Open Cockpit Headset/Helmet Recommendations

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Fearless Tower, May 17, 2015.

  1. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For those that fly in loud open cockpits, I'm interested in what you use for headset or helmet? I'm not totally satisfied with my setup in the Waco.

    I have been using a Gibson and Barnes leather headset helmet with ANR. The ANR is proving problematic in the biplane. The wind buffeting really messes with the noise cancelling and the sound becomes a bit annoying to the point that I prefer to turn the ANR off. Only problem is that without the ANR, it can be difficult to make out radio transmissions. I've basically gotten into the habit of flying with the ANR off and then only turning it on when I need to communicate with ATC.

    I have used a jet style helmet that works well for comms, but looks a bit strange in a 1930s biplane.

    What's everyone else using?
     
  2. Wheels

    Wheels Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I haven't tried it in a truly open cockpit but my Clarity Alofts work much better in a Cub with the door open than my ANR headset does.
     
  3. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Which Waco? I fly with a QT Halo and I love it. It is perfect in a YMF and near perfect in a Tapewing (ATO) with the front windshield off and the front cockpit cover on. With the front windshield on, front cover off, I have to be more careful with inserting the ear pieces and which way I tilt my head ("racing windshield" in back);big difference in airflow. Both are Jacobs powered, YMF with a wood MT and ATO with 2B20-9 so it's a little noisier.

    Money back guarantee if you don't like it, and great service, hard to go wrong.

    Ernie

    Edit: Oh and I use various soft helmet's from Pop's Leather depending on the season. Just ordered one to go with a Bose A20 for passengers. A new style they were showing at SnF with laces in back to make it adjustable.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  4. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ernie,

    I have a UBF-2 (NC13444). Are you coming to Mt Vernon this year? I am hoping to make it. This will be my first Waco Reunion.

    So with the QT Halo or Clarity Aloft, do you just use an old style leather helmet over the earplugs?

    Andrew
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  5. Scrabo

    Scrabo Pattern Altitude

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    I thought I read on another thread here that open cockpit + ANR = waste of money !!
     
  6. asechrest

    asechrest En-Route

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    Ron Wanttaja built his own in-ear version to go under his leather flying helmet. I don't know if maybe this link will give you some ideas. it looks like he just wears the in ear headset underneath a helmet.

    http://www.bowersflybaby.com/tech/h_headset.html
     
  7. Luvrv8

    Luvrv8 Line Up and Wait

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    I fly a PT19 with just my prescription glasses and a set of Bose X. There is a scull,cap in the plane but I prefer what I use. I don't know if the 19 has a higher windscreen then others though. Here is a couple pics from yesterday.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It probably is. Hell, I may have said it myself!

    I have had outstanding results using ANR headsets with loud radials like T-6s, DC-3s and the B-25. The problem I'm finding with ANR in the biplane is the way it deals with the wind. It is quieter, but does a weird wobbling with all the wind buffetting, which is downright annoying.

    It is better than nothing, but I'm,thinking the earplug headsets like Clarity Aloft it QT Halo may be worth a try.
     
  9. yakdriver

    yakdriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    We have Clark H10-40s in the N3N with cloth helmets. I have the Oregon Aero earcups and a dense foam mike muff. The best thing you can do is put in a Sigtronics SPA 400 high noise intercom. I have put these in all of my airplanes and they are the best open cockpit intercom out there. In the N we can talk in normal tones and keep it in the voice activated mode. The only time we get any wind noise is if you get the mike directly in the windstream. ANRs just don't work in open cockpit, we tried several. The N had a PS Engineering intercom in it when he bought it and it was a POS. Would not work at all on voice activated as it just stayed open all the time. Don
     
  10. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    The Clarity Aloft is great!
    If you have wind noise on the mic use a leather mic muff. Put electric tape on the front side and breathable athletic tape on the talk side. Second best but you must have the leather muff is a David Clark with the M-7 mic. H10-60, H10-13.4...
    I tried every anr possible with open cockpit and none worked at all. The Clarity is by far the quietest you will find for your application. Or the Halo.... I just like the Clarity ear tips much better and like the wire/speaker instead of a sound tube.
     
