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helmet refurb.


HeliHelvig
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So my grandfather recently passed away and I just acquired a couple old flight helmets of his. Both are Vietnam era, and are in need of some reconditioning. After hours of searching the internet to find out what models of helmets they are, I determined that one is an Army AFH-1 and the other an APH-5. I like the AFH-1 as it's a little bigger, although heavier unfortunately, and fits better.

 

So this is my new project.

 

I'm planning on stripping the AFH-1 and refurbishing it with a new dual visor system, new lining, a new paint job, and new comms. It seems like most helmet parts are somewhat generic and can be used on most different helmets. I'd like to get an ANR kit for it, but my idea is to buy a relatively cheaper ANR headset and tear it apart (get rid of the headband) and fit it into the helmet along with the mic and everything, instead of buying all the separate components. It seems like that would be easier but I'm not sure if that's the best way to go about it. Anybody have any experience with anything like this? Do you think that would work?

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I'd give it a shot at least. Some parts may be difficult to aquire, but parts might be modified to perform the specific task. The headset idea sounds good. I forsee no or few problems. Post updates.

 

GO FOR IT !!!

 

Later

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Some parts are generic, some aren't. Comms are pretty generic, and any should work. The earseals, suspension, liner, etc are mostly model specific, and not interchangeable. If you want ANR, try Headsets Inc. They make a drop-in ANR kit that will go into any headset or helmet, and that's better than tearing apart a headset. The ANR capability is designed around the domes, and if you tear apart a headset and put the parts into a helmet, the ANR part likely won't work well, if at all. A better idea is to buy a CEP set, or Communications Ear Plugs. You get better noise suppression for less money.

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The AFH-1 and APH-5 are both ancient. They'd probably be of more use as museum pieces than placed in a current cockpit. The reason they're not around is because they weren't as good as some of the aircraft they were used to fly in. I had dreams of doing something similar to one of my dad's old flight helmets, but I'm too sentimental to attempt following through. It also helps that my "company" wouldn't let me fly with something they didn't provide me.

 

If I had any parts for either, I'd offer them to you. I don't even have SPH-4B parts anymore, that and I've been out of the life support maintenance game for a couple years now. If you succeed, just be aware that they're really just replacing the headset and protecting your head during turbulence and normal flight. The technology in those helmets is so old, not to mention the age of the helmets, that they should not be counted on for anything else.

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So my grandfather recently passed away and I just acquired a couple old flight helmets of his. Both are Vietnam era, and are in need of some reconditioning. After hours of searching the internet to find out what models of helmets they are, I determined that one is an Army AFH-1 and the other an APH-5. I like the AFH-1 as it's a little bigger, although heavier unfortunately, and fits better.

 

So this is my new project.

 

I'm planning on stripping the AFH-1 and refurbishing it with a new dual visor system, new lining, a new paint job, and new comms. It seems like most helmet parts are somewhat generic and can be used on most different helmets. I'd like to get an ANR kit for it, but my idea is to buy a relatively cheaper ANR headset and tear it apart (get rid of the headband) and fit it into the helmet along with the mic and everything, instead of buying all the separate components. It seems like that would be easier but I'm not sure if that's the best way to go about it. Anybody have any experience with anything like this? Do you think that would work?

 

 

Please upload some pictures of your helmet's, I would like to see them !

 

Falko

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Yeah, just throw in a TPL or Zeta liner from Oregon Aero, and you got yourself a nice hardhat.

 

CEP's work great also. They're highly recommended by this helicopter professional.

 

Later

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I'm planning on getting a Zetaliner for it, as well as new earcups and an ANR kit. And everything else. Basically I'm just starting with the shell and replacing everything. I know some may think why not just buy a new helmet and save yourself the trouble. But I figured it would be a fun project. And by the time I'm done I'll have a fully functioning refurbished helmet with some sentimental value.

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I have also considered taking an ANR heaset and installing it into a helmet. I just havn't taken the dive and torn the headband off yet. I have a fantastic Lightspeed ANR headset (small style) that is relatively inexpensive and appears would fit nicely into my helmet.

 

I've had CEP's for the last year/500hrs with mixed reviews. i don't think i would spend the money again. If you leave your helmet on all day and don't turn your head much they would be fine. I end up putting my helmet on/off quite often during the day and it becomes a pain in the a## very quickly. Also, the cord going to your ears always seemed to snag on my collar/neck/cord/ear pads etc. each time pulling the earplugs out further.

 

Headsets inc looks like technology from the 60's but may be worth a try.

 

If you end up putting headset cups in your helmet please post some pics and let us know how it worked out.

B

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I'm planning on getting a Zetaliner for it, as well as new earcups and an ANR kit. And everything else. Basically I'm just starting with the shell and replacing everything. I know some may think why not just buy a new helmet and save yourself the trouble. But I figured it would be a fun project. And by the time I'm done I'll have a fully functioning refurbished helmet with some sentimental value.

 

And limited protective value.

 

A cool project, for sure, but I wouldn't ask it to keep my melon intact.

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And limited protective value.

 

A cool project, for sure, but I wouldn't ask it to keep my melon intact.

 

I'm just curious why this helmet will provide such limited protection compared to newer helmets? It has a styrofoam liner just like others and from what I've read about this model is that its made of ballistic nylon and is supposedly bullet-proof. I figure with some padding it should provide pretty decent protection.

 

*Status: Just received its first coat of white paint and will be ready for a second coat in a few minutes.

