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MC-1, at last..!


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got finally the coveted MC-1 Partial Pressure suit after a lot fof time. Along the years I've almost completed the whole range of Eastern-made suits of this concept (Soviet/Russian, Polish, Chinese) as most of them are not so much difficult to find out in Europe, but even the earliest of those had been anyway copied from the US garments - the very first Soviet VKK-1 P.P. suit is dated around 1955, so at least 10 years after Dr. Henry's original S-1 prototype of Partial Pressure suit.


This MC-1 by the David Clark Co. has been made in mid-1955, possibly June or July. The first pieces were available since January 1955 (in the end 1,200 pieces were made) but anyway a 'gapstop' between the T-1A and the near-perfect MC-3; been designed keeping in mind the B-36 aircrews more than the fighter or test pilots, it lacking anti-G features - 'only' some hours of protection in a low-pressure environment, typical of around 55,000 feet but working good up to 65,000 - 70,000 for shorter durations.


Some pics here.




























The L-shaped connector takes emergency oxygen (not air) into the external large 'capstan' tubes for inflation.

The other hose takes oxygen to: 1), the secondary, smaller tubes running on the forearm (parallel to capstans) for inflation of pressure gloves; 2), the inner bladder covering the front torso and abdomen for keeping pressure against the ribcage and lungs, in order to help with the tricky pressure breathing when oxygen to the helmet is forced into pilot's lungs at those altitudes where oxygen cannot 'melt' anymore in blood cells.














The valve present only at the left arm's wrist, does deflate the whole capstans after a checkup inflation.



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Here just for comparison (please don't get angry, mods :) ) the MC-1 vs. the Polish-made WUK-90 high-altitude suit, still used currently (2017) in their Air Force.

This blue-colored specimen is from December 1999.







Rather large capstans even on forearms for the WUK-90, compared to the decidedly small ones of the MC-1:






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Im not a post WW2 Aviation stuff expert but suit looks good. It could be a rare stuff I guess... do you have a 50s photos with this suit in using?




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Yes I think it's a a rare suit today, even though the older S-2 and T-1 are even rarer. Here a well-known photo of test pilot Joe Walker wearing the MC-1 still in summer 1958:



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No hope,

for the MB-5 (but could be good 'just' a K-1 model as well) helmet I first should (maybe) put, ehm, Charlotte for sale and wait to see how high the biddings go ah ah.. even less hope for the hyper-super-ultra rare gloves, or maybe non-existent anymore. Patience.


If not other, I've complete as of today three high-altitude pilots of the former Eastern Block, they look like half-astronauts and the displays are dramatic to say the least. One is a Polish Su-17 pilot, the other are Soviet/Russian P.V.O. interceptor pilots (Su-15 and MiG-25). The closest I could ever come to a SR-71 aircrew, at least speaking of exterior appearance.

Would be great showing them here, but I would be next to be booted out of the Forum - gulp..

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An interesting detail,


one of the two feeding hoses will inflate in emergency the large capstan tubes for tightening very much the whole suit on aviator's body - purely a mechanical counter-balance against blood and tissues willing to expand, being the surrounding air so much rarified,

the other hose will take oxygen (not air, oxy. emergency bottle is the same for breathing and inflating the suit) into two inside ducts meant for inflating both the torso/abdominal bladder and the pressure gloves.


Here on suit's upper back section, the lower of these parallel 'channels' will carry oxygen into the inside ducts - one for the right side and one for the left side.






Here inside the suit, the two ducts are visible - they stay inside the MC-1 until about the elbow, to end into the two small tubes wich run parallel to forearms' capstans.

In a nutshell, the same oxy. pressure entering the abdominal bladder also will feed the gloves.



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Of course who could resist to a pretty strong temptation,


so I've tried to inflate the MC-1. Why not, just it's wise not to let the capstans expanding at their max. capacity, some of those interlocking tapes could be in less than optimum health - after all, 63 year-old and not necessarily this time wholly spent in a climate-controlled room.. much less concerns about the inner abdominal bladder, that should be really OK.

Compressor's outlet and suit's connectors aren't matching of course, but come near enough to allow a good inflation. So the capstans instantly begin to expand and both legs begin to bend rearwards, capstans themselves being designed keeping in mind the aviator will stay virtually the entire missiun in a sitting position - thus they had been sewn on along the legs in a way they won't be somehow 'strangled' by that 75° - 80° bend, made by knees when in such a posture.


Legs' capstans will show up being large indeed, those on the arms are designed and made for inflating in (much) smaller measure. Subsequently a single relief valve (left side wrist) serves to deflate the whole capstan system after a check up like this.

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btw, I've inflated a bit the abdominal bladder as well, however this time it was impossible exiting the air from there :wacko: - still to discover how to do. Patience it will stay inside, no problems at all.

Photo here shows bladder's shape on the front of suit, having some air inside it does outline where it goes down to the groin in two separate ends.



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Nice suit, I enjoyed your photo's and discussion. Thanks for posting it. I remember seeing similar flight suits being sold surplus from the ad's in comic books in the late '60's.


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As mentioned in above posts, the large capstan tubes of MC-1 have to somehow follow legs' bends at the knees (when in sitting position) so that they won't risk being like a bit 'strangled' upon an emergency inflation, as it would be in case they are strictly placed along a straight leg of a standing airman.

Interesting however - how this shows up almost to be nothing in a MC-1 placed on a hanger, and compared to the same area of foreign Partial Pressure suits. There the said curve at the knees is even exhaggerated, or at least it so looks in the case of Polish WUK-90s.


The MC-1:







the foreign suits:




They're in brand new condition, so the cause cannot be hundreds flight hours spent in a sitting position - capstans are really designed, made and put in placed following a noteworthy and sharp curve. Evidently emphasis is placed in this detail by other Air Forces:



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