MA-1 Nylon Mil. Spec Jacket

  • USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket:Water repellent
  • 100% flight nylon outer shell
  • Quilted nylon lining and polyester interlining
  • Side arm pocket and high angled front pockets
  • Front zipper closure with storm flap
  • Knit collar, cuffs and waistband
  • Signature utility/pencil pocket
  • Inside reverses to Emergency Orange for high visibility during rescue missions
  • Military fitted look
In stock
SKU
0071
Now Only $150.00 Regular Price $160.00

US Military Genuine Army, Navy and Air force, govt. spec nylon flight jacket, satin reversible to bright orange, inside map pocket and pen slots on left sleeve zipper pocket, insulated with 100% polyester fill. The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket was first developed in the mid 1950's.

The MA-1 and its predecessor, the B-15 Flight Jacket, were needed at that time because the emergence of the jet age created new requirements for pilot performance, safety and comfort. Prior to the invention of jet aircraft, fleece-lined leather military jackets were issued to flight personnel. However, the new jets could fly at much higher altitudes and in much colder temperatures than propeller aircraft. If the heavy, bulky leather flight jackets became wet from rain (when the pilot walked to his aircraft) or from perspiration, the water would freeze at high altitudes, making the jackets cold and uncomfortable. Also, the new jets were more streamlined in design. Cockpits were cramped and filled with new equipment. Speedy, unimpeded access to and from cockpits became even more critical for safety. Rather than bulky leather, a sleek, lightweight yet warm jacket was needed for the new jet technology. To meet these needs, a new type of flight jacket was developed. The material selected for the jacket was high quality nylon. Nylon had been discovered prior to World War II but it was not used in flight clothing until after the war, possibly because the demand for nylon for items such as parachutes consumed the available supply during the war. The initial nylon flight jacket was designed in about 1946. It was called the B-15 flight jacket (MIL-J-6251).  The B-15 was similar to the MA-1 Flight Jacket except that it had a mouton fur collar. After a few years, it was discovered that the B-15 fur collar frequently interfered with placement of the pilot's parachute or other equipment and the Air Force decided to discontinue the B-15 and replace it with the new MA-1 flight jacket. The first USAF MA-1 Flight Jackets were issued around 1949 or 1950 to United States Air Force and Navy pilots and flight crews. Small numbers were also issued to Army flight personnel. Alpha Industries' first government contract was awarded in 1958 (MIL-J-1958B). MA-1 military jackets first appeared in Europe in very small quantities in the mid-to-late 1950's probably on the black market and at sales of government surplus. In the early to mid-1960's more MA-1 jackets appeared in Europe as Alpha Industries began to export MA-1 flight jackets and other military clothing to European Air Forces and commercial customers. MA-1 Is an All Season jacket. The MA-1 Flight Jacket was designed by the Air Force to serve as an Intermediate Weight Flight Jacket for use all year. This was accomplished by manufacturing the USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket from very high quality nylon fabrics and polyester interlinings. The light weight nylon design allowed the pilot in warm weather to wear the jacket open and be comfortable; upon entering the aircraft, the pilot could zip the USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket closed and be afforded ample protection against the cold conditions encountered in flight.

