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Alpha Eagle Helmet - Who has one?


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#1 WolftalonID

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 22:14

Just picked up one of these and took it for a spin. The fit seems ok, and I will NOT fly those dang ear cups as tight as they picture in their fit video.

Anyway, who here flys this helmet, and what if any changes have you done to make it fit or sound more comfortable?

Mine is dual visor edition, standard liner, with one crown and one brow pad added. No volumn control, or ANR yet.
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#2 rotornut67

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 15:25

The key is to be measured properly first.  Mine is the standard 900 model with volume control and 1/2" earcup seals.  If the helmet is fitted properly and you use the earcup straps and the nape ratchet it fits perfectly and is very comfortable, even with NVG's. It is definitely more comfortable than the SPH 5.  I didnt get ANR with mine because when you fasten the earcup straps down it's like turning on the ANR...at least in mine anyway. 

 

Hope this helps. Good luck with it and if you need a different size liner get in touch with Pro-Flight Gear and they can fix you up.


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#3 WolftalonID

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Posted 29 October 2016 - 09:03

It is sized correctly. I have never flown a helmet, and after watching the fitting video and standing in the mirror....those ear cups just do not need to be as tight as they show. Was like a vise in about 5 minutes. I loosened them up right away. The liner pads installed and nap adjusted it has no hot spots so for comfort just asking generally if anyone has done any mods to them from stock.

I would love a helmet volumn control and just may order the part and add it. However I have flown Lightspeed zulu2 and Bose A20 headsets up till now. The ear cups as quiet as they are, say much better than your standard David Clark, are not ANR quiet.

CEP kits or splicing in some Bose ear cups, has anyone found this a good upgrade? Their web page doesnt show much in the area and it didnt seem like the stock ANR was so good. Has anyone had oregonareo liners installed?

The helmet seems to fit so far, and audio is clear, any further input would be good for future use is all.
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#4 avbug

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 00:37

I just ordered an Alpha from proflightgear.  I borrowed a loaner and flew with it to evaluate, and was very happy with it.  I'm using CEP on my other helmets, so will be using proflightgear's PACE setup with their custom earmolds with the CEP adapter.  I used their zero gravity liners, which I'm also using in a HGU-55's.  Thus far they've completely eliminated hotspots and have been very comfortable.  

 

The tightness of the earstraps isn't so much for quiet as for fit; whatever it takes to adjust to the individual to take up slop and reduce movement.  The helmet is easy to customize.  

 

The sound with the Alpha on was quite different; I heard very little high frequency noise, hardly any engine or other associated sounds, but I was able to make out the slipstream quite clearly.  


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#5 WolftalonID

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:54

I am on the fence with audio upgrades. Cheaper route but solid oregon areo hush kit and CEP kit, or a Bose or the new Lightspeed helmet version Zulu-2 installed.

I fly ANR headsets now and like them, but one irritating issue is when batteries die if your not using a lema plugged headset.

I have heard good from users of both set ups. The stock earcups they have are just junk so either way I want to change that soon.
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#6 avbug

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:59

The new Alpha doesn't have ANR at the moment, but I am planning to have it installed after the fire season.  It should give a good chance to evaluate before/after.  A friend did the evolution helmet a couple of years ago and had the Bose A20 put in.  I flew with it and found it comfortable and very quiet (I flew it in a radial powered single engine airplane which is quite loud; communication in the cockpit was clear and the setup was very nice).  In that case, I didn't have any in-ear structure, whether earplugs or CEP type arrangement. 

 

ANR doesn't protect hearing, though.  It gives the illusion of doing so while making it appear quieter.  ANR enhances communication.  

 

When I went to proflightgear, I intended only to have them refurbish a couple of my helmets.  After looking at the Alpha, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new helmet.  My last new helmet was 17 years ago, and it looks every bit the part.  It's worn out.  They were able to take impressions for custom ear molds on the spot, and they loaned me a helmet to try in the aircraft for evaluation.   I ended up ordering all new, set up the way I wanted, and may or may not refurbish the other helmets.   That will leave the Alpha as my primary, and an HGU-55 as my spare (I've needed a spare twice...but compared to taking unavailability if the avionics fail, it's a small price to carry the extra helmet).

 

ANR proved its worth to me when I was doing a lot of international flying.  My hearing isn't great, and with a light telex Airman 750, I had a hard time understanding a lot of the foreign communications (particularly the French, anything in Africa, and over Pakistan).  I began using an ANR headset (Bose QC-15 with Uflymic), and the difference was startling.  I also felt a lot less fatigued on long 7+ hour trips.  I wasn't under any illusion that it was providing hearing protection, but in that environment, communication was my chief concern.  

