Flight Helmets?

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BJC

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Pardon my French but that’s complete bull****. People used the “restricted field of view” argument when de Haven and company started pushing for shoulder harnesses. It was a facile argument then and remains so in this setting.

If you have seriously restricted movement from the lateral restraints, you have them pulled too tight. If it’s properly adjusted you should have enough slack in them to look almost completely left and right. They are designed to restrict head rotation when a driver’s head is as far forward as the device allows. The drivers have to be able to look left and right just like a pilot does and for the same reason (to avoid hitting anything).
Steve:

If you think that the field of view that a NASCAR driver has is adequate for an airplane pilot, then please do not fly VFR.
upload_2019-8-28_2-44-42.jpeg

BJC
 

RSD

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I don't think that seats with fixed head restraint wings are practical for aviation.
 

Topaz

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Clearly there are strong opinions all around. There are always ways to be "more safe", and effective ways at that, although they will extract their own cost in their own ways. It's easy to say, "Safety is our top priority!" but when it becomes the primary target, a lot of utility tends to go out the window. In the end, safety and utility must be balanced, and that balance is going to be different for every application and every individual.


Acknowledging that someone else's chosen balance is different than yours, but equally valid, is the only way to go. Bringing strings of asterisks into the discussion isn't going to solve anything.

But helmet head is a tragedy, no matter how you look at it. And Ron, I can't stop staring. o_O :D
 
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Aesquire

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I've gotten grief for my your choice attitude on helmets on motorcycles for..... 21st century? Ok, since they were hand laid up fiberglass, and long before Bell ( which folded, but another company bought the brand name ) started it's advertising campaign "It you've got a $10 head, but a $10 helmet".

https://www.motorstate.com/IfYouveGot.htm

just like there's lots of stupid reasons not to wear protective gear, like seat belts, there are lots of reasons to make wearing them mandatory.

"It will save insurance rates". Always been a lie. Sure, it saves the insurance company some money, but I have never seen my rates cut as each law requiring gear passes. And no one else I've met ever bragged their bill went down.

"It will reduce the burden of the public paying for the health care of the brain damaged" Ok, that's true. It's a slippery slope that can only end in outlawing anything even possibly dangerous, however. I know this sounds horrible, but head injured 18 year old boys are a prime source of transplant organs. If politicians were being practical, a donor card would be a licence to not wear a helmet.

The best reasons are never heard. "It's much nicer for the first responders not to have to deal with brain tissue all over the scene" ( personal experience ) And my favorite seat belt joke. " It helps the ambulance crew to find the crash victim" because climbing down a cliff to retrieve the guy thrown through his windshield is dangerous, and hauling a stretcher up the cliff is hard work. ( been there )

Still, you choose your own path. I'll insult your choice. Fair's fair. You get to, too.

And while I have mocked half helmets on motorcycles, I've personally seen them save lives. They don't do much to protect your face, but for bouncing your skull off pavement, airframes, or canopies, they are light years better than nothing. Pick one that goes low enough in back to cover the Occipital.

Bicycle helmets are one use items. With a lifespan as the foam ages. But they mass nearly nothing, are cheap, can ventilated the head well, and again, are far better than nothing.

The downside is helmet hair, stupid people making fun of you, and it may be destroyed already on a second impact. Consider Elliot Seguin's crash, where a bicycle helmet might not have been enough to do the job.

https://fearoflanding.com/accidents/accident-reports/experimental-jet-crashes-in-mojave/

Ultimately it's your choice. Advice is freely offered. Helmets have saved my life, so I admit both bias, and hard earned experience.
 

wsimpso1

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Pardon my French but that’s complete bull****. People used the “restricted field of view” argument when de Haven and company started pushing for shoulder harnesses. It was a facile argument then and remains so in this setting.

If you have seriously restricted movement from the lateral restraints, you have them pulled too tight. If it’s properly adjusted you should have enough slack in them to look almost completely left and right. They are designed to restrict head rotation when a driver’s head is as far forward as the device allows. The drivers have to be able to look left and right just like a pilot does and for the same reason (to avoid hitting anything).
In fairness, the viewing out if a race car is pretty much in the horizontal plane of the drivers eyes. Head on a swivel is important in airplanes, but is not sufficient. We need to see down and back at a 45 on both sides for the traffic pattern, we need to see up and forward in steep turns, lazy eights, wingovers, and box canyon turnarounds, and we need to see straight up to pick up the horizon twice in each loop. A lot of airplanes have skylights or bubble canopies for a reason.

Since most of us fly with three point harness and without helmets, what say we work toward getting everybody's torso securely connected to the seat and wearing a helmet before we get too far into how much like a NASCAR racer we should go with our little airplanes...

