Jump to content

Helmets


willedoo
 Share

Recommended Posts

Last week, by pure accident, I was able to re-establish contact with an old Belarusian friend I hadn't heard of for quite a while. To cut a long story short, she's sending me a couple of interesting old helmets, one that she had and another that belonged to a friend of hers. Due to Covid, the international post is very slow. Things are getting here from China in about three weeks, but from countries like Ukraine, Belarus and Russia about three months. So it will be a long wait to see the helmets in the flesh.

 

This first one is the older type before built in headsets, where you unbuttoned the ear flap to place separate headphones inside. No date on it, but they are a vintage from the 30's to early war period. Commonly worn in aircraft like the Soviet I-16, U-2 etc., particularly early in the war. For it's age, it looks to be in very good condition.

 

И-16.jpg

 

 

This 1941 photo shows a soviet pilot wearing the same model helmet.

LtSergeiGusevKiaAug41.jpg

 

 

The second helmet is a bit of guesswork. It's a German LKpW-101 but you can see where it once had front goggle straps fitted. The German helmets didn't have this and it was a feature of the Soviet variant only. It's dated 1947, so the Luftwaffe would have been disbanded and the East German air force hadn't been formed. Best guess is that the occupying Soviet air force used old German factory stock which they modified for their own use and added a dated tag. How it made it's way from East Germany to Belarus is anyone's guess. Most likely brought back by a returning Soviet pilot.

 

LKpW.jpg

 

Edited by willedoo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, old man emu said:

It's noticeable the OH&S has intruded into the world of Warbirds in Britain and Australia. Look at those flying Spits and Hurries in England, and the pilots from Temora. They all wear crash helmets.

These ones look the part, but I think they might be hard hats disguised as leather helmets.

http://www.campbellaeroclassics.com/id2.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, old man emu said:

After flipping my bike and sidecar doing a right-hand U-turn and being flicked off to land on my helmeted head, I won't ride without one.

I know the feeling, ome. Back in the early seventies I came of a Norton Commando and landed flat on my face at 110mph on the bitumen. It was only the full face that saved my life. Lucky I didn't have a big nose as the end of it would have ground off. It chewed about half the thickness off the front of the helmet before I started tumbling. A Bell helmet from memory, quite solid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can recall a friend of the brothers, riding as pillion in the late 1950's, coming off a Norton at 80 mph (129 kmh) onto bitumen. He was wearing a big, old, thick leather jacket - and no helmet, of course.

He skated down the road on his back for about 80 metres until he came to a stop. When he stood up, there was nothing left of the back of the leather coat, it had been ground down to his shirt.

If he'd come off in any other position he might have been a cripple today. As it was, he was virtually unhurt. I've seen way too many bike riders take their last ride, and usually when they were "flooring" it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, onetrack said:

I've seen way too many bike riders take their last ride, and usually when they were "flooring" it.

There's a favourite road for motorcyclist through the Royal National Park between Sydney and Wollongong with a lot of corners where you can really get a lean. Quite often you'll hear of a serious motorcycle accident there. It is usually caused by the motorcyclist riding close to the centre line while taking a right hand blind curve. They forget that as they lean in the corner, their upper body crosses the centre line. If a car, or especially an SUV, is coming the other way, and is also close to the centreline, the motorcyclist hits the offside front of the other vehicle and it's "Good Night, Irene". For the minuscule shortening of the distance through the curve, they cause all sorts of distress. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was one today not far from us. I think the bike was speeding and he hit a truck which was backing into a factory. No helmet would have helped. They didn't get a video, but they got a sound bite from the factory cameras.

I am not saying that helmets don't save the odd life, what I reckon though is that they stop a lot of people from riding push-bikes and this has a health cost which is big.

Especially now that you can legally ride on footpaths in sa, the chance of killing yourself on a bike is small. 

