Aviation Helmet Upgrade Overview
The World’s Greatest Helmet Is the One You Already Own!®—with an Oregon Aero® Upgrade!
Aviation helmets have changed considerably over the years. Today's helmets are responsible for more than just wind protection. Modern helmets have mounted cameras, night vision, communications equipment, oxygen masks, and display systems. Oregon Aero understands the demands of modern aviation helmets. We also understand the pain and noise issues faced by pilots, why these problems exist, and how to solve them. Our Aviation Helmet upgrades were developed using the same technology in our our ballistic helmets and aviation headset upgrades. Oregon Aero develops helmet kits used by both civilians and military personnel. Our upgrade kit components work together to address evrey issue of pain and discomfort.
An Oregon Aero Aviation Helmet Upgrade Kit transforms your helmet for a Painless, Safer, Quieter® flying experience. Our helmet upgrade kits fly with 100% success in military, law enforcement, medevac, aerobatic, forest service, warbirds and other air vehicles. Each component of our helmet kit works together to eliminate helmet pain and improve acoustic performance.
A - ZetaLiner® and Zeta II® Helmet Liners
Helmet testing reveals significant impact reduction in helmets using Oregon Aero upgrades. A 25% to 35% reduction* in transferred impact loads were shown in a helmet equipped with an Oregon Aero ZetaLiner liner and SoftSeal/HushKit Combo ear seals and insulation kit*. ZetaLiners are padded with visco-elastic foam surrounded by cool, washable wear-resistant fabric. Liner eliminates top-of-head hot spots while the outer fabric controls heat buildup by wicking away and evaporating perspiration. Upgraded helmets are stable — even with externally mounted equipment. Oregon Aero upgrades are lighter than other liner system. Testing reveals that the ZetaLiner reduces skin temperature 1.5 Degrees Fahrenheit lower than existing liner systems. ZetaLiners are washable and wear-resistant.
* Percent reduction compared to the original helmet with OEM liner system. Test conducted at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.
B - SoftSeal® Ear Cushions
Oregon Aero's SoftSeal Ear Cushions have a larger internal volume than OEM ear cushions. Enjoy total comfort with our ear cushions as they are designed to fit over your ears instead of flattening them. SoftSeal Ear Cushions feature a pressure and temperature sensitive visco-elastic form core with a soft synthetic leather cover. Cushions conform to the shape of your head to form a tight seal — even if you wear glasses and/or earrings.
C - SoftSkin® Ear Seal Covers
Keep your ears drier and cooler and extend the life of your SoftSeal Ear Cushions by protecting them with our SoftSkin Ear Seal Covers. Self-wicking fabric reduces perspiration buildup making these covers especially helpful in hot and humid climates. Oregon Aero Ear Seal covers are designed to fit loosely — not tightly like a drum. This is intentional because tight-fitting cloth covers apply pressure on the ear, causing discomfort.
D - HushKit® Passive Ear Cup Noise Attenuation
Testing proves Oregon Aero's HushKit Passive Ear Cup Noise Attenuation Kit outperforms ANR(Active Noise Reduction) in the 700-7000 Hz mid-range. Installing the HushKit improves noise attenuation resulting in greater intelligibility due to less background noise. This is accomplished by filling the voids of the earcup assembly with layers of visco-elastic foam. The helmet speakers float inside the foam instead of being mechanically fastened inside the ear cup assembly. The result gives the wearer the ability to turn down the radio's volume! The problem is not that you cannot hear the radio — even at high volume. The problem is that you cannot understand what is being said in the voice frequency range.
E - MicMuff® Microphone Cover
The MicMuff Microphone Cover enables a noise canceling microphone to do its job at noise levels above 97dB. This two part cover works with your existing microphone to eliminate ambient cockpit noise and improve vocal clarity. The noisier the cockpit the more dramatic the improvements in noise reduction and clarity will be. The MicMuff consist of a foam sleeve and synthetic leather cover which creates a chamber around the microphone. The enclosed chamber limits the amount of ambient noise going into the cartridge while allowing your voice to pass freely through. The MicMuff is attached with an elasticized tie to ensure that it will not loosen over time and fall off or blow away. In order to be effective, a MicMuff Microphone Cover must be installed on every microphone connected to your communications system.
F - Assembled SoftSeal/Hushkit Combo Kit
Combo kit with Oregon Aero SoftSeal ear cushions and the HushKit Passive Ear Cup Noise Attenuation kit. SoftSkin Earseal Cover not shown.
