Fireproof clothing that doesn't need to be removed before urinating: is that too much to ask? I have asked this question before on this blog, but then it was more rhetorical, Now I'm actually in the market for Nomex flightsuits compatible with in-flight urination. Preferably in company colours. (Protip: if you want to save money on flightsuits in company colours, make your company colours navy blue or khaki). So I turn to the first resort of anyone in the 21st century looking for anything: Google (because my phone isn't new enough to have Siri).
Try and guess what the entire first page of Google returns for "flight suit reviews" consists of. Just try.
Unless you guessed diapers for pet birds, you guessed wrong. You'd be close if you guessed Halloween costumes, like this one, that comes complete with Top Gun patches and aviator sunglasses. Or the kid-sized replica of the NASA Advanced Crew Escape Suit the author of this blog entry started out reviewing, before she got distracted by thinking about what it would really be like to be an astronaut's mother. And then there are the ones that don't seem to be costumes, but marketed like costumes, as though their primary customer just wants to look like a pilot. They sell a women's flight suit, at about a hundred and fifty dollars more than the typical men's price I've seen, but I'm not sure whether the mark-up is for the smaller woman's market, or because this is for people who want "genuine, authentic flight suits like real pilots wear," as opposed to those who want to put genuine fireproof clothing on real pilots. I'm also wary of ordering a "women's flight suit" that is only available in men's sizes, and is sold on a page with the html title "MENS POLYCOTTON FLIGHTSUIT".
When I do find women's suits listed, and this one looks pretty good, it is sometimes difficult to determine which is the corresponding men's suit. I don't object to the men having a much greater selection of styles nor to the women's ones often being more expensive: I do understand economies of scale. I just want there to be a corresponding men's suit to the one women's suit on offer. These are, after all, intended as a uniform. I want male and female crew members to have the same pocket layout and styling, for the overall look even if what's underneath our zippers is a little different.
Because of the difference under the zipper, I'm looking closely at the styling, trying to work out how I pee in there. If the zipper went far enough down, I could get a portable urinal in there. If there's lots of extra room in the legs, I guess I could get the bag to hang down one leg while I used it. Some of the pictures don't even look like they would make it convenient for the males to engage their equipment with a relief tube. Zippers are men's natural enemies, right? And I'm still not finding reviews of flight suits intended for those without cloacae. If you wear or have worn one, and are not an incontinent bird, let me know what you think of yours, what features you like or wish it has, and whether you can pee in it without, you know, peeing IN it.
I hope I can find a better solution than this style, although I do appreciate the fact that the vendor charges less for the women's version, in light of the reduction in fabric required. I'm seriously tempted to buy that last one and show up in it on Halloween.
Hmmm. The model you posted looks great for peeing, but I am not sure that it is very fire protective (much less retardant). I'd also worry about those boots in the mud ruts of Northern Alberta. :-)
Good luck with the quest!
Funny! Maybe there's another way - get the XXXL large sized budgie diaper version and you don't have to worry about peeing.
Seriously though - two posts in a row about fire? Is Aviatrix planning on firefighting season this year in the North?
Search for driving suit instead of flying.
Simpson makes SFI-5 rated suits for women, as well sports bras.
Simpson, OMP, Sparco, Momo all make custom SFI and FIA rated fire suits - choose your colors and custom dimensions.
Whatever you choose, make sure to get some matching thread for field repairs.
The flight suits I roll are the FS100 from Guardian Protective (www.guardianprotective.com). Very high quality, they will make custom alterations, and are Canadian to boot (CYYC).
FWIW the zipper goes down really far and the legs are very roomy... I've tried many and these are the best by far. Light yet durable, fireproof, and fairly breathable unlike the polycotton ones.
Some good suggestions here. I don't know if you will be able to find an original make for this, but the RCAF looked at the issue of tactical helicopter crews "taking care of business in the field" and decided that nomex jacket and trousers were the way to go.
You can also broaden your search to other industry suppliers. They don't have all the cool slanty zipper pockets but have other benefits. For Example.
Sorry for the re-post, I botched the link in the first one.
