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Hgu- 56/p

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What size are you? HGU is a small and the Alpha is an XL-that is a big spread.


Others will hopefully chime in on the Alpha (not familiar, so I'll stay in my lane), but nothing wrong with the HGU-56--more of them in service than any other helmet (due to DOD contract since about the Year 1999). They are also cert'd for the USFS fire contracts if that is a possibility for you.


I have no doubt that there are nicer helmets out there (the HGU hasn't really changed since it was first issued), but there is nothing wrong with it either. Probably the biggest thing these days is noise canceling that newer helmets have. I've seen kits to retrofit the HGUs with this, but it isn't the norm.


May someone else help you out on the Alpha or be able to provide a comparison (I can't).

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I've used a 56/P for years and many that compared it to their SPH's say it's bigger, lighter, more restrictive on peripheral vision, and definitely can be more comfy. Crash ratings are superior, it's just bigger. Replacement parts for servicing and maintenance are just as cheap as for the SPH if you shop around. A 56 run with CEPs and the Oregon Aero bits, I think it's the best value in helmet vs. capability, protection, and comfort, especially if you can't afford $2k+ on some of the other lighter/newer models. If you can get a shiny new one for sub-$1000 and grab a Zeta Liner (at least), I think it's a deal. I also value a volume knob, pretty easy to add in if you are slightly mechanically inclined.


Keep in mind, these things are worthless (especially with goggles) unless they are fit properly. I wear a medium, but ended up with an XL for a year or so. Lost a good bit of my hearing in that time and couldn't run goggles without an ungodly weight bag on the back. Take the time to measure your head and figure out what size you need, and spend the time fitting it properly.


Also be weary of the surplus ones (that one doesn't seem to be one). While a lot are sent to the trash by the military for superficial reasons, some are definitely garbage.



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With a Zeta liner, hush kit, and comfort ear cups the HGU-56P is a great helmet. I have worn my helmet for 8 hours a day for weeks at a time with no comfort issues. With the hush kit I think it's got to be about the quietest you're going to find without ANR. Like mentioned earlier though, make sure it's properly fitted.

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I have used a HGU-55 for a number of years, with a couple others for backup. I use the hard visor cover because I discovered early on that the bungee visors scratched and got expensive. I also use CEP with those helmets. Mine are kevlar shells instead of the standard. They're lightweight helmets, but they're tight, not a lot of ventilation.


I just ordered an Alpha after trying one, from Pro Flight Gear. Robert Munoz was very helpful, did some upgrade and refurb work on my other helmets, and allowed me to try a loaner Alpha. My other helmet is 17 years old and looks it. Pro Flight uses something like CEP, but a bit better, and I ordered two sets of custom ear molds, so there's a spare.


It's not worth getting caught in the field with a helmet problem and having to take unavailability. There have been twice in the last 20 years when I've needed the backup helmet; once for me, once for another pilot. The first time it gets used, it pays for itself by not having to go out of service.


Be really careful buying surplus. Certain helmets such as the HUG-68, are prone to hidden damage. The 68 has a screw on the upper back which happens to be where the helmet usually hits if dropped. The helmet structure delaminates there. The Army (et al) takes them out of service, and they frequently end up getting sold. The delamination isn't visible, and those who buy them are blissfully unaware that the helmet is no longer safe or airworthy. It can be discovered by a tap test, but most don't know to check for it in the first place. Consider any helmet obtained through ebay or other such sources to be suspect. I've had a few decent ones, or ones that I had upgraded and rebuilt that way, but be careful.

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