Aircrew respirators

Tashengurt 10th Sep 2011 20:43
Aircrew respirators

I was trying to describe the revoltingness of the soggy bag of sweat that was (is?) the AR5 to a slightly disbelieving friend and I couldn't answer their query as to whether these things are still in use or not.
Anyone care to enlighten?

TurbineTooHot 10th Sep 2011 21:17
Neggers mate, thank the lord.

Dan Winterland 11th Sep 2011 04:39

The force is strong in this one.

For those who miss theirs, you can relive the experience for 95 quid from Johnstones of Leeds who have them for sale! I think I will give it a miss - especially as my biggest memory is when my anti-drowning valve didn't close when I jumped in the pool with it.

Scuttled 11th Sep 2011 05:38
Had a similar experience to you, Dan. It induced an illogical panic in me that I have never experienced before or since, as with the noddy suit and LSJ on I couldnt get hold of the thing to wrench it off. My head told me I was in a completely controlled situation with immediate help actually visible, but my heart and other faculties were having none of it. Still remember the feeling now. Funny what gets to you sometimes.

I never admitted the panic or referred to it afterwards, obviously. I'm a man.

Could be the last? 11th Sep 2011 06:18
My understanding is that it is still available for certain units. More importantly, there was a project running several years ago to replace the capability (£115m). The project also included a new helmet system and different PPE for aircrew. However, last time I had an update they were reducing the number of platforms that would be able to use it, most of which (ac) are now scrapped.

P6 Driver 11th Sep 2011 06:25
On a well known internet auction site, they are occasionally listed - the gay & fetish scenes seems to like them...

Dan Winterland 11th Sep 2011 07:35
Ha ha! Reminds me of when (after one too many drinks) a friend's wife let slip that the funniest thing she ever saw was her hubby wearing his g suit - and nothing else!

Imformation she subsequently regretted revealing. Of course, we didn't remind him about it later :ok:

foldingwings 11th Sep 2011 08:04
Having flown a number of sorties around the North German Plain in it and remembering the fatigue inducing faff of getting into the cockpit with it and having to exchange the air pump for the ac O2 system etc etc. I would be very surprised if any real mission could ever have been efficiently or effectively completed by AR5 wearing Aircrew in either a 2 or single seat ac!


jayteeto 11th Sep 2011 08:15
Nightmare piece of kit. We did an exercise for a week in Germany with Chinook crews operating in AR5. I was DS, thank god, watching people go downhill rapidly. I always said that for real, I would ditch the helmet and wear S10.

BEagle 11th Sep 2011 09:12
...the gay & fetish scenes seems to like them...

Dare one ask how you came by that particular piece of information.....:\

Ken Scott 11th Sep 2011 10:28
Alledgedly the 4 turboprop tactical transport (new improved variety) has clearance to use it although I haven't had the pleasure since doing it on the original (vintage) varient. It might be rearing its ugly head though.......

ramp_up 11th Sep 2011 10:32
Is currently still in use; however there is a project on going to replace it.

P6 Driver 11th Sep 2011 12:21
...the gay & fetish scenes seems to like them...

Dare one ask how you came by that particular piece of information.....

Accidentally, honest. It wasn't like I was searching for replacement headgear for a Gimp Suit, or anything like it!

Rossian 11th Sep 2011 13:46
One of the nastier emanations....

....of this nasty bit of kit came when they were trialling it on the Nimrod. On the day, the route nav had runny nose and after some time airborne asked the trial supervisor if he could take the AR5 off and clean up.
"No", was the firm response," that will invalidate the trial and we'll have to do the whole thing again".
When they finally landed and got off the a/c the nav bent down at the bottom of the steps and pulled the helmet off - cue disgusting mess and one of the trials team having to have a quick retch.

The Ancient Mariner

MightyGem 11th Sep 2011 14:33
I wore one once, for about 5 minutes. That was enough. :yuk:

Fox3WheresMyBanana 11th Sep 2011 14:42
NBC Instructor hat on.

"Of course the AR5 is awful, but this is how people die of nerve gas poisoning, with illustrations courtesy of, amongst others, Saddam, whom you will be going to fight."


jayteeto 11th Sep 2011 15:29
I choose and S10 and headset :ok:

big v 11th Sep 2011 16:52
Anti-drowning valve

Post #3 refers to the "anti-drowning valve." In practice, it was widely known as the "drowning valve."

AR5 pool drills.....such fun. Still, you should have seen the piccies of the poor sod who did the hot weather trials by flying several sorties in a Jag in Cyprus.

Trim Stab 11th Sep 2011 18:00
Nightmare piece of kit. We did an exercise for a week in Germany with Chinook crews operating in AR5. I was DS, thank god, watching people go downhill rapidly. I always said that for real, I would ditch the helmet and wear S10.
I did a night static-line parachute jump out of a Chinook in Germany in the early 90s with us wearing full NBC kit and the Chinook crew dressed up like Darth Vadar, presumably the same kit that you describe.

We all wanted to know why we couldn't just land and hop out as per normal for a Chinook infil but nobody could give us an explanation. Our masks were fogged up a few mins into the flight and I think most of us pulled them off in blind panic as soon as we were off the ramp. I still can't think of any sensible explanation for that exercise.

