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History of army helicopter flight helmets


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I'll look through some of my old photos this weekend. I might have a few showing my helmet with the surgical tubing/clamps still on it. My ALSE tech upgraded my SPH-4 around 1988/89 as a training project. The clamps/tubing was removed and the holes plugged with rubber grommets. The suspension liner was replaced by the (then new) TPL liner. I was an AH-64 pilot at the time and I think I wore my SPH-4 only once of twice when riding in a Scooter (OH-58).

 

When I was going through the Scout Track at Ft Rucker (~1985), we wore cutaway goggles. Basically it was the ground guys NVGs with some of the facial seal material removed/cutaway. A vast improvement over flying with the unmodified goggles. This was back in the days of just a single battery which was part of the goggle (we carried a spare in our pocket). We had issues with the lithium batteries swelling/venting, etc.

 

AH-64 front seaters wore NVG's (flip-down type) with the visor shown in the previous post modified to fit the IHADSS (billet aluminum adaptor tracks). The dual battery pack had just come out where you could flip a little toggle switch to change from one battery to the other and the pack attached to the goggles via a cable.

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So recently Ive been more interested in the beginning of NVG use by US Army Aviators so Ive been collecting bits and pieces here and there. I recently picked up 2 items for the PVS-5 goggles. Id like to find a PVS-5 binocular assembly someday and attach it to one of these mounts. One is the early "cut a way" face mask, and the other is a later platform known as the GM-6 COBB mount. Anyone have any pics of these items or other early PVS-5 goggles being used for flying use?

 

Cut A Way:

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Guard Mount-6 (GM-6) Crewmember's Optional Breakaway Bracket (COBB)mount:

A-1.jpg

B-1.jpg

E-1.jpg

F.jpg

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Cut A Way:

over-1.jpg

right.jpg

left.jpg

 

The cutaway shown is what I wore during my NVG training at Ft Rucker, circa 85/86. The snaps attached to the surgical tubing running around the helmet. Note the battery compartment. If you had a battery failure, you had to remove that screw-on cover, replace the battery, and reattach the cover. Preferably without crashing. The dual battery pack mounted on the rear of the helmet came along later and provided some counter-balance for the weight of the goggles.

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The cutaway shown is what I wore during my NVG training at Ft Rucker, circa 85/86. The snaps attached to the surgical tubing running around the helmet.

 

Same here. I kept the surgical tubing on my SPH-4 until I umm....lost it when I was issued a HGU-56/P in 1998 or so. It was getting kinda old and cracked, but it was always good for a, "What's that on your helmet" from the younger crowd.

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Anyone have any pics of these items or other early PVS-5 goggles being used for flying use?

 

I looked through all my flight school photos yesterday and, unfortunately, don't have any from my Scout track/NVG qual time. The Anvis visor came out very soon after I finished flight school. During my AH-64 unit training at Ft Hood, we started running mixed systems (PNVS/Anvis6) using the "new" SPH visor. I think we were held up for a few weeks while billet aluminum adapter mounts were made to allow the visor to be mounted on the IHADSS. As a sidenote, I think the IHADSS with anvis visor was a much better looking helmet although safety was severely comprised due to not being able to use the visor if you had the HDU (hoo-doo) on.

 

I did my NVG training almost 30 years ago and I'm a little foggy on which helmet used what for counter-weights. I think my IHADSS had velcro on the back to mount a small bag with lead weights (later the dual battery pack) in it. My original SPH-4 doesn't appear to have ever had velcro on the back and I'm pretty sure I didn't use the dual battery pack or a counterweight.

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Picked up a small lot of Army Aviation pubs from the 80s, one of which is Night Flying Techniques and Procedure from 1988. It shows 3 variations of the PVS-5s being used for Aviation, as well as the fairly new AVS-6 ANVIS system.

 

It shows the full face mask, which shows a V straps and the surgical tubing to mount the goggles and has the local ALSE made counterweight bag velcroed in the back.

 

Then has the PVS-5 MFP which is the Modified Face Piece (cut away) like I showed, which also is mounted via surgical tubing, 2 velcro top straps and also has the counterweight in back.

 

The final setup was the GX-5 which is a very strange setup. Very in house fabricated setup that uses the dual battery pack.

