Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket issue

CTFlyer

Well-Known Member
Has any service member recently been issued an A2 flight jacket? If so, is it manufactured by "Cockpit USA?" I'm in the market for a leather jacket and a website (www.bestglide.com) is claiming they sell the current A2 being issued to our armed services flight crews.

Also if this is the actual jacket for sale - how's the quality/thickness of the jacket? It sells for $355, which seems on the low side for a quality A2, real or replica.

Thanks for any info.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Has any service member recently been issued an A2 flight jacket? If so, is it manufactured by "Cockpit USA?" I'm in the market for a leather jacket and a website (www.bestglide.com) is claiming they sell the current A2 being issued to our armed services flight crews.

Also if this is the actual jacket for sale - how's the quality/thickness of the jacket? It sells for $355, which seems on the low side for a quality A2, real or replica.

Thanks for any info.
The most current A-2s being issued to USAF guys are made by Avirex, which is the company now known as "Cockpit USA". So, yes...that's true what they're claiming in their ad.

I have two of them -- one I was issued in 1999, and one that I bought for my own non-duty wear.

The quality is as good as any other A-2 I've seen. I also own one of the early 1990s-USAF issue jackets made by Cooper and the quality is the same as the Avirex. I am guessing they are able to sell at the price they're offering because of the volume they've all ready been able to produce for the USAF going on 10 years.

I've intentionally mistreated my issued jacket ever since it was issued, since I wanted to get that WWII distressed-leather bomber jacket look. That means I haven't given it leather cleaner or moisturizer, I've worn it in harsh weather (rain), let it sit rumpled up in the back of my car during harsh summers. Unfortunately (fortunately) it still looks as good as when it was issued. The knit cuffs are still in great condition and the leather isn't showing so much as a crack or discoloration anywhere.

I'm a little bit of a history snob, and I didn't want to like the Avirex jacket. Avirex a long time ago used to claim that they were a WWII manufacturer of A-2s, which is flatly not true. So, I've long disliked the company simply for elitist reasons, and I wish that I could give their military-issue jacket a bum review.

But, I can't. It's a great jacket. It's met/exceeded most of my expectations, and the areas that I don't like are pretty minor.

If you're a strict history buff, note that the current-issue A-2 differs from the "heritage" A-2 design in a couple ways:

- The dimensions have been altered to make it more wearable
-- the neck diameter is larger (I think it makes the collar and jacket look different than the heritage jacket, but it depends on the size -- it is less noticeable on smaller sizes, but I wear a 46 and it's pretty apparent to me)
-- additional pieces are added in the armpit area to enable raising your arms up (a BIG problem for me with the "heritage" jacket)
-- the waistline is larger/looser than the heritage A-2
-- None of these changes substantially changes the look of the jacket but DOES noticeably improve the day-to-day utility and wearability.
- The pockets now have side-entry openings in addition to the top entry. The design is such that the casual observer won't be able to tell, though.
- The metal neck clasp is gone.
- Inside "pen" pockets and vertical pockets have been added to the liner.

So, the real bottom line is that it's a good jacket and MIGHT be worth the money depending on what you are looking for. If you want a true-to-design WWII jacket, this isn't the one for you. If you want an A-2 that is real military issue and is, IMHO, more wearable than the WWII design, then this is the one for you.

I can post some photos if you're interested.
 

CTFlyer

Well-Known Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Hacker15, Thanks for your reply. My goal isn't so much to get an accurate historical replica, but to get a good quality, thick leather jacket, and I love the way the A2 is styled. Seems like most of the leather jackets sold in the stores are cheap, flimsy, thin leather that wouldn't survive a good rain storm. I did some research on the A2 and found some top end jackets (lostworldsinc, aero) that were what I was looking for - thick leather, unweathered/unbroken in, A2 style.. but they're on the expensive side. Seems like the CockpitUSA would be a great choice.

