MAy 2011 – USAAF /USAF and Civil Test pilots from late 1940s to 1990s showing some of their flightgear they have worn in testing many different aircrafts.
Pilot on left wears a backpack parachute, HGU-26/P flight helmet and MBU-5/P oxygen mask.
Pilot on right has a early generation Toptex helmet and A-14 oxygen mask. This dates the photo to around 1947-48 potentially. This early Toptex can be found on ebay once a few years and can be acquired for up to $3-5,000 in some extreme cases.
Lockheed’s famous test pilot Tony’ LeVier along with another pilot, poses with some flightgear next to a F-104 Starfighter. Both pilots have customised flight suits, backpack parachutes and a Toptex with visor is seen on top.
More examples of test pilots exclusively wearing the famous and keenly sought after nowdays Toptex early generation helmet. Pilot on left wears a K-2 flight and holds a Toptex.
The right photo is interesting as this is a F-4 Phantom pre production aircraft in 1958. Note how pilot’s early generation Toptex helmet is not with a visor even at that stage.
A Toptex early generation flight helmet and A-13 oxygen mask. Note helmet is without the visor as shown on later models. This put the photo to late 1947-1951 time frame potentially.
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A selection of test pilots in early 1950s at Edwards AFB in US. All wear a mix of potentially L-1/K-1 / K-2A/K-2B flight suits.
Unusual flight helmet for late 1940s flight test Skyrocket D-558 aircraft. This helmet looks to be part of the interim flight gear used by test pilot pending hard shell like P-1 and Toptexs.Note how modern the D-558 Skyrocket 2 was for 1947-8 timeframe sleek and well built.
Here we see a Toptex flight helmet with xmas tree bayonets /MS22001 oxygen mask. Aircraft is a A-4 Skyhawk, ejection seat is a Douglas ESCAPAC model.
Curtiss civil WW2 era test pilots – wearing A-2 leather jackets, B-5/B-6 flight helmets. S-2 seat parachute harness and An-6510 goggles complete the flightgear. A variety of clothing and flight suits are worn by test pilots.
Pilot on left wears a Toptex flight helmet / MS22001 oxygen mask and a Mk2 USN life preserver. Pilot on right is wearing a B-15 flight jacket and holds potentially a USN H-1 helmet or could be a British helmet maybe?