Helchock started out in the Ag aviation industry known as crop dusting or aerial application. This job requires a DOT approved helmet, which is usually fitted for noise cancelling headsets, multiple visors, custom paint jobs, night vision mounts, Bluetooth, and more. These multi-function helmets become very expensive, very quick. When used in very rudimentary airplanes, there is often nowhere safe to place your helmet. People have commonly hung hooks on the back wall of the cockpit. These helmets take a lot of abuse with the constant on and off and wear and tear of a hook storage method. In addition, it is not easy the older you get, to reach back, twist, attempt to find, and position it on the hook over and behind your head. Pilots also set the helmets on, or next to, their seat, causing the helmet to typically fall between the seat and cockpit upon climbing back into the airplane. Countless and repetitive drops are only silently damaging the helmet, as a pilot might take his helmet on and off 10 to 30 times a day without a thought as to how this could be hurting the integrity of the helmet itself.
We brainstormed and experimented with multiple systems that resulted in only cumbersome and somewhat dangerous options. He landed upon using round magnets, with a strong enough force to hold the weight of his heavy and expensive helmet, while still not damaging the surface. He faced additional problems with limited space in his cockpit canopy, little surface area holding the magnets in place, and a slippery bond between the two magnet surfaces. Self taught in using both a cad drawing software and 3D printer at home, We started designing and producing carriers for a magnet that could match the exact shape of his helmet shell. Next, came the problem solving for the opposing magnet surface that needed to be mounted in the airplane. The use of Ram mount parts on the roll bar of the airplane offered a solution that could be positioned anywhere and utilized universally in most airplanes.
With continued use of his new helmet mount setup, We realized it could be highly valuable for any and all flight helmets and aviation situations. Next up, what about the rest of the helmet wearing world?
Many adaptations and various designs were made and tested, but it was clear that to further diversify his mount pieces to fit helmets of all sizes and shapes, the material of the magnet carrier needed to provide flexibility, as well as strength.
We discovered Bruckman Rubber company based out of Hastings, Nebraska, and they were able to establish that an EPDM rubber that could be injection molded was the answer. This design was able to allow a slip free contact between the magnet carrier on the helmet and the opposing metal cupped magnet.
Lastly, “helmet docking station” was a mouthful of a name. Stemming from the primary goal of what we wanted this product to do, chocks came to mind. Chocks are commonly used items in aviation that are positioned on either side of the tires while the airplane is in park to prevent the airplane from moving/rolling around. In essence, we had just created chocks for a helmet; resulting in the combination of the words helmet and chock, or what can now be known to the rest of the world as, Helchock.