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Flying Helmets

This collection of flying helmets are examples of the types of flight helmets used by pilots and flight crews of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) / Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from WWII to the early 1980's.

If you have any questions or comments about an item on this page, please contact us.

The helmets on this page are not for sale.

Contact Info:

email: info@historicair.ca
website: www.historicair.ca

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Type B Flying Helmet

Issued to RAF and Commonwealth flight crews between 1936 to 1941, this type of flying helmet was the type used by RAF fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain.

The helmet is made from dark leather, with a cotton layer of padding and was lined with chamois. The chin strap is leather with a Bennett buckle. The helmets were not made to hold communications equipment but the domed leather ear cups could accommodate Gosport tubes or radio receivers. The two metal snaps fasteners on the side were to hold the oxygen mask, the Type B helmet was designed for the Type D oxygen mask but could be modified to fit other types of masks. The Type B helmet came in four different sizes.

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Type B Flying Helmet - Canadian

This leather flying helmet is the type that was used by British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) pilots and flight crews training in Canada. The interior is light yellow chamois leather and this example has stamped in black ink "NATIONAL HAT MFG. CO." and the date "1942".

The Canadian made B-type differed from the RAF version having a different cut of leather panels, a different strap arrangement with pronged chrome plated buckle type fasteners and, was made of softer, lighter coloured leather.

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Type B Flying Helmet - Canadian

This leather flying helmet is another example of a Canadian Type B helmet with the earcups with the rubber insert pads. This of helmet was used by British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) pilots and flight crews training in Canada.

The Canadian made B-type differed from the RAF version having a different cut of leather panels, a different strap arrangement with pronged chrome plated buckle type fasteners and, was made of softer, lighter coloured leather.

Currently I have this helmet on display with a pair of RCAF MKIII goggles and a gosport tube.

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Type C Flying Helmet - First Pattern

Issued in 1941, the first pattern Type C helmet was made from dark brown leather, was lined with chamois and included an elasticized back and a leather chin strap with a Bennett buckle. The radio receiver housings were made of moulded rubber, the first pattern C Type helmet did not include wiring for communication and an external wiring harness was used.

The early first pattern C Type helmets were designed to use the Type E masks and have two snaps on the side, later versions were used the E* mask and had three snaps. Straps with fastening snaps on the both sides of the ear cups were to hold the goggle straps in place and were specifically designed to accommodate the Mk IV series of goggles.

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Type C Flying Helmet - Second Pattern

The second pattern Type C helmet was the improved version of the first pattern. Introduced in 1944, the second pattern Type C helmet was the first wired helmet with factory installed receivers and wiring.

Other changes included the omitting of the front goggle straps and the chin strap was made of grey elastic instead of leather.

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Type E Flying Helmet - Second Pattern

Introduced in 1945, like the first pattern, the second pattern Type E "Tropical" helmet used an unlined cotton "Airtex" material. It differed from the first pattern Type E helmet in that it was internally wired and incorporated improvements seen on the later Type C helmets such as the elastic chin strap and the ommission of the goggle straps on the upper front sides of the helmet. It was used in service until the late 1950s.

This helmet is equipped with earphone receiver 10A/12401, connector type 2091 and a black cased bell jack/plug 10H/1099.

This helmet is displayed with a 1945 Type H oxygen mask, high altitude hose and post WWII MK8 goggle and represents what was worn by early RCAF Vampire pilots.

Gentex H-4-1 Helmet

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The Canadian Gentex H-4-1 helmet is constructed of fiberglass with webbing and ear pads on the inside. The helmet has a separate an inner cloth helmet which contains the communications cord and earphones and has a MS22001 oxygen mask with microphone. This type of helmet was used by Royal Canadian Air Force pilots flying F-86, CF-100, Vampires, CT-133's and P-51D's. The Royal Canadian Navy pilots flying F2H-3 Banshee and Hawker Sea Fury would have worn the same type of helmet.

Inside this helmet, written on the ear pad is the name J. Catley 442. After a bit of research, I believe this helmet was used by F/O John Catley while with the 442 'City of Vancouver' (F) Squadron (Auxiliary) at Sea Island (Aux) during the mid-1950. F/O John Catley also served with Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force flying Spitfires and later went to fly with TCA/Air Canada. Stores label 22C/5097/1733, size large.

