How Much Weight Can You Check In With Jet Blyue How the US Air Force Lost Its Leather Bomber Jackets

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How the US Air Force Lost Its Leather Bomber Jackets

With the invention of airplanes came a need: a way for pilots and their passengers to stay warm at altitude. As flight technology advanced during the two world wars, leather bomber jackets and accompanying leather trousers, and even a leather flying cap, became standard. Leather jackets were routinely issued to flight personnel.

After World War II, aviation engineering continued to advance rapidly, and the jet age was soon born. By the mid-1950s, the leather bomber jacket was no longer acceptable clothing for pilots and others flying US Air Force aircraft.

It was all thanks to the new jets. They can fly high. If the pilots’ bulky, heavy jackets got wet from the rain on the way to the plane, the water would freeze at altitude. It made for cold and unhappy pilots. Additionally, jet aircraft are much more streamlined in design than their predecessors. There is no longer room for bulky jackets in cramped cabins filled with sophisticated equipment. Pilots and navigators had to move easily around the cockpit and enter and exit it without hindrance. Seniors in the USAF began to view these classic uniforms as a security risk.

Manufacturers were given a brief: a light but warm jacket suitable for pilots flying the latest jet aircraft was needed. The bell has rung for bulky, leather goods. Bombardments have become relics of history.

The first manufacturers decided to try cotton. The result was the B-15 jacket. It had a fur collar from earlier B-10 leather bombers. The B-15 didn’t last long because it was too light and didn’t keep the flight personnel warm. The B-15 was reinvented, this time made of nylon, and the fur collar was dropped as it was found to actually interfere with the belts.

The next development after the nylon B-15 flight jacket was the MA-1 jacket. Developed by the US Air Force, the Intermediate Weight Flight Jacket or MA-1 is made of high quality nylon and polyester fleece (fill). This served two useful purposes. In warm weather, a bomber jacket can be worn open and comfortable. When entering the aircraft, the pilot can close the hood of the MA-1 and stay warm as toast at altitude.

This MA-1 completely usurped leather bomber jackets as a US Air Force issue. The first MA-1 jackets were issued to pilots and flight crews of the United States Air Force and Navy in about 1949 or 1950. Army flying personnel were also issued small numbers. Although there have been many design modifications since then, mostly due to new textiles, new sewing techniques, or new cockpit designs (most recently in 1980), the MA-1 flight jacket has become the USAF flight jacket standard. Read on.

Midnight blue was originally the color used by the military for MA-1 jackets, but it was later changed to sage green for camouflage purposes. During the Korean War (1950-1953), as evidenced by various historical photographs, leather bomber jackets were still in service. These flyers were often a colorful crew. Some pilots still wore their favorite leather jackets, while others wore B-15 jackets, and others wore blue or green MA-1 jackets.

Today, the modern fashion MA-1 is available in various colors, including traditional colors and black, red, blue, silver, gray, yellow. Original leather bombers have become collectibles, and some leather craftsmen create beautiful replicas of vintage leather jackets.

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