Jump to content

Cheeze Check


Recommended Posts

I have a quick request for opinion from any and all interested parties. At the school where I am training, all of the instructors wear flight suits. After getting sprayed lightly with AV gas the other day, I can see the functionality of the whole "coverall" thing. So here is the question:

 

Is it in any way cheezy or overkill, for a new student (I have a whopping 6 hours of time so far) to invest in a decent flight suit for the purposes of saving street clothes and in the unlikely event the fire retardent material could proove useful?

 

Its probably a silly question for the most part. I just was hoping people might weigh in on it so that I dont show up for training and become the laughing stock of the hangar. :lol:

 

**cross at the pole**

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DON'T GET ONE FROM SNAPPY SUPPLY.COM.

 

I went and got one from BDU.com and had it a week later. Fits well and the FBO ladies like it. I think Jerry thinks it's cheezy because from what I understand, he hates them. It seems that a lot of people think they're cheezy. Me too.

 

But then there's the "cool" factor. Or the "cheezy" factor if you want. I like cheese.

 

Bottom line, if you want one, get one and don't worry about looking cheezy.

 

Later

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is strictly a preference! As you get more hours in, you'll feel more comfortable, and you probably won't spray yourself w/ 100LL!(I carry baby wipes in flight bag, just in case of oil mess, etc.)

 

When I first started flying, there was a private pilot who would rent at the school I was at. He would show up in olive drab flight suit(he even had 8 writing pens in all the pockets all over the suit), and a helmet, and take passengers with him. Now, I know that the suit/helmet is good thing for safety, but boy did it look funny in that little R22HP! :) He was the only person I've ever seen, with helmet/suit in a 22, BUT to each is own! As far as the school, I think it's fine they wear a flight suits....just during the summer, well.....probably gets a little hot, eh!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rollthbns,

 

There is no right answer to your question.

 

There is a saying, "When in Rome do as the Romans do!" I would add to that, "The people who know best what to do in Rome are the Romans!"

 

How does that translate? Have a look what others are doing, and use that as a guide. Its not whether it looks cheezy or not, but the fact that colletively the majority of the people already there are probably pretty close to what is practicable and acceptable for the flying they are doing.

 

At the end of the day though, its down to you to make a decision based on your own assessement of the situation you will be flying in. Just remember though that your assessment will be based on your knowledge at the time. You may well find that you change your mind after a while as you learn more about what you are doing. So don't go preaching to others about what you're wearing.

 

I live in a hot country. I ride a motorbike. All the time I would meet people new to the country coming and preaching how stupid I was not to wear full leather gear all the time! They were normally people from colder climates. Anyway, they'd ride around in their full leathers....until summer came round. Then slowly you'd see them relax their style! After a while, they'd realise that while safer in some ways, full leathers weren't necessarily the most practical, and a balance had to be found.

 

While full nomex suits, nomex gloves, and helmet are the 'safest', it is not always most practical to go with these. That's why I say, "When in Rome..."

 

Then you must also assess the risks.

 

As a student I did not expect to be fighting fires with my bare hands. So no nomex gloves for me. On the otherhand, an instructor is exposed to the risk day-in-day-out and might see the risk differently. In an instructional situation I don't expect to be flying in areas of high debris, foliage, birds etc...so I might consider a helmet an overkill. However, a utility pilot may see this as necessary. Do yo see what I mean? (Those are just examples to make a point by the way. People's actual reasons for wearing gloves or helmets may differ!)

 

Last of all though, if your instructors are wearing flight suits, then I don't see anything wrong with a student wearing one. Afterall, they are meant to be role models aren't they?

 

Joker

Edited by joker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

....just during the summer, well.....probably gets a little hot, eh!

That is why we take the doors off and fly sideways... Airconditioning. :D

 

Also, you can get a used surplus one for $40 or so , or a new one for less than $150. Flightsuits.com has a clearance section with suits for $99, reg $250. Give it a looksee.

 

Later.

