To get to the point, my recommendations are:
The following are the main flight jackets for the USAAF and USAF, with costs estimated at three levels: lowest price (not all that authentic, but at least some features of the real thing), mid range (good authenticity), and high end (greatest adherence to authenticity, often copying features of a particular historical vendor's production run, from places like Eastman Leather and Buzz Rickson's from History Preservation Associates).
|Jacket||Year of introduction||Picture (click for larger)||
|A-2||1931||?||$300||$600+||The A-2 is the iconic flight jacket. Horsehide and goatskin are authentic; leather is not. Excellent midrange version at US Authentic.|
|B-10||1944||?||$250||$600||Cloth (cotton shell) jacket that replaced the A-2.|
|B-15||1945||$60||$125||$600||Replaced the B-10. Cotton shell at the start, then nylon shell. Alpha Industries makes a good mid-range reproduction.|
|MA-1||~1955||$35||$100||$600||Replaced the B-15. Alpha Industries makes an authentic reproduction. Rothco and Knox Armory have very low-cost versions (of course, less authentic and lower quality -- but $35).|
|CWU-45/P||1977||get mid||$110||$400||Replaced the MA-1. Still in service. Alpha Industries makes them. The mid range is nylon; the high-end (actual military version) is Nomex.|
by Brooke P. Anderson
Click here to go back to my main page.