WWII USAAF Aviator's Breathing Oxygen Bailout Bottle

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  • Item Category: Sports
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jun 01, 2008
  • Channel: Auction House

It just doesn't get any better than this! Up for auction is an un-issued WWII-dated aviator's H-2 bailout bottle. These were used to enable an aviator forced to exit his aircraft in the thin air of high altitudes to survive the descent to breathable air.

The Army Air Force began the war with the model H-1 bailout bottle. The H-2 was able to carry a slightly higher charge of air and, was the H-1's metal cylinder often suffered damage during combat, the H-2 was designed to withstand the impact of a .50 calibre round. The H-2 also featured an improved air release mechanism that enabled the airman to pull a green wooden ball (referred to as a "green apple") instead of manipulating a screw valve, making the process far easier to perform with thick gloves on. The last photo shows how the H-2 was designed to be worn and used. Both the H-1 and the H-2 are discussed in great detail in C. G. Sweeting's excellent reference, "Combat Flying Equipment."

This example is in mint, un-issued condition and could not be upgraded. It has been charged once with oxygen, which was discharged only to comply with federal mailing regs. My guess is that it could be re-charged, but keep in mind that this is intended for display only and not for use in flight, for which it is not certified. The bottle is nicely marked with the model "H-2" in two places and the date of manufacture "2-45". The rubber hose remains soft and supple. The end fitting that would enable the bottle to be connected to an oxygen mask is also present.

Everything is present, including the original "remove before use" tag. I did not have an original canvas pouch to go with it so I've included a post-war nylon bag (also in new old-stock condition -- original packing included!) so you can display it properly. The original shipping box is also included. I will wrap it with heavy paper for shipping so its surface will not be marred.

WWII bailout bottles are getting hard to find, but wartime-dated H-2s are even more rare. You almost never see them on the loose. Don't let this one get away!

Shipping $20.00 domestically; $35.00 internationally.

Sold as-is and all sales are final, so please ask any questions before bidding. See my other listings for more vintage aviation items.