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A-11 Flight Helmet with lead ear cups

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As a new member, looking at all the great items on this forum is a bit intimidating - considering the amount of expertise in this group, I thought I would ask for your help.


This appears to be a normal A-11 Flight Helmet made by the Selby Shoe company with receivers and a PL-354 plug. The difference is the lead ear cups stitched over the outside of the receivers.

I found this helmet about 20 years ago in a shop not far from Wright Patterson Air force Base, I bought it not because it fit my collection per se, but because I had never seen another and could afford it.


The helmet weighs just under 3 pounds and has not been worn much. I have had the opportunity to speak to a couple of USAAF/USAF veterans who flew flight tests at Wright Pat after WWII and neither had ever seen or heard of anything like this helmet.


I am guessing that this helmet may have been used in some type of testing where some gear or equipment interferred with radio commmunications to the pilot so the lead earcups were installed to help with radio communications - what the heck, it's a theory.


I would appreciate any input you may have- Thank you,




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I have never seen anything like this. Lead is too soft to provide any real ballistic or fragmentation protection so it was probably not added for defensive purposes. The way the ear pieces are molded or hammered out and stitched to the flight helmet has a professional look to it. Possibly to enhance noise attenuation or maybe to filter out some type interference? A strange one for sure.



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Johnny Signor

just a W.A.G. but how about for when they used to fly open cockpit , could it be some form of protection from say rain/wind interferreance?????????????

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Bizarre...and possibly unique?! Probably hellishly uncomfortable to wear for any length of time?! :o

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