- My favorite piece of clothing!! Review by Rob Bailey (February 2007)
About 8 years ago I was searching for an authentic A-2 flight jacket. I found your site, and loved all the information on it. I kept watching for months, waiting on an A-2 in my size to show up in the bargain bin. Sure enough, one day a "mis-stiched" A-2 became available and I jumped right on it.
When it arrived I could not believe the quality. I had only seen cheap replicas in the past. To this day it is my favorite piece of clothing I've ever owned.
Whatever mperfection is there is not even noticable.
I wanted to let you know that you have another thrilled customer. I re-ordered another catalogue because they are a fantastic resource.
I hope your company is doing well. I have recommended friends to you. Thank you for doing excellent work!
It's greatly appreciated. (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Rich, glorious leather. 100% satisfied! Review by Doug Rennie (January 2007)
Well, my A-2 goatskin arrived today (Jan 9); not sure why it took almost 2 weeks to get here, but now that it has at last arrived, it's well worth the wait. Just a superb jacket! A near-perfect fit (your 38R recommendation was right on; I'm usually between a 36R and 38R, but the US authentic jacket is a trim fit, which I much prefer over the baggy "relaxed" fit of almost all the others. The fit on me is snug without being tight, as I said close-to-perfect), and the quality of the leather, stitching, and general attention to detail is first-rate.
VASTLY superior in every respect to the Cooper A-2 I once had. The leather is smooth, soft and supple, and the jacket smells like the interior of a BMW. That is, that rich, glorious leather smell.
Everything about the jacket says quality and authenticity, including the "Army Air Forces" stamp on the lining which gives the whole package a strong WW II feel.
The long wait was a little frustrating, but I am 100% satisfied with the jacket.
(Posted on 7/23/10)
- Awesome product Review by Sean Downs (November 2006)
I bought a A-2 horsehide on 10/31/06 for my dad and he loves it , you sell an awesome product. I bought an A-2 from another company in the spring and the quality my jacket next to yours is night and day your jacket is a homerun and mine is let's just say I'm kicking myself now for not researching more.Hopefully in the future I'll save up enough to buy one of your fine jackets, until such time take care.
A satisfied customer ,
Do you take trade in's ha ha ha. Take care, Sean
(Posted on 7/23/10)
- Infinitely better than the competition Review by NK Watanabe (November 2006)
I just received your Russet Horsehide A-2 and it is outstanding! Through work with the Exemplar Program at the USAF Academy, I have come in contact with numerous A-2s , including one from COL Hub Zemke and yours is right on. Infinitely better than those sold by your competitors such as US Wings. Hooah!
LTC, US Army
(Posted on 7/23/10)
- Awesome jacket Review by Sean Downs (November 2006)
- I purchased an a-2 horsehide for my dad on 10/31/06, I recieved it in two days the jacket was awesome. I purchased a horsehide from another company this year and mine doesn't even match the quality of yours. I'll try to obtain one of your A-2 horsehide for myself in the near future . keep up the great work. (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Outstanding repair Review by Carl Bernstein (November 2006)
- Thanks again for the outstanding repair and fast one week turn around.The wrist knits look great. The leather WW2 name tag looks perfect and you did it without sewing thru the liner! fantastic first rate job! Cheers, Carl Bernstein. (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Lovely jacket Review by Fred Martin Ramstad (November 2006)
I got a very nice surprise this morning! My A2 arrived! Thank You ever so much for a lovely jacket, and great service!! The jacket arrived in Oslo, Norway less than a week after I placed my order!
Once again; thank You. (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Stunning Review by Mark Davis (September 2006)
The A-2 arrived a couple of weeks ago and it is stunning. The horshide leather is firm and has a beautiful russet hue that I am sure will only improve with time. The jacket, true to military specifications, fits well -- close, but not binding. It is remarkably well-constructed, and I cannot see any appreciable difference between my coat and those made overseas that cost far, far more. Thanks.
