Original U.S. Cold War K-1 High Altitude Partial Pressure Helmet with Original Faceplate - Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane - Dated 1955

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an very good condition example of an exceptionally rare K-1 High Altitude Partial Pressure Helmet with original Faceplate. It was manufactured by the International Latex Corporation and bears an inspection date of February 23rd, 1955. The USAF 1950's era "Test Pilot" K-1 partial pressure helmet was used in such aircraft as the B-47, B-36, F-80, F-100, U-2 and various X-planes.

The K-1 high altitude partial pressure helmet was composed of an inner hood/neck skirt with rigid metal frame and a one piece green fiberglass outer shell connected to the rigid metal frame of the hood. The removable face plate was made of molded plexiglas for light weight, improved visibility and cost reduction. To reduce fogging the face shield was electrically heated by way of tiny wires moulded inside it and used a low pressure oxygen system.

Original face plates for these helmets are seldom seen, as most were destroyed by the government due to safety concerns. However, this example features a fantastic all original faceplate (with a crack, but totally solid), correct green fiberglass shell with Air Force decal, oxygen hose, USAF K-1 high altitude partial pressure helmet hood/neck inner skirt with rigid metal frame in good condition. The rubber hood is still supple and complete, typically these hoods are damaged or dried out, this one is neither. There is communication gear including the microphone but the chamois earphones are absent. The data label on the skirt reads: "Hood, Helmet, Flying, K-1, Stock No. 8415-NSL, International Latex Corporation, Dover, Delaware. Part No. MG-52 (Type K-1 Helmet) Contract No. AF-33 (602)5438, Inspected: Feb 23, 1955". This size medium K-1 is about the nicest best condition example you may ever encounter. A very rare excellent High Altitude "spy plane" helmet from the ear days of the United States Air Force.

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is an American single-jet engine, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet, 21,300 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering.

Lockheed Corporation originally proposed it in 1953, it was approved in 1954, and its first test flight was in 1955. It was flown during the Cold War over the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, and Cuba. In 1960, Gary Powers was shot down in a CIA U-2A over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. was shot down in a U-2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

U-2s have taken part in post-Cold War conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and supported several multinational NATO operations. The U-2 has also been used for electronic sensor research, satellite calibration, scientific research, and communications purposes. The U-2 is one of a handful of aircraft types to have served the USAF for over 50 years, along with the Boeing B-52, Boeing KC-135, and Lockheed C-130. The newest models (TR-1, U-2R, U-2S) entered service in the 1980s, and the latest model, the U-2S, had a technical upgrade in 2012.
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