German World War One Pilot’s helmet
by rick stumbo (04/22/08).
During the First World War flight was in it’s infancy. Many people had only read about airplanes and the many new inventions relating to flight. New aviation inventions were develped by Germany, France Great Briton, Italy, Austria-Hungary Russia and the U.S. Airplanes at the begining of the war were used mainly for reconnaissance of the enemies supply lines and trench forifications. As the war progressed machine guns were added to airplanes as a defense against attack by other airplanes. These airplanes were made of wood frame with a stretched canvas cover. The pilot had a couple of instrument gauges for gas and altitude and not much else. The pilot’s position in the plane had no armor for his protection and no parachute. His seat was usually on top of the gas tank. The pilot usually worn leather pants, and coat with a scarf and a leather helmet padded with cork or other material to protect against the cold and a crash landing. The helmet shown here is a German World War One helmet made of cork and leather with dust goggles. The large ridge on the helmet’s crown and around the edge gives some added protection in the event of a crash landing. This helmet is valued at $1200 to $1600.00 and is considered rare by collectors. Many pilots were killed when their planes were shot down in flames and crashed having no way to escape from the burning plane. After the war many safety features like armor around the pilot’s seat and parachutes were developed and used due to the high loss of pilots during the First World War. It makes one wonder what made these young men volunteer for flight school and then enter into combat high over the trenches on a wing and a prayer.