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Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

Article about: by f100zardoz great photo...it looks hot there!! Were you there during tet? Got in-country right at the end of Tet, the oil storage tanks outside Siagon were still burning when I made my fir

  1. #21

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by f100zardoz View Post
    great photo...it looks hot there!! Were you there during tet?
    Got in-country right at the end of Tet, the oil storage tanks outside Siagon were still burning when I made my first flights into the delta. The first picture with the steel pot was taken about 2 months after Tet during the post Tet offensive, we were getting rocketed everyday so we were required to wear the helmet and vest on the base camp. It did get a little warm over there except during the monsoon season when it got rather cool, especially up north near the DMZ we actually had frost on our wind screen in the mornings.
    Terry

  2. #22
    f100zardoz
    ?

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Amazing....I would have considered myself lucky not have been there during the hight of tet...frost on the windscreens...CRAZY...HAVE A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. Michael.

  3. #23
    RockyW
    ?

    Smile Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Hi guys,

    Terry - your topic finally prompted me to sign-up and post, having been a guest for a while. Flight helmets are one of my favourite topics and seem to be becoming more and more popular - especially Vietnam era.

    I think that's an SPH-4 helmet which had different edges to the visor amongst other things. From what I understand, the SPH-4 superseded the APH, and was issued around the same time as Nomex fireproof flight suits. It was the one to have by all accounts? From what I have read, not everyone got them and both saw service throughout the war and post it.

    One of our members has listed a similar helmet, see pics. Very nice relics - especially with the owners own handle and unit insignias.

    Rocky
    WARSTUFF.com
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by RockyW; 01-13-2010 at 10:53 PM. Reason: updated infor

  4. #24
    f100zardoz
    ?

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by RockyW View Post
    Hi guys,

    Terry - your topic finally prompted me to sign-up and post, having been a guest for a while. Flight helmets are one of my favourite topics and seem to be becoming more and more popular - especially Vietnam era.

    I think that's an SPH-4 helmet which had different edges to the visor amongst other things. From what I understand, the SPH-4 superseded the APH, and was issued around the same time as Nomex fireproof flight suits. It was the one to have by all accounts? From what I have read, not everyone got them and both saw service throughout the war and post it.

    One of our members has listed a similar helmet, see pics. Very nice relics - especially with the owners own handle and unit insignias.

    Rocky
    WARSTUFF.com

    Hey Rocky, i am new to this myself...if your interested in flight helmets check out my collection. thats how i found this site. Projects/Hobbies - Michael McEvoy

  5. #25
    f100zardoz
    ?

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by hawk3370 View Post
    Got in-country right at the end of Tet, the oil storage tanks outside Siagon were still burning when I made my first flights into the delta. The first picture with the steel pot was taken about 2 months after Tet during the post Tet offensive, we were getting rocketed everyday so we were required to wear the helmet and vest on the base camp. It did get a little warm over there except during the monsoon season when it got rather cool, especially up north near the DMZ we actually had frost on our wind screen in the mornings.
    Terry
    Hi Terry, did you ever get in trouble over there..under fire,bad weather,mechanical problems....?

  6. #26

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by f100zardoz View Post
    Hi Terry, did you ever get in trouble over there..under fire,bad weather,mechanical problems....?
    Hi there,

    The Major is a highly decorated pilot, and maybe we can get him to share some more of his recollections of time in service.

    See this recent thread posted by Major Morris:

    http://warrelics.eu/forum/orders-med...r-group-14173/
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  7. #27

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by RockyW View Post
    Hi guys,

    Terry - your topic finally prompted me to sign-up and post, having been a guest for a while. Flight helmets are one of my favourite topics and seem to be becoming more and more popular - especially Vietnam era.

    I think that's an SPH-4 helmet which had different edges to the visor amongst other things. From what I understand, the SPH-4 superseded the APH, and was issued around the same time as Nomex fireproof flight suits. It was the one to have by all accounts? From what I have read, not everyone got them and both saw service throughout the war and post it.

    One of our members has listed a similar helmet, see pics. Very nice relics - especially with the owners own handle and unit insignias.

