Thunderbird Helmets

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Roscoe

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Unread post27 Mar 2006, 17:58

I noticed that the official photos of all the officers show them holding an older style helmet, not the current HGU-55/P lightweight helmet. Anybody know why? Is it just for the phots? Or do they fly with them also?
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jpujol

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Unread post27 Mar 2006, 19:02

I think the Thunderbirds still use the HGU-33 helmet. I don't think they ever changed to the HGU-55. The bright red paint job looks better on the HGU-33 with the hard visor cover. Anybody know otherwise?

Anybody know when the ICAS message boards will be back? It has been down since last week.
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FALCON56

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Unread post27 Mar 2006, 19:05

The Thunderbirds use the HGU-33 during flight demonstrations. They have been using this helmet or variant of this helmet for years.. It may have something to do with tradition or the fact that its easier to paint an HGU-33 style helmet...
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parrothead

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Unread post27 Mar 2006, 22:20

I've read somewhere on this site that you're not supposed to paint a 55.
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falcon99

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Unread post27 Mar 2006, 22:30

I don't think the current helmet is an HGU-33. I believe it is an HGU-55 fitted with the same visor housing that was used on the previous HGU-33. This makes the helmet look the same as the older version, yet it has the lighter weight of the 55. The company who makes the helmets for the team is called Flightsuits in CA. They could probably tell you for sure...
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TC

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Unread post28 Mar 2006, 06:03

The Thunderbirds still fly with 33/Ps, so that they can wear decorated helmets. The book says you're not supposed to paint the 55/Ps. In addition, the 33/P visors do not fit with the 20/P masks. Since the Thunderbirds don't wear Combat Edge, there is no reason to make any changes or augmentations to their equipment.

Also, on an unrelated note, the 55/P is NOT (Believe it or else...) a crash helmet. The 55/P provides minimal to no head protection depending on the severity of your circumstances. However, this little tidbit of trivia has little to nothing to do with the Thunderbirds' choice of Life Support equipment. They wear the 33/Ps so they can decorate them.

Oh yeah, coming from the opinion of a fmr. LS troop, I see no possibility of combining a 33/P visor cover with a 55/P shell. The 33/P visor cover is riveted on, and the sizes and shapes of the two helmets don't match.

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Roscoe

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Unread post28 Mar 2006, 18:49

TC wrote:Also, on an unrelated note, the 55/P is NOT (Believe it or else...) a crash helmet. The 55/P provides minimal to no head protection depending on the severity of your circumstances.


Helmet serves primarily to hold the comm gear and the mask firmly to your skull, but it does provide a little protection...I've thumped my noggin against the canopy numerous times when the nose gunner went one way and my HGU-55/P went the other (with my cranium along for the ride). :doh:

Thanks TC, I figured you'd have the answer.
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TC

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Unread post29 Mar 2006, 02:09

No problemo. Oh yeah, it'll help, if you're banging around the cockpit, but if I'm trying to keep my squash in tact when a potential head injury-inducing mishap occurs, I'm not really going to count on the 55/P too much. Once you pull out the TPL, the shell itself is pretty thin.

Then again, the ACES II is such a good seat, that a true "crash helmet" is really a redundancy these days. I've talked to both Eagle Drivers who unfortunately had to bailout over Mach 1 (separate mishaps), and both had their helmets and masks ripped from their heads as soon as they hit the wind blast. Probably a good thing though, as both hit the water unconscious, and would've likely drowned (Their LPUs were torn away during ejection too).

Back to the Thunderbirds' 33/Ps, I think I misspoke. The visor cover isn't "riveted" on, per se. Rather, it uses rivet-like screws, which are a PITA to work on. Glad I never maintained that helmet. Some of the older drivers used to comment on the 33/P as being heavy on the head, and it had a nasty habit of developing hot spots, which made for an uncomfortable ride. The lighter material, and the TPL on the 55/P eliminated those problems.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!
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falcon99

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Unread post29 Mar 2006, 02:57

TC, you're analysis makes sense, but I still believe it's not an HGU-33. The lady who works at FlightSuits LTD in the flight helmet dept , Kristen, once told me that for as long as she has been there the Thunderbirds have never used the HGU-33 nor has she ever seen an HGU-33 come in for service from the Thunderbirds. She said they currently use an HGU-55 with black edgeroll and eek-4 single visor housing. Her words not mine...I know you used to be able to by a replica from this company, but now the helmets are controlled items so they will only sell to the team. (The Blue angels have the same general set-up.)
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Bloke

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Unread post29 Mar 2006, 23:22

If you want the answer from Flightsuits, you need to talk to Frank or Lori, they've made both of my Cranium Covers... Admittedly they f*cked both of them up to start with!!