Billski
 

PTAirco

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I think most of us have the Bingelis' books and they are full of useful stuff. But it is fair to point out potentially dangerous practices.
 

litespeed

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For starters,

Most race cars do not have a seat like that.
You are not driving a race car

The general principles apply only, any other comparison is been used as a excuse not to wear a helmet.

If I can get a comfortable helmet to ride with including the need to look behind me, sideways etc to look for traffic- you can also for a aircraft.

I have never had a vision issue with a quality open face, mine includes a flip down screen and even a flip down sun visor. Looks a lot like a flight helmet and has the same vision ability.

Stop making excuses.

Helmet hair, really if your reason is looks or been subject to comments from people who would rather be dead than mess their hair- you should get yourself a spine.

Also, trust me your hair will look real bad with your brains and blood all over it.

 

Topaz

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For starters,

Most race cars do not have a seat like that.
You are not driving a race car
In fact, in terms of this discussion, we're not talking about driving a car at all, and yet any and all of the reasoning given here for airplane use applies equally to a road car. And yet how many of you drive to work - using a car - with a helmet on?

Stop making excuses.
I don't think anyone is. Nor is anyone explicitly arguing that nobody should wear helmets. What you're missing is that this is truly an individual choice, an individual balancing of risk versus benefit. If you choose to wear a helmet when flying, hey, more power to you. If I choose not to, that's my choice. Don't take the choices made by other people so personally. They're not saying you're wrong. They just haven't made the same choice you have.
 

Aesquire

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To clear up a few misconceptions.
Motorcycle helmets only here, not industrial or other.
In the U.S. there are 2 basic "levels" of helmet certification. DOT & Snell.

Everything legal for street use must be one or the other. They differ in impact resistance, ( penetration ) and energy absorption.

There are European standards, ECE & BSI...

Some U.S. Racing organizations require Snell, and some also accept ECE.

In the past, Snell standards required a "harder" helmet than DOT, which passed more impact energy to the head, but better protected against multiple impact penetration. But recently that gap has narrowed, as Snell changed to reduce energy transfer.

This is an over simplified version of a very complex subject. Bikers have argued endlessly about which is better. My pragmatic opinion is buy what is required by the rules of your organization. If there are no rules you need to comply with, buy what fits you best. Anybody's standard, not cheap untested junk.

The minor technical differences are unimportant compared to fit.

https://www.motorcyclelegalfoundation.com/the-safest-motorcycle-helmet-you-can-buy/#bsi

https://silodrome.com/snell-vs-dot-vs-ece-r22-05-helmet-standards-throwdown/

https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2019/01/29/helmet-motorcycle-safety-standards-2019-changes-fim-frhphe-ece2205-dot-snell/

I have used DOT & BSI Helmets.

And.... In the everything you know is wrong category, while there once upon a time was a difference between "plastic" & "fiberglass" helmets, if they both pass the standards, performance is acceptable, if not identical. Again, fit is more important.

What do I use? I have a HJC modular with flip up chin bar. It's a decade old and overdue for replacement. It's a fairly inexpensive helmet, ( $229 retail ) DOT.

And a Suomy Spec 1-R, full face. BSI. Expensive, feather light. ($695 retail )

Both models are discontinued. Both have adequate peripheral vision. The Suomy has great ventilation, not adjustable, and is loud. That only matters in an open cockpit.
 

SVSUSteve

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If you think that the field of view that a NASCAR driver has is adequate for an airplane pilot,
I was referring to the HANS device not the "wings" on the newer seats which (even in my safety first mindset) are complete overkill.

It's a matter of picking out what works for a new application and figuring out how to fit it in a way that does cause problems. There are ways to make a HANS device work in an aircraft without interfering with other functions. The cause of most neck injuries (and lot of the basilar skull trauma) is the result of the head and the torso decelerating at different rates. If you have something to tie those two together, you'd probably eliminate 75% of cervical fractures. If you kept the chin from bouncing off the chest, you'd cut the rate of basilar skull fractures (one of the most common fatal injuries) and aortic trauma (another leading cause of death; which is often caused (at least in part) by compression of the anterior chest wall next to the sternum) in half.

You would not even have to hook the HANS to the seat. The shoulder harnesses (let's be honest....anyone going for this would have four or five point restraints) would restrain the torso but still allow the range of motion necessary to reach stuff, etc.

then please do not fly VFR.
You and I both know that I don't like VFR flying anymore and that "see and avoid" is a complete joke under most real world circumstances for your average person without flawless eyesight (which I don't have). There's a reason why even the FAA is going to "sense, see, and avoid".

