Flight Jackets

Flight Jackets or “Bomber Jackets” remain a sought after jacket for both aviation buffs and civilians alike. Most of the time when we think of the classic flight jacket we think of the original A-2 flight jacket issued to pilots upon completion of their basic flight training. This jacket was worn with much pride and was usually adorned with squadron patches or artwork.

A-2 Flight Jacket

The A-2 was constructed from leather, mostly horsehide with knit cuffs and waistband. It has a shirt type collar and a silk lining with 2 slash pockets and 2 front pockets with snap flaps. This jacket became the symbol of the American pilot and even after it was discontinued in 1943 still saw use for decades.

The A-2 flight jacket was replaced with a cloth version (B-10 and B-15) with the same design however never gained the popularity of the original leather version; in 1988 the U.S. Air Force reinstated the A-2 flight jacket.

Similar to the A-2 the G-1 flight jacket was used buy the U.S. Navy in about 1947 and is still issued today. The G-1 has the same style ad the A-2 but came with a fur lined collar and was the jacket worn by Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun.

In the 1950′s the military came out with a new flight jacket¬†called the MA-1. It was designed to be less bulky than the thick leather jackets of the past but still keep its occupant warm. The MA-1 is an intermediate weight flight jacket with a nylon exterior and polyester lining. Originally this jacket was released in either blue or sage green with a blaze orange liner. ¬† Modern manufacturers have released them in a variety of colors.

MA-1 flight jacketThe style of the MA-1 is loose fitting and comfortable. It has a short knit color, cuffs, and waist band; two slash pockets with snapped closures and a zippered front. One of the new things with the MA-1 is the shoulder pockets used to store items that needed quick access. The MA-1 was also used by NASA for their flight program.

All of these flight jackets have a classic look and feel. Personally I like the vintage leather look of the A-2 but you can’t compare it to the comfort and versatility of the MA-1.

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