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Best clothes for flying with safety in mind


napalm

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I am a helicopter/ fixed wing pilot and fly in an area of the world that I can't wear nomex in because it gives the locals the impression I am military (could be a bad thing). What types of clothes would be best to wear that would give some fire protection in an onboard fire or post-crash fire? I here that polyester is bad because it melts to your skin. Is a 100% cotton fabric the best? Any other suggestions? Thanks

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If you absolutly cannot wear a nomex flight suit (which doesn't offer as much protection as some think) then 100% cotton and/or wool. Polyester is BAD BAD BAD because it does melt to your skin. All leather above the ankle boots for foot protection. Cotton socks without elastic is best underneith. Pants should be denim, or other cotton fabric. Shirt should be 2-3 layers of 100% cotton, long sleeves is best. And of course nomex gloves. If you REALLY want to go all the way, then a nomex fire hood under a helmet couldn't hurt.

 

Or how about this...

 

16489.jpg

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If you absolutly cannot wear a nomex flight suit (which doesn't offer as much protection as some think) then 100% cotton and/or wool. Polyester is BAD BAD BAD because it does melt to your skin. All leather above the ankle boots for foot protection. Cotton socks without elastic is best underneith. Pants should be denim, or other cotton fabric. Shirt should be 2-3 layers of 100% cotton, long sleeves is best. And of course nomex gloves. If you REALLY want to go all the way, then a nomex fire hood under a helmet couldn't hurt.

 

Or how about this...

 

16489.jpg

 

 

 

better have some kick @$$ a/c to wear that badboy

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I am a helicopter/ fixed wing pilot and fly in an area of the world that I can't wear nomex in because it gives the locals the impression I am military (could be a bad thing). What types of clothes would be best to wear that would give some fire protection in an onboard fire or post-crash fire? I here that polyester is bad because it melts to your skin. Is a 100% cotton fabric the best? Any other suggestions? Thanks

Try Simpson Race Products. The driving suits will make you realize how marginal the MILSPEC flight suits are (no disrespect intended). They'll also make you pretty much any pattern you want, so you don't need to look like you're on the NASCAR circuit either. http://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/

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Try Simpson Race Products. The driving suits will make you realize how marginal the MILSPEC flight suits are (no disrespect intended). They'll also make you pretty much any pattern you want, so you don't need to look like you're on the NASCAR circuit either. http://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/

 

Thanks for the info people. I flly in a hot and humid environment without a/c so something very breathable is a must. Those nascar suits don't look to breathable. but they might be.

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Thanks for the info people. I flly in a hot and humid environment without a/c so something very breathable is a must. Those nascar suits don't look to breathable. but they might be.

Look for the crew gear that's SFI-1. It should be pretty comfortable. I think they have two piece suits as well.

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Thanks for the info people. I flly in a hot and humid environment without a/c so something very breathable is a must. Those nascar suits don't look to breathable. but they might be.

 

You can't really have both. Either the suit is hot and has good fire protection or you lose some fire protection for comfort. That's why you don't see woodland fire fighters wearing structural fire fighting gear. If you are that concerned about being hot, wear shorts and tee-shirt. If you want good fire protection, you will have to sweat a little.

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I was over 13 years an instructor for fire fighters, and we tried a lot of different materials to protect the guys against the heat. We used for training a gas facility where we were able to reproduce temperatures up 900°C. The most of the protecting materials have their protection in the time frame how long heat has to take until it goes through the layers. We are speaking about 1/10 sec up to 3 minutes or more. Nomex is one of the materials they use for fire protection. But it depends on how many layers they use. If you use more layers (longer protection) the material gets stiff and you will produce inside a higher temperature than outside. If you fly in Alaska or somewhere with low temperatures ... Bingo.

Lets spend some thoughts to what kind of fire we have to expect.

