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Flight Suits

as an instructor

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#21 HeloJunkie

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:20

The flight suit topic has come up from time-to-time as has the helmet issue. For me, I started flying with a flight suite for a very simple reason having nothing at all to do with safety. Sunburn.

 

I fly back and forth from CRQ to Phoenix almost every weekend and when weather permits (which is most of the time) I would take my 44 (and now my 500). I would wear what was comfortable - shorts and a short sleeve shirt. After a couple of times doing this I realized that I was getting sunburned on the tops of my legs and arms thanks to the wonderful forward view I had in my 44. 

 

I choose the flight suit because I can easily slip it on before I jump in the cockpit, I did not find it uncomfortable or too hot and I never got sunburned again flying in 110 degree weather over the desert. 

 

A secondary issue was about safety, but like many of you, I have seen the pros and cons debate on headsets and flight suits since I joined VR and didn't see a clear winner either way.

 

Having been in the Marines, I do know that all military flight crews wear flight suits, I know that every police department that I have ever seen flying wears flights suits, I know that every EMS operator that I have seen personally flying wears flight suits, I know that every firefighter flight operation I have seen wears flight suits. That's a lot of professional pilots wearing flight suits.

 

In the end, all I REALLY know is I don't get sunburned any more and that is good by me!


Richard J. Sears
ATP ASMEL/Rotor - CFI/CFII/MEI
G-V, CE-525S, CE-500


2005 R44 II

1986 MD500e

1997 Citation CJ
1978 Seneca II
1984 L39C


#22 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 18:52

Military and police crews wear what they're required to wear. As I do - I wear what the company says I have to. Again, one-piece flight suits are fine in the cockpit, but I spend most of my time outside it, and unfortunately I have to wear the suit all the time. I'm not necessarily knocking Nomex, just the one-piece suit. Way back when, we had the old two-piece Nomex flight suits in the Army, and they were much, much better than the two-piece. You can remove the shirt down to a t-shirt when that's appropriate, and the separate pants means the stuff you keep there doesn't pull on your shoulders all the time. You can go to the bathroom without having your entire top fall on the floor. When you do fly, you have Nomex protection. Any two-piece suit is more practical than the one-piece suit, but the two-piece uniform just doesn't have the pizzazz that some people require. I always prefer utility over style, in clothing or anything else.
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#23 Breezy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 17:55

I personally love flight suits, one of the best parts of being flight crew in the Marine Corps was laughing at the laments of grunts and other Marines who only got camies and had to deal with how hot they get down range. I always referred to them as combat pajamas, and I was thrilled when I learned I could continue to wear them now in flight school. 

All respect to your experience Gomer Pylot, but I have to disagree; I find having all of my pockets accessible not only useful while flying, but also when I'm driving to and from the air field. On the issue of having your sleeves drag on the floor, you must never have mastered the "tie & roll" method ;) 100_0573_zpsfc6ff818.jpg



#24 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:13

I know the method.  I've been wearing one-piece flightsuits for a long time.  That long experience has taught me that it's Nomex, and sooner or later, the tie [/b]will[/b] come untied, and Mr Murphy assures us that it will occur at the worst possible moment, even though he is an optimist.  It's very difficult to tie the sleeves when the suit is around your ankles, and it's still uncomfortable even when it's like in your picture.  I still detest one-piece coveralls, and always will.  The old two-piece flight suits had more pockets than the one-piece ones do, so that's simply not a valid argument.


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#25 Breezy

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:25

I suppose my experience is rather one-sided, having only been issued the one-piece nomex suit, so I'll take your word for it. I just hated anything with a belt when the going got hot, plus it's great for getting dressed in a hurry. But hey to each his own, it's all relative to what we got comfortable with first.



#26 avbug

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 00:01

I've been wearing flight suits for a long time, as well as a helmet.  I've heard all the arguments for and against.  To date, I've yet to hear a valid argument agains them.

 

A nomex flight suit, especially without other clothing worn beneath, is quite comfortable and far from too hot.  If you're not liking the one you wear, go a size larger.  I wear them with the sleeves down and collar up when flying.  