TC, i'm with you bud, my HGU-33 had ALOT of "hot spots."
JR has the Super Comfort Liner in his Blue HGU-55 & I've got the Oregon Aero Zeta Liner in mine... mmmm comfy!!
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Bloke

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Unread post29 Mar 2006, 23:56

parrothead wrote:I've read somewhere on this site that you're not supposed to paint a 55.


He He He He....
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TC

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Unread post30 Mar 2006, 02:38

Bad boy Tyger! You went against the T.O. :lol: What some people won't try, eh? (read further...)

Speaking of the T.O., that is the only other reason why I believed the Thunderbirds' helmets to be 33/Ps. The book would inform us of any special mods to existing LS equipment (i.e., the fact that 111 drivers could carry a 6 in. hunting knife, while no one else could). It didn't (at least while I was in) say anything about a special mod to the Thunderbirds' helmets.

Really, I have no idea why the T.O. forbids painting the 55/P, except possibly for better concealment following a shootdown. Obviously, this would not be a problem for the Thunderbirds.

Curiously, I remember Fort Smith ARANG had gloss gray spraypainted helmets, despite the fact this went against the regs. I'd hate to have been their LS NCOIC, when the inspectors came around.

Like Arsenio Hall says, "Things that make you go, hmmm..."

To Err is Human. To Forgive is NOT ACC Policy.
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JR007

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Unread post30 Mar 2006, 03:34

T.O.'s for helmets... Well, FOXTROT that Horse Manure… My HGU-55 is Starfighter blue with the appropriate F-104 logo on the back, you know, kinda like Sharkbait’s. 8)

Jezzz, look at the picture of that stud at FL290 in the freaking IFR "murk" flying wing and giving a Thumbs Up...

The T-Birds use HGU-33’s like this one that I wore back in my days in the T-33. THEY DO NOT HAVE HOT SPOTS IF YOU HAVE A PROPERLY FITTING LINER… If you have a crappy fitting liner, maybe you have those problems, ask someone with a crappy helmet… And after doing more than a few squirrel cages and airshows wearing the HGU-26 and then the HGU-33, they ain’t that heavy unless you’re a …. :roll:
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Unread post30 Mar 2006, 04:04

Sorry, it is off topic but, What really amazes me is that it seems that flightgear that USAF pilots wear is not able to withstand an ejection from a fighter plane.

I have heard that it is common for a helmet and oxygen mask to go leaving a beatiful face exposed to the elements, but never heard of a life preserver going with the wind. I assume it was an LPU-9/P floatation collar. It could be because it is only zippered to the PCU-15.

Then again, the ACES II is such a good seat, that a true "crash helmet" is really a redundancy these days. I've talked to both Eagle Drivers who unfortunately had to bailout over Mach 1 (separate mishaps), and both had their helmets and masks ripped from their heads as soon as they hit the wind blast. Probably a good thing though, as both hit the water unconscious, and would've likely drowned (Their LPUs were torn away during ejection too).
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Unread post30 Mar 2006, 04:10

This is an extract from a thread in my flightgear forum about the thunderbirds helmets:

NO, NO, NO, the HGU-33/P was NEVER used with the Air Force. The specs for
the HGU-33/P says that the comms system is H-87B/O and that would not go
with USAF comms. If you are thinking of the Thunderbirds hybrids made by
Flight Suits I think the most correct description would be "DH-151 shells
configured with EEK-4 visors and USAF comms". The HGU-55/P and HGU-33/P are
both based on the Gentex DH-151 helmet shell.



Does it help?
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