“MiG-31” Firefox: “Думайте на русском языке”.

I usually like to take time in the summers to watch old movies. The latest to suffer this treatment has been Clint Eastwood’s (1982) Firefox. The first time I saw it was in a double session cinema when I was a kid….. Boy!!, I still remember how thrilled I went home. Later, in my very pedantic twenties, the movie lost a huge number of points in my esteem. Older now -but not a lot wiser-, Firefox appears to me like a flawed yet quite enjoyable movie. All in all, Clint must feel happy enough.

Very different from the original, its “MiG-31” design was certainly astonishing in the early 1980’s and has aged decently. The choice of flight gear style is a plus in this movie. Worn very tight and with that. interesting selection of colours : black for our hero / white and orange international for its foe. The helmet as usual is the icing on the cake. In this case a very literal interpretation of the USAF HGU-15/P –USN HGU-20/P — NASA LEH  “Clam Shell”.

“Think in Russian”, my friends.

BAC One-Eleven: High-altitude Sauciness.

The always “unique” Braniff airline hired between 1965-74 the Italian designer Emilio Pucci to fashion the uniforms for their flight crew and ground crews. One of his most bizarre -and also very sixties- collections was a sort of inter-changeable wardrobe, the “AirStrip”. This utterly politically incorrect collection involved the flight attendants taking off parts of the uniform as the flight progressed……

The “space” helmet was mandatory in the 1960’s.

North American SNJ: Spit & Polish.

A natty US Navy ensign -love that collar pin- in the back seat of a shiny early specimen of the North American’s most famous trainer. He wears the usual US Navy headgear of the early 1940’s: a M-450 summer helmet with grey-green pressed leather ear cups and a gorgeous pair of Wilson Mk II pilot goggles.

With his attention to details, this “Brown Shoes” must have gone far in the service.

Dassault Mirage IIIDBR: As intense as ever.

The fastest tasting another kind of speed. Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna in the rear seat of a two-seat F-103D (Brazilian denomination) in April 29, 1989. Utterly proud of his country, Senna said after this flight: “Se todos tivessem a oportunidade de sentir a mesma emoção, teriam mais amor a pátria” / “If all Brazilians would have the opportunity to feel this same emotion, they would love more our country”. No nonsense man.

Senna is wearing the standard Brazilian AF headgear of the era: a single visor HGU-26/P helmet with a MBU-5/P oxygen mask……, but in magnificent “samba” colors.

Such a gorgeous inflight portrait. Two of my addictions nicely joined here.

EE Lightning F.3: Ready for anything.

A well-posed photo of a 111 Sqn pilot and his F3 (XP741) at RAF Wattisham in 1965. The trusty “square” is handling our knight hero the superb Taylor Type “E” high-altitude helmet. The red opening in that helmet is the mouth port…..used for drinking or vomiting, depending upon the wearer physical condition.

The imposing coolness of the Lightning, never get tired of it.

Photo: Ian Proctor.

Stanley Aviation “escape capsule”: The good old days of above & beyond.

How the incredible Hustler‘s escape capsule works. As we see in this “time capsule” GIF, in case of an emergency a protective clamshell would enclose the whole seat, the control stick included in case of the pilot. “Turted up” in such way the pilot could still continue to fly the Hustler or in case of a more dire situation undertake an immediate egress. The capsule would float and even be used as a life raft.

The “pilot” wears an Aviators Equipment Corporation MB-3 helmet with a MS22001 oxygen mask. That peculiar “soft” helmet with its detachable bill was used by the Strategic Air Command in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s for crew positions not requiring the use of a rigid helmet. The Hustler, with its escape capsule, was ideal. Hardware porn, my friends.