    Rocky
    WARSTUFF.com
    Rocky,
    You could be right, but as I remember the SPH-4 was considerably lighter and the ear cups did not extend out as far as these. I was issued a white SPH-4 in flight school. We had to turn them in upon graduation and were told we would be issued the APH-5 when we arrived in country, which was supposed to be more bullet protective. I recalled when I was issued the helmet in VN that it was considerably different than the one I had in flight school. But that was 43 years ago and a lot of brain cells have passed under the bridge since then. Very nice CAV helmet.
    Terry

  8. #28

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Uh Rocky,

    Please be careful in your wording. You mention the helmet as a relic if the helmet is a relic you are also saying that anyone who had worn one of that period is a relic as well. In this case it would be Major Norris.

    Sorry Terry, i know he meant no harm

    rgds, Ty

  9. #29

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by Ty Revelo View Post
    Uh Rocky,

    Please be careful in your wording. You mention the helmet as a relic if the helmet is a relic you are also saying that anyone who had worn one of that period is a relic as well. In this case it would be Major Norris.

    Sorry Terry, i know he meant no harm

    rgds, Ty
    ...I can't wait for the reply from Major Morris on this one...

    The Major told me that he had socks older than I in reply to a comment I made about my own age. Let's also not forget that we are talking about a man who says he puts pictures of himself in the cabinet to scare away roaches and mice...
    Last edited by Steven M; 02-13-2010 at 01:52 AM.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  10. #30

    Default Re: Vietnam APH-4 Flight Helmet

    Quote by f100zardoz View Post
    Hi Terry, did you ever get in trouble over there..under fire,bad weather,mechanical problems....?


    f100zardoz,

    YES all of the above.

    If you will bear with me I will regurgitate a couple events. Will probably bore you to tears but here goes:

    Weather:
    I had some maintenance done on my aircraft and went out on a test flight to check it out. My co-pilot was a very experienced CWO3 and between the two of us we had over 3500 hours flight time. In those days most helicopter pilots had Tactical Instrument Tickets only which gave you just enough knowledge to get yourself killed if you flew into weather.

    During the monsoon season we had a squall line of rain come through every day around 10 AM and again at 3 PM almost like clockwork and it lasted about two hours. One of these squall lines had just passed through when we took off. After confirming that the repairs were fine we decided to go out and check out the A-Shau Valley, we hadn't been out there for a couple weeks. We made a couple passes up the valley looking for targets of opportunity and finding nothing to waste our ammo on we decided to return to Phu Bai.

    When we climbed out of the valley we saw a solid wall of rain coming our way. We flew into it and found zero visibility. Not wanting to attempt a ADF or GCA at Phu Bai we turned around back into the valley and proceeded to follow the river that runs from the valley to the coast. The rain was so thick that you couldn't see more than about 50 meters ahead so we hovered down the river with both canopys open, my co-pilot watching the left side of the river bank and I the right. We were moving at about 25 knots, 5 feet above the river. At one point we rounded a bend in the river and on my side of the river bank I noticed a bunch of tents made from ponchos and a couple soldiers moving around. One of them was about 100 feet away and stood there staring dircetly at me. We startled him as much as he scared the heck out of me. My co-pilot keyed up the intercom and said "were those NVA", I replied "YEP". We were gone down the river before they could react so we got away with that one. We made it all the way down the river to the coast then followed the coast back up to Phu Bai. To this day I hate intrument flight and avoid it whenever possible.

    Bored yet? Well hang in there its not over yet.

    Under Fire:

    We were supporting Special Forces out of the CCN Launch Site at Marble Mountan just south of Da Nang. I was in command of a light fire team of AH-1G Cobras. We had inserted the team into a valley about 20 miles inside Laos earlier that day and were standing by at Marble Mountain in the event they got into trouble. Their mission was to watch the road that ran through the valley which was suppose to be a major infiltration route.

    We were awakened abut 2 AM and informed that the team had been compromised and needed fire support. I knew the team leader from my enlisted service with 10th SFG, and knew him to be very calm under stress and would have not requested us unless he was in real trouble. As soon as we reached altitude I contacted him and asked the situation. I could hear a heavy volumn of small arms fire in the background and he only said two things. He said "Winchester" and then a word that sent chills up my spine, "Prairie Fire", he repeated this three times then the radio went dead. Winchester was the code word for we are out of ammo and Prairie Fire was the code word for we are about to be over run.