-MRD, Atlanta (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Everything in this jacket is outstanding! Review by Gene Soudlenkov (September 2006)
- I have just received my goatskin A-2 and I must admit - this is the best leather jacket I have ever owned! Leather quality, details, quality in general - everything in this jacket is outstanding! Now I am seriously inclined to order another jacket from US Authentic! (Posted on 7/23/10)
- Buy from US Authentic Review by Robert Allen (August 2006)
I have done over 10 years of A-2 jacket research and I have seen many, many authentic models of A-2 over the years as well as reproductions ranging from accurate duplicates to very cheap imitations. Let me tell you why you should consider this version of the A-2 from U.S. Authentic, first the look and feel of the jacket speaks of quality in workmanship.
One characteristic which is often misrepresented by poorer replicas is the point of attachment of the back to the front pieces at the shoulder. Some replicas place this seam too far forward on top of the shoulder. Since the back edges of the epaulets are coincident with this seam, this construction often places the epaulets not on top of the shoulder, as with an authentic A-2, but falling forward off of the shoulder. This simply looks wrong. U.S. Authentic uses the Perry epaulet which has a rectangular box-stitch contained within the twin-stitch lines.
While the official specification called for horsehide, and while most jackets probably were so made, a fraction of A-2's were made of goatskin and perhaps other hides such as steer. Goatskin is a bit more resilient and tends to hold up better over the years. This is why I chose the goatskin version over the horsehide. I also found during my research that the jackets I have seen and touched varied from a light to almost a tan color to a dark chocolate shade. There appeared to be no single definitive color for an A-2 back in WW II. So I wouldn't worry so much about the color of the product. Keep in mind that your jacket from U.S. Authentic is new.
The collar was usually composed of one piece of leather for the top side while the under side was made from two halves sewn together in the center at the back of the neck. (U.S. Authentic is dead on accurate with this detail!)
Eight stitches per inch gives a very nice, clean, high-quality look, but it is clear that workmanship if not cost saving measures sometimes contributed to more sparse needlework. It is also worth noting that the thread material was all cotton with the original A-2's. U.S. Authentic uses eight stitches per inch with brown cotton thread.
Pockets reflected the differences per contractor, particularly with regard to the cut of the flaps. Some flaps were more rounded, others more pointed, some with a more scalloped shape and others a with a simpler angular shape. This is not to say that variations did not exist within a single contractor, in my research they did exist, even on the same jacket. It seemed that getting the same shape every time was not so simple a task because of the mass prodeuction of the A-2. One characteristic that A-2 pockets definitely did not have was the side-entry or "hand-warmer" secondary pockets. This was strictly a commercial embellishment. Another characteristic which is often ignored in replicas is the placement of the pockets relative to the zipper. Authentic A-2's have a sizable spacing between the zipper or center of the jacket and the edge of the pocket, essentially placing the pocket toward the wearer's side. Many replicas that I have seen place the pockets much too close to the center and they just look wrong. Also contrary to many of the much less authentic jacket copies is that the A-2 has only the two outside patch pockets and has no inside pockets of any kind. So keep this in mind when shopping for your A-2. Again U.S. Authentic was faithful in the pocket contruction and placement. The pockets on my A-2 are hybrids containing all the best characteristics taken from several original A-2 manufactors such as: The Rough Wear pocket with rounded corners and gently curved flap. The Werber pocket with box-shaped reinforcement stitching. The Bronco pocket snap reinforcement with a rounded tongue extension. All of these details make up the U.S. Authentic pocket constuction. The only thing lacking is a pocket lable with size and inspectors numbers and stamps, but I can overlook that detail and you should too. If you have to have such detail in your jacket then be prepared to pay Eastman over in England or Aero Leather Co. over in Scotland about $800.00. As for me, I would like my jacket made in the U.S.A.!
The early A-2's did have a silk lining up until about 1939-40, its procurement was found not to be feasible after 1941. I wonder why??? So the brown cotton lining you get with U.S. Authentic is the correct shade.
