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 III™ 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 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
Pressure and temperature sensitive foam cores mold to the shape of your head forming a tight seal—even if you wear glasses or earrings! Cushions have plenty of internal space to fit over your ears instead of flattening them. Durable synthetic leather covers are comfy and easy to clean.
C - SoftSkin® Ear Seal Covers
Keep your ears cooler and dryer!. Self-wicking fabric covers draw moisture away from your ears where it can freely evaporate. SoftSkin covers are intentionally designed to fit loose so they can’t create pressure or cause discomfort.
D - HushKit® Passive Ear Cup Noise Attenuation
Tame the cockpit noise! The HushKit fills the voids of your ear cups with layers of visco-elastic foam. The speaker floats inside a foam pocket instead of being fastened directly to the ear cup. This prevents environmental noise picked up by the helmet from being transferred through the speaker. The result is greater clarity and intelligibility.
E - MicMuff® Microphone Cover
Enables your existing noise canceling microphone to be effective above 97dB noise levels. Two-part cover creates a chamber surrounding the microphone. This chamber limits the amount of background noise that can leak into your communications system. Note: To be effective, a MicMuff must be installed on every helmet connected to your 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.