WO1996005746A1 - Aircrew helmet of cavity construction - Google Patents

Aircrew helmet of cavity construction Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1996005746A1
WO1996005746A1 PCT/GB1995/001929 GB9501929W WO9605746A1 WO 1996005746 A1 WO1996005746 A1 WO 1996005746A1 GB 9501929 W GB9501929 W GB 9501929W WO 9605746 A1 WO9605746 A1 WO 9605746A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
helmet
inner
sections
helmet according
head
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1995/001929
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Sidney Howard Du Ross
Donald Nigel Jarrett
Barry Charles Short
Original Assignee
The Secretary Of State For Defence
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB9416807A priority Critical patent/GB9416807D0/en
Priority to GB9416807.7 priority
Application filed by The Secretary Of State For Defence filed Critical The Secretary Of State For Defence
Publication of WO1996005746A1 publication Critical patent/WO1996005746A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/04Parts, details or accessories of helmets
    • A42B3/28Ventilating arrangements
    • A42B3/288Ventilating arrangements with means for attaching respirators or breathing masks
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/04Parts, details or accessories of helmets
    • A42B3/0406Accessories for helmets
    • A42B3/042Optical devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/04Parts, details or accessories of helmets
    • A42B3/06Impact-absorbing shells, e.g. of crash helmets
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/04Parts, details or accessories of helmets
    • A42B3/10Linings
    • A42B3/12Cushioning devices
    • A42B3/125Cushioning devices with a padded structure, e.g. foam
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/04Parts, details or accessories of helmets
    • A42B3/30Mounting radio sets or communication systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A42HEADWEAR
    • A42BHATS; HEAD COVERINGS
    • A42B3/00Helmets; Helmet covers ; Other protective head coverings
    • A42B3/32Collapsible helmets; Helmets made of separable parts ; Helmets with movable parts, e.g. adjustable

Abstract

A helmet suitable for use by aircrew constructed in separate, interlocking sections (1, 2) hinged together at the crown and held in place by side latches, characterized in that both sections (1, 2) are of double skin construction with the cavity between the outer and inner skins (5, 4) containing a lightweight foam material (6) that may conveniently be formed so as to define passages (7) as required for cable conduits and air passages. Preferably, the interlocking sections of the helmet comprises a front section on which head-up display optics (3), for example, may be mounted, and a rear section, on which power supply connections and other components may be mounted. To assist the helmet in providing a stable base for instrumentation, an inner liner (9) may be attached to the inner surface of the inner skin of the helmet sections which is moulded or otherwise formed to conform to the head of the particular wearer.

Description

AIRCREW HELMET OF CAVITY CONSTRUCTION

This invention relates to helmets, especially to the type of helmet used by aircrew.

Specialised helmets for aircrew have been in use for many decades, but with the increasingly complex head-mounted equipment becoming available the demands on the construction of the helmet are likewise continually increasing.

In particular, the design of advanced head-up display optics, such as those described in PCT application no WO 94/01798, demand a greater rigidity to preserve the integrity of the optical system, whilst the increased combined weight of such optics and other ancillary equipment introduces demands for the weight of the helmet to be reduced to maintain at tolerable levels the stress placed on the wearer's neck during high "g" manoeuvres and in ejection.

This invention consists of a helmet suitable for use by aircrew constructed in separate, interlocking sections hinged together at the crown and held in place by side latches, characterised in that both sections are of double skin construction with the cavity between the outer and inner skins containing a lightweight foam material.

Conveniently, the lightweight foam material contained between the inner and outer skins of the helmet sections is formed so as to define passages as required for cable conduits and air passages.

It is most appropriate for the interlocking sections of the helmet to comprise a front section on which head-up display optics, for example, may be mounted, and a rear section, on which power supply connections and other components may be mounted.

Preferably, the helmet includes an inner liner attached to the inner surface of the inner skin and which is advantageously moulded or otherwise formed to conform to the head of the particular wearer. By way of example, one embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the drawings, of which

Figure 1 is a schematic view of a helmet constructed in accordance with the invention, illustrating in particular the means for providing air for ventilation and visor demisting;

Figure 2 is a typical schematic section transverse to the joint between the two sections of the helmet and illustrating a typical construction;

Figure 3 illustrates an arrangement for providing

Figure imgf000004_0001
air to the wearer of the helmet; and

Figure 4 illustrates an arrangement for providing an acoustic system to the wearer of the helmet.

