Sorry for the late chiming in here. I have been so busy that I have not had time for the forum.I have always been under the impression that wearing a good flight helmet would go a long ways in saving your butt if you had a high G impact and crash.
But, there is evidence that a helmet really won't do that much for you. Two recent crashes, a T-51 and a P-51, illustrate the point.
Both crashes were fatal. In one case, the pilot was wearing a helmet. It did not save him.
In the P-51, the passenger died from the impact. He was not wearing a helmet, but the UK authorities stated in the accident report that a helmet would not have saved him.
So...what real good is a helmet? Unless your are a biker, then it makes a lot of sense.
Let's just say that a lot of the investigation agencies, unless that section of the main report was written by their survival factors folks (which it seldom is), write reports with this attitude of "The crash killed the pilot, so nothing would have saved them". It's this weird sense of fatalism that is partially drawn from lack of knowledge of the subject matter to an adequate depth and partially because they see themselves as focused on PREVENTING crashes and see survival research/investigation as a distraction from that laudable purpose. I'm literally involved in an ongoing discussion with one of the NTSB survival factors folks lamenting this, that the lack of documentation of safety gears (hell, a lot of time, the "regular" investigators--especially the local FSDO folks-- don't even document whether a person was restrained, if the restraints failed, etc), and how to figure out a way to overcome the stifling effect this has on the ability to do in-depth research and improve things.Never said that a helmet would not be used. But there are many accidents where the report clearly states the helmet was of no use in saving the occupant's life, or the statement is made that a helmet would have been zero help.
Just trying to find an accident report where they clearly state..."Both occupants lives were saved due to the wearing of good flight helmets."
Post crash fire has already been pointed out. But every accident report that I have seen lately would argue that a helmet is not any promise of surviving.
With regards to P-51 Mustangs, there have been a number of recent crashes over the past few years. Each one fatal. I'm pretty sure that each of the pilots who perished were wearing a helmet.
Welcome back!All in all, I would recommend a helmet. Ideally, you would want something that meets the Army rotorcraft crew certifications.
Any questions, let me know.
My view is wear a helmet will only help on bailing out. Crashes at flying speed will usually be fatal no matter what's on your head. Landing crashes should be low speed (I know many aren't). I'm more concerned about what happens in a bail out. Many attempted bail outs failed because the wearer was not conscious to pull the rip chord. My reasoning is a helmet must protect against slow speed knocks to the head sustained when jumping out. If the helmet is heavy and uncomfortable I won't wear it. That's why I use a helmet designed for parachuting with an in-ear headset. I pretty much only wear a helmet when I'm wearing a chute, and I almost only wear a chute when in an aerobatic aircraft flying aerobatics.And I'm openly biased in favor of a helmet. Everything I've ever flown has hard stuff my head can break in a crash. Both personal experience, and being first responder at motorcycle accidents, has convinced me to wear a helmet, I feel naked without one.
I'm also pro choice on the matter, and am well aware that healthy 18 year old riders without helmets are the best source for fresh replacement organs. There's a direct statistical correlation between helmet laws and transplant availability, State by State.
Because it was mostly designed in the 40s and 50s before seatbelts when we died like men impaled on steering columns smoking and drinking scotch?To go off at a bit of a tangent, why are so many instrument panels strong enough to inflict fatal trauma to a pilot? They only need to hold the instruments in place under normal flight and ground loads. It seems that many are way overbuilt. My cockpit is going to be very cramped, I want it to yield should I headbutt it...