Original U.S. Cold War Named USAF Helmet Flying Type P-4B with Oxygen Mask and Bag

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Available. This is an excellent condition complete 1959-1965 U.S. Air Force size extra large Type P-4B flying helmet that comes totally complete with internal cloth liner, ear phones, mic, type MBU-3P high altitude oxygen mask, tinted visor and rare felt visor cover. The helmet is named to Colonel French. Helmet features original white paint and a U.S. Air Force Decal. All parts are in excellent condition. This is an incredibly rare complete set.

In 1959, a final TO P-helmet specification was issued that consisted principally of a change in the headset communications cord assembly. The P-4B helmet specification did away with the helmet communications 'pigtail' cord and substituted a new helmet cord assembly designated the CX-4708/AIC. This allowed the entire earphone and mask microphone communications system to be integrated into the aircraft radio and intercom systems via the oxygen mask communications cord  connecting the new H-149/AIC system headset. The active earphone receivers were updated to H79/AIC specs and the previously used, spring-loaded earphone cushion assemblies were done away with. Instead, in what would appear a 'retrograde progressive' move, the earphone cushions were again secured to the rigid helmet shell at upper and lower sections with small diameter nylon lacing in a manner not unlike the attachment system used in the P-1A/P-1B helmet. Foam pads were again used to adjust the cushions to the pilot's ears. This system would also be used in the following, new generation helmet (the HGU-2/P), before a return to a slightly different type of spring loaded earcup would return in the even later HGU-2A/P helmet. [The reason given for replacement of the heli-coiled 'tophat' spring-loaded earphone system in the P-4A was that some pilots had apparently sustained severe injury in crash situations involving a crushing lateral impact on the helmet; in certain instances, it was found that the metallic spring units and their screw retainers could actually be driven into the cranium, resulting in non-survivable head injuries to the temporal skull.]

While older P-4A helmets were updated in the field to the new P-4B specs, newly manufactured stock featured all of these refinements directly from the factory run. The external rigid visor was unchanged from the new center-latching system used on the P-4A. Newly manufactured P-4B helmets had no rubber plug-filled circular orifice at the rear of the shell (where a former com cord pigtail exited); older P-4A helmets that had been updated by squadron personal equipment/life support techs to P-4B specs featured a solid black rubber plug in this area. As before, the JJ-055 mic connector jack (outlet on pilot’s left) was used in the helmet earphone loom.

The early H-149/AIC headset, originally used with the late model P-helmets (B) and with the first of the HGU-2/P helmets that replaced the P-series, was used with the new CX-4707/AIC series oxygen mask hose routed, fabric-woven communications cords (these last specification cords are still in use today in slightly updated configurations). [It is not altogether uncommon to find that a P-4A specification helmet was occasionally ‘created’ simply by cutting and removing the ‘pigtail’ communications cord, a modification which resulted in the functional equivalent of the new P-4B wiring loom!]
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