LKpW100 

 

LKpW100 leather flying helmet, Swiss modified

The LKpW100 winter flying helmet probably arrived in the late 1930's with the purchase of modern German aircraft for the Fliegertruppe (see introduction below). As we still find this type of helmet in the official inventory as late as 1954 it may have seen service in all Swiss propeller driven combat aircraft.

By 1954 the LKpW100 was listed as a winter flying helmet for the following aircraft types:

D-3801 (Swiss development of the Morane M.S.406/M.S.410) with Huggenberger/Munerelle oxygen system and Huggenberger oxygen mask

D-3800 (license built Morane M.S.406C),

D-3802 (Swiss development based on D-3801).

C-3604 (last piston engine version of the Swiss K+W C-36) with Dräger oxygen system and Type A-14 oxygen mask

Shortly prior to WWII the Swiss Air Force (formerly known as the Schweizer Fliegertruppe) was able to sign contracts for the purchase of modern aircraft from Germany  and France.

The arrival of Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann, Bü 133 Jungmeister, Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun, Bf 109D "Dora", Bf 109E "Emil", Junkers Ju 52 "Flying Classroom" and Morane Saulnier M.S.406C aircraft obviously included the respective equipment, like (radio) flying helmets and oxygen masks for pilots and aircrew.

Some of the aircraft types were subsequently produced (and further developed) under license and operated in Switzerland well into the 1950s, thus such equipment saw many official and personal modifications. This is especially the case with flying helmets worn and kept by pilots starting their career while flying Moranes, C-36's and Me 109's, and then passing on via AT-16's and P-51's to D.H. 110 Vampire and D.H. 112 Venom jets, the first versions of which were not equipped with ejection seats.

With many foreign aircraft interned or crashed in Switzerland between 1939 and 1945, even more sophisticated and also exotic equipment could be "inherited" and evaluated.

After WWII, when American (P-51D/K Mustang, AT-16) and British (D.H. Mosquito, D.H.110 Vampire) aircraft started to be included in the Fliegertruppe's inventory, the array and mix of original and modified flying equipment became such, that it is impossible to provide complete and officially documented information.

Analisys of preserved equiment and photographic evidence, plus consulting the few documents still existing, is the only way to attempt to put some light on early Fliegertruppe flightgear.

 

Only from the very late 1950's with the arrival of ejection seats and by consequence hard shell helmets and new oxygen mask designs, a kind of "standard" was slowly established in the now renamed Flugwaffe.