Edited by Witch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay I'll weigh in on this one. I am a new ppl student, but I have several thousand hours as crewman in military aircraft, and now I am the captain of a dive support vessel in the GOM. No one ever goes to work expecting to fight a fire, but to aircrew in the air and mariners at sea there is no greater enemy.

 

If a fire breaks out at 2000 feet how long does it take to get to the ground in auto? a couple of minutes... well as anyone who has seen fires can tell you, they grow, and in a confined space like the cabin of an aircraft there is only so much they can grow before you are in the middle of them. What you wear as well as what you do in case of fire can immediately impact whether you survive. It doesn't have to be a flight suit but long pants, caps or helmets, and the longest sleeves you can stand based on the environmental conditions. Natural fibers such as wool or cotton obviously are better than the sythetice which melt to your skin. I think polar fleece is great if you are walking around in in the winter time but I think that if you fly in it you are asking for major scarring. As far as a helmet goes, I am having a very hard time adjusting to flying without one (thus my earlier post about how to buy a helmet without breaking the bank). My head feels naked, even though I always wear a cap of some sort

 

I have had fire saftey drilled into me for so long that I don't even think about it anymore, and not just when I am flying helicopters or at work, whenever I fly (even on the airlines) I balance what I am wearing with the length of the flight the temperature and the "possibility" of accident or fire.

 

As far as the coolness factor goes, I really miss the days when I could get away with throwing on a flight suit and going, not having to think of what to wear, etc. Anyone who thinks its funny has a right to their opinion but hey lets go for comfort. With the sleeves rolled up to below the elbows and a t-shirt underneath I have always been comfortable in a flight suit. You never worry about ruining your nice clothes with oil/grease/avgas or any other of the multitudes of substances that abound in the aircraft, on the ramp or at a remote landing area. Sweaty sometimes? Yes but not really any sweatier than if I were wearing shorts and sneakers. Besides just think how sweaty it would be if a fire did break out.

 

So, ridiculous looking to some, sure, but did you really get into flying to worry about what others think about you?

 

"Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it!"

 

Keith

PH2 (AW, NAC)

Edited by klmmarine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's cool if the student wears a flight suit....but he must also wear a hat with the letters "NEWBE" or "JAFO" to distinguish himself from the other pilots...ok...well just my two cents!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wore my nomex tonight for a night flight. I tell ya it's even worse than I remember flying a plane 20 years ago. No good references and dang that landing light is bright. It's good for lighting up cars going down the road.

 

Anyhow, on the way home, I stopped in at Shari's to buy a coconut cream pie. The lady asked about the Robbie Ranger patch on the arm and I told her I was a pilot...Helicopter pilot. She asked if that's why I was wearing an Army suit. I said it was just a flightsuit that many pilots wear. She said she liked it and asked where she might get one. I told her that the better place was from a surplus store because this one cost over $100.

 

We exchanged some plesantries and as I started to leave, she again mentioned that she liked it.

 

So if other pilots think they're cheezy, the non-flying part of the population may think they're cool.

 

Later

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, don't buy the polyester/cotton ones, in a fire, you're on fire as well.

You pick 'em up on Ebay very cheap, I bought several new (army) ones for under $30.

 

I always fly with a nomex flightsuit, nomex gloves, nomex underwear, helmet, leather boots.

 

Why? You never know when it's going to happen, few days ago 1/31/07 had an engine failure, all went well, but almost rolled over. This was my fourth in two years. They always happen all of a sudden, so you just can't say 'Today looks nice, let's go without protection'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why? You never know when it's going to happen, few days ago 1/31/07 had an engine failure, all went well, but almost rolled over. This was my fourth in two years. They always happen all of a sudden, so you just can't say 'Today looks nice, let's go without protection'

 

 

Wesp- what kind of bird were you flying? I am always up for a full auto story...maybe start a new thread on your last experience ?

 

Goldy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wesp 4 in 2 years tell us more ??please.

