US NAVY FLIGHTGEAR IN WW2 / 1940s

MARCH 2011 - A special on US Navy WW2 era flightgear as used in operations in the Atlantic and Pacific campaign area.

The US Navy used very similar flightgear to the USAAC/USAAF in WW2.
In the last few years of WW2, the USAAF and US Navy began to combine manufacturing and purchasing resources and manged to reduce waste/cross development of flightgear where possible.

Such resources saw flight hemets, parachutes and oxygen masks become standardised in some cases but with different communications set ups for each service.
Examples include A/N designated items for parachutes and flight helmets – Army/Navy – xxxx

The photos show a wide selection of cloth flight helmets, oxygen masks, flight suits, flight jackets, parachutes, goggles and uniforms.

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At some point in World War II, carrier-based pilots left their parachutes in the airplanes, since the accidental opening of a parachute on the flight deck was a potential hazard to be avoided. Instead, they wore a parachute harness that clipped onto the parachute in the seat bucket once they were in the airplane. Pictures of this rig are attached.

After the war, the separate harness appears to have disappeared, but the parachute remained in the cockpit of carrier-based airplanes, requiring that the pilot strap it on in situ and then put on the shoulder harness and seat belt.

Still later, as part of the Douglas A4D Skyhawk development in the early 1950s, an integrated torso harness was developed in conjunction with a new light-weight Douglas ejection seat. It integrated the life jacket, parachute harness, and body restraint into a single garment, deleting the shoulder harness and a portion of the seat belts. This concept became the standard.

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