Automatic Cooling Garments

Courtesy of Nasa BBS at 205 8950-0028


When crop dusting is done in the late afternoon, the cockpit

temperature may be as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Most plane’s

cockpits are not air conditioned because of the expense.

Cockpit heat poses a major problem because elevated body

temperature can cause fatigue, dehydration and even collapse,

extremely dangerous possibilities to a pilot flying at times only

two to four feet above the vegetation.

Available now from Life Support Systems, Inc. (LSSI), Mountain

View, California is a lightweight vest and a companion helmet

headliner, Cool Head, through which cooling liquid circulates to a

portable cooling package. The package includes a heat exchanger that

cools the working fluid circulated through vest and headliner, and a

control display unit containing a pump, a liquid reservoir,

temperature control and power unit. Cool Head can operate from its

own rechargeable battery or from the airplane’s, or other vehicles

power system.

Cool Head technology originated in a 1968 NASA de elopment

progr¼m that produced a channeled cooling garment for space wear. In

1971, NASA’s Ames Research Center awarded a contract to Acurex

Corporation for an extension of the technology involving development

of a heat stress alleviating liquid-cooled headliner for helicopter

pilots. In the mid-1970s, NASA and the Bureau of Mines jointly

sponsored an Acurex program for development of a self-contained

cooling system for mine rescue workers. In 1980, William Elkins,

formerly with Acurex and long associated with cooling system

research, formed LSSI to pursue commercial uses of the technology.

Cool Head personal cooling systems have been acquired by the

Army and Air Force for use by personnel who must perform arduous

work while wearing hot and bulky protective gear, such as garments

to prevent contact with chemical/bacteriological warfare agents.

Cool Heads have also been bought by the U.S. Navy for evaluation in

helicopters and light aircraft, and by military units of foreign


Among commercial applications are use by employees susceptible

to on-the-job heat stress in such industries as primary metals

reduction, deep mining, chemicals, paper and glass. Other

commercial uses include pe sonal cooling for heavy equipment

operators and workers wearing toxic waste clean-up suits. Cool Head

is also being used by a number of auto racing drivers.