To be consistent, we should charge non-helmet wearers for medical costs arising from their non-use of a helmet. And non-exercise people for non-exercise diseases too.

Be free and be responsible for your own outcomes say I. Well at least the ones where the connection between actions and outcomes is well known.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a problem wearing a helmet (on anything, even on my pushbike) - same as I don't have a problem wearing a seatbelt.

I bucked against the "intrusion on my freedom" when it was first introduced - but the seat belt laws were introduced simply because the docs pushed for them, because they faced the same scene, daily - healthy young people physically destroyed with major bodily injuries, that could have easily been avoided with the use of a seatbelt. Many suffered catastrophic head injuries that ensured they remained a burden on the families and carers for life. 

 

I find it amusing that quite a number of supporters of "bikers personal freedoms", raging against compulsory motorbike helmets in the U.S. - have been killed in motorcycle accidents, where they would've likely lived, if they'd been wearing a helmet.

Gotta be Darwinian evolution in action, I reckon. 

 

https://www.fairwarning.org/2012/06/despite-death-toll-motorcycle-groups-strive-to-muzzle-u-s-regulators/

Edited by onetrack
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started riding shortly before NSW  introduced the compulsory motorbike helmet law.

The first thing I railed against was NOT "it's an infringement of my rights".

My problem was the sudden loss of situational awareness when wearing a helmet in traffic.

 

There is no way to measure whether this compromise in safety has an overall benefit or not. Do the lives saved by minimised cranial injury actually balance out the lives lost due to loss of awareness of surrounding traffic?

 

More recently I lost a colleague who was run into from behind whilst stationary,  by a vehicle that wasn't travelling at high speed. He died because the weight of his expensive full face helmet broke his neck. A long time ago, before helmets,  a friend had a similar accident and lived to claim a new bike from the motorists insurance.

 

Again, there is no statistical way to show how many motorcyclists die DUE to wearing helmets.

 

I'm not saying we shouldn't wear helmets. But maybe it'd be a good idea to make them a lot lighter. But everyone just accepts that helmets are a blanket answer to staying alive on a bike, without thinking that they could be greatly improved.

 

If helmets didn't block out so much sound, maybe modern Harley drivers would realise that their bikes came from the factory with baffles in their mufflers for a reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't have to wear a helmet in your Jabiru. I reckon a polystyrene one would be a good idea to have on if you were going into a forced landing, so maybe I'll store one behind the fuel tank.

But the idea that putting some padding on the sharp bits where you might hit your head in an overturning needs looking at first. The first idea would only be useful if your engine quit up high, unless you did the dork thing and wore it all the time... Does anybody do this?

Personally,  I wear a bike helmet and it is completely unnecessary when riding on footpaths. ( I usually have the footpath to myself, very few pedestrians these days, and I am very careful with the few there are, who are generally dark-skinned women )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I put on my open-face helmet, it looks like a pimple on a wart. I don't mind wearing it, as I've had the gentle reminder why we have to wear them. I just hate the rest of robing procedure of having to put on a jacket,  and jeans whenever I want to go for a ride. That stops me from jumping on the bike to nick down to the shops. I have to wear shoes though, because my bike has a kick starter. Remember those?

 

Like pilots, there are Old and there are Bold motorcyclists. The Old ones know that there is a lot of travel distance in a throttle cable, and that riding in today's traffic only requires a little of that travel. The Old ones know how to read traffic flow and that a steady acceleration and running at the same speed as the rest of the traffic can eliminate having to constantly stop at traffic light. So often I putter along watching lead foots race past, only to roll up behind them as they start to take off from traffic lights.

 

As for the outrageous noise of modern Harleys, all I can say is that I know how big my dong is, and don't need a substitute.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember the Bell helmet I wore in the 100mph+ face plant as being quite heavy. It saved my dial on that occasion, but I can imagine other situations where the weight might have caused a neck fracture. On the other end of the scale I once wore a much lighter full face that was so light you could push the chin guard section in with your hand. In a face plant you would probably break or dislocate a jaw. That was the early 70's and I'm long out of touch with bike helmets now, but I imagine they have lighter stronger materials now.