Design of the MA-1 Flight Jacket

The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket has undergone various design modifications during its long history of use, but its classic, highly functional design has remained basically the same. The original design was contained in U.S. Government Military Specification "MIL-J-8279." Changes to the USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket were periodically made by the Air Force. These occurred because of the introduction of new textiles, new sewing techniques or new aircraft cockpit design which required a change in the jacket design. The Military Specification was amended to reflect the changes, which was signaled by adding a letter to the Mil. Spec. For example, MA-1 specifications progressed from the original number Mil-J-8279, to J-8279A, J-8279B, J-8279C, etc. The most recent revision, J-8279F, was issued in the early 1980's. The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket as originally designed was made from a high quality nylon outer shell and a nylon lining. In between these nylon layers was a double-faced wool material for warmth. After a few years the wool interlining was replaced by the newly developed polyester fiberfill interlining. The polyester replaced the wool because it made the jacket much lighter and provided superior warmth. The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket introduced two major design changes from its predecessor, the B-15. First, the MA-1 discarded the mouton fur collar and substituted a knit collar. This was done because the fur collar interfered with the parachute harness worn by the aviators. Another important change that appeared in the mid 1960's (MIL-J8279D) was to make the jacket reversible and add the bright Indian Orange lining. If the airplane crash-landed and the pilot escaped, he could reverse the jacket to the orange side for a highly visible signal to rescue personnel. Other changes have been made to the original MA-1 design over the years. For example, the early MA-1 models contained a front tab where the pilot could clip his oxygen mask when not in use. After several years, advances in airplane design and pilot helmet oxygen systems made the clip-on arrangement unnecessary, and the front tab was removed from the jacket. Similarly, the first MA-1 models had sewn loops to hold the wired running from the radio to the pilot's helmet. When radio improvements made this unnecessary, the sewn loops were removed from the jacket. The early MA-1 flight jackets used by the Air Force had the United Sates Air Force insignia printed on the sleeve. This was dropped in later MA-1 models in favor of sewn-on patches or insignia of the specific military units. The MA-1 and its ancestor, the B-15, were produced in two colors: Sage Green and Midnight Blue. Blue was the original color used by the military but it was soon replaced by the sage green color. During the Korean War period, (1950-1953) mixing flight clothing from multiple time periods and colors was not unusual. Presumably, the green was eventually adopted because it blended more easily with the environment should the pilot need camouflage protection on the ground.

Technical Details of the Vintage USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket

Each Alpha jacket is engineered for the highest quality. Consistency in construction in all Alpha MA-1 flight jackets ensures that every Alpha MA-1 jacket looks identical and meets strict standards. The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket requires 57 separate sewing operations. These operations are highly engineered and each has a distinct quality purpose. The utility pocket, originally called the "cigarette pocket" involves 8 sewing operations. The embroidered Alpha logo label is stitched into the left pocket, along with the white "specification" label. The labels are sewn inside so that they will not show if the jacket is reversed. When comparing the authentic Alpha MA-1 to other MA-1's, look for the following special details in our construction: * For extra strength - edge stitching on pocket flaps, bar tacks on interior and exterior pockets to prevent tearing, reinforced pocket snaps, double needle lap seams on sleeves, top stitching on jacket back and cuffs; * A neatly constructed utility pocket with a % inch taper and square corners in the bellows construction, with precisely positioned pencil point protectors; * The knit at the bottom of the jacket is attached to the shell of the jacket, (not sewn between the jacket lining and the shell, because that type of construction can result in a lumpy appearance), and the knit is stretched uniformly over the bottom width of the coat, stopping about 1.5 inches from the ends of the shell. * The quilt on the storm flap is constructed using a 3 inch quilt on the points, + or -1/4 inch. The Alpha MA-1 Flight Jacket that is sold to the commercial market has several deviations from the government specification. These changes have little or no effect on the appearance and performance of the jackets. They are done to make the jackets more salable to retailers and consumers. These deviations include: * Water repellent treated. This makes the garment more resistant to water and wind; * Knit collar, cuffs and waistband are an acrylic blend rather than 100% wool. It has been found that wool does not wear as well as acrylic and is subject to insect damage. * The interlining is a cut staple, non-quilted polyester batting rather than a quilted, continuous staple polyester batting. The USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket is perhaps the most popular clothing item ever designed for the United States military forces. Its official name is "Jacket, Flyers, Man's Intermediate Type MA-1" (MIL-J-8279). Alpha Industries (and its predecessor, Dobbs Industries), has continuously manufactured the USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket since the 1950's. Alpha is the largest and virtually only supplier of the MA-1 jacket for the United States military from the 1950's to date. Shop vintage flight jackets online today!

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