  11. Luvrv8

    Luvrv8 Line Up and Wait

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    So now I am wondering why my Bose work as well in the 19'as the 172. Could it be due to it not being a Bi Plane?
     
  12. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    The biplanes I have flown are extremely loud and the Bose ANR will not keep up with the noise. They Buzz, crack and pop. A C-172 is quiet.
    When I had my Pitts S-2C with a canopy I bought a new Bose. It squealed and popped. I called Bose and questioned the tech department. I was told they are not made for loud airplanes! Ok let me spend $1000 plus on a headset for a quiet airplane.... Most people do though.
    My 540 powered Christen Eagle had a pumped up 11:1 engine and was the loudest airplane I had ever been around. I had people complain each time I flew it because of the noise. After a 15 minute flight my ears would ring for 3 days. I tried every headset made. The only thing that worked was the Clarity Aloft. I was amazed by haw pleasant it was with the Clarity.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  13. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Reservations are made. Unless something really bad happens I'll be at my 5th. You will love it, great group of people.

    BTW I have flown in the front cockpit of an F2 with my Halo. No problems. I don't know anything about the Clarity aloft.

    I use shearling lined leather in the winter, canvas/net in the summer, nothing if it's really warm. As mentioned, all from Popsleather.com which has been great to deal with.

    Ernie
     
  14. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    About the Bose A20... maybe because of the lower RPM of the radials, I have had no complaints from passengers.

    I personally won't wear a head clamp again except perhaps under extreme duress.

    Ernie
     
  15. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I know this is an old thread, but I didn't see anyone mention Campbell Classics at all.
    If you're looking for an extremely well made leather flight helmet in several styles, that's the best place on the planet.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    In the Flybaby I just use an original Zulu and a pair of sunglasses. At night I just wear the zulu, probably should wear safety glasses or goggles, but I don't...

    I don't have any trouble with the ANR. I've done 17 hour flying days in that thing like that. I wouldn't mind a leather helmet though, mostly because my hair beating around gets old after a few hours.
     
  17. Circuit Flyer

    Circuit Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That resembles what Harrison Ford wears, no? Very very cool.
     
  18. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think it depends on the airflow around the windscreen. What I have found with my Waco is that the wind buffetting coming off the windscreen seriously messed with the ANR and even with the ANR turned off it can be hard to hear the radio.

    Based on some of the recommendations here, I tried the Clarity Aloft- MUCH better. Needs a little adjustment (pinches a bit under the leather helmet), but a definite improvement.
     
  19. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    And...what is the price for that fine-looking piece of hardware...?

    My understanding is that the Campbell helmets run about 20% of the value of my airplane. Love to have one, but.....

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  20. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    Actually, it's probably less a due to the windshield and more due to having a huge open hole in front of the pilot seat (e.g., front cockpit). Downwash from the top wing is probably an issue, too.

    I've flown my (single-seat, low-wing) Fly Baby quite a bit on mid-40s days. Leather coat, helmet, scarf, and gloves were sufficient. The front of a Fly Baby is pretty well enclosed, little of the prop blast enters the cockpit.

    Took a ride in a Stearman on the same sort of day, and durn near froze to death. Wind was just hammering past me, going UP out the coaming. I held my camera above my head and shot backwards to take a picture of the pilot. He had a full face mask on, and STILL looked miserable.

    My flyin' cap is off to Jesse for travelling in his airplane without a helmet. Can't really stand the hair fluttering, myself, even though I'm not getting the full blast. I do chuck the helmet when the temps get above 90.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  21. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think mine is the windscreen. I've flown a Stearman and know what you mean, but I don't get the downward airflow in the back seat of mine like in a PT-17. I've flown my Waco in low 30s surface temp and it was not drafty at all. But my head takes a beating from the wind.
     
  22. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I try not to "pitch" things that we make too much, because I want you guys to figure out what works without me jamming it down your throat. But in this case I want you to at least try one of our PA9-EHN mics in the open cockpit and see how it works for you, seriously, just try it.
    (Don't put any stupid leather cover on it, just use the open cell foam windscreen it comes with)
    If it doesn't fix the squelch/open mic/broken comm issue immediately, you send it right back and I'll refund every dollar. (PoA'ers don't pay shipping either)

    Ok, back to topic.
     