Fire in the cockpit: The most of the time the cause of this fire is an electrical overload or failure. What burns are wires and isolation. The hazard is more in the toxic gas than in the heat. I prefer to carry a fireproof blanket with me. You can put it over the cover of the panel and it will keep the toxic gas for a longer time inside of the panels. The use of a fire extinguisher during flight is most of the time very difficult. These fire don´t produce a high temperature so normal clothing will protect you. Normal clothing in my understanding are jeans, shirts and so on But you should use only organic material, no polyester or polyvinyl or other poly materials. Keep the clothing clean from oil and fuel.

Fire after Crash: The best protection is, if you are able to leave the helicopter. Don't try a larger fire in the engine to extinguish with the small fire extinguisher. If a fireball comes up, this can rise up the temperature to 1000°C but only for a second or two. So the normal clothing is able to protect you. Only the uncovered parts will get burned, like face, neck, arms and hands. Think about to wear a helmet and gloves.

If you are trapped in the wreck. In this case you have to have layers and layers of material which will protect you ( > 20min). It is unreal to protect a pilot for such a long time.

I like Nomex Flight suits, but the good one are hot as hell inside and you start sweating and loosing water and energy only with sitting there. I use them in the winter time. But in the summer you really can forget it. If there is a high humidity the temperature feeling is much higher than in a dry air. The suit will suck the humidity like a swamp and will get heavy ( I used one of these during my time in africa....only for two times, than i got rid of it ).

Personal I use, high shoes (leather), normal jeans but not too tight and tow layers of shirts ( long arm and short arm ).. I have my blanket with me and my helmet (You can use the blanket also to cover yourself if you are trapped in the cockpit it will help you for a little while.

 

I hope i gave you a other point of view ( its only my point but maybe some good ideas are inside )

 

 

Rotor up and take care

 

:rolleyes:

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The chances of you crashing are low (well, hopefully), and the chances of you crashing and then catching fire are much, much lower. And unless you are completely covered in Nomex (gloves, hood/neck, socks, etc) you're still going get burned on the important parts of your body.

 

So, I would forget about all this Nomex stuff and focus on practicality. If you have a choice of wearing polyester or cotton when you're in your closet, choose cotton.

 

But I would focus on some of the more likely events......precautionary landings. DRESS FOR SURVIVAL before you dress for fire avoidance. Dress in clothes that are you can live and hike in. Don't wear shorts if you're going to be walking through the woods or bean fields. Boots or appropriate shoes for rocky areas. Big coat, hat, gloves, etc during the winter.

 

You are going to look like a total a-hole if you do a perfect touch down auto from an engine failure, and then die less than a mile from the helicopter because you weren't prepared to hike.

 

I wear a Nomex flight suit, with Nomex gloves, boots, and a helmet....my employer requires all of them. If I had my choice, I would ditch the flight suit wear regular cotton clothes, but I wouldn't give up the helmet in single pilot ops. I wear that for bird strikes mainly.

 

I carry my own survival bag with me. It's one of those little army tool bags. Basic survival stuff plus some extra flash light batteries, basic tools, etc. I also keep an limited overnight kit in there: extra undies, socks, toothbrush, mouthwash, (medications if I took any), etc in case we get stuck somewhere. AOPA has a good list of survival kit supplies.

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If you fly naked, it would keep you cool, and there would be no clothing to burn. I'm surprised Frank didn't think of this first and issue a Safety Notice !!

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http://www.aramark-uniform.com/fr/nfpa_index.html

http://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/products/Firesuits.aspx

http://www.chapmaninnovations.com/ (Carbon X the new fire retardant suit )

http://www.chapmaninnovations.com/purchase.php

http://www.chapmaninnovations.com/products/carbonx.php

http://www.dickiesstore.co.uk/dickies-work...kwear/WD5000/0/

I think Dickies work ware is a proban or PB type treatment of the material.

Just a few links to different fire proof materials than Nomex

The Proban is a chemical treatment of the usually cotton material from one layer to 3 Please read and understand WASHING instructions !!!!.

http://www.racesafe.org/washing.rtf information on washing Proban.

the Carbon X is as close as you can go to being boiled in a bag, Awesome protection.

I have to get new race suit for next season and am getting a CarbonX, am told it is not quite as hot as Nomex ??. :ph34r:

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