With reference to Figure 1, the whole head is enclosed within a shell in a manner similar to that employed by the majority of motorcycle helmets, in contrast to the conventional design for aircrew helmets in which the arrangement consists of an open- face shell and an attached oxygen mask

The helmet consists of a shell split vertically into front and rear sections 1 and 2 made of a carbon/kevlar fibre and epoxy composite. The sections, which are hinged at the crown, mate with an interlocking joint and are fastened together by a pair of side latches. The front section 1 provides a mounting for head-up display optics 3, which in a binocular system comprise a pair of display modules each containing a cathode ray tube (CRT) and a relay lens. Where required, the holographic elements of the display system are formed on the transparent visor which is rigidly bonded to the front face of the front helmet section. The lower part of the front section forms the equivalent of an oxygen mask. The rear section 2 houses all the electronic components for the CRT power supply and the auditory communications. With reference to Figure 2, the main shell is constructed from a double skin sandwich which confers the rigidity needed to maintain alignment of the CRT and optical components. The gap between the inner skin 4 and the outer skin 5, of between about 8mm and 10mm, is mainly filled with lightweight polymer foam 6, but it also contains air passages 7 and cable conduits. This arrangement also permits the simple incorporation of an interlocking joint 8 between the two sections. It is appropriate for the electric cabling from the power supply connections and other sources mounted on the rear section of the helmet to pass to the front section close to the hinge to avoid excessive stressing of the cables when the helmet is opened for donning and doffing or maintenance.

The thickness and separation of the skins vary around the shell to provide maximum stiffness and energy-absorption for minimum mass.

The arrangement for fitting the helmet to the wearer is markedly different from the conventional suspension technique. The shell halves are lined with an substantially rigid, impact-absorbing and noise-attenuating lightweight foam 9 which is moulded to conform exactly to the topology of the wearer's head. Internal cavities are formed to suit the mouth and nose as in a conventional oxygen mask, and around the ears as in conventional earshells. Similarly, the shape of the apertures around the eyes and around the neck also conform to the wearer. The material compliance and strength vary locally, for instance to provide good seals around the oro-nasal cavity, compliance around the jaw for easy movement, high acoustic attenuation and sealing around the ears and strength beneath the chin to make a separate strap unnecessary. The absence of tensioned straps avoids stressing and distorting the shell, and the large area of conformal contact between head and liner gives stability without pressure points. A flow of cooling air inside the liner avoids the build-up of heat and sweat.

Lightness is attained by employing advanced low density materials, by minimising the shell dimensions and by removing the fastenings, adjusters and deployment mechanisms normally associated with the earcups, mask, visors and suspension straps.

Rigidity results principally from the composite sandwich construction, but it is assisted by the near-sphericity of the shell and the bonded visor. Balance is achieved by placing the electronic modules close to the nape where they counter the forward movement of the optical modules. The flat frontal transparency gives a clear view forward.

The stiff shell and bonded visor provide a complete st ctural enclosure to deflect windblast and debris following incidents such as birdstrike. Unlike the conventional arrangement, there are no gaps between separate visor, shell and mask to cause distorting airflows under blast. The lifting and backward forces which arise during air blast are rninimised by keeping the frontal cross-section small and narrow, and by avoiding bluff discontinuities. The detailed shape would be determined by use of aerodynamic testing.

Impact energy is absorbed by fracture and delamination of the shell, and by compaction of the liner. Penetration by sharp objects, including non-crushable attachments such as optical modules, is limited by a combination of the fibre matrix toughness and the sequential deceleration produced by disrupting the pair of shells and their stand-off foam liners. In general, the liner provides a large area of contact to spread the impact and windblast loads onto the skull for all directions of impact, and frontal impact forces would be borne by a large area of the face including the cheekbones, rather than just the brow.

The detailed design of the helmet is intended to remove other potential hazards. The inner skin of the shell is smooth and contains no intruding fastenings and, since the liner occupies the space between the upward extensions of the shell around the cheeks, the eyes are well protected from the optical components during frontal impact. The possibility of parachute lines snagging the optics is elύriinated by incorporating bridging fillets.

