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Helmets. Rotorcraft vs. Fixed wing


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#1 Rotorhead84

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 14:43

I've been putting off buying a helmet for long enough.  I've started looking around and I've noticed that most helmets geared at rotorwing pilots are large and bulky.  I know of a few people that use Gentex HGU-55P helmets that are not huge and they seem to like them.  However upon doing some reading these are fixed wing helmets.  I've even heard that Gentex will not sell you a fixed wing helmet if you tell them you're a rotary wing pilot.  I'm sure there is good reason for this.  Educate me.

 

 

 

If it helps I am a utility pilot and will sometimes spend 15-18 hours in the cockpit a day in 100 degree temps so I need something that isn't huge or too hot.

 

 

*Edit*

 

Just stumbled upon the HGU-84P.  Which is more of what I am going for.  Thoughts?


Edited by Rotorhead84, 17 May 2013 - 14:50.

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#2 Wally

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 18:01

Love my Gallet 250...


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#3 pilot#476398

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 18:31

Could you wear one of those small caps that some motorcycle riders wear and a Clarity Aloft in-the-ear type of headset?  I often wondered!



#4 helonorth

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 18:48

I just bought a Gallet 050, which set me me back the princely sum of $1,400. That included the external volume control. It's my first helmet but I'm told it's the only way to go. I'll let you know how it works out.



#5 avbug

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 19:00

You don't buy through Gentex, so what Gentex will or won't do is irrelevant. 

 

GovernmentSales, Gibson&Barnes, helicopterflighthelmets, and other sites will be happy to supply you with whatever you need.

 

I've used a HGU55 for some time.  I had a visor housing installed this last year, because I'm tired of the bungee's wearing out, the lens getting scratched, or the  lens slipping.

 

Go with the Oregon Aero liner; forget the TPL or molded liners.  

 

As various sources will tell you, the HGU-55 is designed to be a fixed wing helmet, but it's got a number of options, and there isn't a lot of difference between the HGU-55, -68, or the -84.  Same basic shell, shock liner, retention system, etc.  The primary differences are the attachments and visor, which don't really have anything to do with protecting you in a crash.  

 

Soft ear cups or hard ones are available, as well as "elephant ears" that have more room (and comfort) but less attenuation. Various visor options, retention options, and liners can be mixed and matched to meet your needs.



#6 Rotorhead84

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 19:09

You don't buy through Gentex, so what Gentex will or won't do is irrelevant. 

 

GovernmentSales, Gibson&Barnes, helicopterflighthelmets, and other sites will be happy to supply you with whatever you need.

 

I've used a HGU55 for some time.  I had a visor housing installed this last year, because I'm tired of the bungee's wearing out, the lens getting scratched, or the  lens slipping.

 

Go with the Oregon Aero liner; forget the TPL or molded liners.  

 

As various sources will tell you, the HGU-55 is designed to be a fixed wing helmet, but it's got a number of options, and there isn't a lot of difference between the HGU-55, -68, or the -84.  Same basic shell, shock liner, retention system, etc.  The primary differences are the attachments and visor, which don't really have anything to do with protecting you in a crash.  

 

Soft ear cups or hard ones are available, as well as "elephant ears" that have more room (and comfort) but less attenuation. Various visor options, retention options, and liners can be mixed and matched to meet your needs.

 

Thanks for the info!  And you are correct...  The company that wouldn't sell a fixed wing helmet to a rotor pilot was Gibson & Barnes.  Not Gentex

 

Interesting to know that there isn't much difference in the helmets.  I was reading all sorts of stories on line about how the foam and or liners were drastically different.


Edited by Rotorhead84, 17 May 2013 - 19:09.


#7 Counterrotate

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 22:01

 

Thanks for the info!  And you are correct...  The company that wouldn't sell a fixed wing helmet to a rotor pilot was Gibson & Barnes.  Not Gentex

 

Interesting to know that there isn't much difference in the helmets.  I was reading all sorts of stories on line about how the foam and or liners were drastically different.

I couldn't tell you for sure, but I don't see why they would be different.  Both are designed to protect you from blunt force trauma to the head.  What does it matter if you are in a fixed wing or a rotary wing aircraft?  Oh... that's right.  Everything designed for, and used by, helicopter pilots needs to be twice as expensive... 



#8 Gibson&Barnes

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:29

Hello everyone my name is Dan and I work for Gibson & Barnes. You are correct that Gibson & Barnes does not sell fixed-wing helmets for use in helicopters.

 

I will do my best to explain Gentex and G&B’s position in this regard.  

 

Fixed-wing helmets are different from helicopter helmets because the mission and flight conditions are different.   Fixed wing helmets are small and light because of the high g forces often encountered.  Their earcups are small because fixed-wing cockpits aren’t usually as noisy and the sound encountered is higher frequency which is easier to attenuate.

 

Helicopter helmets are larger because they have thicker shells and energy-absorbing liners and they have large-volume earcups that are necessary to attenuate low frequency sound.  Rotor blades generate lots of sound with a frequency of 250HZ.  Helmets involved in helicopter accidents usually receive multiple impacts so it is important that the helmet remain on the wearer’s head.   .

 

The most protective helicopter helmet in the world is the helmet worn by the Army, Gentex’s HGU-56.  It isn’t the world’s coolest helmet but it is a good design.

 

The Coast Guard’s uses the SPH-5 because it doesn’t interfere with their flotation collars.  It is almost as protective as the HGU-56.