 

I think in a fast jet crash at speed, the helmet wouldn't be a life saver. Some help for an ejection and a slow prang maybe. Again, they sometimes cause as much harm as they do good. The SPH-3, the early helicopter helmet you would see a lot of Huey crews wearing in Vietnam, had very hard earphone casings. In the case of a side impact, the skull in the temple region would break before the headset would flex. This was addressed in the following model, the SPH-4. So if you are ever buying an old one for flying use, make sure it's a 4 and not a 3.

 

One problem with the early APH-5 US Navy helmets was the weight; they were often referred to as neck breakers. Also, they initially didn't have a nape strap, which would cause the helmet to come off in an ejection. Also a big problem there with a 12 or 14 G ejection velocity. That's a lot of force on the neck considering your helmet weight increases by a factor of 12. I'm sure that would be a factor in motorbike accidents as well. There doesn't seem to be a perfect answer with helmets and even now the weight of helmets with add on targeting and situation awareness gear is still a big problem in planes like the F-35.

 

The differences in helmet design can be a fine line between life and death. One example was the helmets in the Luftwaffe MiG-29's. I have a reprint of the MiG-29 flight manual that was translated to English in a joint US/Luftwaffe project. Despite the fact that the K-36D bang seat is world's best practice, the manual lists maximum ejection speed with the German HGU-55G as 100 knots less than the safe limit with the Russian ZSh-7 helmet. In other words, at safe speeds wearing the Russian helmet, the American design German helmet could snap a neck. The main factors there are the lighter weight of the Russian helmet, the use of ventilation holes in the top of the helmet to reduce pressure build up causing a tearing off force, and the fact that the seat headrest and helmet were jointly designed to be conformal during ejection. It seems like good design wins every time.

Edited by willedoo
  • Informative 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because of my long skinny neck, the weight of a helmet has always concerned me, but not enough to wear an open face on the road. I've been tossed off too many times to not wear one, including high speed slides down the tarmac on my face.

 

In the plane I only feel comfortable in my old fibreglass cycling helmet, modified to mount my Dave Clarkes. 

  • Informative 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OME, I fully support you on wearing a helmet and I personally don't care about my hairdo either. But that is just us...  the public out there are highly influenced by such silly things.  I badly embarrassed a neighbor's kid when I wore a hat when taking them down to collect their repaired car. I could see him trying to distance himself from me.

Here's another example...  mobility scooters. The people I know who use them reckon they are great, and so do I.

 But I have failed with elderly relatives... they say they are too young when they are actually too old. It's terrible how perceptions of fashion stop people doing the smart thing.

My father-in-law would have loved one, and he lived just the right distance from the shops to use one every day to collect his mail, but he was too silly to even try one out.

 

Edited by Bruce Tuncks
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I learned to ride motorbikes as a spring-chicken... 45 years old. So I don't know the thrill of the wind on my bald scalp (well, it isn't enirely bald - but the front bit is). I know that helmets can be more of a problem in some situations, but I think in many and probably the commonly occuring ones, they do more help than good... Of course, sometimes the design of a helmet (e.g. full face) can be problematic against other designs in certain situations. But, I rode my motorbike a short distance without a helmet and I felt very exposed.

 

With respect to bicycles, I know they can't save you from everything, but I can't see a downside. They hide my receding hairline and they provide reasonably good protection. A few years ago I was riding on Christmas eve and hit some black ice; the wheels skidded from under me and I came off rearwards. It was surreal; in what seemed like an eternity - certainly long enough to realise and brace for landing on my back and knowing my head was going to whip backwards onto the road, I made impact with by back and shoulders flat against the road. My head duly whipped back with force (I have a big head ;-)) and the helmet crunched the road. It was a surreal feeling as I could feel the forces being dissapated around my head. I laid there for a few seconds not wanting to move my head for fear  of having a rather bad headache. As it turns out, I was fine - no headache - a little stiff neck, that was it.. The force was so hard, it broke the strap from its fastening, but from memory, did not crack the helmet (except around the fastening). It would otherwise not have been a great Christmas that year...