The helmet is fitted to the individual wearer by setting any binocular components to the inter-pupillary separation and then forming the liner so that it holds the helmet and hence the optical axes coincident with his straight-ahead eye direction. The liner conforms to the wearer's head shape and contains oro-nasal and ear cavities and eye and neck openings which fit him exactly. As the stability of the optical system relative to the eyes, the efficiency of the seals and the overall comfort depend on the exact conformity of the liner to the wearer's head, the liner must be engineered to a high accuracy - the wearer should have the sensation of putting his head into a comfortable bespoke mould which has no high spots and which does not need to grip or clamp to remain firmly in place. Although in-service adjustments should be unnecessary, small changes to the head shape or hair thickness could be accommodated by the use of adhesive patches.

The liner is formed as two accurately-joined halves which are fastened into the front and rear sections of the shell. To don the helmet, the side latches are unfastened, the two halves are hinged apart to form a lengthened opening at the base allowing entr y of the head, and then closed and re-latched. There are no straps, earcups or chinstraps to adjust, obviating highly-loaded areas of tissue on which surfaces bear, and the joint between front and rear sections intersects the ear cavity so that the shell does not need to be strained or distorted to allow easy entry of the ears. Doffing is a reversal of this procedure.

As shown in Figure 3, pressure-demanded breathing gas enters the helmet at a connector 10 near the skin and is led to the form-fitted oro-nasal cavity via a duct formed between the skins of the shell, terminated by an inspiratory valve 11. The dead volume of the cavity is minimised by also placing the expiratory valve 12 on the cavity wall, and a narrow compensating tube from the feed duct is included so that as in an oxygen mask during a pressure breathing regime, the expiratory valve is held shut unless the cavity pressure exceeds the inlet pressure.

The area of the lower frontal shell covering the breathing cavity is made as a removable flap 13, sealed around the periphery to prevent leakage. The access flap is pivoted at the upper edge and held open by a light spring so that the wearer has easy access to his mouth and nose in emergencies. The flap is closed by a latch on the lower edge. Although the contact area of the liner bounding the cavity conforms to the wearer's face, the likelihood of leakage is further reduced by creating a seal in the form of an inverted lip around the line of contact between the face and cavity, and by pressing this seal against the face by making it protrude slightly from the neighbouring liner. The resulting excellence of fit should also obviate the need for an equivalent of the automatic mask tensioning mechanism employed to reduce leakage with conventional breathing masks under the excess pressure applied to prevent loss of consciousness under high "g" or if the cabin pressurisation fails.

An anti-drowning valve 14 is included in the cavity wall. To rninimise the possibility of water entry, it is possible to draw in the outside air through a duct 15, again formed between the skins of the shell, which comes from a shielded opening 16 near the crown of the helmet.

A second, independent, clean, temperate, pressure-controlled air supply enters the front lower section of the shell, opposite the connector for the breathing air supply, and is routed through a number of ducts formed between the skins of the shell. As illustrated in Figure 1, one duct 17 leads to an annulus 18 around the visor periphery for visor demisting, and another duct 19 feeds a series of diflusing channels 20 in the inner liner so that the hair and scalp are forcibly ventilated. Ideally, this is arranged so that this controlled flow forms a thin layer of air between the liner and scalp, as in an air-suspension, to rninimise contact particularly at the vertex where most of the weight of the helmet is felt. Exhaust air is vented through an exhaust duct near the neck.

A microphone is mounted in the helmet so that it protrudes slightly from the wall of the oro-nasal cavity close to the mouth. The connecting cable is routed between the skins of the shell.

As with the oro-nasal region, the form-fitted cavities around the ears also have a good peripheral seal to the surrounding tissue, and the characteristics of the foam liner in the vicinity are optimised to provide high attenuation to the ambient acoustic noise field. The sealing surface is pressed firmly against the head, for good attenuation, by making it stand slightly proud of the surrounding liner.

This passive attenuation is enhanced by ear inserts 21, as shown in Figure 4, which also incorporate a sub-miniature microphone and emissive transducer for an active noise reduction (ANR) system. The inserts are placed in position when the wearer has access to his ears during the helmet donning sequence before the gap between the back and the front sections of the helmet is closed.

However, rather than break the circumaural seal where it is intersected by the joint between the front and rear helmet halves, it may be advantageous to construct the cavity as a preformed chamber 22 which is placed over the ear during the fitting process for embedding in the form-fit liner. The whole, intact chamber could then be attached loosely to one of the half sections so that the ANR insert can be located in the ear, with closure of the two halves pushing the chamber into its correct alignment.

