Ballooning effect on helmets...

Ballooning effect on helmets...

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

June 12th, 2009, 6:12 pm #1


Hi chaps. In order to allow the other thread to become less cluttered, I have decided to take the ballooning discussion here. With the ballooing effect on B types, I can see from most historical photos that there wasn;t really much on their helmets even with radio involved. My original b-type is wired with radio and the rubber inserts etc and I really can not see much ballooing. However, on my repro one there is a lot of ballooing. I think that this has something to do with the way the repro b-types are made. I'll have to have a better look by comparison, but one way you can tell a b-type is a repro (or almost mint original) is by looking at the ballooing. When seeing if a helmet is repro, or semi repro, there is always 'something about it' which both Toine and I have agreed on. From looking at the pictures of the b-types (which sold on eBay) which were original with Sefton-added earcups, there was a large amount of ballooning. I'll reprot back and see if I can see any big differences on the ballooing front between my original and repro one.

BTW-if you were to look in the book Vintage Flying Helmets, one of Mick's b-types has a large amount of ballooing and this one is mint...

Cheers

Ben
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Joined: August 23rd, 2003, 10:11 pm

June 12th, 2009, 9:01 pm #2

Hi Ben,

As for the visible ballooning, I think that has to do with age. After 60 odd years the doughnuts flatten, leaving little visible ballooning.

The less visible sort of ballooning is whilst flying with a leather helmet. It's not so much that your helmet gets blown up 2 sizes bigger, it's more that there's a lot of wind blowing in via the sides of the helmet.
This of course occurs because the sides of the helmet don't close snugly on the face. Even the C-type has that.
We always get many complaints from people flying the Tiger Moth with C-types (or B-types for that matter). Can't be helped really...

Cheers, Toine
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Joined: September 7th, 2008, 5:53 am

June 13th, 2009, 6:55 am #3

The best one to fly with open cockpit that I have found is the RCAF B type without the earcups. If I have to wear phones then it is the second pattern C type RAF helmet or E type. I find that both close up quite well on the sides. The Mk VIII goggles help things in this regard though. The RCAF B type that I have with earcups and doughnuts is the worst. I still need to try out my new Sefton RAF B type.
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Joined: September 7th, 2008, 5:53 am

June 13th, 2009, 7:07 am #4

The B types and early C types that I have come across all seem to have small diameter doughnuts of large cross section that press on the ear whereas the later C types have a larger diameter doughnut of thinner cross section that surround the ear. This makes the mask much more wearable and better for soundproofing and helps immensely in preventing ballooning.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2005, 5:46 pm

June 13th, 2009, 11:31 am #5

The best one to fly with open cockpit that I have found is the RCAF B type without the earcups. If I have to wear phones then it is the second pattern C type RAF helmet or E type. I find that both close up quite well on the sides. The Mk VIII goggles help things in this regard though. The RCAF B type that I have with earcups and doughnuts is the worst. I still need to try out my new Sefton RAF B type.
When you need phones ,or "RT", while flying,how do you adapt the WWII phones to modern G.A. radios?
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Joined: September 8th, 2004, 10:02 pm

June 13th, 2009, 6:02 pm #6

Gentlemen,
In my opinion, the most comfortable flying helmet design was without a dough nut ear cusions at all.
The Luftwaffe, in my opinion, had the most comfortable flying helmets, particularly the LKp-N101 Netzkopfhaube - (without ear dough nuts). I have one of these and you can bearly feel you have it on. It fits right against the wearer's head without gaps.
The first American helmets didn't have dough nuts either (the US B-6 for example).
During the 1930s, before the B-Type was introduced, the Air Ministry gave it's air crews the 1930 Pattern helmet (without ear dough nuts). Ironically, this design fitted so much better than the later B-Type. The shell of the 30 patt was very similar in cut to the B-type.
I think, if the Air Ministry had chosen not to put the dough nuts in the B-type, it would have been so much more comfortable and no ballooning.
I wonder why the Air Ministry chose to add the dough nuts to the B-Type. Perhaps, as the B-type was the first electrically wired design and initially used with open cockpits; they thought it better to enable more efficient insulation against outside noise?
I think we all agree the most comfortable A.M. helmet is the C-Type. Yes, it has the dough nuts, but much smaller than the poorly designed B-type. But with the C-type, the shell is so much better "tailored" to fit the wearer's head.
Cheers
Neil
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Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

June 13th, 2009, 6:24 pm #7


Neil, the air ministry included the doughnuts mainly for soundproofing. I fit a size 2-3 b-type, and when I wore my original b-type, I could barely hear any external sounds; the soundproofing was that good. The ears fit into the holes in the doughnuts, and so the ears are covered, almost like have a duvet wrapped around them. So this explains why the air ministry incporporated the design.

Cheers

Ben
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 13th, 2009, 6:25 pm #8

When you need phones ,or "RT", while flying,how do you adapt the WWII phones to modern G.A. radios?
I've made a wiring harness that I can swap among my C-, D-, and E- helmets. personally, I think the Type E is the most comfortable -- caveat that I fly mostly in spring/summer/fall -- and it's purely a matter of keeping ones head cool. No ballon issues in my enclosed cockpit although, compared to modern headsets, the ear seals on any of the wartime helmets pale by comparison.

To answer the Vicar's question: I made a mold of the standard RT headphone but left the internal side hollow. I've fitted modern headset speakers within this faux shell. Externally looks correct and internally functional with modern speakers. I made a boom attachment with an electret mic which attaches via the original mask snaps. Not entirely accurate. I'm working with Toine on fitting an electret mic into one of my Type H masks and experimenting with using the entire wartime wiring loom with a bell-plug adapter on the end.

At some point, I may try and adapt a Bose noise-cancelling system into the mix although this could be a very expensive failure if it doesn't work!
Last edited by AOC553 on June 13th, 2009, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 16th, 2003, 5:40 pm

June 13th, 2009, 10:19 pm #9

Chris I'd be very interested in seeing how you create your adapter for the RAF wiring loom. I volunteer at a local flying museum and the open cockpits are hell on radio comms. I have an E type with an H mask I'd like to use but have no idea how to make an adapter and PTT switch for it.

Cheers!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 13th, 2009, 10:34 pm #10

On my intial setup up, I simply purchased a complete headset wiring harness and attached it to my helmet. By this, I mean I hid modern headset speakers inside of faux AM-marked receivers. Modern harness readily attaches to the speakers and the mic-wire goes directly to an electret mic mounted to my boom. I did have to make a small metal bracket to attach the boom to the snaps on the helmet. Works great -- as you'd expect since it's a modern setup fully compatible with today's intercom boxes, etc. I use a standard PTT switch mounted to the stick.

The only changes I'm looking at are using modern speakers and mic wired up using the original wiring harness. It should work well. Toine actually spearheading the mic end of things. He's hoping to put an electret mic inside one of the repro G masks.
Last edited by AOC553 on June 24th, 2014, 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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