 

The Navy and Marine Corps use the HGU-84 with a bungee-visor.  It looks like a fixed-wing helmet but offers a lower level of impact protection and sound attenuation.

 

Helmets features are trade-offs like everything else in aviation.  You can’t have a small, light, cool-looking, highly protective, highly sound-attenuating, cheap helmet.  Something has to give.

 

I’m not a pilot, but if I were, I’d wear the HGU-56.

 

Thanks

Dan



#9 Counterrotate

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 17:30

Speaking from personal experience, MSA helmets are every bit as crashworthy as an HGU-56 and a hell of a lot more comfortable.  Uncle Sam always buys the cheapest gear, not necessarily the best.  Gentex has been making helmets for a long time, and by no means am I saying they are crap, but I like my MSA and hope I never have to wear another Gentex.  If you look at the actual safety standards that both helmets meet, the difference is virtually nil. 



#10 SBuzzkill

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:17

I've got the Oregon Aero liner, ear seals and the hush kit on my HGU-56.  It's like a different helmet.



#11 Counterrotate

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 22:47

I had the Oregon Aero kit in mine too.  I still like my Gallet better. 


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#12 SBuzzkill

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 15:08

Oh I'm with you.  Just pointing out options for those of us that are stuck with the Gentex.  I hope most ALSE guys are aware of the upgrades and are getting them for their guys.  I know ours is.



#13 Velocity173

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:42

HGU-56 (Space Balls) can also double as a shelter if you're shot down. :)  


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#14 Flying Pig

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:42

HGU-56 (Space Balls) can also double as a shelter if you're shot down. :)  


HAaaa!! we demo'd one. Not to well suited for the UN-spacious MD500E!

#15 Trans Lift

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:23

Anyone tried the new Northwall helmets? They look pretty cool and their specs seem to be good. They say they are lighter than a Gallet too. I have been wearing an HGU-84. Its always been comfortable but I need something new. It's between Gallt or Northwall. 

 

@Rotorhead84: What will you be doing that you will be in a cockpit for 15-18 hours a day? 


Edited by Trans Lift, 13 June 2013 - 08:24.


#16 Rotorhead84

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:05

Hello everyone my name is Dan and I work for Gibson & Barnes. You are correct that Gibson & Barnes does not sell fixed-wing helmets for use in helicopters.

 

I will do my best to explain Gentex and G&B’s position in this regard.  

 

Fixed-wing helmets are different from helicopter helmets because the mission and flight conditions are different.   Fixed wing helmets are small and light because of the high g forces often encountered.  Their earcups are small because fixed-wing cockpits aren’t usually as noisy and the sound encountered is higher frequency which is easier to attenuate.

 

Helicopter helmets are larger because they have thicker shells and energy-absorbing liners and they have large-volume earcups that are necessary to attenuate low frequency sound.  Rotor blades generate lots of sound with a frequency of 250HZ.  Helmets involved in helicopter accidents usually receive multiple impacts so it is important that the helmet remain on the wearer’s head.   .

 

The most protective helicopter helmet in the world is the helmet worn by the Army, Gentex’s HGU-56.  It isn’t the world’s coolest helmet but it is a good design.

 

The Coast Guard’s uses the SPH-5 because it doesn’t interfere with their flotation collars.  It is almost as protective as the HGU-56.

 

The Navy and Marine Corps use the HGU-84 with a bungee-visor.  It looks like a fixed-wing helmet but offers a lower level of impact protection and sound attenuation.

 

Helmets features are trade-offs like everything else in aviation.  You can’t have a small, light, cool-looking, highly protective, highly sound-attenuating, cheap helmet.  Something has to give.

 

I’m not a pilot, but if I were, I’d wear the HGU-56.

 

Thanks

Dan

 

So the shell is thicker on the HGU-84 than the HGU-55?

 

Anyone tried the new Northwall helmets? They look pretty cool and their specs seem to be good. They say they are lighter than a Gallet too. I have been wearing an HGU-84. Its always been comfortable but I need something new. It's between Gallt or Northwall. 

 

@Rotorhead84: What will you be doing that you will be in a cockpit for 15-18 hours a day? 

 

 

I am an Ag pilot.  If the -84 is comfortable why do you feel the need to change?


Edited by Rotorhead84, 13 June 2013 - 19:07.


#17 Trans Lift

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:12

Sweet. I feel the need to change for weight. The northwall helmets are half the weight and I do mostly longline so that would help out a lot. 



#18 Rotorhead84

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:52

Sweet. I feel the need to change for weight. The northwall helmets are half the weight and I do mostly longline so that would help out a lot. 

 

Had to google the Northwall helmet.  Never heard of it.  God is it ugly as sin, but it is very light.  Which is always a plus when you're sticking your head out the door all the time



#19 Trans Lift

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 20:40

Yeah I was kinda thinking the same thing but then it doesn't look as bad on a person. I rang them today and had a good chat about it. It is the only flight helmet with vents. The guy said they definitely help out with the inner temps. It is also the only helmet with dual inner visors and a grand less than a gallet. I think I'll get one!



#20 Rotorhead84

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 15:24

Purchased an HGU-84.  Should have it in about 2 weeks I'd guess.  I'll update this thread after this year's corn/soy season is over to share if I like it or hate it.  Planning on getting the oregon aero kit as well.


Edited by Rotorhead84, 17 June 2013 - 15:25.





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