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Type 11 Airaile leather flying helmet

E. Guéneau & Cie

6, Faubourg Saint-Honoré – Paris (8*)

Ateliers à Lamette Beuvron (L. et C.)

June 1940

No.3648 / 606/0

Marked "AM"

The French Airaile/Airaille Type 11 (in order to avoid confusion it should be noted that Guéneau made helmets were labelled « Airaile » with one « L » , while helmets produced by Zinszner were labelled « Airaille » with two « L ») appeared in the late 1930s and became the standard flying helmet of the Armée de l'Air.

It was produced by various manufacturers in large numbers before and during WWII and its basic construction lived on in several successors after WWII, like the Type 14 and Type 15.


Its design cannot deny some resemblance to the early era hard shell helmets and while most other countries now used soft leather or cloth helmets, the French continued with the shock absorbing concept of a « hard » shell made of cardboard or pressed leather and covered with leather.

This helmet features two goggle snap up strap retainers, two lateral clips to attach the hooks of an oxygen mask, two snap up wire leads at the rear and an adjustable chin strap with a doubl-ring buckle. The inner lining consisted of eight leather fingers which together with a string-adjustable opening at the rear allowed some size adjustment. Two small holes at the back provided some aeriation.

Two front-sewn earflaps were to accommodate radio receivers (normally of Ericsson or Elno design) and could be secured close by means of three snap fasteners.

Produced in large quantities, remaining stocks of this type of helmet were „recycled“ after WWII to be used by French paratroopers.

CÉBÉ 4000 flying goggles

This display comes with a pair of CÉBÉ 4000 goggles with the characteristic two-strap arrangement. While the upper strap is elastizised, the lower one is made of non-elastic fabric. Both adjustable straps come in two segments each and are attached to the goggle frames with closable hooks and are closed at the rear by a hook and ring.

The CÉBÉ 4000 further consists of nickle plated metal frames with incorporated air vents, linked by a hinged nose bridge which is embossed with the designation and manufacturer's logo. A chamois-lined one-piece rubber cushion is sewn to the frames which incorporated curved glass lenses. The latter can easily be replaced by opening the frames aftter removing the goggle strap attachment hooks.


Almost identically designed goggles were also produced by French manufacturers OTO and Airoptic, while in the US many features were duly copied for the Navy's Willson Mk I.

ULMER TYPE T12 oxygen mask

The Ulmer type T12 oxygen mask is based on the constant flow principle where oxygen from a central source, i.e. the aircraft's high pressure oxygen supply, is transported to the user through a regulator system. While the amount of oxygen is regulated automatically depending on the flying altitude, it enters the mask in a constant flow, independent of the fact if the wearer is actually inhaling or exhaling, or whether he is relaxed or under physical strain.

The T12 consists of a molded black rubber mask body lined with chamois at the edges to increase wearing comfort by reducing contact of the rubber with the wearer's facial skin. A rigid curved metal nose plate keeps the mask in shape for better fit and improved sealing while four metal studs provide attachment points for the harness.

The latter consists of large elasticized adjustable straps in various connected segments which are fixed to the mask by means of detachable tapering metal loops. Additional metal loops at the rear serve to attach the mask to helmets provided with the corresponding hooks.

Oxygen from the regulator enters the mask through a nose valve by means of a thin, flexible rubber hose of orange colour. This hose was described as flexible enough to allow free movement and to be squeezed in case of the oxygen flow being compromised by freezing moisture. On the other hand it is reported sturdy enough to provide oxygen even if stood on by accident.


An oxygen heating system near the entry duct is fed by two insulated wires connected to the aircraft's 24V electrical system via a two pole male plug inserted into the pilot's pectoral control box. This box would also control the oxygen flow, the electrical system for the heated pilot suits and the communication system consisting of laryngophones and earphones.

The exhaled air exits the mask via a corrugated rubber hose attached to a stub molded on the mask body. This flexible hose would also deviate moisture from the pilot's throat (remember the use of throat microphones) and could be bent and squeezed in order free it from ice deposits.

Despite the use of an electrical oxygen heating system it seems that this type of mask was quite prone for freezing, as the incoming dry oxygen and the moist exhaled air mixed in the mask body.

Quite a few oxygen masks were operating according to identical principals and were by consequence very similar in shape and design - the French Ericsson Type T 14 and the Bronzavia masks, the Swiss Huggenberger Type N-521.061 or the Italian O.M.I.-I.A.3 "dog snout".


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