Protection against NBC agents is provided by the seals 23 between the two halves of the shell and, aside from an additional rubberised fabric shroud joining the neck rim to the wearer's basic torso cover, no extra layers or equipment are necessary.

The outer surfaces, preferably including the optics, are smooth and contain no contaminant traps. The headgear is treated as an externally cleanable, internally purged article which the wearer dons and doffs in NBC-clean conditions. Procedures for donning and doffing should be considerably simpler and more rapid that equivalent, conventional equipment.

The location, alignment and interconnection of components needed to measure the position and attitude of the helmet relative to the cockpit depend on the technique adopted, but the detailed arrangements proposed for conventional headgear could be readily applied to the proposed design. The shell may incorporate parallel flattened areas on each side, above the ears, to offer preferred sites for helmet position sensing components. Ideally, it is attractive to produce one version of the helmet and accommodate variations between individual head sizes and shapes using the tailored liner. However, as this would require a shell large enough to fit the largest head and still provide liner thickness for the required impact and penetration protection, it may be excessively large for wearers, particularly female aircrew, having relatively rather small heads.

As the helmet is made from separate halves, a scheme is possible in which, say, three width/height sizes of front can be mated to three lengths of rear. The cheaper rear could then be produced in nine sizes and the front section containing the expensive optical components would require only three.

The description and drawings indicate one form in which the helmet may be constructed, but there is a variety of constructional alternatives which may result in a more satisfactory implementation of the basic principles. These relate, for example, to the optimum placement and exit direction of the air hose connections, operation of the latch mechanisms and the shaping of the shell to provide optimum stiflhess, drag and lightness.

Moreover, for use in helicopters and other vehicles where a mask is unnecessary and where exposure to NBC threats is unlikely, the breathing system can be omitted. The shell front can be lightened to provide a larger opening around the mouth and nose, and the secondary forced ventilation supply could be connected to the rear section.

A basic lightweight fast jet protective helmet could similarly be produced having an integral breathing system and inherent NBC protection but without the optical components and having a bonded clear visor of a conventional spherical form. In this way. the overall headborne mass may be reduced to less than 1 kg.

Claims

1. A helmet suitable for use by aircrew and constructed in two separate, interlocking sections hinged together at the crown and held in place by side latches, characterised in that both sections are of double skin construction with the cavity between the outer and inner skins containing a lightweight foam material.
2. A helmet according to Claim 1 in which the lightweight foam material contained between the inner and outer skins of the helmet sections is formed so as to define passages as required for cable conduits and air passages.
3. A helmet according to either preceding claim in which the interlocking sections of the helmet to comprise a front section adapted to support head-up display optics, and a rear section adapted to support power supply connections.
4. A helmet according to any preceding claim both of whose interlocking sections include an inner liner attached to the inner surface of the inner skin and moulded to conform to the wearer's head.
5. A helmet according to Claim 4 in which the said inner liner comprises a substantially rigid, lightweight foam material.
6. A helmet according to any preceding claim including a transparent visor rigidly bonded to the front face of the helmet.
7. A helmet according to Claim 6 in which the transparent visor incorporates a holographic element of a head-up display system.
8. A helmet according to any preceding claim including a breathing cavity covered by a removable flap, sealed around its periphery to prevent leakage and pivoted at its upper edge.
9. A helmet according to any preceding claim including a pressure-controlled air supply separate from a breathing gas system and directed by ducting located in the cavity between the inner and outer skins of the helmet to an annulus from which visor de-misting gas may flow and to a series of diffusing channels for forcible ventilation
> of the scalp region within the helmet.
10. A helmet according to any preceding claim adapted to receive a pair of pre¬ formed ear cavities each incorporating active noise control system components.
PCT/GB1995/001929 1994-08-19 1995-08-15 Aircrew helmet of cavity construction WO1996005746A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9416807A GB9416807D0 (en) 1994-08-19 1994-08-19 Aircrew helmet of cavity construction
GB9416807.7 1994-08-19

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1996005746A1 true WO1996005746A1 (en) 1996-02-29

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WO (1) WO1996005746A1 (en)

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2338400A (en) * 1998-06-16 1999-12-22 Kemira Safety Oy Helmet with venting cavities
FR2891705A1 (en) * 2005-10-12 2007-04-13 Hp Creations Sarl Safety helmet.
US10172408B1 (en) 2014-05-08 2019-01-08 John G. Kelly Helmet to minimize directional and localized forces in the brain and other body parts by means of shape preservation