In 8 years only had one small problem in flight

1st solo blade tape lifted large amount of stick shake as I climbed through 800ft (360 auto to ground kept it just in the confines of field) as the vibe seemed to be a lot less with power off

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flightsuits are fine in the cockpit, not so great outside. The Nomex I remember is very uncomfortable, cold in the winter and hot in the summer. With a one-piece suit, you can't take off the shirt for comfort, and using the bathroom becomes a comedy, if you want to keep all the parts off the filthy floor. One needs to balance protection and practicality. How many helicopter crashes with fire happen? In how many of those did the occupants survive the crash, only to be burned to death? I haven't done a comprehensive study, but I suspect the number is very low. It's far more likely that one would be in an automobile crash with fire, happens every day somewhere in the US, but nobody suggests wearing full nomex suits and helmets like the NASCAR drivers wear to go down to the grocery store, although the odds of an accident are greater than for a trip around the pattern in a helicopter (unless it's a training flight, in which case the odds go way, way up). I believe it's less of a protection thing than an ego thing. I've spent about 25 summers flying around in the GOM, and a flight suit might have killed me, through a heat stroke. My greatest wish was that the company would let me wear shorts instead of trousers, but that didn't happen. I've been flying since 1968, and I've never had an engine failure, never had an accident, never a major mechanical failure, even though unfriendly people certainly tried to hasten my end a few times. I think comfort is more important than style, and I've given up trying to look cool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your Nomex gets sprayed with 100LL AVGAS, or Jet A-1 for the turbine guys, just write out a check for another flightsuit because you just turned your current one into a wick for the fire.

 

Petroleum degrades the fire retardant properties of the Aramid fiber that Nomex fabric is made from.

 

The military started wearing Nomex because with their use of JP-4 and other highly flammable fuels flash fires were a significant problem. The Nomex is designed to give enough protection for the duration of the flash fire...IF it is worn correctly. That would be gloves on (not folded over), sleeves down over the top of the gloves and fastened, collar turned up, zippers all the way up, and pants legs over the top of some all leather boots.

 

If you wear it during a post crash fire, it could afford you some measure of protection as you exit the aircraft...provided you're able to move under your own head of steam.

 

IMHO, for a civilian pilot, if you wear a flight suit, you should wear it because you think it makes you look cool and not have any unrealistic expectations of it protecting you. Honestly, considering what those flight suits were designed for, you're better off wearing a forest fire fighters ensemble for the type and duration of fire you're more likely to encounter (post-crash) rather than a cockpit flash fire.

 

If you're worried about exposure to fire, avoid synthetic threads like polyester and nylon and stick to mostly natural fibers like wool or cotton. A leather jacket is also cool looking and can provide a good layer against burn protection, which is why the early Aviation pilots wore leather jackets, helmets, and gloves. Synthetic fibers other than DuPont's Aramid Nylon or the more natural PBI, tend to melt and shrink. Nomex (made from Aramid) chars and expands to provide a barrier. Wool and cotton will also char rather than melt and shrink.

 

If your clothing is corrupted by POL, change it out. If you wear the same clothing over and over because you continually get AVGAS or other POL products on it...stay away from ignition sources.

 

And we haven't even talked about Fabric Softeners and Laundry Detergents...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to stir up things into a heated debate, I felt inclined to address a few things about Nomex. Depending on the contaminant, it can be washed out of Nomex with no effect to the nomex material. There are compatibity charts on the Dupont website that will give you an idea of what things that do break down Nomex. No argument that a garment covered with a flammable liquid or combustible liquid will burn, but it can be washed out depending on the garment construction (blend of nomex and another material or 100% nomex). I did a quick search and could not find anything on gasoline or diesel neutralizing nomex. If someone has something, please forward it to me.

 

We encounter gasoline and diesel all the time on incidents, and we just wash the gear if we get splashed. If our $400 Nomex wildland gear or $1500 structure gear had to be thrown out everytime we splashed chainsaw fuel or by plugging a fuel tank if ruptered, we would not be using it (to costly to replace).

