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Helmet Ideas?


Ryan
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Lately I've been looking into investing in a nice new "brain-bucket" before I start my flight training this fall. I'm not very familiar with which are good and which are great though. I do like the specs of the helicopter pilot hemets on the Flightsuits.com site.

So do I go for the uber expensive helmet with all the bells and whistles like A.N.R. or just get the cheapest one with gear found in most helmets?

I know I don't really need a helmet for flight training, but I'd feel better with one. Plus, odds are I'll need one at some point in my career so why not invest in one now and get used to flying with it.

Thanks for your input gang!

Ryan.

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A helmet is a great idea. I'd recomend a hemet to anyone. I know for a fact that there are pilots out there that owe there lives to their "brain buckets". Personally, I really don't think that there are any bad helmets on the market. It all comes down to how much you want to spend. As for as "bells and whistles", I wouldn't be too concerned with them at first. On most set ups you can add that stuff later when you really know for sure if you want it or not. My helmet is very basic, the only thing I want next time is dual visors. I've heard good and bad about ANR, I'll let someone else deal with that topic.

 

In your post you said you start training this fall. I assume its flight school and not recurrent training. Look into the flight school and see if they offer a helmet with the coarse(some do) or if they endorse a certain brand. If it is recurrent training, check with your company and see if they have a purchase plan. I know alot of companies will buy the helmet for you and take a certain amount off your paycheque per month.( I can't do that, my cheques are too small. Just kidding....not really). Its a good program that seems to be getting popular.

 

Now as for as costs go. Gentex and Alfas seem to be middle of the road. Both really good. The CGFs (right name?) i hear are very expensive, but light weight and comfortable. Government Sales are cheaper and based on the Gentex models. Good aswell.

 

Good luck with your search. I'm sure more people will add their pionts to your question.

 

Skidmark

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Ryan, a helmet could be the best investment you ever make or you could go through a great career wondering why you bothered. Like so many other things, a good helmet is really insurance. Let's hope we never need it, right?

 

Helmets have saved my life in early military accidents twice. After going commercial I had one accident - without a helmet - and had my right ear torn almost off (a 30-30 on the firewall wasn't such a good idea after all) and a gash in my cheek from the ear to my mouth. Do you think I wear a helmet now? Damned right!

 

As to choice, there are a lot of considerations (like buying cars) and personal preferences seem to hold sway, as usual. Some opt for the best combination of weight and crash attenuation, some for comfort (weight AND fit). Personally, I think a 'newby' (assuming they can't try a number of options out) is probably best advised to lay out a moderate sum for a reasonably good one, use it for a season or two, and then decide what they really want. It's too easy to lay out a bunch of bucks and be really disappointed.

 

I've stuck with the Gentexes over the years and never been unhappy, although I know some folks have thought them heavy. The big thing for me was seeing one with the side crushed like an eggshell, yet I was never unconscious. There may be better out there, but that'sll do for me.

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I bought mine just out of flight school....have 8000 ish hrs it now, its been in for an overhaul a few times. The only thing I wish I have is ANR. You might also appreciate a volume control during your training if your in an R-22.

 

The Visor is a tough call...a lot of guys use sunnys instead, and the bulk of the visor assembly on top of your head gets in the way if your doing a lot of long line work (depending on the machine and the size of your frame)

 

For me personally my next bucket will be a custom fit, light as possible, ANR, an MP3 input jack, and no visor (although those that have experienced a bird strike will swear by a visor)....depends on what you spend most of your time doing I guess...

 

Another 2 cents worth for you... :D

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I hear ya... I prefer sunglasses too, less glare and better lens quality than the visor. When longlining out of an astar that **** visor always hits the stupid thing a ma jig (you know what I'm talking about) every time I try to look down. My neck always gets sore when I have to hang my head out for more than a few minutes, and a volume control would really be nice when some loser is shooting on your channel (seismic pilots will understand that one) beeEEEEp... **** the more I think about it I want a new helmet too. Someone should design a longliner's helmet. Super strong, really light, and able to hold back the noise of an angry hughes 500... I know, I'm dreaming. Nobody could afford one that could do that. Oh ya and I want built in tunes with a sub woofer. :up:

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Thanks for the info fellas! Since we're on the topic here's another questions for ya. I'm sure as a pilot it's our right to wear a helemt no matter what the job is right? So I'm curious as to why you never see corporate pilots wear them. I'm sure all **** can break loose on a passenger milk-run just a easily as it could in the bush.

 

Part of me wondered if this is done for the passengers piece of mind. They see a pilot wearing a helmet and a 4 point harness, and all the passenger gets is a wimpy lap belt. Perhaps some people might think "Hey, the captain has a helmet...what's he know about this flight that I don't? Where's my helmet?"

 

So is there some unwritten rule or pressure on certain pilots to put safety aside for whatever reason?

Thanks again.

Ryan.

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Speaking for myself, I like the helmet especially because I'm on a longline most of the time and I know people who would be dead if it wasn't for that skid lid deflecting blades and stuff during a crash. That being said I might be inclined to wear a headset on a really really really really safe flight if there is such a thing. My last two cents is this, next time a customer asks why you wear a helmet just tell him that if a bird comes through the windshield, it would be in everyones best interest to have a concsious pilot... :blink:

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Yes, get a helmet for all noted reasons.

 

As far as ANR, my experience and talking to lots of other pilots, ANR will not work when long-lining with the door off and most have difficulty even coping with one side front sliding window open. They just haven't solved those problems with ANR. When conditions are OK for ANR, most work very well and also help with hearing the radio etc - battery life varies considerably from one manufacturer to another. There are other options such as CEP earplugs that do work well, but are a bit cumbersome when putting the helmet on and taking it off. Also Oregon Aero has some good retrofit kits to help with sound deadening and comfort.

 

Check for used helmets, usually Gentex are available, quite often ads are posted with heli training schools. As long as the helmet is sound, most accesories can be replaced and upgraded - may be a cheap way to get into a helmet. Also, some war surplus stores will have new or used helmets - same thing applies to those ones re: upgrading (if you are looking at one from a war surpluys store, make sure they are genuine Gentex Aviation vs a non-aviation or non-helicopter helmet. Gentex makes lots of military helmets for ground troops also). Older helmets are heavier than newer ones. When you want to put out big $$ for a new helmet, go around and try one all the major manufacturers, then decide.

 

Visors are useful for both protection and for quickly swapping from sun to shade conditions - also more useful to those wearing prescription glasses.

 

Good luck

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