Geehovah 11th Sep 2011 18:08
I flew in it in an F4 in Germany in 1981. I then did the Honington Trial in 1983 (about 20 decontam drills in 3 days) and was tasked to introduce it to a "slightly" sceptic Coningsby community. As everyone said, it might have kept us alive but as for any type of realistic operational capability; forget it. The Gulf War proved to be its death knell with OATs of 40 degrees+. I sometimes wish I had one to show to the doubters. On second thoughts, I'd be drummed out of the village as some type of weirdo!

Must admit, I thought they'd been withdrawn years ago.

Tashengurt 11th Sep 2011 19:12
So, it seems that it's nearly gone. Good. Washing the snot and sweat out of those was truly awful. Speaking of decontam, I ran a live one during GW1, unique?

Pontius Navigator 11th Sep 2011 19:44
Originally Posted by Rossian (Post 6693299)
....of this nasty bit of kit came when they were trialling it . . .
This was one time I got lucky on the CCS training. We went, with joy as usual, to the sadists that ran the training and were told, as an aside, that there would be a 24 hr sleep-in the following week with a number of 'volunteers' who would wear the to-be-introduced S10 respirator. He revealed the list of volunteers which included yours truely.

Apart from that joy, Mrs PN would have been 100% p*ssed off if I had had to spend 24 hours at ISL when most others did not.

Forwarned I returned to the squadron and adjusted the programme for the following week. The joy then fell to a batchelor AKA the spotted youth who was actually pleased to have been specially selected.:}

ShyTorque 11th Sep 2011 22:02
Nightmare piece of kit. We did an exercise for a week in Germany with Chinook crews operating in AR5. I was DS, thank god, watching people go downhill rapidly. I always said that for real, I would ditch the helmet and wear S10
I was "lucky" enough to be a Sqn NBCO and was volunteered to be "Crew A" in a Germany summer trial whilst deployed in the field. We were required to sleep in a barn wearing the AR5. One of the worst night's sleep I can recall. The helmet had to be replaced with a head harness to hold the thing in place, but it didn't. The resulting jet of cold air from the hissing handbag irritated the eyes and in the morning all you wanted to do was wash the gunk out so you could see normally, but you couldn't. Briefing and then flying a formation low level sortie in that condition was "interesting", albeit with a safety pilot.

Glad that bit's over.... :hmm:

essexlad 11th Sep 2011 22:28
Had to wear the full aircrew nbc kit when i was doing my trade training at cosford. Absolutely hated it. Only wore it for about half an hour and that was just walking around the outside of a. hangar whilst the trainee armorers gave us some strange looks. Then again since trade training i have never seen an AR5 since then in the world of squippery. I wont complain though. They were just as nightmareish to service aswell. Atleast you can have a bit of fun turning other peoples whistling handbags off when its all connected. Usually puts them into a bit of a panic!

jamesdevice 11th Sep 2011 22:49
as someone who has actually been gaased (and survived) by cyanide (Cyanogen bromide to be precise) - - simply due to failure of the facial seal with an S10 type mask, I can appreciate the extra safety provided by the hood of the AR5.

Despite training, I simply brushed my face with my forearm in a moment of forgetfulness, dislodged the mask a fraction and collapsed on the floor with an exploding headache. Luckily the mask resealed before I got a toxic dose - but with a organophosphate toxin the incident would have been fatal. And thats the kind of toxin you could expect to be used against you. (used to scare me **iitless when I had to handle them)

I can see the problems of wearing the AR5, but in those days if one had been available to me I'd have used it (especially when handling organophosphates). Of course I only needed to use a mask during specific work periods - I didn't have to eat or sleep in it, so the situation was different.

The Helpful Stacker 12th Sep 2011 00:33
Although veering a little OT, you know those 'adverts' that used to appear in DCIs advertising relaxing breaks to Winterbourne Gunner? Well as a young, newly promoted SAC I spyed such an 'ad' and thought "I like money and I have a well worn pair of combat boots" and ignoring the advice of my boss and colleagues signed my life away.

The money was nice but running on a treadmill whilst wearing a new type of face welly in an artificially created temperature that mimicked one I would later experience in Iraq was not fun.

And to think, I thought it was about interesting injections......

exMudmover 12th Sep 2011 11:44
AR5 – Lethal piece of kit in its original form. When I joined a Single Seat Fast Jet Sqn as a Flt Cdr in the early 80s we had just started training with it (Dual only). I was appalled at the Water Entry drill, in which you had to get 2 difficult actions absolutely right during parachute descent to avoid instant drowning, . Crucially, at that time there was no Rip-Off Facepiece, so a last-minute ejection over water was more or less a death sentence.

I was disgusted with this and persuaded our Stn Cdr to write a Flying Order prohibiting flight over water in peacetime while wearing the thing. Really hosed off the Taceval team next Taceval!

Stitchbitch 12th Sep 2011 17:50
AR-5 tastic.. We used to do the full week of war at 'the secret Lincolnshire airbase' which included getting the crews 'into gear' so to speak. T'was great fun holding the returning QWIs in the entry airlock "because I didn't recognise them sarge" :E Glad we don't have them on t'bungling barrons newest pursuit ship..

deltahotel 12th Sep 2011 18:02
Spent 2 weeks in 1987 doing a prolonged trial at RAF Honington - living in a HAS for 3-4 days at a time and doing the don/wear/doff/decontam thing 3 times a day or so. I think the main point of the trial was to see how effective the decontam drills were. Thoroughly miserable experience!

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