Flight Helmets?

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Topaz

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Road cars have airbags, which are the best the average soccer mom will put up with on a day to day basis.
And prior to September 1998, when airbags were made mandatory for cars? People weren't wearing helmets in cars before that date, either.
 

TrikeTrash

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Years ago, I chose hearing protection over head protection and it's worked out for me. Haven't hit my head in a while, but my hearing is still pretty gud! (I convert the best over the ear [shooters] muffs into ear muffs and use a handhold mike for speech. The way I figure it is; if I hit my head hard enough to require a helmet the games over anyway...
 

dwalker

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And prior to September 1998, when airbags were made mandatory for cars? People weren't wearing helmets in cars before that date, either.
And they had high levels of head and neck injuries as a result. We did not have widespread use of the HANS in racing until after 2002, and even with belts and helmet head, neck, and spine injuries were common even in low speed incidents.
 

Topaz

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And they had high levels of head and neck injuries as a result. We did not have widespread use of the HANS in racing until after 2002, and even with belts and helmet head, neck, and spine injuries were common even in low speed incidents.
To each their own. My own perception of the risks is such that I choose to wear a helmet on my motorcycle and choose not to when flying. Your mileage may vary.
 

patrickrio

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General Aviation crashes are very different than automobile crashes in that it is VERY rare to have another GA aircraft crash into another while in flight. It is a pretty small quantity of deaths caused by a pilot not in the same aircraft. So the folks in a GA aircraft are really deciding their own risks not the risk of others MUCH MORESO than in cars.

Widespread use of helmets might cause enough reduction in deaths/injuries that insurance rates could drop. But more likely than not the insurance companies would just pocket the difference since GA aircraft are such a small insurance pool. Once again, this is a big difference than in cars.

As a result of the above, helmets in aircraft are really one of the few true instances where a personal choice that increases your risk actually ALMOST only affects you and the folks that depend on you.

It's one of the places where personal choices REALLY have no good argument not to remain personal choices.
 

don january

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I wonder if I crawl into a plane and the pilot has a helmet on should I ware one also?
 

dwalker

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As a result of the above, helmets in aircraft are really one of the few true instances where a personal choice that increases your risk actually ALMOST only affects you and the folks that depend on you.

It's one of the places where personal choices REALLY have no good argument not to remain personal choices.

I disagree with the latter sentiment, but allow me to share a speech I gave to many racecar drivers with regards to the HANS and properly wearing it with the belts, and learning how to use the fire system etc.--

The thing about safety equipment in racing is this is a thing you CHOOSE to do. There is no need to get into a race car, at all. Since you make that choice you also bear the responsibility for that choice should bad things happen. In general, when you hit a wall or cartwheel down the front straight or burst into flames after smashing into another car, the tragedy is not that you die. If you die your friends and family and people you havent seen from high school will mourn your passing, say nice things about you, and move on with life.
The tragedy is that you live, but as a wheelchair bound husk of your former self, a victim of basal skull fracture, broken neck, or other serious spinal cord injury, as little more than a vegetable unable to do anything for yourself. The people you love, care for, provide for, and have been there for will now have to care for you ever moment of your life. Think of not being able to brush your teeth, bathe yourself, or wipe your butt, and picture your loved ones having to do it for you.
And that is why safety gear is important. That is why it deserves to be taken seriously. I honestly do not care about the dying, we all will die, and it is unlikely we will choose the how or when. But we can make choices to improve our odds of not living as a constant burden.

I have given that little chat dozens, maybe hundreds of times over the years, and I have seen those that heeded it and those that did not. I think a lot of people that choose to do things that carry an inherent risk of bad things happening should take thier personal safety seriously. That is not to say one needs to be scared of thier shadow, but understanding and accepting the risk and making thier own (hopefully good) decisions about thier personal safety.
 

patrickrio

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I think racing is an example where choosing to use lesser safety equipment REALLY affects the costs to other drivers and the cost of racing - both monetarily and psychologically.

A death there on the track, on television where it can be replayed forever has far reaching effects. (Descanse em paz Senna....)