 

I saw how to fabricate the GX-5 mount for this in the SPH-4 Mx manual. It uses a whole other visor housing that is modified by cutting down the side and the top and it is then velcroed over the actual helmets visor housing. This special fabricated housing has a cut down camera flash bracket which allows the goggles to be stowed up like ANVIS mounts when not in use. The actual mount that the goggles attach to is custom fabricate out of fiberglass, then you have to wire the battery cable and LEMO connector to use the ANVIS type battery pack. Very very complex procedure all together and it doesnt seem like it was really ever used in service. Anyone recall this?

 

I'm going to try and scan or take pics of the images in the Night Flying TC

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Took some pics from the Night Flying TC that show the different variants used as of 1988:

 

NVGvarients.jpg

 

PVS-5.jpg

 

PVS-5MFP.jpg

 

GX-5.jpg

 

This pic is from the SPH-4 Mx manual, shows 3 variations of setting up the SPH-4 for using PVS-5s. Top shows the snaps needed for the side strap mod, Middle one shows the parts required for the surgical tubing strap, bottom shows the whacky GX-5 modification parts:

PVS5versions.jpg

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I last flew NVG missions with the MDARNG at Edgewood/APG in 1995. We were using the AN/AVS-6. When we had been training up while I was in the Army Reserve in 1989 we used the cutaways. For some reason we totally skipped the other iterations of the mounts and I never saw them anywhere. The last helmet I used is stashed away in the storage shed.

 

IH

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And here we are 25 years later, still using ANVIS-6Bs...

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In hindsight, I can't believe how incredibly dangerous the early goggles were. I wore the modified -5s that are shown although I have zero recollection of counterweights. The joys of being old! I remember a green bag with weights so that must have been Ft Rucker and the dual battery pack was likely 86-onwards.

 

The lithium batteries were prone to swelling up and being able to remove the bad battery was very much a hit-or-miss affair. We used to carry a spare in our flight suit pocket -- which were also prone to venting and getting scorching hot if they came into contact with something they didn't like!

 

I had exactly one battery failure but luckily was at altitude. Got the bad battery out and promptly dropped the spare which then rolled around on the floor for the rest of the flight.

 

I can't even imagine flying with the full-face -5s. I don't think you could get the thing off your face into time to save yourself if you were manuevering NOE.

 

Pretty cutting edge stuff back in the day, though.

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Here, lets date ourselves even further, who ever flew Nighthawk? Night unaided formation flying? RT hopping unaided.

 

Nighttime unaided NOE was still on the training curriculum in 1985. Yellow beanbag lights for the inverted "Y" in the landing areas. I don't remember doing any formation work though. Maybe the utility track?

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Hmm, Nighthawk. UH-1H with a light pack, big Xenon thing with a first gen night scope as an acquiring measure and armed with a 50. cal gun on one side and a minigun on the other. Sure surprised the bad guys on the ground when they become bathed in light from above and got hosed with lead from same source.

 

IH

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the one I have in my collection with the surgical tubing on it. I acquired this when I was in the Guard; it's not a helmet I ever flew with.

Note that there is no goggle mount. I think was used with the full face goggles, but I'm not positive, I flew with the 6's.

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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post-2757-1329185685.jpg

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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post-2757-1329185734.jpg

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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post-2757-1329185774.jpg

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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post-2757-1329185806.jpg

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Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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Nice set up! How long did it take you to build them?

 

One of these days I'd like to get some NVG's to add to my helmets.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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Nice set up! How long did it take you to build them?

 

One of these days I'd like to get some NVG's to add to my helmets.

 

Once I had the parts, it was only about 20 minutes work and would have been less had I remembered the proper way of setting the tubes in the metal frame. Once that is done, it's as simple as using the side adjusters to lock them in the GM-6 shelf and then attache to the helmet.

I'm sitting here at my work desk putting the surgical tubing on my other SPH-4 so I can the that set-up going. I forgot how tough it was to get all that internal crap orcestrated when putting the screws in.


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I never had the "pleasure" of installing the surgical tubing. The most fun I had was installing CEP's. If the soldering part didn't argue with me, I could have an installation done in about 10-15 minutes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Time to downsize! I'm selling off a large portion of my collection. Message me for the most up to date list of items.

I have American and foreign; Army, Air Force, and Navy; Span-Am War to current; mostly originals but some reproductions.

 

Always looking for numbered Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Message me if you have any, maybe we can make a deal.

 

Looking for Purple Heart number 172669.

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