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  23. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    First the leather helmets you showed are like $3800... What a freaking joke.
    Second that high noise pilot usa mic sucks ass! They claimed it was so good I tried one last year. It was the worse mike I tried for high noise. That was in my S2C with a canopy on. Mic was so bad I couldn't talk to my passenger.
    The BEST Mic and headset for high noise or open cockpit is the Clarity aloft. The second best is the David Clark eletret M-7 with leather muff. Front hole covered with electrical tape and breathable athletic tape on the talk side. The PM 1200 intercom with auto squelch works wonders also.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  24. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Does that work with a Zulu and if so what's involved to swap them out?
     
  25. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why is that a joke? I don't remember seeing any issues with price or budget, did you? Those leather helmets are amazing but maybe you can make one better for cheaper and just sell him yours. Until then I wouldn't call someone else's hard work a joke.

    That is a definite defective mic or your old headset doesn't deliver enough power to the mic then, because you would be the FIRST person I've ever heard say anything remotely close to that. Furthermore, it was ranked the #1 microphone by Plane & Pilot 2 years in a row, and I'll put it head to head any day with any other mic period. But what do we know, we just work here.

    There's just no way that's even marginally correct. I have personally tested every main stream mic, and that one performed about middle of the road in that environment. Not because it's a subpar mic, just because it was not designed for direct passover interference.

    Meh, it's ok. I haven't tried one with all that weird taping configuration, so maybe I'm missing the "magic", but I doubt it.

    Now that is a great intercom!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  26. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I tried creating a mount for the Zulu's but it failed miserably. The problem is that boom they use. As you probably already know, that boom starts to give out really quickly, and the additional weight of the PA-9 mic would only accelerate that degradation, and you'd have a throat mic on a boom. No fun.

    What I'm working on is swapping out the entire boom assembly with a more robust one, but the ratchet standoffs are part of the ear piece, so I'm having to mold a new base that will merry properly. I'll let you know if I get something made up and it's proves profitable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I used my HU-11, but yeah, wouldn't look right in a Waco :lol:. Every now and then I see some good leather caps, and you can put whatever cups and mic you want in it.
     
  28. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    Well Shane, I have been doing this ALOT longer than you have. I have been selling headset for 10 years plus and have tested EVERYTHING and sold well over 5,000 headsets. I test these in the real world. I have owned a Decathlon, Cessna, Skybolt open and closed cockpit, Pitts S-2C, 540 and 4 cylinder Christen Eagles, J-3 Cub and a Pitts Model 12 that flies open and closed canopy. The mic miff deal is a great way for open cockpit or high noise. Research it on the biplane forum, everyone does it...... To Date the Clarity aloft is the quietest and has the best mic. I have tested this in my EXTREMELY noisy planes. Why do you think the aerobatic world is using this setup?
    The high noise mic was total garbage.... If you would like to test it come over to Brenham and I will take you up in the Pitts, your just down the road. I will put my Clarity Aloft against anything you got. I promise my passenger David Clark with the modded mic muff will kill that high noise mic you got. I told Abram it was Garbage and he seemend to get offended when I returned the 2 headsets after one flight.
    So what do you fly and test these headsets with Shane?
    I don't think the average pilot will buy a $3800 leather helmet. Maybe Harrison Ford can. I would die of a freaking heat stroke with that. Maybe in Alaska?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  29. dibaf

    dibaf Filing Flight Plan

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    Use this and I guarantee you'll throw all the rest away. Period. In fact if you get these from me and try them and it does not work and you have not dirtied them up or scratched them up, I will take them back within 60 days after delivery. We have used them in gyroplanes and trikes for a decade. Contact me at info@silverlightaviation.com referencing Flycom helmet
    http://www.flycom.co.uk/products_detail.php?ProductID=46
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  30. tinerj

    tinerj Cleared for Takeoff

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    I use a helmet with faceplate with the mike behind the faceplate out of the wind. It has two inch speakers, very clear, and I can use my portable radio at half full volume and hear perfectly -- and others can understand me.