PROTECTION, Inc. TOPTEX 4
Made by Protection, Inc. (the same manufacturer of the DH-151, later merged with Gentex), Division of Mine Safety Appliance Company (MSA), Toptex helmets were used mostly by test pilots from the 60s till the 80s.
This developmental outgrowth of earlier „Lombard‟ (by their designer name - Charles Lombard) helmets featured a custom fashioned, individualized fit inner liner that was shaped to the specific wearer's cranial conformation.
The Toptex aviation helmet soon gained a reputation as the preferred protective flight helmet of professional flight test pilots and engineers. Featuring a center-track, articulated, adjustable rigid wind-blast visor, this helmet set a standard of excellence that would not be matched in US Air Force protective helmet design until the advent of the custom fitted HGU-55/P liners of the 70s.
The pictured helmet is a Toptex 4AM ( fourth generation, Average Medium size ). The name of the original owner noted on the liner; unfortunately the contract/ work order label glued inside the shell is partly damaged.
Oberst Ernst Gmünder, deputy commander of the Swiss AF "Ueberwachungsgeschwader" (UeG) and Oberstleutenant Ernst Bartolomé, Air Force attaché at the Swiss embassy in Washington, flew the F-20 as a possible replacement for ageing Hunter and Mirages, on September 26, 1983 at Edwards AFB, both provided with similar Toptex helmets.
The same type of helmet can be recognized in the pictures taken in 1984 at Emmen during a Tigershark demo session.