 

I couldn't get a replacement of that make.. I bought it in Aus and it was NZ made; and they didn't sell them in the UK. But I will not ride without a helmet. Here, it is not a legal requirement; I would say 1/2 the London commuters wear them; less for recreational riding in the parks, etc. I think it is nuts. I lived in Vic when then made it a legal requirement for bicycles.. there was a back-lash, but the stats provided after a couple of years proved their worth.

 

Yes, there are no stats that are compiled on how many cause  death (more pertinent for motorcycles). However, intuitively, I would think it in the minority.. maybe workth looking at the number of deaths resulting from accidents that are likely to be exacerbated by helmets and interpolate/extrapolate from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some unlucky bastards in the world for whom  no amount of protection that they employ in the hope of surviving crashes will do the job. People have died in submerged vehicles because they couldn't get the seatbelt undone. People have been killed by air bags.  All we can do is hope that by wearing safety equipment we never have to avail ourselves of its protection, or that it works as designed if required.

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Bruce Tuncks said:

I sure agree  with  wearing a helmet to ride on icy roads. But as I have said, there are many more deaths from inactivity  than from crashes. So not riding at all needs to be taken into account.

I understand what you are saying, but attributing this to helmets is a bit of a quantum step. Firstly, everyone else is wearing helmets, so the embarressment factor really shouldn't be there; and if one has a helmet they are embaressed to wear, there are plenty of alternatives. Or, it may be discomfort, or a rebellion as a protest of the erosion of freedoms.. OK.. in the latter cases, say there is no alternative helmet they can use; then what about riding without a helmet and crossing ones fingers that they don't get caught or knocked off their bike.. surely a fine or two is better than dropping dead through lack of exercise.

 

But even if this was unpalatable (and by this stage, I would be thinking there may be more than a few minor issues with the person's mental health), riding a bicycle is only one form of a myriad of exercises that can performed to reduce the risk of keeling over. In fact, if embaressed, one can get cardio-vascular exericise in the comfort of their own home - say with an exercise bike or even a skipping rope if money is tight. In fact, assuming people take up other options, I would say not riding may be even more healthy as they are less of a chance of getting knocked over by a car/truck...

Edited by Jerry_Atrick
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In 1971 I bought a new Kawasaki Mach 3. I was 21 and bullet proof. I used to love tearing down the road on the back wheel. One Friday after a few beers everyone left the pub & went back to my flat. They were all standing around when I came up the drive so decided to treat them to a wheelstand. It was pretty good too but I didn't get the front wheel down quick enough to brake before I hit the concrete block wall of the flat. The front wheel rim was pushed flat up to the hub, the front staunchions resembled bananas & my head contacted the wall which smashed the helmet. I got away with it with concussion & a sore body.

 

In 2007 I was riding my mountain bike down a cul de sac in Mudjimba & pulled the front wheel up to jump the kerb & head down to the beach. I pulled it up too soon & the wheel came down right in the jaw of the kerb & I sailed over the handle bars & whacked my helmeted head on the concrete footpath. Result was dented pride, broken helmet & a sore body.

 

Wear a helmet. Works for me.

Edited by kgwilson
  • Like 1
  • Informative 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 25 July 2020 at 1:28 PM, kgwilson said:

In 1971 I bought a new Kawasaki Mach 3. I was 21 and bullet proof...

Kevin the year before I fell in lust with the same machine: silver, blue, and beautiful, it had me totally enthralled.

Luckily, I was too poor to afford a used bicycle, so I'm still alive today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...