglass canopy. The doors of a Thrush let down; but, now they were stuck about six inches in the mud. I released my harnes and fell into the top of the cab and proceeded to get the left door off. Each side has an emergency release which alows the door to come off the hinge pins. Most crop dusters have ample room at the bottom of the cockpit where you sit but if you flip it over, it's mighty small up where your head normally is. With the top of the door firmly stuck in the mud I had to bend the door over enough to crawl out all the while praying very hard that she wouldn't catch fire. Time slows down when your scared but it seemed like it took ten minutes to get out. After I got out on my hands and knees I was covered with mud from head to toe. I knew there was a little bar about a half mile away and believe it or not bars are open in Louisiana at 8:00 in the morning.

The cause of the engine failure was the torque sensor fuel pump gear broke in half which caused the fire to go out. Funny thing about engine failures, the insurance company will pay to fix the airplane but not the engine. A pilot can run out of gas and they'll fix the whole machine; but, let part of the engine fail and it's no longer covered.

Getting back to helmets. When we flipped over on our back the fiberglass and mud shoved down on my head pretty good. I didn't have any injury's but that next winter when the helmet was sent in for it's semiannual refurb the shell was cracked. I wear a Flight Suit helmet, that is form fitted to my head, and they do not repair shells. So, I had to spend several hundred dollars for a new helmet. In the end, I'm sure glad I had one on to start with.
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Old 22nd May 2002, 12:14
  #83 (permalink)  
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You bring up a good point crop duster,

Whenever you are in an accident you should send you helmet for a check, even if there is no visible damage.

A colleague heavy (very heavy) landed a Kiowa a few years ago and found a small nick on the outside shell of the helmet as a result of the impact. Initial visual inspection and a bit of prodding seemed to indicate the helmet (and pilots head) were still serviceable. A complete inspection completed in a lab revealed that the helmet was severly fractured through about a 3 inch circle around the mark; it would not have provided adequate protection in another bingle.

The pilots head had contacted the emergency door release during the accident, which he was not aware of. It saved his life, but would not have worked twice.

I think that if it worth paying for a helmet once it is worth paying for again!

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Old 22nd May 2002, 18:17
  #84 (permalink)  
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May I put in a word for persuasion and tolerance here? Most posters have avoided thumping the table and demanding that 'something be done,' but one or two have overstepped the mark.
If you can't persuade someone to use a helmet, don't take refuge in seeking to 'mandate' it. Given public attitudes towards us, no helicopter pilot should ever use the words ban, prevent, mandate, force, ground, or oughterbealaw without long and careful consideration.
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Old 15th Jul 2002, 00:25
  #85 (permalink)  
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One saved my skull - I love them.

Anybody know (in Aust) where to pick up an Alpha? Cost?
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Old 15th Jul 2002, 10:24
  #86 (permalink)  
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Nomads and hoverboy, I'd be interested if you can tell me where I can get more information on the helmets you mention and where I could purchase one (especially in UK).

I well remember the incident of which John Eacott speaks, it happened in 1967 at RNAS Culdrose. There was also a nasty accident on HMS Bulwark in 1968 when a Wessex V with an underslung load, just coming to the hover over the deck, suffered an engine runaway up, with that engine being shut down by the overspeed trip system. The aircraft crashed on to the deck, the main rotor departed into the Mediterranean, and the main gearbox partially detached from its mounting and part of it entered the cockpit. The pilot's life was saved by his 'bonedome' which had the appearance of the shell of a hard-boiled egg which has just been cracked prior to being peeled.