 

As far as washing goes, here are a few things from Dupont (Patent holders of Nomex, Kevlar, PBI etc)

 

"• Inherent flame resistant fabrics (i.e., NOMEX®) consist of fibers that will not support combustion. This protection will not wash or wear out."

 

We have been told by our PPE supplier, that we can wash our nomex wildland gear with most any mild detergents without chlorine and in any washer, also we usually air dry without heat afterwards. On our structure gear we use special detergents only becuase they are auto injected into the washer that is specifically used for our bulker bunker gear.

 

Washing instructions for my nomex fire wildland gear:

NOMEX® Apparel: The following instructions are for washing NOMEX® fabric only. Keep this in mind when laundering Hatch products containing other materials in addition to NOMEX®. All Hatch gloves should be hand-washed and air-dried.

 

Your NOMEX® apparel should be kept clean to eliminate contamination from any other chemicals or fibers, which may compromise the flame resistant characteristics. Paint, oils and other flammable chemicals can pose a significant hazard if they are not removed from the garment.

 

Garments of NOMEX® should be washed separately from other articles. This will help prevent contamination of lint from other fibers, which may be flammable.

 

Regular household laundry detergent may be used to wash NOMEX® Apparel. Tests show that detergents designed for use at a temperature of 140°F (60°C) or less adequately clean NOMEX® and will provide the best color retention.

 

Do not use chlorine bleach on NOMEX® Apparel. Only oxygen-based bleach should be used. Chlorine bleach will not diminish the flame resistant characteristics of NOMEX®, but it may cause the fabric to lose strength and color over time.

 

NOMEX® may machine dried. It is best to use a low temperature setting. A temperature setting between 140°F (60°C) and 160°F (71°C) is sufficient to dry garments quickly and thoroughly while preventing excessive shrinking and color loss

---------------------------------------------------------

 

Maybe this might help someone out there on there decision if Nomex is right for them. I have no problem wearing it during the summer in 100oF heat and we are usually double layered for better therma protection. But that is me.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

brushfire,

 

I have 6 or so years as a life support officer, learning exactly what it is that does and doesn't pose a threat to myself and my fellow aviators. I've examined hundreds of Nomex garments for their serviceability with an eye for one thing, the garment's continued ability to provide protection. The likelihood of a failure occurring in the garment increase in areas where POL contamination occurs, with all due respect to DuPont.

 

If an aviator launders his garment and a spot or stain remains from the petroleum product, we determine that the garment is contaminated and its FR capability compromised. That is very annoying to me, because I have rarely, if ever, laundered a flight uniform without a stain remaining where the POL was, and while I do not pay for the flight uniform, I do pay for the sewing of the patches that are required to be worn on it.

 

Speaking of laundering, rarely is a uniform promptly laundered after exposure to POL. In fact, the flight is completed with the same uniform. Gloves are another big one, because the military Nomex flight gloves have a leather palm. The leather palm absorbs body oils which will react the same way that POL does.

 

Additionally, the majority of these types of uniforms worn by civilians are NOT new. That means they have some level of wear, and unless you purchase them from some company that is willing to certify that they weren't purchased from a DRMO or that they aren't rejected for some other reason, you're taking your chances that the garment is in a condition that will provide you the protection you think it will. As far as I know, there are only one or two companies that will certify as an FAA-certified life support facility that the [edit]used[/edit] garments they sell are serviceable.

 

If you don't know that about the Nomex garment you're wearing to fly in, again, enjoy your Top Gun/Fire Birds look.

 

Let me restate, Nomex got its start because the military once played with a highly flammable fuel that they no longer play with. The kind of hazard that existed that prompted the creation of the uniform in question has been managed by switching to a much less flammable fuel. This hazard is not a hazard demonstrated to be likely in the civil aviation realm, so the wear of the uniform is strictly one of aesthetics rather than a realistic safety measure for a problem that is unlikely to occur.

