It’s been a while since I’ve gotten one, but I know that those lists of supposedly unanswerable questions still float around email and whatnot pretty regularly. You know, the ones filled with items like “Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?” They’re designed to be clever and funny and some of them are…at least until a guy from Mental Floss goes and starts answering them, at which point they start making sense.
Turns out that kamikaze pilots didn’t quite wear helmets proper, but what they did wear served multiple purposes, such as regulating temperature or preventing head injuries and deafness because they didn’t always die on every mission.
What a helmet, or even a softer leather flight cap, is good for is protecting a pilot’s head from getting knocked by the cockpit canopy during high-speed, mid-air maneuvering, like the kind you have to do to avoid gunfire while nosediving into a ship.
Couple this with the fact that kamikazes sometimes had to abort their missions before the explosive finale due to turbulence, weather or visibility issues, and the pilots’ protective headgear becomes much more apparent as an aid to help them complete their mission, not necessarily survive it.
The more you know.