I must say that after I left the military I felt naked without a bone dome. One of my friends lost his licence when a 58ET he was flying in the North Sea in 1976 lost its tail rotor because of tail rotor buzz just as he was coming into the hover over a production platform deck. The aircraft fell off the rig deck onto the deck of a crane barge below. His skull was fractured when it was impacted by the corner of the overhead console and it was a number of years before he regained his licence. I think that a helmet would undoubtedly have saved him all those hard years of suffering. There was a fair amount of debate afterwards as to whether pilots should wear helmets, the management of the company arguing that if pilots wore them then they would have to be provided for passengers also (so what!); and that as offshore flying was public transport it was unnecessary, as one did not see pilots of passenger fixed-wing wearing them (they failed to mention that one also did not see the pilots of fixed-wing landing on moving rigs offshore at night in 60 knot winds!). However, they failed to mention that most passengers are not sitting in helicopters for 500+ hours a year as are most of we drivers-airframe. The matter was never properly resolved, but when I was flying on mountain ops in Iran we were provided with Gentex helmets which were comfortable even in temperatures well into the mid forties centigrade. On the operation where I am now the choice is left to the individual and quite a few pilots wear helmets. Certainly I notice that with the passage of the years the increasingly unpadded pate suffers a lot more from being bashed on the rotor brake and the numerous other overhead protuberances on most helicopters. A helmet would help there. Also, with advancing years, for most of us, comes deteriorating eyesight and as most helmets are provided with a dark visor there is no need to be constantly taking off normal spectacles and putting on sunglasses (which anyway are very expensive if one has them with prescription lenses). I also think that a helmet visor would be less likely to suffer from condensation than a pair of sunglasses, being a bit further from the face and having better air circulation.
The point of the clear visor on most helmets providing good protection from bird strikes is also very valid, especially on those helicopters with perspex screens. I have seen at least 4 bird strikes on company helicopters in the last 3 years and the fact that the pilots were at least wearing sunglasses gave some protection to their eyes. If they had had no eye protection I think that at least one of them would have been blinded in one eye.
I don't wear a helmet at present, but I would like to and if the 2 gentlemen mentioned above could send me some details I'd be most grateful. Incidentally, do any of the helmet manufacturers provide ANR earpieces, or is the increased level of hearing protection sufficient to render this unnecessary?
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Old 15th Jul 2002, 13:23
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If a non rotary pilot might stick his head around the door...

Firstly the Alpha is very expensive (about 600) but a really comfortable and strong piece of kit. I got to wear one once or twice in a FJ, and for maintaining lookout during high g manoeuvring, they're unbeatable. I'd certainly invest in one if I did much aerobatics.

I spend much of my life climbing in and out of various aircraft, some of which are open cockpit, some not, and some too cramped to accomodate a bonedome (which I've been rather unhappy about on several occasions). I use a combination system from "Communica", a British company. it consists of headsets, helmets which fit over the headsets, and removable locking clear visors. So, for most circumstances and types, I'm covered.

I think other companies, such as Lynx and Airzone do similar systems, although I think Lynx is probably the only one with a BS kitemark for helmet integrity. The helmets usually will also work with a number of other headset types, which is just as well since some of the plugs used on this kit (which is generally designed for microlight use) are pretty non-standard.

It's a good compromise, that works for me anyway.

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Old 15th Jul 2002, 13:32
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Oh yes,

http://www.microlightsport.co.uk/Cat.../Lynx/lynx.htm is a firm that stocks the Lynx kit, which I've flown with and is at-least as good as my Communica gear (which I notice they've got as well).


Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 15th Jul 2002 at 13:35.
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Old 15th Jul 2002, 19:27
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Cool Your right to look at this option.....

Your certainly right to give consideration to this, you are correct that it is mandatory to wear helmets for HEMS missions, however most of us wear them all the time for reasons stated above.
HEMS flight or not, given the option I will wear one every time, however the correct fitting requires attention......
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Old 18th Jul 2002, 04:03
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The only difference between wearing a helmet or not....... Is an open or closed CASKET....

I will have an open one!!!!!!!
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Old 19th Jul 2002, 10:31
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Sorry to take so long.

Websites to check for a CGF Gallet helmet are;




Safe Flying


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Old 18th Aug 2002, 03:02
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What a wonderful thread...

