A Brief History of Flight Helmets

Posted on November 20, 2017 by

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Flight helmets are a necessary accessory for pilots and have been ever since the very first plane took flight. Above all else, flight helmets help provide protection against impact, thereby reducing the risk of a head injury. Whether you have to eject out of your plane or fly through turbulence a helmet will provide protection against injury. The following is just a brief history of flight helmets and how they have evolved over time.

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Helmets Were First Used in Motor Racing

Before helmets were produced for the sole purpose of flying, pilots would use the same leather helmets that were used for motor racing. Even then, pilots were well aware of the potential head injury risks involved when flying a plane and took every precaution to mitigate that risk.

In the 1930s, leather helmets were specifically designed for flight and soon evolved into the type B helmet, which allowed for the external attachment of radio earphones and removable goggles. During World War II, planes were manufactured that could fly much higher than before. Because of this, oxygen masks were added to the leather helmets to allow pilots to breathe properly in thinner air.

Following World War II, the leather helmet was replaced by a hard helmet. This was deemed necessary as leather helmets didn’t offer enough protection if the pilot was forced to bail out of their plane – especially if they were forced into a high-velocity ejection.

The goggles that were attached to the older leather helmets were soon replaced with tinted visors that were incorporated into the hard helmets as well to help keep the eyesight of the pilot unobscured by harsh sunlight. Following the Vietnam War, flight helmets began to be manufactured with communications equipment, such as headsets and microphones, incorporated into the helmet.

Our Flight Helmets at Merit Apparel

As you can see, flight helmets have always been an essential accessory for pilots throughout the history of aviation. Here at Merit Apparel, We carry three helmets models that are suitable for flight in addition to a variety of different accessories, including communications packages designed specifically for helicopter pilots.

Be sure to visit us at Merit Apparel today for more information about our flight helmets and the many other flight accessories that we carry.

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