Edited by HeliHelvig
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I'm just curious why this helmet will provide such limited protection compared to newer helmets? It has a styrofoam liner just like others and from what I've read about this model is that its made of ballistic nylon and is supposedly bullet-proof. I figure with some padding it should provide pretty decent protection.

 

*Status: Just received its first coat of white paint and will be ready for a second coat in a few minutes.

 

Well, probably for the same reason Bell doesn't recommend that I use my cool 70's-vintage open-face green metalflake helmet on the bike anymore... everything attacks a helmet (UV, sweat, frequent low-energy impacts with door frames, et cetera) and after a while it's not chemically viable as a protective item.

 

Besides, if the AFH1 was such a great piece of kit, it wouldn't have been superseded by several replacement models.

 

That said, cool project. I'm interested in how you stripped it and what you're painting it with.

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Without seeing the condition of the "styrofoam" liner, I can already tell you that the thickness is not adequate. The shell itself will do exactly what you want it to do, stop sharp objects from reaching your brain pan. But that is not the main type of protection a helmet is designed for. To protect your head from blunt force trauma, associated with hard landings and not necessarily crashes, the material and thickness needs to be different than your helmet. Also, the visor is not made of the right material to prevent it from fracturing and becoming its own hazard.

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That said, cool project. I'm interested in how you stripped it and what you're painting it with.

 

By stripped I meant that I removed all of the components except for the styrofoam liner and edge beading. I sanded it with some 150 grain paper and masked it off. I just put a couple of coats of gloss white Rust-Oleum plastic paint on it today. Tomorrow I'm planning on sanding it with some finer paper and doing a couple more coats. Then I'm going to attempt some sort of metallic blue stripes (if I can mask it off well enough). Then I'll seal it with some Rust-Oleum crystal clear enamel.

 

 

Without seeing the condition of the "styrofoam" liner, I can already tell you that the thickness is not adequate. The shell itself will do exactly what you want it to do, stop sharp objects from reaching your brain pan. But that is not the main type of protection a helmet is designed for. To protect your head from blunt force trauma, associated with hard landings and not necessarily crashes, the material and thickness needs to be different than your helmet. Also, the visor is not made of the right material to prevent it from fracturing and becoming its own hazard.

 

I would love to replace the current liner but I'm not sure what liner I could use to replace it. I was looking at this:

 

http://www.flighthelmet.com/mm5/merchant.m...egory_Code=LNRS

 

but it says it is for an SPH helmet so I'm not sure how well it would fit or even what size would be compatible. I also ordered a Zetaliner already so I was hoping that would be okay with just the current liner.

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I'm thinking about attacking my SPH5, but I'm concerned that enamel will crack during flex... I'll be interested in your outcome, for sure.

 

I'd be concerned about that styro liner - you know how that stuff tends to degrade over time. Simply adding a Zetaliner to it isn't going to improve much other than comfort. I'd give the guys at FlightHelmet.com a ring and I'd bet they could point you in the right direction for a new liner.

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The thing about a liner for your helmet is the interior circumference of the helmet may not fit an energy-absorbing liner from another helmet. Another issue is knowing what adhesive was used to install the current liner and what may be needed to clean up the shell to allow another liner to be installed.

 

The Zetaliner is not an energy absorbing liner, but rather a liner to allow a more comfortable fit.

 

As you said, it's going to be quite a Frankenstein helmet.

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The thing about a liner for your helmet is the interior circumference of the helmet may not fit an energy-absorbing liner from another helmet. Another issue is knowing what adhesive was used to install the current liner and what may be needed to clean up the shell to allow another liner to be installed.

 

The Zetaliner is not an energy absorbing liner, but rather a liner to allow a more comfortable fit.

 

As you said, it's going to be quite a Frankenstein helmet.

 

I emailed FlightHelmet.com last night and got a response this morning and he said he might have a liner that would work for me. He asked what size my helmet is so now I'm waiting to hear back from him to see if he has anything for me. If he does I guess I'll figure out a good way to get the old one out and clean up the inside of the shell. The more I think about it I realize it would definitely be a good idea to install a new energy absorbing liner.

 

*Status: Painting is going well so far. I applied a couple more coats of white today. It's starting to look better already. Clean. A little more sanding tomorrow and it should be time for the final coats before my design and a clear coat.

 

Before...

DSC03580.jpg

 

After...

DSC03584.jpg

 

DSC03581.jpg

 

DSC03587.jpg

 

Still not done yet though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, I hated the helmets of that era. If the APH 5 is what I think it is, it was heavy as heck against a very limited improved ballistic protection. Got an SPH 4 halfway thru my tour, worlds more comfortable. No way I'd wear an APH anything again. Did I mention heavy and uncomfortable? I'd take cap and headset first.

Modern helmets much, much better protection and infinitely more comfortable.

Edited by Wally
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I know how you guys feel about the helmet and i understand and respect what you've told me. It's just a little project for me. I figure I can use this helmet for now and whenever I can get my hands on an SPH-4 for little or no money, I can easily swap all of the new components over to that shell from this one. But this one should be fine for now.

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Man, I hated the helmets of that era. If the APH 5 is what I think it is, it was heavy as heck against a very limited improved ballistic protection. Got an SPH 4 halfway thru my tour, worlds more comfortable. No way I'd wear an APH anything again. Did I mention heavy and uncomfortable? I'd take cap and headset first.

Modern helmets much, much better protection and infinitely more comfortable.

 

And this helmet that I am using is the AFH-1. From what I've read it's supposed to be a little better than the APH-5. With an SPH-4 ear cup assembly and a Zetaliner it seems to be pretty comfortable.

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