I personally have always worn a helmet...even in SE Asia flying @ +39C. I have worked for a number of companies, however, that balk at Mandating helmets because then they are on the hook to purchase them. I think this sends a lousy message...tout the benefits of helmets but only if the employeee forks over the coin.

My current employer, a Cdn EMS company, underwrites the cost of a helmet purchase by 50%. They buy the helmets bulk from Gentex with a company PO, then the pilot pays his share of the helmet cost over a 6 month period thru a pay deduction. This co-operative system works great and encourages helmet purchases.

But wait, they have an EMS contract that mandates that the Medics wear helmets, thus they pay 100% of the medics' helmets but only 50% of the pilots' helmets!!

How's that for fostering unity among employees!!

We can only purchase the SPH 5. I think if I had my $ over, I would buy an Alpha.

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Old 18th Aug 2002, 03:48
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In the US, at least, helmets seem to be the exception, not the rule. I know of very few in use offshore, those being flights for the MMS, gov't inspectors, sometimes. There is a place for them, as John Eacott noted, on fires, longline, etc, but for most routine transport I don't think they're necessary. I wore a helmet for years in the military, & haven't worn one regularly since. I tried one on a MMS flight once, & removed it very quickly. Admittedly it was a poor fit, but the noise reduction was much less than my custom headset, & I couldn't understand radio traffic at all, because the audio quality was so poor. I've been flying since 1968, & fortunately I've never been in a situation where the helmet would have been any help.

I do realize this is a subjective area, & I won't argue with anyone who wants to wear a helmet, as long as he won't argue with me for not wearing one.
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Old 21st Aug 2002, 01:29
  #94 (permalink)  
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I will not argue with you about wether or not you should wear a helmet - I agree with you about being your own choice (unless your employer dictates otherwise).

There were two comments you made that caught my attention:

"but for most routine transport I don't think they're necessary"


"I've been flying since 1968, & fortunately I've never been in a situation where the helmet would have been any help. "

These comments are directly applicable to the B205 accident discussed on Page 3 of this thread. There is a link posted by NR Fairey to the accident report. My guess is that the pilot involved may have had those same thoughts as he took off.

It is well worth the time and effort to read this report. It certainly influences my feeling toward wearing helmets - perhaps it can offer you another point of view to consider.
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Old 28th Sep 2002, 17:21
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Here's one for idle curiousity.... what's the feeling or rules on helmets? When should they be worn? Is there a written requirement?

I wear one anyhow... more for comfort; shades over specs just doesn't work for me .... but there's the safety aspect too.

Go for it guys.... let's hear what experience thinks.
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Old 28th Sep 2002, 19:01
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check the last page:'pilot's helmet...any questions?'
Pretty much says it all for me.
I'm sure there's a few of you out there that can come up with similar pic's. Please post if you do.
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Old 28th Sep 2002, 21:47
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Now there's one lucky guy!

I think I'll be keeping me lid on, strapped up and visor down!
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Old 29th Sep 2002, 14:10
  #98 (permalink)  

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Couldn't agree more. Many years ago, a young teeteringhead crashed (and trashed) a military UH-1. Not my fault! Control malfunction not enemy action, so a read across to all rotary methinks.

There was a hole in the side of my helmet (probably from rotorbrake cylinder), that you could have put your fist through. That hole would have been in my head......

A few months in hospital for me; crew chief and 2 pax (without helmets) not so lucky I'm afraid.......
And I'm still flying, but always with a helmet!!

Last edited by teeteringhead; 29th Sep 2002 at 14:25.
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Old 29th Sep 2002, 19:00
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another lucky fellow:
no picture, but still a good read.
And check out:
just sign up to read it.

Last edited by almost canadian; 29th Sep 2002 at 20:58.
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Old 30th Sep 2002, 02:52
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That's it!!... I am most definately keeping my lid on!

Given how often I can afford to fly thesedays the added safety outways the SFH company saying it's not too sure about me wearing it.

Thanks guys.
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