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Blades Magazine Review ALPHA 200 Series

A review of the ALPHA 200 Series helicopter flight helmet by Blades Magazine Editor, Tim Skilton.


ALPHA 200 Series with ANRALPHA 200 Series Helmet with Active Noise Reduction

FACT: Your head will always come off second best when it’s banged against something hard. As a lifelong motorcyclist, I’ve always gone overboard with good quality head protection. So, when I spotted an almost new condition ALPHA 200 helmet on eBay, I banged in a bid in the hope of saving myself a few quid.

And it worked. Less than a week later, my head, bonce, bonedome (take your pick) was comfortably ensconced in a pristine, white ALPHA 200 Series. What’s more, my prize find came complete with an Active Noise Reduction system, something the previous owner hadn’t mentioned in the initial item description. My elation, however, was temporarily deflated when, upon trying the helmet out for the first time, I found the microphone completely inoperative. 

After a quick call to Antony Beckett of Helmet Integrated Systems (ALPHA’s manufacturer), I found myself heading south down the A1 to the company’s Letchworth unit, so ALPHA’s technicians could have a proper look at my purchase. It took the chaps in white coats all of five minutes to diagnose the problem, which turned out to be an incompatible part. Problem solved, Antony suggested I have my head measured to ensure I had the right fit. The news was promising:

"You’ve made a very lucky purchase,” said Antony, pointing at the ALPHA. “The shell size is spot on."

Since then, I’ve spent almost 200 hours wearing the helmet, mostly while hour building in Florida.

Initial impressions:

There’s no doubt ALPHA make an outstanding helmet: the paint finish is flawless; the quality of every screw and bolt is also first class, too. ALPHA utilises a harness-type system, which works via a pair of clips mounted on the outside of the helmet that adjusts a series of straps. This allows the circumference of the fit to be tightened if desired. The system’s fully adjustable and it works a treat.

Naturally, I felt safer knowing my head was encased in hi-tech composites but I was also amazed by the way the ALPHA cut down the ambient cockpit noise: the shell, in conjunction with ALPHA’s ANR system, plays a massive part in providing impressive attenuation (over 40dB at 4khz) and subsequently helps protect the pilot’s hearing. According to ALPHA, keeping the helmet’s visor shut also results in a significant further reduction in noise levels.

Maybe it’s because I’m used to wearing a motorcycle helmet, but I never found the ALPHA cumbersome or heavy when it was on, despite several reports to the contrary. Neither did I find its size a problem in the cockpit of either the R22 or R44.

So, would I recommend one? Helicopter accident studies have shown a significant number of serious head injuries, including fatalities, could have been avoided had the occupants been wearing protective headgear. This, combined with the hearing and bird-strike protection qualities, makes the argument for not wearing a helmet almost redundant, wouldn’t you agree?

ALPHA 200 Specs:
Aramid/carbon fibre shell (Choice of five sizes)
Noise attenuation – over 40dB @ 4kHz

Active noise reduction (ANR). 
Choice of headset impedance.
Choice of aircraft communication plugs.
Night vision goggle compatibility (NVG).
Choice of colours.
Choice of visor mechanisms:
Lo-Pro – double visor system, with independent locking of clear and tinted visor.
Lo-Pro – single visor system, fitted with locking clear or tinted visor.



Read the full article in Blades Magazine.

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