Aviation Helmet Upgrade Kits FAQ
Why do you recommend the complete upgrade kit over purchasing individual components?
Each of the five components were developed to address different issues. If you leave any one of those components out, not all of the comfort and performance issues will be addressed. Oregon Aero upgrades have evolved through more than 25 years of research, testing, and feedback. Our complete kits address every issue so you can enjoy maximum comfort and usablity. For optimum comfort and performance, get the complete kit — it is the right thing to do.
Why do I need a MicMuff® Microphone Cover?
The short answer is... The MicMuff Microphone Cover enables a noise-canceling microphone to do its job above 97dB. In a noisy cockpit, your microphone will pick up less background noise and others will hear you with improved clarity. A more complete explanation is located at the bottom of this page.
How does the MicMuff® Microphone Cover work in my noisy airplane?
The MicMuff Microphone Cover is a two-part device. The first part is a foam sleeve placed over the mic. You probably have something similar on your microphone now. These sleeves are frequently referred to as "wind screens". Wind screen reference is a bit misleading since wind can pass right through them. Wind screens — as they are called — are often used to reduce vocal plosives or popping sounds from consonants such as "P", "B", etc. when speaking into the microphone. Oregon Aero uses the foam to create an acoustic chamber surrounding the mic.
The second component of our MicMuff Microphone Cover is a soft synthetic leather sleeve with two small holes and an elastic cord to fasten over the microphone. The sleeve is pulled over the foam and the two small holes are aligned with the front and back sound ports on the microphone. This chamber or acoustic baffle formed around the michrophone limits the amount of cockpit noise that can enter the microphone. The noise level inside the microphone drops below 97 dB, allowing the noise canceling microphone to do the job it was intended to do.
How will my voice go through the tiny hole in the MicMuff Microphone Cover?
Easily! The opening is not small enough to restrict close range voice. Look at the microphone opening on your cell phone, it is often smaller than the head of a pin.
Will I need more than one MicMuff® Microphone Cover if I have more than one helmet?
We recommend it. Most intercom systems keep all the helmet microphones live at the same time. If there is a microphone without a MicMuff Cover connected to the system, it will generate unwanted noise. And that noise will be introduced into the rest of the system. Imagine a boat with five holes in the bottom. Lucky for us, three of these holes have plugs in them. However, we still get that sinking feeling because the remaining two holes are allowing unwanted water into the boat. If you only plug one of the open holes, the boat will continue to sink — not as fast, but we are still taking in unwanted water. In order to keep unwanted water from filling the boat, all holes must be plugged. To keep the most noise out of your intercom system, make sure every helmet/headset has the MicMuff Microphone Cover installed.
Will the MicMuff® Microphone Cover fit all microphones?
Oregon Aero offers MicMuff microphone covers that are effective on M-87 Military, Electret, and Dynamic Microphones. If you are not sure which MicMuff cover is right for your helmet, give us a call at 800-888-6910.
Noise-Canceling Microphones 101
A noise-canceling microphone has two sound ports in which sound can enter. The two sound ports oppose one another — one on the front, the other on the back. On the inside of the microphone cartridge — between the two sound ports — is a diaphragm which is sensitive to sound waves. In flight, the cockpit is flooded with noise from the engine, prop, wind, the roar of that passing jet, etc... Because the sources of these cockpit noises are not directly in front of the microphone, the noise enters the front and back port of the microphone equally. This background noise produce even pressure on both sides of the diaphragm, effectively cancelling the noise out. When you speak into the microphone your voice is directed to the front of the microphone generating more sound pressure on the front of the diaphragm than the back. The difference in sound pressure causes the diaphragm to resonate and generate an electrical waveform of your voice minus the cockpit noise. Pretty nifty, eh?
This vintage technology works well until the ambient noise level exceeds 97dB of sound pressure. This level of sound pressure can easily be exceeded by larger aircraft engines — think warbird. Other factors contributing to high levels of cockpit noise are insufficient sound insulation, open doors/windows/vents, or flying an open cockpit plane. When the cockpit noise entering the microphone exceeds 97dB, it causes the membrane to resonate harmonically to the cockpit noise. This resonation generates a noise that sounds like the shhhhhh of wind.
Unfortunately, when the mic resonates three bad things happen. One, the microphone fails to cancel cockpit noise. Two, the noise gets transmitted through your radio or intercom transmissions. And three, the high noise-to-signal ratio causes your voice to be unintelligible. Your voice becomes lost in the chaos.