Edited by Linc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know a guy in California who survived an R22 crash which then subsequently caught fire. He survived and was wearing a helmet, gloves, flight suit etc. He recalls scrambling out of the aircraft and seeing his helmet visor melting in front of him. He suffered horrific injuries and is a walking commercial for PPE. The passenger died of his burns soon after and was not wearing any PPE.

 

Having seen his injuries I am a firm believer in some protection is better than no protection.

 

Fine it may be an unlikely event, but given my chances I know which side of the fence I'm on.

 

If you choose not to wear any then so be it. But don't mock those of us that do, or try to imply that we only wear them "to make us look cool". And certainly don't try and discourage someone from wearing any form of PPE.

 

My 2 cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vaqueroaero,

 

You tell a sad story. I'm sorry to hear that.

 

I want to make it clear, before I go on....its everyone's choice. I will not discourage someone from wearing full protection gear as much as I will not encourage it.

 

However, I do have one question.

 

A very real scenario is that your future employer forbids you to wear flight suits or helmets.

 

Sometimes employers don't want pilots to wear a helmet. They think it would scare the pax.

Sometimes employers believe that the public's stereotype of a pilot is what they should see at the front of the helicopter when they take their tour flight or take lessons.

 

So imagine you are going for your first job, and the employer says, "We wear shorts and t-shirts here. We like to show a relaxed atmosphere to our customers" Or, "Our uniform is an 'aviator shirt' and trousers (pants), ironed and smart". Would you refuse the job?

 

I ask because (as I mentioned in my first post about ), I have seen people's very strong and noble opinions be easily erroded by certain factors., usually money; it makes me wonder how strong these opinions really are sometimes.

 

How far will you go? What is this added safety worth?

 

Joker

 

Pilot?

 

helicopter.pilot.jpg

 

Or Pilot?

 

magnum8.jpg

 

Or Pilot?

 

helicopter_pilot.jpg

Edited by joker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know a guy in California who survived an R22 crash which then subsequently caught fire. He survived and was wearing a helmet, gloves, flight suit etc. He recalls scrambling out of the aircraft and seeing his helmet visor melting in front of him. He suffered horrific injuries and is a walking commercial for PPE. The passenger died of his burns soon after and was not wearing any PPE.

 

Having seen his injuries I am a firm believer in some protection is better than no protection.

 

Fine it may be an unlikely event, but given my chances I know which side of the fence I'm on.

 

If you choose not to wear any then so be it. But don't mock those of us that do, or try to imply that we only wear them "to make us look cool". And certainly don't try and discourage someone from wearing any form of PPE.

 

My 2 cents.

Accident case number?

 

Hey, if it was riding a motorcycle, I'd be all about wearing PCE. The fact is that rarely would someone be involved in an accident not caused by another factor. And the odds of a pilot being overconfident in PCE that isn't serviceable and not paying attention to things that really matter is too high, simply because the PCE required is expensive and pilots who are already spending a lot of money learning how to fly will shortcut their PCE. Unserviceable PCE is as bad as no PCE.

 

Fine and dandy for your friend that he survived the fire. Let me ask, does he have the use of his hands and arms? Did anybody do a post-crash/fire analysis of his PCE to determine that it actually did what he expected it to do. The visor melting is a critical piece of information because polycarbonate begins to melt at the same temperature that military single layer Nomex begins to fail. It makes the story more incredulous. Sorry if that also offends you, that I don't trust this guy's story without some documentation. I've seen too many pretenders, including people who want to make the cause of their injuries more exciting than, "I got burned badly [in something less exciting]."

 

My 2 cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S. All you Robbie flyers better make sure your stuff is the real deal and serviceable:

In July 2006, the Robinson Helicopter Company issued Safety Notice SN-40, titled “Postcrash Fires”. That Safety Notice states:

 

"There have been a number of cases where helicopter or light plane occupants have survived an accident only to be severely burned by fire following the accident. To reduce the risk of injury in a postcrash fire, it is strongly recommended that a fire-retardant Nomex flight suit, gloves, and hood or helmet be worn by all occupants."

(Don't be a cynic...there's nothing to read in between the lines...nothing to see...)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...