 

At the moment, it's both; hearing protection and communication.  I haven't received the PACE earplugs, so I'm still using my own CEP creations.  I use radians moldable silicon earplugs, formed around the CEP  electronic, and it's done quite well.  It's not nearly as comfortable or good as a professional custom one, but it's been functional and I can hear and understand communications very well.  They do provide an extra measure of hearing protection, and have the added benefit that I can turn the radio volumes down considerably, which further protects hearing.

 

I'm a long time user of Oregon Aero earseals, hush kits, etc.  I just replaced all that in my HGU-55 with proflightgear's "Zero G" treatment.  They've got the same hush kit type arrangement for the ear cups which further deaden sound, but their ear seals use a cloth on the inside instead of leather, which makes the attenuation even better.  It's quite remarkable, in fact.  It uses the same material as the headliner for the helmet, which in my opinion is far superior to the others out there (the zeta, boxell, etc).  

 

I have a goofy shaped head and hotspots have always been an issue for me under a helmet; enough so that headaches are common after wearing them for a while.  I've had custom liners, all kinds of liners and fitting, but I get the hotspots and am frequently pushing on the helmet to shift it slightly while flying.   Not so with the Zero G, or with the Alpha, as it turns out.  I find myself asking why I didn't go this route a long time ago...but I'd never heard of the Zero G until last year, and probably wouldn't have tried it as I already had the Oregon Aero liners.  Proflightgear's Zero G breaths better, too, and isn't nearly as hot.  Working in the summer during the fire season, with flight suit, gloves, boots, and high temps, anything to make the flight more comfortable is a big plus.  

 

The ANR that proflightgear is selling is their own design.  Reported battery life is close to 40 hours, and uses to AA.  I have a Bose X headset that does about 50 hours on a set of batteries.  The Bose is digital, while the ANR offered by Proflight Gear is analog.  Ron at Proflightgear noted that the bose suffers from altitude while his doesn't.  I've had the bose headset to 41,000 on hundreds of occasions without a problem, but in a pressurized cockpit with cabin pressure altitudes around 7,500, and haven't noticed any issues.  I've used them in very hot and very cold climates, from Saudi Arabia to Siberia, no problem.  

 

One thing that the new(er) Bose A20 uses is an external mic in the earcup; block that and the ability of the headset to create a sense of quiet changes dramatically.  Put them in a tight helmet and they can't do their job.  I thought about trying to fit them to something like the Alpha, but I don't think it would be much benefit for the cost and a lot of the utility would probably be lost.  

 

The helmet is for protection, the avionics for hearing.  I've had one forced landing on a mountain with fixed wing with the HGU-55 and was glad for the helmet.  Given the rough terrain, mountain conditions, and limited placed to put down, a good helmet is a sound investment.  

 

The dual visor assembly on the Alpha puts the visors much farther from my face than the HGU series.  This creates more airflow; there have been times with the visor down in the HGU that fogging became an issue, especially on cold mornings.  I think the visor assembly on the Alpha, which admittedly looks goofy to me, will be much better in that regard.  I opted for a dark smoke grey lens, and for an amber lens.  I may end up changing the amber for clear.  

 

I went with a straight cord because I don't care for the coiled ones; they seem to inevitably fail with use.  Not right away, but they do eventually fail.  I also opted for a longer cord, because our plug points are all over the place in the different aircraft.  For the mic boom, it seems the most common one was half-wire, half-flex.  I opted for all wire, no flex.  Less chance of failure.  The flex do eventually wear out and droop.  The wire booms can be tightened.  I also went with a helmet mounted volume control for additional control at the helmet, and the ability to make a quick volume adjustment without having to reach for the radio stack.  The helmet comes with NVG mounts and other features if desired, and for those who need it, there are provisions for bayonet receivers and a face shield.  I don't need them presently, and I'm leaving the helmet as light as possible.  

 

A helmet will always be more cumbersome and awkward than a headset, but a headset offers zero protection, and we're required to wear a helmet.  I opted for a yellow one for better visibility.  Nobody's shooting at us on fires, and anything to be easier to spot after a forced landing is a plus.  


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#7 Joe85sti

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 16:21

ANR doesn't protect hearing, though.  It gives the illusion of doing so while making it appear quieter.  ANR enhances communication.   

 

 

Not sure where you've heard this, but ANR absolutely provides hearing protection. It creates an inverse of the sound waves that would normally reach your ear drum, thus cancelling the sound wave. No sound wave > no sound > no hearing loss. 


