A-2 Leather Flight Jacket
- Product Review (submitted on July 21, 2010):
For years the only A-2 source I knew of was Avirex. I bought one of their original 1978 jackets. I ordered a size 40 but they sent a 44. It was way too large but the workmanship was excellent. Particularly the heavy cotton stitching and its spacing was superb. The steer hide was heavy and handsome. The epaulets were not too wide and the box stitching was small and squared off. I washed the jacket and threw it in the dryer. It shrunk enough for me to wear, but over the years I outgrew it. I ordered other A-2s, a B-3 and B-15s from Avirex but their quality clearly dropped over the years and their jackets were always too dark in color anyway. By the 1990s I had to wear a 44 and suck in my breath or order a 46 and wear a heavy sweater under it. I was, quite frankly, dissatisfied with Avirex. I recently read comments on an A-2 web page by a serious A-2 collector who rated Lost World, The Real McCoy and Eastman ahead of yours. I thought you might like to here my comparison of your U.S. Authentic A-2 with two of these company's jackets.
I bought a Real McCoy (the New Zealand outfit) A-2 jacket around 1993. It cost $300.00 (U.S.). Plus I had to pay $30.00 customs. I ordered a size 44. It was perfect in color and had the Army Air Forces logo (I had asked for it) on the left sleeve, but their 44 was way too small. I gave it to my son. After two years or so the McCoy had not fared well. The knit cuffs and waistband had frayed and torn and the leather coating had deteriorated badly in the main wear areas. But my son had not put the jacket under a great deal of stress. I've got a friend who's had an Eastman A-2 for about three years, and said he paid around $750.00 for it and quite frankly it looks awful. It is nearly worn out. All the cuffs and waist band wool are worn through with holes and the lining is ripped and torn. The outer shell looks worn, not aged.
I found your A-2 purely by chance while surfing the net last summer and liked the look and price. The russet brown was what I've wanted for years and you advertised veg. versus chrome or drum tanning. I ordered it and have just now, because of the weather, been able to start seeing some of the newness wear off, but it certainly does not appear that your A-2 isn't strong enough to stand reasonable wear and tear. The only trouble is, with the McCoy 44 being so small, I ordered yours in a 46, and it swamps me. But I love it too much to send back.
I have one question for you though. After having a leather name tag sewed on the left front of the jacket at a shoe repair shop, I noticed a black scrape mark on the jacket (probably made while the guy was pulling the jacket around under the sewing machine). When I attempted to clean the spot with a leather cleaning liquid, the area turned black! I checked the inside of one of the pockets and it is clear that the jacket skin is brown below the surface tanning. What do you suppose made the surface of the skin turn lack like that? I was able to make a repair by buying a chocolate colored shoe touch up spray. The area is a bit shinier than the rest of the skin. Any suggestions for matching it all back up? This worries me. Is this jacket going to fade to a darker color over the years? (US Authentic comment- We strongly recommend that you have any repair done by us; you get a lifetime warrantee on the leather)
Overall, I'd say you have just as good a product line as the bigger boys. I'll keep you posted. Also, I'm considering ordering a 44R so I can have one to wear when I only wear a shirt. Have you narrowed your shoulder epaulets? That seems to be a universal criticism you've received. (US Authentic comment- yes we did, currently our stock A-2 jackets have epaulets width of 1 7/8" at the sleeve side tapering down to 1 1/2" at the neck side) Otherwise, What I've got looks good. And are you going to offer jackets with the Army Air Forces logo shoulder transfer? (US Authentic comment- We offer the AAF emblem hand painted or embroidered).