Then again, you also know I don't trust other pilots to follow the rules when they don't think anyone is watching. I'm looking forward to the ADS-B mandate because then at least there's a chance of knowing about the guy who refuses to make radio calls and comes barreling in on a straight-in final*.

*-Before anyone says it, yes, these guys are often coming off of an IFR flight. LOL
 

SVSUSteve

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Nor is anyone explicitly arguing that nobody should wear helmets. What you're missing is that this is truly an individual choice, an individual balancing of risk versus benefit. If you choose to wear a helmet when flying, hey, more power to you. If I choose not to, that's my choice. Don't take the choices made by other people so personally. They're not saying you're wrong. They just haven't made the same choice you have.
Even I am not arguing for them being mandatory. I don't want them to be mandatory because that will just make the "fighting the man" "don't tread on me" BS come out in spades. We have enough problem with that as it is.

Actually, I think helmets are pretty much something that only needs to be worn during landing and takeoff unless you're doing something that adds risk (aerobatics, cropdusting, scud running, riding with Jack Roush, etc).
 

SVSUSteve

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A lot of airplanes have skylights or bubble canopies for a reason.
Once again, Billski delivers.

I actually am trying to include as much plexiglass in my designs as I can manage. It gives me better visibility and it weighs less than "regular" structure.

Since most of us fly with three point harness and without helmets, what say we work toward getting everybody's torso securely connected to the seat and wearing a helmet before we get too far into how much like a NASCAR racer we should go with our little airplanes...
I'd just like to get everyone installing and using at least a three point restraint (preferably a 5-point; as a side point, I think a 5-point harness is more comfortable). I've lost count of how many people I have seen with their seat's torso restraint behind them after crashes. It is depressing as **** when the only fatal injury is from them bouncing their face off the panel.
 

Makaya

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I might go beyond the scope of the initial question, but as a cropduster, it is not questionable : I wear an helmet, gloves (and no synthetic clothes).

In my profession, the rate of crash is...huge. High speed impact are not unlikely (although agplane airframe are design to absorb a tremendous amount of energy on impact).
Helmet protect your fragile head. Remember to strap it properly or it will fly away upon impact.
Yes, it is heavy. Yes it is hot. And yes, after few hours of flight, it itches.
But it will greatly help you stay concious, allowing you to try to exit the plane after the crash.
You can crawl out with a lot of broken bones, bad rash, cuts and burns. But only if you didn't pass out.
Because if you are unconscious, you are likely to burn during the post crash fire in the remainings of what used to be a fancy piece of flying equipment.

Which lead us to egress issues. After the crash, you need to exit the wreck.
Military style tactical gloves with hard knucles protect my hands. Not only during the crash, but during the post crash fire and the evacuation. I might need to exit throught the windows or windshield.
(emergency knife, strap cutter or crash axe are good options too).

Wearing clothes not too prone to burn is also a good advise. Synthetic outfits will burn and melt on your skin, making terrible damage difficult to cure. Fire retardant flight suit (nomex) are obviously the better way to go. But a simple pair of jeans is already a good protective asset. Leather boots too.

Of course, it is a dramatic scenario I painted here.
I just wanted to share the basic mitigation tools we are using in our dangerous activity.
I don't wear an helmet in my baby lakes.
But I do when I serve as a test pilot for the local chapter.


Pix attached : one of those home-depot aircraft I had to test fly...
 

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Doran Jaffas

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Okay. My two cents worth is a biker of over 50 years or at least a motorcycle rider depending on how you use the terminology and then aviator of over 37 years with a few years off in there because the stupidity with finances which hopefully I am passed at the age of 60.

The only points I'm going to make here are things that some of you will agree with and some of you won't which seems to be the gist of this discussion anyway.
1. I absolutely agree that the proper fit of a helmet is a must. The most expensive helmet can destroy your body if it does not fit properly because it adds weight to the thing we call ahead that contains the thing we call brains no matter how many or how few molecules we may have in that matter. Obviously the better quality the helmet that is properly fit the better off we are but that can mean spending thousands when a fairly inexpensive helmet a decent quality would do the job. As far as the half helmet, open face and full face I agree that a lightweight full face helmet is practical but I will not use one in an airplane because parts of my issue with that is the freedom that I feel it begins to restrict no matter how high quality and how much visibility it affords. Yes I'm choosing the risk over the probability of a good outcome with a flight. My choice. Also, I unfortunately was in a bad motorcycle accident where I was wearing a half helmet that did keep my brain matter from being sprayed all over the place. I was shall we say shook up for a few days and after the feds looked at the medical issue they agreed to not suspend my medical and even said in a few months if no further problems had been seen I could get my second class back. This was many many years ago so I'm not looking for anybody to come checking. Again, that is personal choice. I do believe that in an open cockpit airplane that a helmet with some kind of eye protection would be necessary just due to the fact in case of a flip over you don't need sharp objects coming into the cockpit and penetrating your eyeballs or even large amounts of dirt that's both of them can be painful and yes part of this is from personal experience but not in an airplane.

