AN-H-16

 

Type AN-H-16 winter flying helmet

It was standardized for both the AAF and USN in April 1943. Constructed of poly-acrylate coated shearling with integrated sound-insulated Harvard type earphone receptacles fitted with ANB-H-1 receivers, it was especially valuable for long bombardment missions in exposed crew positions, like waist gunners in B-17's and B-24's with open windows or turret gunners.

Protection and a snug fit were obtained by reinforced seams, chamois lined leather brow, a short neck flap, plus drawstrings around the face and neck. Finally it features three rear goggle retaining straps and a fleece lined leather chin strap.

With a production of "only" about 40'000 specimen (comparing it with the more than 200'000 Type A-11's procured by the AAF by the end of 1943, alone) it is to be considered one of the rarer helmets to be found, today. The use of shearling for the shell makes it rather delicate, too.

 

Type A-10 demand oxygen mask

 

Manufacturer Acushnet

Production date October 1942

Spec. No. 3134

Order No. W 535 - AC 24003

 

After the Type A-9 oxygen mask had shown persistent 

deficiencies like poor fit and excessive leakage, urgent orders were given to design a new mask. As the new demand oxygen system was to be generally introduced by early spring 1943, Mr. Frank Mauer of the Acushnet Process Company designed the L-12 mask. Similar in construction to its predecessor it featured a redesigned suspension, fuller face coverage and an increase in the expiratory valve. Following further revisions it was standardized by the AAF in April 1942 as the Type A-10.

For increased protection and a tighter fit it had high sides that curved up behind the eyes on each side of the face. Oxygen entered the mask via a corrugated hose and through two openings at nose level. A rubber check valve allowed the CO2 to exit during exhalation, while it prevented the entry of outside air during inhalation. There was a provision to internally fit a T-42 (carbon) or T-44 (magnetic) microphone. Attachment to the wearer was provided either by short straps & hooks or by means of a Juliet strap (here worn under the flying helmet).

The most distinguishing feature of this mask, and unique to American designs, is the central retention strap, which ran from the mask body up between the eyes to the top of the forehead. While this attachment device was meant to improve fit and prevent the mask for slipping down during high "G" pull-outs, it failed to do just that. Although it showed only few freezing problems, it proved not very popular, mainly because of its poor fit and complicated suspension system which made it very uncomfortable.  

 

AN-6530 flying goggles

 

The AN-6530, standardized in 1943 for both Army and Navy use, was a variation of the Type B-7, and accordingly marked on the metal bridge between the lenses. This is an early production specimen with green lenses, featuring the same tube-style ventilators and seperate sponge-rubber eye cushions like its predecessor. It had several drawbacks which aircrew complained about: restricted visual field, fogging and poor coordination with oxygen masks.