Photo: Is Darth Vader flying in a U.S. HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter during a Special Ops training mission?

You may think that Darth Vader was flying an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, by looking at the following cool photograph taken by Rob Birmingham.

However, the one worn by the airman leaning out of the chopper’s left hand door is not the mask of the main character of the Star Wars saga, but a Maxillofacial Shield (MFS) attached to the standard HGU-56 helmet.

The MFS is used to safeguard the wearer’s lower face from rotor wash, flying debris and windblast during helicopter operations.

Image credit: Rob Birmingham

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.