How the flame-resistant flight suit protects you in the cockpit
Maintaining a safe and healthy environment is a top priority for many workplaces, and the aviation industry is no different. Pilots are often plunged into high-risk situations where literally anything can happen. Due to the nature of their missions, combat pilots have a higher likelihood of experiencing incidents and accidents that result in fires. That said, wearing the right attire can significantly increase a pilot’s chance of survival in such situations. Pilots should ideally wear a flame-resistant flight suit, and we happen to offer one of the best variations in the market – the CWU 27/p Nomex flight suit.
The Origins of the Nomex Flight Suit
Originally developed in the 1960s by Dupont, Nomex has become the most popular fabric for flight suits, military apparel, firefighting suits, and more. Unlike flame-retardant treated materials, Nomex fibers are inherently flame resistant. Since its launch, these fibers have been continuously improved to ensure that they are perfectly optimized to protect the wearer during high-temperature situations. But how exactly does Nomex achieve this? Well, Nomex, a member of the aramid family of fibers, is made from synthetic aromatic polyamide polymers, whose molecules bond together into tough, long chains resulting in immensely strong fibers. Consequently, Nomex protects the wearer in three ways:
- It absorbs heat energy during the carbonization process.
- It does not burn or ignite in the air.
- It does not melt or drip.
Therefore, in the event of a fire, a Nomex flight suit will carbonize and become thicker, sealing the openings in the fabric. This decreases air movement and the associated convective heat transfer. It also increases the insulative barrier between the wearer’s skin and the heat and reduces conductive heat transfer. In this way, a Nomex flight suit acts as a protective barrier. Once the heat source is removed, the charred areas should self-extinguish relatively quickly, especially in a flash fire or arc flash. However, we do recommend wearing clothing with low flammability underneath. Stay clear of synthetic fibers such as silk, polyester, or polar fleece as they easily melt at relatively low temperatures. Even with a Nomex flight suit on top, apparel made from these fibers could reduce its effectiveness. We also suggest that you wear layers of clothing beneath the flight suit to create an extra layer of insulation. You can never be too careful, after all.
Benefits to a Nomex Flight Suit
Nomex flight suits offer benefits that go far beyond flame resistance. Thanks to the fiber’s strong molecular structure, a Nomex flight suit is incredibly sturdy and resistant to abrasion and tearing. This translates to greater wear-life and durability. We don’t have to tell you that this could save you a pretty penny as you won’t have to invest in a new flight suit often. Furthermore, the cockpit can be quite cold. Fortunately, due to its insulating properties, a Nomex flight suit can help keep the pilot warm. To sum things up, Nomex flight suits are delightfully comfortable, convenient, safe, and long-lasting.
Browse our selection of Nomex flight Suits
If you are looking to invest in a new fight suit, Carter Industries can help. We are the leading supplier and manufacturer of the 27/p Nomex Flight Suit to the U.S. armed forces. All our flight suits are thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the strict US Defense Force specification and standards. Suit up with us! Give us a call today at 1 (718) 554-0820 or fill out our contact form here.