The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is a noisy and dangerous place. In addition to the pilots of the aircraft, there will also be aircraft handlers, refuelers, armourers and a host of other personnel. These man and women need to be easily identified and visible over the noise and chaos so a standardised set of coloured uniforms are used across NATO to indicate their various job roles. These crewman then wear uniforms and cloth helmets so pilots and control crew can easily spot them. Although Britain currently has no aircraft carriers in operations, these coloured uniforms can also be seen on the flight decks of ships handling helicopters such as HMS Ocean. This flight deck crewman’s helmet is in a bright blue and orange to allow the wearer to be easily seen:Large cut-outs over each ear allow headphones or ear defenders to be worn:Turning to the rear, a variety of straps can be seen:These include a nape-strap with buckle to help tighten the fit of the helmet, and vertical straps to hold any wires in place for radio headsets:A button hole is sewn into the base of the neck of the helmet, but I’m afraid I have not been able to identify its purpose:A looped channel is fitted to the top of the skull of the helmet, secured with three white plastic studs:The helmet secures with a black painted buckle that passes under the wearer’s chin:The interior label of the helmet indicates it is a size 2 and was manufactured by JA & Co:A variety of colours are used, the following colour guidance is for US Carriers, but is very similar across the NATO countries:
Yellow– Aircraft handlers and aircraft directors.
Green– Hook runners and crew involved in working the catapults, aircraft maintenance and cargo handlers.
Blue– Plane handlers working under those in yellow.
Purple– Aviation fuel handlers
Red– Ordnance loaders, crash and salvage teams.
Brown– Crew chiefs
White– Deck crew