KNITING ON THE SLEEVES AND WAISTBAND:
Wool knitting was used for the sleeve wristlets as well as the waistband. These were brown like the jacket, but again I found there were variations in shade from dark to medium brown to an almost reddish hue as typical of many Aero Leather jackets. Wristlets had a double weave, looser on the top half (toward the sleeve attachment) and tighter toward the bottom (end). U.S. Authentic got this detail right as well.
A woven specification label that was sewn into each jacket generally followed a this format: The TYPE A-2 followed by the drawing number (30-1415), the contract or order number, the manufacturer, and the proclamation that the jacket was Property, Air Force, U.S. Army. The size appeared on a small and separate label sewn at the bottom edge of the main label.
U.S. Authenic's label is a good one and looks like one that would have been made back during WW II.
A strip of leather was sewn into the neck above the spec label to be used as a hanger. While the method of attachment to the jacket appeared most often to be box-stitching at each end, I also saw examples of bar-tacking. It is important to note that not all reproductions get this detail correct! I have seen some that have a weak cloth, nylon, or leather loop which was not sewn through the back of the jacket. Stay away from these types of A-2 reproductions!!! If they skimp on this very important detail, then they may have cut cost in manufacture of their A-2 version elsewhere.
As you look at the details like the ball-stud snaps on the collar and pockets and the TALON zipper on the A-2, know that you are getting the "correct" hardware with U.S. Authentic. The only details missing from the zipper are the lack of the "fan shaped" zipper puller and TALON marked on the center of the zipper itself and the MADE IN USA on the back of the zipper. U.S. Authentics zipper is a TALON zipper however, just a modern version. In my research I counted 7 different zipper types on various jackets. I'm not splitting hairs here.
The snaps you get are the ball-stud type that are very simular to the type that were used on the ROUGH WEAR A-2. The only differences being the ball stud snap from Rough Wear pockets showed a dimpled impression. This was typical of the these snaps used on pockets. The ball studs used on collar snaps did not have dimples and were also a little smaller.
Don't forget the underarm ventilation grommets! This detail is missed on cheaper jackets and is a very important detail which is included with U.S. Authentic's A-2.
STAMPS IN THE LINING:
This is another very big reason I purchased from U.S. Authentic! I noticed they included the stamps! A-2 jacket linings are stamped with an inspector's mark composed of the letters AN along with an inspector's number, all contained within a circle. This stamp was often, but not exclusively, placed near the spec label, but did not appear in all the jackets that I saw. The size of the AN stamp circle was about 5/8-inch, and a smaller version I saw was about 5/16-inch. U.S. Authentic could make a smaller version with a number yes, but I'm happy with their stamp. Next is the Army Air Corps wing and star insignia. I saw this in various forms. It was found to be a larger stamp on the lining, as a smaller stamp or decal on the inside face of the zipper wind flap, or as a full color transfer on the left shoulder. The application of this insignia on clothing and other flying equipment was specified in Technical Order No. 13-1-12, dated February 1, 1944. Insignia were then applied both to new items and to used items, such as many A-2 jackets, which were either reissued or refurbished. That is the correct history of the Army Air Stamp on the A-2.
I found that many different types and sizes of leather nameplates were used during WW II. I must have seen over a dozen different types during my research. The strips of leather that were used for nameplates were supplied, stamped, issued, and sewn on at the Base where the Airmen were stationed. They were, according to the Class 13 Catalog, 4 inches long and 5/8-inch in height. It is evident, however, that a great deal of A-2 nameplates were custom made and varied greatly in size and in how the name was applied. My fathers nameplate had 1/4" high embosed letters on his A-2 and was placed on the left side of the jacket about 1 1/2" to the right of the zipper stitch and about 8 inches above the pocket.
Well, there you have it. All of my research notes from years of trying to find the right A-2 for myself. It is up to you as to who you wish to buy from, but know that U.S. Authentic will give you a good and accurate A-2 for the money that you will be very proud to wear! I showed my A-2 to my father and he said that it looked just like the one he had in WW II.
(Posted on 7/23/10)