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David Clark MC-3 Partial Pressure Flying Suit

Pilots of the 1950s-era high-altitude aircraft, including the U-2, wore partial pressure suits like this one. Partial pressure means the suit does not enclose the whole body. In an emergency where the cockpit depressurized, the suit would automatically tighten around the limbs and torso to protect against swelling caused by low-pressure exposure until the pilot could descend to a lower altitude. The raised tubes on the limbs would inflate, pulling the fabric tight. The lacing system could be adjusted to provide a snug fit for any pilot. 

The David Clark Company of Worcester, Mass., developed this model MC-3 suit, worn in many cases under a light flying coverall. The model MA-2 helmet was made by the International Latex Corporation of Dover, Del., and provided constant pressure and oxygen to the head with a tight-fitting liner and seal covered by a hard shell.

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