Soviet / Russian ShL-82 leather helmet / KM-32 Mask / PO-1M Goggles


Soviet / Russian ShL-82 leather helmet / KM-32 Mask / PO-1M Goggles

ShL-82 leather helmet
ShL-82 is the latest Soviet / Russian leather helmet.
First developed in 1982 its a further design upgrade of the ShL series of helmets and is externally identical to the ShL-78.
For all those who love real pilot combinations - here is the possible winter setup of Soviet bomber pilots.

KM-32 Mask
What is the most produced oxygen mask in the world? While there is no definite answer, KM-32 might be just that mask.
While I cannot give an exact date when it was first produced, one can safely say it was somewhere around 1960 and it stayed in production for more then next 30 years! In fact, I won't be surprised to find out that it is still being produced today. Such high popularity could be explained that it's the latest mask (at least latest mask that reached serial production in big numbers ) designed specifically to be coupled with leather helmets. Thus every fighter pilot who wore ZSh-3, most likely also used KM-32. After fighter pilots started to receive newer ZSh-5s and ZSh-7s, helicopter pilots continued to use the mask - in fact they might be still using it...
Over the years a number of different KM-32 versions were developed, but I cover only the basic mask design.
KM-32 mask uses dual hose connection to the aircraft - the main oxygen hose enters on the left side of the mask, while a smaller black hose connects in the center. The main oxygen hose delivers air for the pilot, smaller hose provides air for KM-32's pressure demand system. Above certain altitude, human fluids start to boil due to a big pressure difference outside and inside of the body - KM-32 pressure demand system is there to allow pilot fly at higher altitudes. To allow that mask maintains a different pressure inside of the mask and seals off inhale and exhale valves. As pilot starts to inhale, pressure inside the mask start to lower and mask compensates for that by opening inhale valve and allowing air from oxygen supply come inside of the mask. As pilot stops inhaling, pressure evens out and mask closes the inhale valve to keep constant pressure. When pilot starts exhaling, pressure inside of the mask increases and mask opens up exhale valve...
On the right side of the mask there is a round bump where internal microphone could be inserted, but it's quiet rare to see KM-32 mask with one - for whatever reason pilots still used throat microphones. Also found on the left side is the connector for occipital bladder. The bladder itself is placed inside on the back of the leather helmet and inflates during hard maneuvers, thus keeping pilot's face closer to the mask.
Mask connects to the leather helmet via 4 hooks - one on each side (featuring new style hooks for the latest ShL type helmets), strap with a button on the bottom and a forehead connector.
KM-32 mask was produced with black or green (rare) bodies.

PO-1M Goggles
First developed sometime in 1950s, PO-1M pilot goggles are still in active service to this date. Goggles are issued in a carboard box which include pilot goggles, manual, spare set of lenses and soft material to clean lenses.
Pilot gogles are made out of 3 parts. The goggles body made out of extremely soft chamnious leather and covered with a thin layer of rubber on the outside. Next is metal lenses frames with lenses inside. Third part is an elastic band that attaches to the lenses frames.


June 10, 2008

< Go Back