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#8 avbug

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 18:46

 

 

Not sure where you've heard this, but ANR absolutely provides hearing protection. It creates an inverse of the sound waves that would normally reach your ear drum, thus cancelling the sound wave. No sound wave > no sound > no hearing loss. 

 

 

It really doesn't.  ANR does not protect hearing.  It enhances the ability to hear and understand and gives the illusion of quiet in a narrow frequency range.  It does not protect against hearing loss.

 

If you believe otherwise, you're deluding yourself.


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#9 pokey

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 00:51

someone show Dr Goofyshapedbughead this (he has me on ignore, or i would myself)

 

https://www.leftseat...AME/headset.htm

 

"A newer and more expensive approach to hearing protection is the active noise reduction (ANR) headset."

 

the keyword here is: [protection]-Definition of protect

    transitive verb

    1
    a :  to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction :  guardb :  defend 1c protect the goal

 

 

oddly enuf? the Merriam -Webster page that i got that definition from?  Also has this one on the same page:  nutjob 'a mentally unbalanced person'   https://www.merriam-...tionary/protect

 

 

another myth de-bugged


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#10 Joe85sti

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 15:44

 

 

It really doesn't.  ANR does not protect hearing.  It enhances the ability to hear and understand and gives the illusion of quiet in a narrow frequency range.  It does not protect against hearing loss.

 

If you believe otherwise, you're deluding yourself.

 

 

someone show Dr Goofyshapedbughead this (he has me on ignore, or i would myself)

 

https://www.leftseat...AME/headset.htm

 

"A newer and more expensive approach to hearing protection is the active noise reduction (ANR) headset."

 

the keyword here is: [protection]-Definition of protect

    transitive verb

    1
    a :  to cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction :  guardb :  defend 1c protect the goal

 

 

oddly enuf? the Merriam -Webster page that i got that definition from?  Also has this one on the same page:  nutjob 'a mentally unbalanced person'   https://www.merriam-...tionary/protect

 

 

another myth de-bugged

 

Not deluded, just have a basic understanding of physics. 

 

https://www.leftseat...AME/headset.htm



#11 avbug

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 18:51

ANR provides very little hearing protection for multiple reasons.  

 

It can contribute to hearing loss for the same reasons.  

 

ANR headsets are less substantial than passive, noise-attenuating headsets.  Turn off the electronics, and they are clearly less protection than a typical David-clark  type design.  The ANR "protection" covers a narrow frequency range and provides little support at higher frequencies where much of the hearing damage typically occurs.

 

ANR headsets give the illusion of quiet, and the illusion that there is less sound.  This is a perception issue, not fact.  By placing an earplug in the ear canal, less noise reaches the eardrum, but the earplug does nothing to prevent the sound waves reaching the ear through the bone around the ear, and through the skull.  Many earplugs provide more noise attenuation than most headsets (up to 31 db attentuation with expanding foam plugs, vs typically around 23 db with earphones); the user perceives that things appear quieter, but hearing damage continues to occur.  

 

The in-ear plugs provide more hearing protection than ANR, however, as the ANR only provides a measure of cancelation in a particular frequency range.  Using ANR without additional protection is like wearing sunglasses without proper UV-A and UV-B protection.   It looks dimmer, it's easier to see, but the glasses can cause more harm.  In the case of the glasses, the user thinks protection is provided, the eyes relax and the iris opens, more light is admitted to the eye, and the damage increases.  In the case of those using ANR without additional protection in high-noise environments, the user thinks protection is provided, exposes himself or herself to increased noise, and hearing damage can occur due to the limited range of coverage by the ANR and the poor attenuating qualities of the headset itself.  

 

Turn off the ANR; listen.  Not that great.  Not that much protection.  Turn on the ANR.  You'll mask some of the sound, but what you're not masking, what you're not hearing, is what's doing the damage, and it will.

 

ANR's chief benefit is not in hearing protection.  There are no ANR headsets out there which produce superior hearing protection.  The chief benefit of ANR is the appearance of quiet, and improved communication.  It's easier to understand voices on the radio, and one can usually turn the radio volume down. 

 

Popular ANR headsets, some of which are excellent products (Bose, for example) provide values of hearing protection which sound great, if that protection were to be provided for a large range.  It's not.  Bose, for example, claims "30% greater hearing protection than conventional headsets."  In low frequency noise environments, ANR gives the appearance of quiet, but does little to help above 500-1000 hz.  Once into those ranges, better protection will be provided by passive headsets, and the best protection is provided by a combination of in-ear and over the ear passive noise-attenuating earplugs and headsets.  This protection is far superior to anything ANR can presently provide.  

