The Flight Jacket has arguably the most extensive history of any military garment. The US Army Air Corps standardized the first Flight Jacket, known as type A-1, on November 27th, 1927. The jacket was made from a kind of sheepskin known as capeskin and featured a button front, two front patch pockets with button flaps, a ribbed worsted wool collar and hem and a cotton sateen lining. The Air Corps specified that the A-1 be produced in an olive drab color, but most vintage jackets that can still be found today are a shade of chestnut brown. In 1931, the Air Corps updated the type A-1 with the type A-2 jacket, which was made for pilots flying in open cockpits. The jacket was produced to be as windproof as possible, so a hidden front zipper placket was added, along with a leather point collar. TheA-2 was cut from a horsehide leather, which was relatively inexpensive at the time, and came in shades of Seal Brown.
A year later, the Air Force created the B-15 Flight Jacket, which featured minor modifications to the B-10, namely a mouton fur collar and tabs to keep the pilot’s oxygen mask and headset wires in place. The B-15 lead to the L-2, L-2A and L-2B models, all of which featured a water-repellent nylon outer shell and a ribbed collar, hem and cuffs. The next major update came in the mid 1950’s, when the Air Force and Navy standardized the MA-1 for winter wear. Like the L-2, L-2A and L-2B versions, the MA-1 Flight Jacket eschewed the mouton fur collar because it interfered with the parachute harnesses worn by pilots. The MA-1 featured the same tabs found on the B-10, but these details were eventually removed as the jacket found widespread use throughout the US Armed Forces; another revision to the MA-1 came in 1960, when a reversible Indian Orange lining was added to create greater visibility for a crashed pilot to signal they needed to be rescued.