Citations (14)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2629095A (en) * 1948-01-02 1953-02-24 Jacob L Kleinman Helmet
US3293659A (en) * 1964-05-01 1966-12-27 Int Latex Corp High altitude helmet
US3362403A (en) * 1963-12-11 1968-01-09 Robertshaw Controls Co Unified helmet and oxygen breathing assembly
US4044399A (en) * 1975-04-23 1977-08-30 Morton William G Safety helmet with individualized head-contoured inter-liner
US4075717A (en) * 1975-02-28 1978-02-28 Lemelson Jerome H Helmate
US4153913A (en) * 1976-06-18 1979-05-08 Pilkington P.E. Limited Head-up displays
FR2517545A1 (en) * 1981-12-03 1983-06-10 Matisec Protective headgear for fire-fighting - comprises completely enveloping helmet with shock absorption and integral face mask for connection to air supply
DE3316920C1 (en) * 1983-05-09 1984-11-08 Schuberth Werk Kg Crash helmet having a device for ventilating the helmet interior
EP0183588A2 (en) * 1984-11-26 1986-06-04 Jean-Jaques Georges Roger Santini Protective helmet for sports or professional use
US4761056A (en) * 1987-03-27 1988-08-02 Kaiser Aerospace And Electronics Corporation Compact helmet mounted display
DE3836036C1 (en) * 1988-10-22 1989-08-31 Draegerwerk Ag, 2400 Luebeck, De
EP0367534A2 (en) * 1988-10-31 1990-05-09 General Electric Company Helmet display
GB2238627A (en) * 1989-11-29 1991-06-05 Yazaki Corp Helmet-mounted head-up display
EP0521218A1 (en) * 1991-07-05 1993-01-07 Shoei Kako Kabushiki Kaisha Communication wiring structure in helmet

Patent Citations (14)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2629095A (en) * 1948-01-02 1953-02-24 Jacob L Kleinman Helmet
US3362403A (en) * 1963-12-11 1968-01-09 Robertshaw Controls Co Unified helmet and oxygen breathing assembly
US3293659A (en) * 1964-05-01 1966-12-27 Int Latex Corp High altitude helmet
US4075717A (en) * 1975-02-28 1978-02-28 Lemelson Jerome H Helmate
US4044399A (en) * 1975-04-23 1977-08-30 Morton William G Safety helmet with individualized head-contoured inter-liner
US4153913A (en) * 1976-06-18 1979-05-08 Pilkington P.E. Limited Head-up displays
FR2517545A1 (en) * 1981-12-03 1983-06-10 Matisec Protective headgear for fire-fighting - comprises completely enveloping helmet with shock absorption and integral face mask for connection to air supply
DE3316920C1 (en) * 1983-05-09 1984-11-08 Schuberth Werk Kg Crash helmet having a device for ventilating the helmet interior
EP0183588A2 (en) * 1984-11-26 1986-06-04 Jean-Jaques Georges Roger Santini Protective helmet for sports or professional use
US4761056A (en) * 1987-03-27 1988-08-02 Kaiser Aerospace And Electronics Corporation Compact helmet mounted display
DE3836036C1 (en) * 1988-10-22 1989-08-31 Draegerwerk Ag, 2400 Luebeck, De
EP0367534A2 (en) * 1988-10-31 1990-05-09 General Electric Company Helmet display
GB2238627A (en) * 1989-11-29 1991-06-05 Yazaki Corp Helmet-mounted head-up display
EP0521218A1 (en) * 1991-07-05 1993-01-07 Shoei Kako Kabushiki Kaisha Communication wiring structure in helmet

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2338400A (en) * 1998-06-16 1999-12-22 Kemira Safety Oy Helmet with venting cavities
GB2338400B (en) * 1998-06-16 2002-04-24 Kemira Safety Oy Protective helmet
FR2891705A1 (en) * 2005-10-12 2007-04-13 Hp Creations Sarl Safety helmet.
WO2007042645A1 (en) * 2005-10-12 2007-04-19 Hp Creations Protective helmet
US10172408B1 (en) 2014-05-08 2019-01-08 John G. Kelly Helmet to minimize directional and localized forces in the brain and other body parts by means of shape preservation

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
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