Fighter pilots look cool, but you will be spellbound by how impressive their gear is once you meet them in action. It is not about the looks, though, and it’s more about the functionality. There is nothing a fighter pilot puts on that they are not supposed to wear. Every piece of kit and gear from head to toe is made for a specific purpose and serves that function in the best way possible. If you have ever wondered what a fighter pilot wears, you’re at the right place. Here are the essential things a fighter pilot wears in the cockpit.
Nomex Flight suit
Starting from the inside out, pilots are required to wear a CWU 27/P Nomex flight suit underneath everything else. This suit is built to military specification and, as such, tends to be worn by the U.S. military. Thanks to its unique Nomex construction, the CWU 27/P Nomex flight suit is flame resistant to protect fliers from hazards like fires and electric arcs without weighing them down. Traditionally, the U.S. Military CWU 27/P Nomex flight suit only came in a Unisex design, but today female pilots have the option of the 27/P women’s flight suits designed by Carter Industries. You can check out all the design specifications of this flight suit here.
Over the flight suit, pilots often wear an anti-gravity suit. An anti-gravity suit, also known as a G-suit, minimizes the discomfort a pilot experiences from the high gravitational forces bearing down on them during high-acceleration maneuvers. It also reduces the risk of them experiencing g-force induced loss of consciousness. It’s worth noting that even with a g suit, pilots still have to undergo rigorous training to increase their g tolerance. With proper training, pilots can withstand about six times the force of gravity. A G-suit increases their tolerance further such that they can perform up to 7.6-G maneuvers.
Pilots wear custom-fitted helmets that provide ample insulation against noise and cushion the head from the effects of extreme acceleration, which may include swollen sinuses or severe headaches. The padding and the shape are designed for fighter pilots to have easy access to the oxygen mask, which is also an important part of their gear.
Night Vision Goggles
When pilots carry out missions under the cover of darkness, they need to be able to see through darkness hence why they are equipped with night vision goggles. Night vision goggles are sensitive to the slightest hint of light. It makes the work of identifying targets at night that much easier.
A mask is an essential part of the pilot’s gear because it gets harder to breathe under high g forces. Plus, the higher you go, the lower the oxygen concertation in the air. Therefore, when a pilot is flying, they need a consistent supply of oxygen to keep them from becoming hypoxic, passing out, and possibly losing consciousness. To avoid this, pilots have oxygen masks that automatically adjust the oxygen flow rate based on altitude.
There is a huge argument among navy fighter pilots and their ground crews on what the best color of shoes to wear for work is. That said, shoes are an essential part of a pilot’s gear. Pilots wear leather safety boots with steel toe caps to prevent them from catching something inflight that would affect their performance.
On the off chance that a pilot was to eject, they have to have the necessary kit to help them survive until help arrives. These safety kits comprise a harness that fastens to the ejector seat, a floatation device in the event they were to crash on water, a flare, finger lights, radio, and a beacon. They also have a survival jacket that can carry all the essentials they need in an emergency.