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No matter how beat up, you've got to love flyer's helmets & gear


Bob Hudson
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Bob Hudson

These came my way last week - I always enjoy finding the artifacts of Naval aviation  (maybe because my dad was a career Navy aircraft fixer).

 

These helmets from a career Navy pilot have a problem that affects a lot of military flight helmets: foam used for padding and around the earpieces interacts with vinyl coverings used on the ear pads and to insulate wire. The process basically melts the foam. We've discussed this on the forum in regards to putting helmets and caps with vinyl headbands on foam heads, but in the case of these flyer's helmets the foam and vinyl are installed at the factory.

 

It makes for a mess but luckily it's on the inside and can be cleaned up sort of. 

 

The outsides still can still look cool even if a couple parts are missing, which is not uncommon I've found.

This is a GENTEX APH-6D, dated 1977, I believe.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bob Hudson

This is a a SCOTT PRK-37/P from 1982. The foam is all melted on the wires and inside the earpads,  but inner shell looks prety good.

 

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mohawkALSE

Those are damn fine pieces, especially the PRK-37/HGU-33.   The foam doesn't look like it did too much damage, Ive seen way worse even after cleaning.   Thats cool seeing the 14P mask using the in line amp setup vs the large delta block amp on the nose.  As usual the mini regulator is missing, I think the re use them alot so they keep those when a pilot takes his helmet and mask.

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boxerdogi

Great group of helmets! I concur.....flight helmets and gear are hard to pass up in any condition.

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Vark_07

Wow, no matter the few parts missing, these are definitely beautiful well-worn shells and masks, congratulations 😉. Love them this way !

The asymetrically twin-arrow taped HGU-33 is a beauty, not to mention the rare in-line amp on the MBU-14.

Great pieces of flight gear, I'm envious.

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Bob Hudson
25 minutes ago, Vark_07 said:

The asymetrically twin-arrow taped HGU-33 is a beauty

 

I am really not up on the nomenclature for these: is HGU-33 just a diffferent name for PRK-37P?

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Bob Hudson
17 hours ago, Bob Hudson said:

even if a couple parts are missing

 

The earpieces on the APH helmet are held in by a single screw that passes through a large hole in the shell: it has a very large washer and one was missing, but the screw was not. I found a washer in my junk pile that - after some paint - works for now. The bottom washer is the original:

 

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Vark_07
1 hour ago, Bob Hudson said:

 

I am really not up on the nomenclature for these: is HGU-33 just a diffferent name for PRK-37P?

Not exactly. The PRK-37/P was the shell assembly that many USN / USMC helmets of the 80's were based on.

So, depending on the equipment fitted on the shell (liner, visor housing, communication etc.), the PRK-37 took various nomenclatures.
See https://www.flighthelmet.com/info/prk.htm  for detailed informations and all the PRK-37 based models 🙂.

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Bob Hudson
16 minutes ago, Vark_07 said:

The PRK-37/P was the shell assembly

 

Thanks for that link: I found an easier-to-read version and corrected you link to that.

 

I just found some flight gear inspection records and through that learned he was with VRC-30 Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30, one of only two active, carrier-capable, Fleet Logistics Support squadrons.  The record for that calls it HGU 47/P

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Bob Hudson

So it's an HGU 47/P for use in the Grumman C-1A Trader

 

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Bob Hudson

Here's the original record for the PRK/HGU 33 helmet and the Navy does call it HGU-33/P.

 

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Bob Hudson
7 hours ago, Vark_07 said:

asymetrically twin-arrow taped HGU-33

 

Look at how the tapes match up with the VT-26 Squadron patch. He was an instructor there.

 

 

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Vark_07

Love the matching VT squadron tape job on this HGU-33, for sure !

That's a good thing you have all the records, they do come in handy to confirm our guesses 🙂.

 

 

Quote

HGU-47(V2) : PRK-37/P shell, EEK-4A/P single visor, PRK-40 liner assembly, and Headset boom microphone is attached, and the CX-13155/A communications cable is used. No amplifier is used. Used by pilot, co-pilot and crew-members on the following aircraft: C-1A , C-2A.

Interestingly enough, what your records tell (plane type, shell nomenclature) would indicate that at some point, your APH-6D was "renamed" on the paperwork as an HGU-47/P 2nd version (the only to be used with C-1A, see quote above).

As I quoted above, we see in your pictures that it indeed features the CX-13155/A com cable, M-87 boom/mic, and the 2-part styrene liner assembly with fitting pads... almost everything, except the PRK-37 shell !

I guess this change in the nomenclature means these late APH-6s were used along with the "real" 47/Ps during some time with no particular distinction in the early to mid 80's, prior to being entirely replaced by PRK-37-based helmets on the squadron's shelves.

PS : the tape job on the APH-6D / "HGU-47" sure matches the VRC-30 colors as well, this pilot had a keen eye and a true taste for decorating his helmets.

1754321278_Vrc30_logo(Mini)(Personnalis).jpg.aa9e6238dee81079397d7cb7f6dfcd68.jpg

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Bob Hudson
2 hours ago, dave peifer said:

i've seen a lot worse

 

I've had one or two in the past with the crumbled melted foam and vinyl but it wasn't until researching these that I realized a lot of these helmets have the same problem. Here's an older thread about this problem with styrofoam heads in displays: 

 

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Bob Hudson

Found these in a box, stickers not patches:

 

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mohawkALSE

Nice to have those log records, those are the details I love to have when collecting aviation related stuff.  I had bought a parachute system from a Marine OV-10 Bronco and it came with all the log records which i thought was cool,  Showed the aircraft it was from.

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Bob Hudson

Here's the SV-2B survival vest with some contents, and the inspection records:

 

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viking73

That's some amazing flight gear you picked up Bob!  Thanks for showing it all off :)

 

-Derek

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hink441
13 hours ago, Vark_07 said:


PS : the tape job on the APH-6D / "HGU-47" sure matches the VRC-30 colors as well, this pilot had a keen eye and a true taste for decorating his helmets.

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Most pilots did not tape their own helmets. Squadron assigned Parachute Riggers almost always did the squadron tape jobs. Taping helmets really is a talent and if an individual PR was really good at taping helmets, then he did ALOT of the helmets. 
 

I really like these helmets and gear!!!
 

Chris

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Vark_07

Gee, it gets better and better with the survivial gear pics you've added, Bob !

What a wonderful flight gear bundle 😀 !

 

6 hours ago, hink441 said:

Most pilots did not tape their own helmets. Squadron assigned Parachute Riggers almost always did the squadron tape jobs. Taping helmets really is a talent and if an individual PR was really good at taping helmets, then he did ALOT of the helmets. 

I knew PRs did tape jobs for the aviators, but not as predominantly as your statement tells. Good to know, thanks for your intel Chris !

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Bob Hudson
On 3/16/2021 at 6:28 PM, mohawkALSE said:

Nice to have those log records,

 

From a Navy website:

 

"...Aviator Equipment Division, also known as the paraloft, to make certain that if a parachute and other emergency equipment are needed, they work – the first time.

With parachutes, life rafts, life preservers, GPS locators, infrared strobe lights and assorted signaling devices, naval aviators are better equipped than ever to aid in their own rescue and survive a mishap."

 

Here's some more of the records of what the paraloft riggers maintain.

 

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