2. on the seat belt restraint system and I'm going to date myself here.. I remember when seat belts were options in cars that you paid extra for. That was also when cars were made of such steel that were you to have an accident in one of those now you would probably go right through a modern vehicle and barely dent defender in your vehicle. such comes to mind with an Edsel I used to have which I thought was a good looking car even though by most they were considered ugly. Yes the car was made before I was born but I still liked it. Then came the seat belts were mandatory it lo and behold they even had shoulder harnesses that had to be adjusted until the spring loaded clutch systems with self adjust and I think would be just fine in an airplane although some argue that the angle across can cause neck problems in an accident you can cause your shoulder to slide out from behind the harness and still cause facial impact. The harnesses I've worn in other airplanes have been four and five point and I agree that one adjusted properly they are comfortable and part of that comfort comes annoying that if you have a good roll protection built into your airplane your body is in pretty good shape. However and this is a big however assuming you remain conscious of an accident you hope will never happen it would be a very good idea to have a knife or a hammer or a combination of the two secured in the cockpit area where you can get your hands on it to cut away the seatbelt if necessary and then to punch or cut your way out of the airplane. It sounds dramatic talking about postfire crashes and I have seen them even in a simple accident where my dad had a nose wheel fold up many many years ago and airplanes slowly burned while they just exited the airplane and watched. The reality is most aircraft accidents in private and sport aviation do not involve fires after impact. There are ways of mitigating those circumstances if you have to land in a field and fly through trees and that would be to fly through close to the ground and remove the wings before the airplane stops so you get the fuel assuming the fuels in the wings away from body and airplane. Again those are few but that doesn't matter to the few that have had posted by your accidents and needed to exit quickly. Do I think a full face helmet and a four or five point harness is a good idea in any vehicle? Absolutely yes do I wear them in any vehicle? No. I feel my freedom and access to movement mitigates some of the hazard. I'm also usually when flying and I've not heard it discussed here is part of a safety issue,, and this exempts crop dusters for obvious reasons, that altitude is your friend. That does not mean you go to 5,000 feet on a 2-mile flight but it does mean you keep yourself within gliding distance of a reasonable landing place should your pilot cooler decide to quit cooling the pilot and passengers for that matter. Again personal experience here. If there is no such field and gliding distance then follow a road. Dodging power lines or trimming the wings on mailboxes or trees is much better then having nature grown spikes come through the cockpit although again there are ways to ditch in trees that are safer than others. That won't even be discussed here. Anyway to all who have contributed to this with the exception of myself, I thought you brought up some many good points and hopefully this was not a bunch of hot air that nobody enjoys reading. Let's remember one thing, we all started flying because we enjoy it. Are there stupid people out there? Absolutely but the vast majority of them are not stupid and we should unite and be as friendly or more friendly than any other group of people we meet because it is a passion of ours to fly. but it's just something you do to say you do it then you need to go bowling or something else. It is a passion of mine and it's 60 years of age and many years of flying I still grin like a kid every time I open my hanger and see my airplane sitting there. I do pray before every flight for safety for not only myself before the airplane and my passengers. I think that is a must in most activities. God has blessed me and all of us on here with the necessary skills to do what we thoroughly enjoy and I think we need to acknowledge that. let's use our heads and in the process be friendly to others the differing opinions and be open to listening to new ideas and to others points of view.

Thanks for reading and blessings to all of you in the years to come in your aviating.
 

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Rhino

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I still have my Air Force flight helmet, but I never wear it. My youngest son did wear it a few times for Halloween though. Were I to engage in certain flight activities of increased risk, such as flight testing or aerobatics, I might reconsider wearing it, after I converted the wiring of course. I find the original post that started this thread and discussion to be a little off target. Trying to say helmets aren't helpful because some people have been killed while wearing them while others without helmets survived, makes no rational sense. People have been killed wearing seatbelts too, but that in no way suggests they aren't good at saving lives. I guess some could argue the survival rates might suggest a greater or lesser need for them, but nobody tracks those statistics accurately and comprehensively enough to make a reasoned argument in that regard.

Pardon me if someone else has already made these exact same points. I didn't read every single post in this thread.
 
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