WIP... Friitala m/36
Type m/36 Ilmavoimat leather flying helmet
This helmet, which is referred to as the m/36, was the most common flight helmet used by the Finnish Air Force in World War II. It is omnipresent on most WWII Ilmavoimat photographs, but reportedly only a relatively small number of 1000 examples have been produced.
The Friitala leather factory started to produce leather equipment for the air force from the late 1920’s. The double metal loop fittings became a trademark.
The helmet is constructed of nine leather segmets arranged around a central eye-shaped segment at the top. Two felt padded, sewn-on leather donuts are housing the earphones. These receiver pockets can be opened at the rear end and are closed by means of three snap fasteners. The female studs are embossed with the name “Stocko”.
The two cheek flaps protect almost the whole area under the chin once the chin strap is tightened. The latter is sewn onto the left cheek and passes through two leather loops. After passing through another loop on the left it is secured by two metal rings.
Size adjustment is furthemore provided by a strong leather strap across the top of the helmet, passing through additional leather loops attached to the earphone receptacles, plus two leather straps at the top of the helmet, each passing throug two metal rings.
To complete the outfit, an additional neck strap is sewn to the back of the helmet, size adjustment being possible here as well by means of two metal loops.
This rather complex strap and loop arrangement is the most typical feature of the m/36 helmet. It is interesting to note, though, that in service one or more of those straps seem to have been removed from the helmets on several occasions.
In fact, on this specimen the lateral main straps appear to have been replaced at some stage with a thicker leather material.
The inner lining consists of red brown satin while the ear openings are padded with soft chamois discs. No labels or markings are present, just a faint “V. L.” (initials) on the left side chamois disc.