Also, a driver can easily mess up and cause injury to a driver that does not mess up. A very common occurrence in racing. Lesser safety equipment means more likely injured/dead and then the offending driver gets to deal with having caused that. Flying, for the most part, does not have this issue; or at least at a much lesser degree.

Things are different with race cars actually, and a gung ho, macho driver who thinks safety devices are for sissies really does hurt the sport and his fellow drivers and the people watching him race.

It is also a place where control can more easily be exerted. Don't want to agree to the safety measures? No Super License for YOU.

The personal stuff and family effects applies to just about any dangerous activity. Some dangerous activities put much fewer burdens on additional others.

There is an intersection with personal freedom vs. affecting the freedom and rights of others on all dangerous activities.

On some activities, not using available safety devices means you are kind of a dick to your family. For other activities you are actually infringing on the freedoms and rights of unrelated others and possibly causing them real harm by not using the safety equipment.

After saying the above though, I have more often than not used a helmet when flying, and almost always have flown with a ballistic parachute attached to the plane, and always have high quality 5 point harnesses. My ultralight instructor actually had his life saved by a ballistic parachute so I was trained to believe in them. (there is a list of saves in another recent thread, and his name is one of the 134 on the list......)
 
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don january

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What would you do if you were going on exactly the same ride as in your above scenario but you were the pilot and sole occupant?
If it was my mission a few things would come into factor for me. One is it an open cockpit aircraft ? second is my flying confidence level in this aircraft type high ? And probably most important is the aircraft I'm crawling into an ultra-lite with good safety record or a low time Homebuilt
 

dwalker

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Things are different with race cars actually, and a gung ho, macho driver who thinks safety devices are for sissies really does hurt the sport and his fellow drivers.

It is also a place where control can more easily be exerted. Don't want to agree to the safety measures? no super license for YOU.
The first of these things is largely a fallacy. I know very, very few "macho" racecar drivers. Type A personality with massive self confidence and driven to excel? Absolutely. But very, very few "macho" drivers. In general the issues were with kids, who coming from carts felt pretty invincible, and drivers coming from club racing where contact was a huge no-no and thus felt like they could push the envelope. These were the worst offenders for loose belts, improper use of the HANS, and ignoring any understanding of the fire system etc.

As far as control from the sanctioning body? You jest right? When a guy is writing a $75,000 check a weekend to go play racecar, the only thing the sanctioning body cares about is that he has proof he went through an accredited race school.

Now, I have seen overly aggressive race car drivers, and they tend to take a lot of care with thier safety equipment and the way the car is constructed, because they may not plan to crash, but they are not too worried about it happening..

EDIT- The car pictured was written off by an "old hand" who for some reason thought they "still had it" and overdrove the car. They also failed to pay attention to the safety brief, where all drivers were warned that turning onto the dragstrip out of T10 was dangerous as the "water box" for the dragstrip was there and it was very, very slick. The driver drove right into it, started the spin, hit the good pavement, gained traction and was snapped out of the spin and drove directly into a concrete barrier wall still above 70mph. He got out and walked away. Lot of faith and familiarity in the safety gear. He took chances he likely would not have, and of course, he "knew what he was doing" and so skipped the safety brief.
 

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Saville

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If it was my mission a few things would come into factor for me. One is it an open cockpit aircraft ? second is my flying confidence level in this aircraft type high ? And probably most important is the aircraft I'm crawling into an ultra-lite with good safety record or a low time Homebuilt

I would suggest that you use the same criteria as what you wrote above when someone else is flying.
 

User27

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It is my strongly held view that car accidents, and particularly race car accidents, cannot be compared to flying accidents. The arguments used to support safety equipment usage in (any kind of) car are not relevant to aircraft. For 'regular' flying the number of impact injuries that may be prevented by helmets or other car type safety equipment is very, very small. However for those who routinely fly close to the edge of their aircraft's envelope, for example in aerobatics, a parachute may be better insurance. A review of accidents involving bale outs shows flail injuries can be common. Head injuries resulting in difficulty in pulling the rip cord are more common than might be imagined. These are usually low speed injuries were minimal head protection might have enabled the pilot to bale out and still be in a position to deploy the chute. In addition the regular high G loads during aerobatics, and requirement to move your head while pulling, means lightweight headgear is very much preferable.

