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Air force Flying Helmet Type P 1B


seebee1
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I would like to know more about this Flying Helmet and the time frame it was worn. It is missing a few parts, earphones I am fairly sure, can these be obtained and is this Helmet worthy of restoration? Many thanks, Clive.

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Clive...I also have one of these. Mine is effectively the same helmet without the visor. They were a later add-on. Internally you are missing the "donut" receiver pads..very like the rubber/chamois ones you find on late /post-war headsets. These helmets are quite scarce and date from the early 50s > KW period and beyond. There's a guy on eBay/Australia who does replacement parts...I can't recall his ebay handle at the moment but if you do a search for P-1 flying helmets you'll probably find him? Though you're missing the earphone pads, once on a display head you won't see them anyway!

 

Also, try here as a source of spare parts.

 

http://www.bellsaviation.com/mm5/merchant....p;Store_Code=BA

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Sorry about the title, should have put Army Air Force and not Army Air Corps! Clive.

 

Also I believe that label says "P-1B," not "1E."

 

The P-1 was worn with goggles: then retrofitted with a visor and called the P-1A. The P-1B was basically a redesignated P-1A. It was followed by the P-3.

 

These are the Steve Canyon helmets, after the old comic strip/TV character and I think they epitomize the early Jet Age. They even made a toy version for kids:

 

canyonhelm.jpg

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Thank you for the comments and time-frame, also the link for spare parts, I will try to obtain the earphone set to complete it. The stitching of the label partially obscures the last letter, but I am sure you are right about it being a P-1B. Regards, Clive.

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There was a guy on ebay who had the parts for the helmets.He had the leather tabs for the oxy mask,rivits,visor frames,decals etc.I have 3 of the helmets.Last one I got was painted red but came with the bag and some parts.Course not the visor I need for the other helmet I have :pinch:

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The sides show signs of once having oxygen mask hook-ups. The helmet was most likely used into the early 60's. The oxygen mask receivers look like the "Christmas Tree" type. I would skip the repro leather tabs, and find a set of Oxygen mask receivers. The earphones were most likely the black, spring loaded type. They look very much like the early APH-5 Helicopter phones. They also had a period where the earphones were backed only with rings of foam. There was a fear that the springs might be a danger in a crash. The "donuts" were very very early, and were most likely switched out during an upgrade. I personally love these old P helmets. I would skip on the earphones, and find a nice oxygen mask and hook-ups...Tom.

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The maker of the P1 series helmets inner assembly, General Textiles, is today known as Gentex which makes a multitude of helmet types for the U.S. military as well as other nations. They were one of the first makers of hard-shell flight helmets and CVC helmets. During WWII General Textiles had a contract to produce cargo parachutes for the Army however a problem developed in that the shipping containers were allowing moisture in and this was deteriorating the fabric of the parachutes. General Textiles had there R&D department develop a shipping container out of what was then a very new material but today is known as GRP (glass reinforced plastic). When the Air Force started developing jet aircraft a need was identified for a hard protective helmet for the pilots and General Textiles, which was already producing fabric flight helmets, jumped on the bandwagon and started development of a hard-shell helmet from the GRP material which became the H-4 series USN flight helmet. Another footnote to history.

 

Larry

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The General textiles cargo parachute shipping container which initiated the hard-shell protective helmets of today. Courtesy of the Gentex On-Line Museum.

 

Larry

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Some outstanding information and advice, many thanks for this. Looks like this will be a restoration project to get underway. Regards, Clive.

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Thank you for the comments and time-frame, also the link for spare parts, I will try to obtain the earphone set to complete it. The stitching of the label partially obscures the last letter, but I am sure you are right about it being a P-1B. Regards, Clive.

 

For your reference, here's some photos of a P-1B I sold a few years back: it was straight out of the pilot's estate, exactly as he wore it. The helmet shell and suspension each carry the original P-1B labels and the helmet has the original HS-38A headset receivers, dated August 1954, which is also the date on the shell label.

 

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Excellent images of some very fine examples, many thanks for sharing. I now know what I have to aim for in the restoration-completion of my example, all I need now is to find them. Regards, Clive.

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