A good pilot flight jacket can be a lifesaver, as well as a fashion item, together with some nice sunglasses and a pilot watch. Whether you’re an aviator or just looking for some cool apparel, we have you covered. We’ve done the research and found some great jackets for pilots in 2021.
If you want to find out more about what makes a great flight jacket and see our recommendations for the best flight jackets for pilots, keep on reading!
What are Flight Jackets?
Let’s start with the basics: what is a flight jacket?
Flight jackets were originally created as highly functional workwear for military personnel.
The word ‘Flight jacket’ is also often used interchangeably with the term ‘Bomber jacket.’ In a previous era, they would typically be worn by former military pilots, but in recent decades they have become a popular choice for casual attire.
Though the original bomber jacket was designed to keep wearers warm in cold climates, most bomber jackets today share many of the same features that first made it so iconic. The jacket is typically constructed from leather, sheepskin, or fabric, cut waist-length, and closed with a zipper or buttons. The collar can be worn flipped up around the neck for extra protection from the elements.
What Makes a Good Flight Jacket?
A good flight jacket is be designed with quality, durability and style in mind. The materials should protect you from the cold and weather, while also being fire resistant (especially if you’re wearing it on board an older aircraft). It will have plenty of pockets for tools like gloves or maps. And of course, it has to look good!
There are a few important features that every good flight jacket should have.
What Should you Consider When Shopping for a Flight Jacket?
Consider weather conditions
A pilot flight jacket should be able to withstand harsh weather and can be used year-round. The perfect one will have insulation so that it can keep you warm during colder months and also provide good ventilation when it gets warmer outside.
Pick a style
There are different styles of pilot flight jackets: bomber, leather, blouson, zippered front closure, safari, waistcoat design,… Depending on your personal taste, one of these styles will be perfect for you.
The design on the front can set an individual pilot’s personality- some would rather go with something more flashy while others prefer a more subtle design.
Keep in mind that a pilot flight jacket is quite expensive, so make sure to purchase something which suits your needs and style preferences. Whether you’re looking for an aviator-style bomber made from wool or a leather blouson with multiple pockets on the front, there’s plenty of options available to suit any budget!
The materials: quality and durability
Quality and durability are the two most important factors, in our opinion. You don’t want to buy a jacket that is going to fall apart in your first week of wearing it, right?
The best pilot flight jackets are generally made out of water-resistant and durable fabrics such as leather, wool or high-quality synthetic material. The right choice depends on your needs: if you want to wear the coat during rainy weather or near water, it’s important to look for a fabric that will be resistant to water.
The surface of the jacket must be able to repel water and dirt, as well as resist tearing from sharp objects like metal or rocks.
Of course, as with any purchase, your budget will also be a determining factor in choosing the right pilot flight jacket. Leather flight jackets are often the most durable and with the highest quality. However, they are usually quite expensive, so you may want to consider a cheaper faux leather jacket if you’re on a tighter budget.
Don’t forget about practicality
A flight jacket should not only look good and be comfortable, but you should also think about the practicality of the jacket.
A good pilot flight jacket should have a lot of pockets – internal and external so that you can store all your gear or tools in one place. Perfect for carrying around essentials such as maps, pens and other tools.
Add value by personalizing your jacket
Here’s a great tip: Personalize your jacket with a custom name tag, patches or embroidery. This will add value to your jacket and certainly set you apart!
A great place where you can get custom name tags and patches created is Gibson & Barnes.
The Best Bomber Jackets for Pilots in 2021
1. Alpha Industries CWU 45/P Flight Jacket
In 1959, Alpha Industries was commissioned by the department of defense to design and manufacture high-performance outerwear for the U.S. military.
The company quickly became synonymous with developing the iconic MA-1, M-65, and N-3B trusted by soldiers, sailors and aviators to protect them from the direst conditions across the land, sea, and air.
Originally issued to USAF and Navy pilots, the CWU 45/P Flight Jacket is a classic staple piece for those looking for a trendy yet durable jacket. The authentic military vibe is showcased through its thicker fill, ribbed knit cuffs and collar and front zipper closure with storm flaps to ensure the perfect insulation.
2. Rothco MA-1 Flight Jacket
Rothco’s MA-1 Flight Jacket features a fully reversible rescue orange polyester lining, and a 100% nylon water repellent outer shell to give a classic bomber jacket look. A poly fiberfill lining and zippered front closure and storm flap help keep you warm.
The MA-1 Jacket has an extra full cut and ribbed knit collar, cuffs, and waistband for a perfect, comfortable fit. A zippered utility pocket and outside pencil pocket on the left sleeve, two front slash pockets, and two interior slash pockets offer many storage options for essential gear. Brass zippers and leather pull tabs add to this classic military-style jacket.
3. Alpha Industries Men’s MA-1 Flight Bomber Jacket
Constructed from mid-weight flight nylon with water resistance, the MA-1 fighter pilot jacket was one of the first military flight jackets to cross over into civilian fashion. This current version has been kept as close as possible to the classic military specifications.
The Best Leather Flight Jackets for Pilots in 2021
1. Landing Leathers Men’s Air Force A-2 Leather Flight Bomber Jacket
This flight jacket made to the same unyielding standards as the authentic A-2 military version. Soft lamb touch supple Nappa is sewn with dual entry pockets, plus ribbed cuffs and hem to snug in warmth. Imprinted WWII U.S flag lining.
$249.99Buy now on Amazon
2. B3 Bomber Aviator Shearling Sheepskin Leather Winter Jacket
Previously provided with outerwear which kept very little body heat, the sheepskin B-3 bomber jackets were introduced in WWII to ensure that crewmen were kept warm while flying at high altitudes in unpressurized cabins.
Made with real lambskin leather and sheep shearling for extreme winters.
$379.95Buy now on Amazon
3. Landing Leathers Men’s Air Force A-2 Goatskin Leather Flight Bomber Jacket
Landing Leather’s replica A-2 aviator bomber jacket is made to the same unyielding standards as the authentic A-2 military version in soft, durable genuine goatskin leather. It has a snap storm flap over the front zipper, imprinted WWII U.S. flag lining and 3M Thinsulate insulated filling to add extra warmth for winter.
$149.99Buy now on Amazon
4. FLAVOR Men’s Leather Flight Bomber Jacket Air Force Aviator
Flavor's Leather flight jacket is a beautiful 100% pigskin genuine leather jacket, which comes with a removable fur collar or Hood, 2 side-entry pockets at waist; 2 internal pockets, one pocket and a pen holder on the left sleeve. Lining with US flag print in the middle; cotton filled in the body and sleeves.
$159.99 $199.99Buy now on Amazon
There are many different types and styles of pilot flight jackets. If you’re going to be investing in a quality pilot flight jacket, take the time to shop around and try on different styles before making a purchase.
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