What are your requirements/mandatory specs? Can they be two-piece?
Belatedly: ditto Jack L. Poller
I think we've been through this issue before. It remains valid and heck no, you should not have to remove half or more of your outer garment(s) to take a leak!
Have you written to any of the companies that design/manufacture these garments? IMO, simple extending the 'crotch' zipper by a few inches, down and back, would solve your problem. If properly constructed, probably with a fixed point at the rear and a frorward/up-moving handle at the front, the modification would be of great benefit to women - and men as well. Anyone who travels, no matter how careful will at times require an unscheduled secondary (think #2) event. If the $100 hamburger still has meaning, so does the unscheduled poop stop at $50 or more. Off the airplane is always better and, if the garments accommodate the function, oh, so much easier for all of us!
Sadly, you are correct: The zipper is NOT man's best friend and can be dangerous. Guys just don't talk about this, but from many years of personal experience, we just learn to retrieve and pack properly - before closing the encasement. That 'rule' applies from a simple swim suit to formal wear. Buttons are much safer, but save a few kinds of jeans, they have become rare. I know of one extreme quality suit maker who will substitute flat buttons for a zipper, but they want at least an additional $50 for the option.
When considering on-flight voiding, don't forget the next layer. A slit-crotch pantie may be kinky for some, but if it provides enough access for your in-flight 'appliance,' you've got a winner. And golly-ghee-whizz... What a great time to have your non-pilot, technical staff partner in the right seat.
In the end, basic physiological needs happen. Boys experience them, too. You probably already know this, but when the must-satisfy urge strikes, your right seat partner will usually find great interest in the scenery, the instruments on his/her side, studying a tech manual or - anything other than your immediate business. The good partner will have the jar of handiwipes available and say not a word. Needs and other stuff happen. Your flying partners don't care, beyond staying safe and you staying comfortable; no one is going to 'cop a glance.' (Those who care already know what it looks like. those who don't - simply don't.)
I hope you find a flying garment that is satisfactory. Please keep us posted!! Your women readers will bless you and the male readers will just quietly BUY the darn things. The appropriate garment CAN be made. Consumers/userers such as yourself are the driving force behind 'flight jammie' designs. Those pen/pencil pockets, slanted zippers and pouches as veryu specific points are not some designer's nightmare, but the result of input from women and men who fly. often for very long periods. A closed zipper running around your crotch an part way of the backside )or perhaps offset to one side?) may not be red carpet fashion, but if it is comfortable and functional, it will sell. It you opt for an extension or a left or right offset, file for a patent and collect a dime for each suit sold. How about TWO zippers? Don't piss about the problem (no punn intended), but propose a fix and get someone to make a bets unit for you. Ahem - the beta test does not have to be expensive Nomex; any stiff, shop cotton will do. All you're interested in - for the moment - is reasonably discreet access for voiding your bladder. The other details can be worked out in time. Go for it!! You are certainly only NOT the only female pilot who flies long days and without the grace of an on-board lav. Go for it. -C.
As a follow-up, from experience, if you're wearing a fire suit, make damn sure everything else you wear is fire rated. Remember, from the heat, not flame, synthetics will melt and fuse with your skin - extremely painful and very dangerous.
When I wear my suit, I wear light-weight silk long-johns. Silk is good in a fire, and is very comfortable on the skin, unlike nomex or other fire-rated fabrics.
Shoes should be leather with cotton ties.
Most suits use zippers rather than buttons because zippers don't leave gaps which expose you to heat or flame. 2-piece suits must be worn with fire-rated undergarments for the same reason.
Mr Poller is right on. Having tried arc welding with button fly jeans once, I will vouch for zippers as long as they are insulated off the wearer.
I question whether two-piece protection will be adequate but have no idea of the standard you must meet.
Don't feel too bad. Fire turnouts and the silver "bunker suits" are no fun to "eliminate" in because you are wearing another set of clothes underneath as well.
Remember most of these clothes are intended to dump body heat and protect you from ambient heat, not keep you warm. A challenge if you have to get out and work in freezing temps.
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