In my view skydiving type helmets give a good compromise between adequate protection and light weight, I use a Bonehead Guner. The modern 'in-your-ear' headsets, such as the Card Machine Works CQ1 (no affiliation) make it easy to maintain good comms while using any helmet.
 

dwalker

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It is my strongly held view that car accidents, and particularly race car accidents, cannot be compared to flying accidents. The arguments used to support safety equipment usage in (any kind of) car are not relevant to aircraft. For 'regular' flying the number of impact injuries that may be prevented by helmets or other car type safety equipment is very, very small. However for those who routinely fly close to the edge of their aircraft's envelope, for example in aerobatics, a parachute may be better insurance. A review of accidents involving bale outs shows flail injuries can be common. Head injuries resulting in difficulty in pulling the rip cord are more common than might be imagined. These are usually low speed injuries were minimal head protection might have enabled the pilot to bale out and still be in a position to deploy the chute. In addition the regular high G loads during aerobatics, and requirement to move your head while pulling, means lightweight headgear is very much preferable.

In my view skydiving type helmets give a good compromise between adequate protection and light weight, I use a Bonehead Guner. The modern 'in-your-ear' headsets, such as the Card Machine Works CQ1 (no affiliation) make it easy to maintain good comms while using any helmet.
What is interesting is, I just had a conversation with a fellow who had an off-airport landing where his face hit the glare shield resulting in him being knocked unconscious, deep lacerations to his cheek and nose, and a stiff next to go along with his broken arm and banged up legs. If he had been wearing a proper harness and helmet he would have likely escaped with a couple bruises on his legs. On the other hand had the plane caught fire while he was unconscious he would not have been here to walk me through what he remembered of it.
 

PagoBay

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Not Helmets... but are these devices suitable and practical in homebuilt aircraft?
What is Airbag Protection?
Airbag protection was originally designed and used for motorcycle Police Departments around the world, as well as MotoGP racers.
Over time, these were then developed for street riders, and as technology improves, so do these airbag systems.
Non-Tethered
Klim, as well as other well known brands such as Dainese, Alphinestars, and Ixon, use a deployment system where the rider is not tethered to the bike.
These use technology and sensors to monitor the position of a rider and can sense if they're about to come off the bike. These can also detect when a rider is about to be impacted from behind while stationery.
Dainese and AlpineStars have jackets, vests and full riding suits. Klim and Ixon have a vest that is worn under a riders jacket or vest.

 

Vigilant1

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Not Helmets... but are these devices suitable and practical in homebuilt aircraft?
What is Airbag Protection?
Airbag protection was originally designed and used for motorcycle Police Departments around the world, as well as MotoGP racers.
I don't know about those, but there are purpose_built airbags designed for retrofit use in GA aircraft.
Airbag Seatbelts: Pricey, But Effective - Aviation Consumer
About $3000-$4000 to fit them to two seats.

We primarily need something to protect the face and head.

Because of the generous deceleration distance, the airbag would seem likely to do a good job of reducing concussions/brain injury when compared to a helmet, if everything worked as advertised. OTOH, you can buy two pretty nice helmets for that $3000-$4000, and they'll also provide some protection to the side and top..
 
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User27

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What is interesting is, I just had a conversation with a fellow who had an off-airport landing where his face hit the glare shield resulting in him being knocked unconscious, deep lacerations to his cheek and nose, and a stiff next to go along with his broken arm and banged up legs. If he had been wearing a proper harness and helmet he would have likely escaped with a couple bruises on his legs. On the other hand had the plane caught fire while he was unconscious he would not have been here to walk me through what he remembered of it.
The important piece here is a proper harness!!
How many off airport landings are there every year? I suspect very few.
To ask people to wear a helmet to mitigate something that is very unlikely to happen is unlikely to gain traction.
But fitting a 4 point harness gives many more benefits than accident injury prevention so is a much easier sell.
 
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