Flightgear Online teamed up with Aviaworld and visited the
Portugese Air Force at their air bases during 1999. Main purpose of our visit was the end
of Portugese flying operations with the A-7P Corsair. Flightgear Online took the chance of
checking out the flight equipment in use.
The sole helmet type in use during our visit was the HGU-55/P helmet in three different
Helicopter and light training aircraft pilots flying a.o. the TB.30 Epsilon, Alouette 3
and DHC.1 Chipmunk use the HGU-55/P equipped with a bungee type single visor.
These crewmembers do not use an oxygen mask so their helmets are fitted with a boom
The two remaining jets in Portugese service are the Alpha Jet and the F-16A.
For this fast jet flying, the single bungee visor HGU-55/P is used in combination with the
gray MBU-12/P oxygen mask. The leather visor covers are sometimes adorned with embroidered
callsigns and squadron markings.
On the now retired A-7
Corsair, the HGU-55/P was fitted with a PRU-36/P dual visor kit. As the Corsair was also
used for sea operations, the dual visor kit gave a better protection against bird strikes.
PCUs, LPUs and MA-2s.
While flying the F-16 out of Monte Real, the pilot wears the PCU-15/P torso harness with
an LPU-9/P like horse collar life preserver. During our visit a crewchief was invited to
fly backseat and was thrown around the sky. He needed half an hour after the flight before
he was able to leave the F-16B....
The Beja based Epsilon crew wear an AeroAzur back type parachute harness with time
release, no life preservers were seen but probably a LPU-10/P under arm type is in use.
The instructor pilot on the left in the picture is wearing some sort of kidney
For flying the former German
Airforce Alpha Jet, the pilots use the integrated harness from the Martin Baker seat. The
Alpha Jets also fly from the sunny former German airbase of Beja. Still present here are a
lot of retired T-33A and T-38A jet trainers.
The A-7P pilots were wearing a combined US Navy and Airforce outfit, the MA-2 torso
harness with an LPU-9/P like life preserver. The MA-2 also has some sewed on survival
Portugese pilots wear a CWU-27/P type flying coverall and standard Nomex flying gloves.
All fast jet jocks are fitted with the CSU-13B/P anti G-suit.
These days the magnificent
A-7P and TA-7P Corsairs are no longer flying. Their tasks are taken over by the F-16's.