IF you have a few minutes to post pics that would be great! Thanks.
 

CTFlyer

Well-Known Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Just found out CockpitUSA has a retail store in New York city - so I'll take a drive in the next few weeks and check out the jackets.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Here are a couple photos. They're taken with a flash, so I had to lighten them up considerably in photoshop so they reflect something close to the actual brown color of the leather.

Here's the overall view of the jacket. Not sure if Cockpit USA's version has the velcro for the patches on the chest, but the "issue" version does.


Here's a shot of the tags on the inside, just to show the manfacturer and that it's a military issue item. The tag on top is where the size and national stock number were, but over time that printing has worn off. These tags are different on the "civilian" Avirex A2 that I purchased, but mine is currently in storage, so I can't give you any photos of that unfortunately.


Here's the inside pocket and pen pocket that is new. Original A-2s had a brown cotton liner and nothing on the inside.
 

aloft

New Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Dunno if it's the weak dollar or what, but Pop's has gotten REAL expensive lately.

Hacker, can you tell if the issue A-2 is still made of goatskin? If so, that's probably why yours still looks new. Moreover, WWII A-2s were made of horsehide and didn't have the benefit of modern protective treatments.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Hacker, can you tell if the issue A-2 is still made of goatskin? If so, that's probably why yours still looks new. Moreover, WWII A-2s were made of horsehide and didn't have the benefit of modern protective treatments.
I suspect it is. I used to work at a place that sold Willis and Geiger jackets in horsehide, and I can definitely tell it's NOT that. The internet sites I've seen say that all of the current-issue USAF jackets are goat, so I have to assume that's what it is.

I'd sure love to go to Pop's in person and have them custom make a new "issue" jacket for me in distressed leather so it would look older! I also want to have the one I'm currently wearing tailored to take out the big slack in the gut area which looks atrocious when I'm wearing it, and add back in the neck clasp.
 

aloft

New Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

I also want to have the one I'm currently wearing tailored to take out the big slack in the gut area which looks atrocious when I'm wearing it...
No need to travel all the way to Turkey for that! Just head on down to Mickey-D's for breakfast/lunch/dinner every day for a few weeks! :D

One of these years when I have the spare cash, I want to have a nice A-2 made for me, then painted with the nose art from my late great-uncle's B-29:


My great-uncle was the 393d Bomb Sq's Ops Officer during WWII, he flew on both atomic bombing missions and had orders designating him as aircraft commander on what would have been the third atomic bombing when Japan surrendered.
 

Attachments

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Wanted to interject real quick. Not all A2s come from the same company...the last one I had was a piece of crap. I do have an Avirex now and like it quite a bit...although I don't wear it too much here in San Antonio.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Wanted to interject real quick. Not all A2s come from the same company...the last one I had was a piece of crap. I do have an Avirex now and like it quite a bit...although I don't wear it too much here in San Antonio.
To the best of my knowledge, there have been three A-2 contractors in the "modern" issue era:

Cooper, who had the original late 1980s contract.
[can't remember the name of the second one!]
Avirex, the current supplier.

I've only seen one example of the second manufacturer, and it was issued to someone who got it in the mid 90s (96, I think). It had a wide white tag with the maker's name in black lettering.

I'm guessing you had one from this second manufacturer, eh?
 

H46Bubba

Well-Known Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

I know FlightSuits Ltd in San Diego manufactures and sell military flight jackets as well as helmets and accessories. I know they do have contracts with the military. Our squadron had an account with them to purchase spare parts for our helmets.
Here's there website: www.flightsuits.com
 

KC-135 CC

New Member
Re: Military air crews - question about current A2 jacket is

Hi All,

I need some help. Im a old KC 135 Crew Chief, Im looking for a SAC insignia for the A2 jacket. Ive lost mine years ago and would like to replace it. Does any one know where I could find one? Ive tried Google searches and have come up with nothing.

Regards

Passin Gas at 35000'


Mike
 
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