An actress in a circa 1977 Kirby Morgan helmet
The Photo: Pamela Hensley in a scene from the TV series “The 6 Million Dollar Man" episode “Sharks” (1977) in the role of Cynthia Grayland. The clip is on YouTube. Her helmet is a 37 y/o version of a Kirby Morgan w/o the oral nasal mask and the nose block for pressure equalization. The oral nasal mask (ONM) ensures the carbon dioxide from the divers breath is directed out thru the vent limiting the possibility that the helmet could fill with CO2 affecting the diver’s performance. Was no ONM used so the audience could see more of her face or just not provided on KM helmets 35 years ago?
KM SL-17B prices: Adolph and I pay about $4,000 each for new KM SL-17B helmets and get the factory warranty and maintenance package which is worth the price. Used KM SL-17B helmets, on EBay, range from $3,500 to $4,500 and sell. Someone asked $6,500 for one and got no bidders.
The one-way valve test, performed before every dive: Returning readers will recall that failure of the one-way valve was the primary cause along with the poorly sealing neck dam of the death of the SL-17B diver whose Reflexions diaphragm became my latest death rubber acquisition. The way I think is easiest to test it is prior to attaching (or pressuring up) the umbilical, close the emergency valve knob, attach and pressure up the emergency hose. Shut off the defogger control knob and screw in the adjustment knob on the regulator all the way. That will put all the pressure from the EGS on the valve which should not leak air.
Diving a KM SuperLite helmet videos: The SL-17 A/B helmet system consists primarily of two major components: the neck dam/yoke assembly, and the helmet. To don the helmet, the diver first slips the angled neck dam with the attached yoke over their head. The helmet is lowered onto the diver’s head with the help of a tender, then the yoke hinge tab is hooked onto the hinge bolt on the hinge that is fastened to the back of the yoke – which is tricky unless you have a tender helping the diver into her helmet - and the helmet lowered over the diver’s head the O-ring seated and the air turned on. The neck clamp is then slipped onto the helmet and locked and the latch catch is safety pinned so the latch can’t be accidently opened. The locking system not only seals the neck dam to the helmet, but also secures the front of the yoke, fastening the helmet to the diver’s head.
For readers not familiar with putting on a Kirby Morgan helmet and diving it these two YouTube videos should help you get a sense of the thrill of diving one.
- This video shows putting on the neck dam, body harness (to which is attached the emergency gas supply (EGS) and the umbilical safety clip). The neck dam/yoke and neck clamp assy. are put on and then the SL-17B helmet. The neck clamp is then latched locking the neck dam and yoke assy. and the helmet together. VIEW HERE:
- This video, Marina dives the SuperLite Labor Day 2012, shows a woman diving a SL-17B and how her equipment is worn. It shows the diver’s EGS supply mounted with the valve at the bottom to prevent snagging, how the umbilical is hooked to her body harness so if the hose is jerked it won’t pull loose from the helmet and if the diver is in trouble she can be pulled to the surface. Also shown is how the hoses (main air and EGS) connect to the helmet. You can see how well the Quad-Valve Exhaust System ‘whiskers’ force the bubbles off to the sides of the helmet so they don’t obscure the view of the wearer. In that regard it’s almost as good as the rear exhaust on a twin hose regulator. VIEW HERE.
t’s always best to plan for worst case – the maximum depth of the water being dived in – regardless of whether you plan to go to the bottom or not. In a residential pool and most encounter pools of 25 feet or so a FemCap can be safely used. In my 64 ft deep pool or Adolph’s 216 ft deep training facility a latex Reflexions flat spring diaphragm or an Oves cervical cap can be used to any depth. Of course the Oves could float off the cervix if the wearer was menstrual. Therefore, a diaphragm - preferably a latex flat spring Reflexions, which is almost impossible to under-thrust – is the best to used at any depth and at any point of your cycle.
Kirby Morgan diving with minimum tenders: As can be seen from the videos of the men tending the umbilical as the diver enters the water and the diver being helped into her harness and SuperLite helmet having helpers to make sure everything is put on correctly and to lift and lock the 30 lb. helmet onto the neck dam and yoke assembly is exacting work.
I think one tender would be the minimum needed with the diver being suited up helping, preferably two. That’s because with no tenders even if there were two divers helping each other get into their helmets getting the second diver’s helmet on properly with the first diver already in a 30 lb. helmet would be quite difficult even for a strong man. And once in the water there would be no one to mind their umbilicals.
