SAFAR APP 8035
Regia Aeronautica winter leather flying helmet, SAFAR APP 8035
The SAFAR Type APP 8035 was based on a 1930's wired flying helmet intended for aircraft wireless operators. After the outbreak of WWII more and more single seat fighters were being equipped with airborne radios, thus the next logical step was to design an appropriate flying helmet for the pilots manning these aircraft.
The first series appeared as the Model APP 7938, which was followed in 1941 by the early production batches of the Model APP 8035. According to photographic evidence the two models look identical.
This helmet is constructed of brown leather in a pattern of segments similar to flying helmets designed by Siemens. Nevertheless, it differs significantly from the former by having large front flaps with integrated rectangular-shaped magnetic SAFAR laryngophones and a single adjustable leather chin strap which is riveted on the right and hooks to the left. This arrangement protected the pilot's throats (and the laryngophones) in the partially open cockpits of fighters like the Fiat G.50, Macchi CR.32 and MC.200.
The earphones are housed in leather covered aluminium caps with cloth covered donuts on the inside. The whole helmet is lined with soft lamb wool and additional chamois lining for the wearer's forehead. A small cloth label is sewn inside near the helmet's nape.
The fabric covered connecting cable exits the helmet by a leather sock located on the right rear side. Normally this would end in a magnetic FEME socket to be connected to an Italian aircraft radio set, but in this case a German "Brechkupplung" BLK Fl 27560 is installed, indicating the helmet's use with a German designed aircraft in service with the R.A.
The back of the helmet center section is split and allows for some size adjustments by means of laces secured by small plastic toggles. A feature identical to the Regia Aeronautica Siemens helmet is the single, adjustable goggle strap retainer at the back. Fixed at the nape it loops upwards and is buttoned by a snap fastener at the top of the helmet and another stud on the strap itself. This arrangement allows to hold the goggle straps and the straps of the Italian O.M.I. - I.A. "dog snout" oxygen mask.
Note: later issue helmets of Model 8035 feature two down buttoning short rear straps for the goggles, plus hooks, buttons and a central top strap to attach all available types of German and Italian oxygen masks. Additionally, the connector cable would exit the helmet at the left rear side.
The SAFAR company was founded in 1923 as a manufacturer of radio-telephonic helmets of the Italian armed forces. Expanding its activities in the late 1920's and early 1930's into the fields of electro-acoustics, "radiovision", aeronautical and maritime radio transmitters, and finally "RADAR" during WWII, it eventually became the main manufacturer of radio-telephonic flying helmets for the Regia Aeronautica. In April 1944 the company's industrial hardware war transferred by the Germans to the Telefunken factory in Göttingen near Hannover, thus interrupting the supply of SAFAR products to the Regia Aeronautica's successor A.N.R. (established after the September 1943 armistice) , which now relied almost entirely on Siemens products.
Lightweight Cicogna goggles with rubber eye cushions, an adjustable nose bridge and an elasticised goggle strap are completing the outfit. They have the manufacturer's logo and the markings "brevettato" and "made in Italy" embossed on the metal frames which hold clear curved glass lenses, while featuring a series of air vents at their top and bottom to prevent fogging.