 

I've been through flashover trainers nearly fifty times; real burns with real flashovers hot enough to melt nomes off your head, burn one's helmet, and heat the air in a SCBA tank hot enough to be very uncomfortable to breathe.  I've been in them when the flash crazed over face masks, and bubbled rubber on the mask.  I've yet to see anyone catch fire in there, though they can certainly get hot enough to very nearly vaporize even heavy duty turnout gear, very, very quickly. 

 

A flight suit isn't intended as a structure protection-capable turnout coat.  It's designed to protect from a flash burn, and there is ample (not ancedotal) evidence of the protection it provides.

 

Nomex does melt.  I've seen it.  Not like most other synthetics, but it does melt.  It will also burn; it doesn't propagate a flame.  It's not an aluminum suit.  It's not reflective. It does what its supposed to do, and that's dress you in clothing that doesn't support combustion, and which offers limited flash protection.  

 

I have yet to ever see a valid case of a flight suit creating a health hazard.  I've heard a lot of rumors and complaints, but not one thus far that's valid or that's been substantiated.  If you feel like they're dehydrating you (they don't), then drink more fluids.  Simple.  

 

I have two-piece and one-piece.  The one piece are easy for short-notice dispatches.  



#27 aeroscout

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:20

I used to love my 2 piece nomex. I only liked my one piece nomex. One day I came across a pair of my 2 piece nomex, and tried them on. They had shrunk over the years. In the last year I have had the opportunity to lose about 40 pounds. I am planning on trying my 2 piece nomex on again soon. Maybe they expanded ?

A caution to 1 piece nomex wearers. Before flushing the toilet, check to see if your sleeves are clear of the rim.


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#28 Airhead

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:14

I have heard that a few cycles through a washing mean will damage the fire protection that's in the nomex. 

 

Anyone know anything about that?



#29 avbug

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 16:17

Nomex, polymer aramid, is inherently flame-resistant and isn't a function of a coating.  Some fabrics use coatings or treatments that can be harmed or removed through successive washes, and it's for that reason that any flame-resistant product should be handled exactly according to manufacturer guidelines.  

 

Like any fabric, nomex fill density and material thickness, as well as the tightness of the weave, decreases over time with successive wearings and washings.  The basic properties of the material don't change, however.  If you want to know how they respond to flame, get an older flight suit, cut some swatches, and burn them.



#30 OGE

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:01

How do you guys feel about flight instructors wearing flight suits while working? Unnecessary or an added level of professionalism?

 

Lots of pockets, comfortable, easy to get in and out of, what's not to like?

Just don't wear em tight, like some guys do, with it pulling up your bum <shivers>  :unsure:



#31 aeroscout

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 00:34

Beware the ritual of the number 2 with the one piece. Your flush might try to take you with it.



#32 Linc

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 01:35

This is worse than the new helmet thread!


Linc

For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else. Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly.


#33 Flying Pig

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 19:09

Where I am it's a green flight suit or cotton army green bdu's. So even an old flight sut is still better than my other options. But in my case also it's a daily uniform. I've been wearing one pretty much every work day for the past 10+yrs. we replace them every couple of years

Edited by Flying Pig, 18 January 2015 - 19:13.


#34 r22butters

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 19:49

After about 11 1/2 years of farting around in the r-22 I finally decided to get one, which is funny because it only took me 1 year to decide to get my own life jacket (I fly over water a lot).  Anyway, I like wearing it, however the CFIs at the school where I rent don't wear one.  I don't think students really care, or even notice, but when I see them take up non-pilots (like photgraphers) I think they might feel a bit more comfortable if the pilot had one on (for that more professional look), instead of just a faded company t-shirt and shorts?

 

:)


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#35 RagMan

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 21:05

That seems a little extreme to me for just "renting" an aircraft, but I suppose if it makes you feel more comfortable in flight, more power to you. 

 

Butters, what area do you flight out of? Just a general area, not looking for a flight school name or anything.

 

Personally I'd wear the flight suit for not only the nomex purpose, but also I'd rather tear up and have the flight suit covered in grim and gunk than my own personal clothing. 


Edited by RagMan, 19 January 2015 - 10:02.

 





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