In Adolph’s facility his divemaster helps Adolph and his student dress in their wetsuits, harnesses, EGS and helmets then she leaves the pool area to monitor the gas flow and comm. link from a control room overlooking the pool. The umbilical length and hoist cable can be remotely activated by the divers. So Adolph is alone 100 ft below the surface with a young inexperienced woman diver in a beavertail jacket and KM helmet with the intention of fucking her brains out. That is why I want Kassi fully familiar with the KM SL-17B she will be wearing before her first dive with Adolph.
The thrill of KM helmet dive-sex: It’s all about having thrilling sex in a hostile environment. For me the thrill (over dive-sex in an OTS Guardian FFM) is because there are more things that can go wrong when wearing a surface supplied dive helmet during dive-sex, especially if diving with very few tenders such as:
- The surface supply could fail.
- The umbilical could fail.
- The one-way valve could fail.
- The neck dam/yoke assy. could leak or come unclamped
- Running out of air from EGS with the surface air off.
- And no way to get to the surface because the umbilical is too heavy to drop the weight belt and boots and float up.
The roar of the bubbles racing for the surface, the hiss of air as I suck gas through the demand valve and the mixed metallic and rubbery scent of the helmet give a KM dive-sex encounter the thrill of danger while pressing the left side of my helmet against my partner’s so I can hear him gasp and moan and he can hear me gasp, mew, moan and scream while he thrusts and I shudder with my contractions as he takes me toward orgasm. And, I think it’s a lot sexier and more dangerous with the comm. link turned off so our conversation such as it is is private.
Approaching climax my contractions get stronger and stronger as he takes me deeper into ecstasy. I wrap my legs tighter around him and pull him further into me as I tighten on his shaft and then he tips me over the edge and my contractions grip his penis and milk the hot cream out of his éclair and for a few thrusts he tries to shove his glans so deep I think it might come out my throat as he spews his seed into me. It splatters harmlessly against the thin latex membrane of my diaphragm protecting my cervix as he still grips me tightly while we gasp together in afterglow. I was going to say having dive-sex and not getting my hair wet was an advantage of a KM, but while it’s not wet from pool water my hair is soaked with sweat under the rubber hood I wear to seal against the neck dam.
Emergency solo ascent in a KM: Given that we will be diving with Adolph and may not have the comm. link on I’ve developed a worst case escape procedure that should permit reaching the surface if the surface supply fails for any reason. However, it does depend on the EGS still working. It consists of two parts: 1) A small wrench to disconnect the main gas supply hose, the umbilical, which enters the system at the adapter and flows through the one way valve to the interior of the side block. Being careful to make sure you are disconnecting the umbilical from the one-way valve on the lower part of the block and not the EGS supply which you are breathing off which enters the top part of the block is an important part of this plan. 2) A horseshoe shaped self inflating (with a CO2 cartridge) lift bag with enough lift to get a diver, in a flooded drysuit and weighted boots to the surface with her hands free so she can swim to the dive platform or ladder to get out of the pool.
However, Adolph rarely has his women wearing drysuits and weighted boots though ankle weights are sometimes used with beavertail jackets. Kassi and I have successfully tried out this escape procedure and it actually works well, if you don’t drop the wrench before getting the umbilical hose disconnected. Then the umbilical is unclipping from the tank harness, the weight belt is dropped and the weighted boots are pulled off or ankle weights dropped if possible before the lift bag is inflated. There is the possibility of DCS from a fast ascent depending on the depth and time underwater which from the bottom of Adolph’s 216 ft pool is a real possibility. The small wrench is kept in an inconspicuous pocket on the tank harness that is easy to get to.
Practice, practice, practice: Kassi and I have practiced the emergency ascent procedure with the pool lights off with just the pool surround lights on as most of the work has to be done by feel and darkness is more disorienting to make it seem more real-world. One of the hardest parts occurs once on the surface and out of the water, getting the helmet off. We practice by ourselves making certain we can get out of the helmet alone if our partner is unavailable. It’s not difficult getting the safety pin out of the latch catch assembly so the neck clamp can be released and the helmet unsealed from the yoke. But then the helmet has to be lifted or swung back over the diver’s head to disengage the rear hinge tab from the hinge bolt which if the diver is exhausted could have her dropping the 30 lb helmet.
If it’s a real emergency dropping the helmet is just a cost of survival, but during practice drills you really don’t want to drop a $4,000 helmet. Depending on the harness used it might be easier to take the harness and EGS tank off first so you can lie on your back to disengage the hinge tab. We have been able to use this method successfully to get off the bottom of my 64 ft deep pool when we had the surface supply intentionally shut off and were able to get the hinge tab off the hinge w/o dropping the helmet. So I think it is a matter of not panicking if you need to get off the bottom in case the surface supply fails and there are no tenders to help.