Gentex DH-411 Helmet - Early Version

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Gentex DH-411 helmet was the standard issue flight helmet for RCAF/CAF pilots and flight crews from the early 1960ís until the 1990ís. It was used by helicopter, transport, tactical and training pilots and flight crews.

The early DH-411 helmet included a single visor housed in a hard protective cover and was available with tinted or clear shades that could be raised and lowered by loosing/turning the single knob and sliding the visor to the desired position along the track where the knob was turned to tighten the lens and would lock into place. The helmet could was equipped with a boom microphone mounted to an ear cup and could accommodate an oxygen mask if necessary.

This helmet is a early example of the DH-411 helmet that was converted in service from a DH-41-2 helmet. The label on the inside reads: Helmet: Aircrew Type DH41-2, 15G/8/8475/21/801/9840, Medium, Jan 1962.

The helmet has yellow reflective tape on it, with a sticker from the 450 Squadron, another sticker that says "We Deliver" and the name Cpl. Bystrom.

For more information on the RCAF 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, visit their website.

Gentex DH-411 (DH-41-1) Helmet

Gentex DH-411 helmet was the standard issue flight helmet for RCAF/CAF pilots and flight crews from the early 1960ís until the 1990ís. It was used by helicopter, transport, tactical and training pilots and flight crews.

The DH-411 includes a single visor housed in a hard protective cover. The visor which was available in three tinted shades could be raised and lowered by pulling out the single knob and sliding the visor to the desired position along the track which would lock into place when released. The helmet could also be equipped with a boom microphone mounted to an ear cup.

Below are 3 Gentex DH-411 helmets in the collection, left to right is a standard DH-411 flight crew helmet with reflective tape on the visor cover and a clear visor, an example from from the 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron and one from the Canadian Coast Guard which was later used by the pilots son who worked as a helicopter mechanic.

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Gentex DH-41-2 Helmet

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This version of the Gentex DH-41-2 helmet was used by the Canadian Armed Forces by crews operating helicopter, tactical, patrol and training aircraft. This helmet uses an external microphone on boom.

Gentex DH-41-2 Helmet

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Designed for use in high performance jet fighters like the CF-101 Voodoo and the CF-104 Starfighter in use by the RCAF. This helmet is an original RCAF survivor and is complete with its original MS22001 oxygen mask, Pate retention system, comms, liner and visor.

The label in the helmet included the follow information. Helmet: Aircraft DH-41-2, 15G/8/8475-21-801-9840, Size: Medium, Date: 1/65, Gentex Corp., Carbondale, PA., 2GA4-240

Gentex DH-41-2 Helmet

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The DH 41-2 helmet was designed to provide better vision, facial protection and sound dampening for the pilot. The design provided better protection for head during in flight buffeting, ejections and bailouts and crash landings. The design distributed the impact forces over the entire head by the webbing outer shell suspension systems better absorbing forces and minimizing impact on the pilots head. The DH 41-2 helmet had two individually controlled visors, one clear and one tinted and used a microphone equipped oxygen mask.

This helmet is original and complete with the MS22001 oxygen mask, helmet bag, dog tags with chain, dosimeter, Aircraft Support Equipment Record Set for the helmet, two sets of gloves and even some new earplugs in a container. The helmet was accepted at Comox August 1980 so itís possible it was with the 409 Squadron flying the CF-101 Voodoo or VU33 flying the CT-133.

Gentex DH-41-2 Helmet

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The last issue of the Gentex DH-41-2 helmet used by the Canadian Armed Forces featured newer liner assembly with exposed, contoured ear cups. The MS22001 oxygen mask on this helmet featured a different retention system, much like the Hardman retention system used by the US military.

Gentex 190A Helmet

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First introduced in the mid-1980ís the Gentex 190 helmet was introduced to the Canadian Armed forces for use in the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet aircraft. The Gentex 190A was an improved version of the 190 with improvements of material, weight reduction including the removal of dual hard visor assembly, guides, knobs and improved mounting of the MBU-12/P oxygen mask.

Components of the helmet include a fibreglass outer shell, energy absorbing liner, thermoplastic liner, snap on dual visor assembly, nape-chin strap, ear cup, pile liner and fitting pads.

Gentex 190A Helmet - Snowbirds

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Canadian Forces (CF) Snowbirds 431 Air Demonstration Squadron Gentex 190A helmet, includes red leather visor cover with the Speedbird logo, single dark tinted visor and MBU-12/P oxygen mask.

For more information on the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431 Squadron, see their website at www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/snowbirds/index.page.