    We arrived over the valley and I could see no tracers or signs of a fire fight. I attempted to contact the team with negative results. I contacted base and they instructed us to return refuel and prepare to return at first light. I instructed my wing man to head back and that I was going to make a run down the valley floor to see if I could see a strobe or some sign of the team. I would then catch up with him and become his wingman. He rogered and I saw him head towards base as I decended into the valley. I put my lights on flast bright so I didn't make such a good target, being on flash meant that they only came on about every 15 seconds and then immediately went out, and started my run up the valley about a 100 feet over the road. When we approached the last known position of the team the tree line on both sides of the valley erupted in muzzel flashes and tracers. I initiated an steep climb in an attempt to get above the range of the small arms fire. I could hear the bullets hitting the aircraft, but I had no caution lights on so I figured we were going to be ok. As I approached 2000 feet I thought to myself thank god we will be out of range and a few feet. At that time a round came up through the floor of the aircraft and hit me in the chin, the round lodging under my tongue. That knocked the crap out of me, but we were still climbing and things were looking better. I asked my co-pilot if he was alright and he replied that he had been hit in the arm. We were out of small arms range and I could see the lights of Da Nang on the horizon. I told him we would head straight for the hospital. It was at that time there was a large explosion about 200 meters to our front and second later I detected another flash to my left rear. I knew immediately that we had been bracketed by a 37mm AA Gun and before I could react the third round that I knew was coming exploded outside the left side of the aircraft. It blew out my canopy and shredded most of my instrument panel. A large chunk of shapnel hit the side of my seat and another hit me on the side of the helmet splitting my helmet open and knocking the visor off. Smaller pieces of shapnel hit my leg and left arm. I dove the aircraft doing S turns to get out of his sight and proceeded on our heading to Da Nang.

    When I thought we were clear of the AA Gun I climbed back to altitude and attempted to call my wing man and inform him of our situation. Negative results on VHF, FM, or UHF. the explosion had taken out our radios so we could not talk outside the aircraft. But we were still flying or so I thought and it looked like we would make it to the hospital. The wind coming through the missing canopy was keeping me awake but I really felt like heck. We had a terrific 1 to1 lateral vibration (like when your washing machine is out of balance) A few minutes later my nav lights flashed and to my surprise I saw a tree go by, I thought I was still at 2000 feet but with no instruments and being pitch black I really had no reference. I instinctively pulled the nose up and pulled full pitch, the vibration practically threw me out of the aircraft and within seconds we impacted into a rice paddy. We hit hard, I mean really hard driving my seat into the floor and shearing the transmission from the engine which caused the engine to take off reaching extremely high RPMs. Fearing it was going to explode I reach down and cut off the main fuel killing the engine. I still was afraid of fire and pulled myself over the edge of the aircraft and dropped into the rice paddy. I immediately begin to burn especially in my wounds. I then realized that I was floating in a hundred gallons of JP-4 Jet Fuel that had flooded the rice paddy when we impacted and the fuel cell burst. I tried to stand up but couldn't, didn't know it at the time but my back was fractured in two places. I pulled myself over the rice paddy dyke into clear water. I stuck my flight glove into my open wound under my chin then realized the glove was also soaked in JP-4 so out it cam. I couldn't help my co-pilot who was in extreme pain and still setting in the front seat, due to the broken back. I was going into shock and couldn't remember how to use my URC-10 emergency radio. I finally pulled the antenna which turns it on and I attempted to put out a May Day. After several tries I had a reply from some airforce pilot who asked me where we were, I couldn't remember where I was and I just said "somewhere in Vietnam" they thought I was messing around and told me to stay off the radio. I thought this is great down in a rice paddy can't talk to anyone were going to die. We laid out there for about an hour until it started getting light and a CAV Loach flew by saw the wreckage and landed. They called for a Med-Evac and within 30 min were in the hospital at Da Nang. My co-pilot was shipped out to Japan later that day paralyzed from the waist down. I laid around the hospital for two weeks and then returned to Phu Bai where I was grounded for about a month before being cleared to fly. I flew one more mission and then came home. I found out later that what brought us down was a piece of shapnel cut a pitch change link which eventually broke in half causing me to have full pitch in one blade and flat pitch in the other, thats what was causing the 1 to 1 lateral vibration

    Attached is a picture of that magnificant aircraft that took such a beating and still brought us back. Notice the slash in the side of the aircraft and up to the armor panel on the side of my seat from a large piece of shapnel, probably the same piece that took out my helmet.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Dead Cobra.jpg 
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Size:	85.1 KB 
ID:	76722  

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