 

With a helmet, ANR's chief value is NOT hearing protection, and were one to simply go with the ANR as the chief means of hearing protection, one is becoming vulnerable to most noise exposure in the cockpit.  This is especially true for those operating turbine equipment.  ANR serves to increase comfort, and it aids in hearing and understanding communications.  It does not provide adequate, or superior hearing protection, and is often found in installations that provide diminished protection.

 

I am not against ANR.  For general aviation aircraft, I have a strong preference for Bose headsets. They're comfortable, less fatiguing, and I've found nothing which provides clearer communications.  They do not provide superior hearing protection, however, and there are better means of protecting hearing.  Earplugs under them are an enhancement to hearing protection.

 

In my helmets, I use additional noise attenuating foam kits in the earcups, attenuating earseals (not all ear seals are equal), and in-ear protection as well.  Presently I use ear-mold CEP and will be using  some custom earpieces with the PACE system soon.  I may or may not add ANR to the new helmet.


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#12 r22butters

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 19:32

Well all I know is when I don't wear earplugs under my Zulu, my ears bother me latter, so I wear them!

,...now if I could only figure out how to produce a "counter wave" to destroy my neighbours base!!!
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#13 avbug

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Posted Today, 01:53

The peanut gallery is oddly quiet, given their lack of intelligent response, but for those who might like a bit more reading on ANR beyond dumbed down references, try Buck and Kimpfer-Jost's joint NATO white paper, "Active Noise Protection Systems and Their Performance."

 

http://www.dtic.mil/.../u2/a444679.pdf

 

Per page 3-16:

 

 

The use of active headsets is appropriate when supplementary protection against low frequency noise and good communication are needed. This is typically the case for crewmembers of armored vehicles, propeller aircraft or helicopters. For other noise sources like jet engines the use of ANR earmuffs will not bring any supplementary protection. In figure 23 a typical third octave band noise close to a fighter aircraft (position of ground support during takeoff) is compared to noise inside an armored vehicle. It can be seen that the maximum level for the jet engine noise is situated at frequencies (>600 Hz) where the ANR in earmuffs is no more effective (figure 15). Worse, the ANR system amplifies the residual noise just at these frequencies (figure 16).  

 

 

The above notes that ANR  provides some temporary measure of support (for short periods, as noted previously in the report) in helicopters and propeller aircraft, but not at frequencies encountered in "jet aircraft" (turbine equipment).  The paragraph goes on to note that protection is actually DECREASED when using ANR equipment.

 

ANR is useful when working with low frequency noise, within limits, and at low noise levels.  At higher noise levels, this is not the case, and in-ear protection is needed.  If ANR is to provide additional aid at higher noise levels, in-ear ANR is required, and presently the technology for that is lacking for reasons expanded upon in the paper.  

 

The conclusion points to the use of ANR has an aid and asset in loud low-frequency environments.  Specific to the paper are tanks, propeller driven aircraft, and helicopters.  The paper doesn't expand on the type of powerplant, but we know very well that turbine aircraft (helicopters and fixed wing) produce far more hearing damage at higher frequencies than low.  

 

The paper specifically points to three benefits of ANR in the low frequency range (500 mhz and lower): 

Longer exposure times.

Improved intelligibility at a given speech level.

Lower noise exposure levels (in the lower frequency range).

 

It's foolhardy to depend upon that for hearing protection alone, however, especially given what's available commercially.  Particularly given that all the commercial offerings today provide less passive protection, and therefore REDUCED hearing protection outside the lower ranges covered by ANR, and all provide reduced protection compared to passive headsets when the ANR isn't engaged, the commercial ANR headsets give the illusion of protection while actually offering less.  What they do, however, is provide enhanced communication.

 

If, however, your'e dumb enough to stop at a an offhand reference to leftseat.com, you probably deserve to go deaf.



#14 WolftalonID

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Posted Today, 08:57

Hmmm...I wonder when we are going to start seeing all these hearing damaged ANR users medicals revoked.........hmmm maybe ANR isnt so bad huh?

We all loose hearing over time, and pilots loose it regardless of how well we protect our ears.

My thread was on a helmet....make your soap box elsewhere...notice noone cared to join your thread jacked tirades on ANR opinions.

Lets keep this thread focused on the subject so others that wish to learn about the Alpha Eagle can...leave ANR research, and opinions to another thread.
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#15 helonorth

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Posted 30 minutes ago

As much as it pains me to agree with avbug, he's right. ANR, by itself, will ruin your hearing if you fly on a regular basis with nothing else.




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