A couple of years ago we talked about a huge challenge associated with the helmets being utilized by F-35 Lightening II fighter jet pilots – namely that an LED glitch in the Rockwell Collins’ Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System was negatively impacting the ability to land planes at night on aircraft carriers.
Well, fast forward a couple of years and the biggest challenge now facing the wearers of these helmets is weight-watching and outdated haircuts.
From a technological perspective, the helmet checks all the boxes. According to a report on Task&Purpose.com, it provides night vision and thermal imagery, as well as the ability to display video from below the jet.
Basically, pilots can see through the cockpit and wing in tracking targets below them without having to look away from their helmet screen. By looking at where specially-designed cameras are positioned, the images they capture are projected onto the helmet display.
This allows traditional data and gauges to be overlaid on top of the real-world view provided by the cameras.
But despite all these technological advancements, the helmet still hasn’t figured out how to adjust to any biological changes of its wearer.
Pilots undergo a two-day process to not only check all the helmet’s bells and whistles, but to make sure these $400k melon cages fit properly, and that all the data on the display is ideally positioned.
This includes the use a pupilometer to measures the distance between the pilot’s pupils to within two millimeters of its center, and oxygen masks to identify any leaks that could prevent proper oxygen flow.
This also means the pilots have to make sure they don’t put on too much weight, or change their haircut, as either factor could impact the helmet’s fit, function and ability to position data correctly.
After the initial fit, the helmet is inspected every 105 days to ensure a snug and operationally compliant fit.