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MA-1 Flight jacket

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Jwag, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Jwag

    Jwag Familiar Face

    Just wanted some information on the MA1 jacket. I know there are tons of knock-offs, and reproductions. However I just found a really nice MA1 made by I. Spiewak in USA for $45. Wanted to know if this is a true government issue, and when it was made, also what it's worth. I DID buy it, because I was impressed with it. I have another MA1 made by Sturm Mil-Tech(a knock off). The Spiewak is made so much better. I can't believe I found it in an old general store.


    Stock #1018-695-1621
    Contract RSG/409-1979 N
    I. Spiewak & Sons
  2. Hi Jwag. While Spiewak makes fine jackets, I'm pretty sure they never made MA-1s for the government. The spec tag on your jacket indicates it is a E-series MA-1. All E-series MA-1s would have either a DSA or DLA number on their tags. If yours doesn't then its a civilian jacket.

    Here's a photo of a tag from an issued D-series MA-1. Notice the DSA number and the two digits following the 100 in that number..."67". That is the contract year of that jacket. Of course, there is also a date on the tag.


    Here's the jacket the tag is in...a 1967 Satellite Outerwear.


  3. blazerbud

    blazerbud One of the Regulars

    I guess that's a good price.

    I thought real flight jackets were nomex. Typically about $200 to $300, I've seen them for about $150 used.
  4. The MA-1 appeared in 1954 or thereabout. The first editions are basically re-named B-15D Mods. Of course, nomex wasn't even a dream in those days. Nomex flight jackets weren't issued until the mid to late seventies. There were some test jackets in between, but the nomex CWU-45P and the CWU-36P ultimately replaced the nylon MA-1 and L-2b flight jackets. Even then, the F-series MA-1 remained around for a few more years as a ground-crew jacket.

    As to value, vintage MA-1s range all over the map. Age, condition and size are all factors in jacket price. A size XL, first edition Mil-J-8279 in excellent condition can cost several hundred bucks. Later E-series jackets are much less expensive. Size medium jackets also bring lower prices because many more mediums were made in every contract.

    As to the price of modern nomex jackets, if you are careful, you can get them for almost nothing. I've paid as little as 99 cents (the opening bid) for an issued Alpha CWU-45P. I once bought an issued CWU-36P for $9.99.

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  5. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

    When did the tiny pocket flaps appear on the MA-1 jackets? Or were those just something added for the civilian market?

    Regarding sizing of vintage MA-1 jackets, what "letter" size would members recommend for a 42L size?
  6. Peacoat

    Peacoat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    As large as you can find, and even then it may be a bit short for a 42L. These vintage flight jackets had a tendency to shrink. One reason may be that they were often washed and not dry cleaned, as the instructions mandated.
  7. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    I never saw any 'tiny flaps' on MA-1's. They all had snaps on the seam of the pocket edge from what I recall. The L2B's had flaps?
    I wear a 42 suit, ELC and Aero. My issued MA-1 is an Ex-Large. It is still a black and gold tag 'B' series. Made by Dobbs Ind. 68% wool, 42% cotton.
    I was given it late '79. As ROTC we got much older issue.
    It fits very well as it did then. I'm still around 185lbs.

    It appeared unissued despite the age. I've yet to have to clean it.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  8. Peacoat

    Peacoat My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Some of the flight jackets (MA-1, L2-B) had the pocket flaps, but I don't know the years. Both of mine were issued in the mid 60s and have only the snap pockets. They are both size large and have the standard white tag located inside the left hand warmer pocket. An extra large would give me a better fit today--my chest is 42". Was a size 40 back then.

    How did you get a flight jacket issued in ROTC; were you in a flight training program?
  9. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Yes, I was. Although I'd gotten my private license in high school ( I had about 60hrs before college).
    They took us to Truax Field in Madison were the Wis Air Guard had a program.
    I wore a 39L for my Class A at the time. Who knows how long that jacket was there. ;)
  10. kowalski

    kowalski Practically Family

    hi Jwag Wery nice jacket , made in 67 y !!! is in very good condition, ! very very good price !!

    it my MA1 jacket - repro Alpha ...


    And oryginal Alpha MA1 , I won the auction, I'm a winner!!!:eek: jacket goes to me anymore :cool: (clik in small foto \details jacket I personally am a big fan \ advocate (?) company Alpha


    bought for good money i think

    my inspiration jacket MA1 - it film ; Huter \St Mc Quenn.

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  11. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

    Looks like a nice jacket, Kowalski, one of the Vintage series Alpha jackets which I'm assuming were much nicer than their regular models. Thanks for the size info Peacoat. Interesting about the pockets Peacoat and Archbury. I suspect these jackets won't work for me since I'm a Long size and to size up would mean looking like a puffy michelin man.
  12. MA-1s began having pocket flaps with the introduction of the E series jackets in 1971. The opposite occured with respect to the L-2B. They origionally had epaulettes, pocket flaps and zipper box flaps but all of that had disappeared by the time the H Series jackets were introduced in the mid sixties. There was actually at least one L-2B contract that had zipper box flaps but no pocket flaps or epaulettes. I've never understood what was the thinking about having flaps or not.

    1960 B-Series Ownbey MA-1. No flaps.


    1971 E-Series Alpha MA-1. Flaps.


    1958 B-Seies Rolen L-2B. Epaulettes, pocket faps and zipper box flap.


    1967 H-Series Satellite L-2B. Clean as a whistle. No epaulettes or flaps of any kind.


  13. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

    Always like your "nylon" posts AF, you've got such a great collection.

    And Kowalski, nice MA-1. The Vintage Series Alphas are not too shabby. I have a Vintage Series B-15C which I really like. Not 100% accurate but well made, looks good and very, very nicely priced.
  14. Thank you, Smithy.

    I forgot to mention, by 1971 the pocket flaps had returned to the L-2B...but not the epaulettes or zipper box flap. Again, there doesn't seem to be a logical reason for the disappearing and reappearing pocket flaps.

    1971 Alpha J-Series L-2B


  15. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

    The Alpha Vintage Series :) I have 4, 1 x Green MA1 & 2 x Green B15s & a Blue B15. Still looking out for an XL MA1 in the Blue (one for sale, used on the Bay but vendor wanting £150.00...too rich for my blood). Oh and an L2B in XL...rare as hens teeth :(
  16. Yes, good vintage nylon is getting very difficult to find...especially in size XL. Its hard to imagine, but just eight or nine years ago issued MA-1s and L-2Bs were almost plentiful on eBay. In fact, in those days, most nylon collectors over on VLJ wouldn't have been interested in a nylon flight jacket unless it was blue or it was in good condition and had a black tag. Most guys bought orange liner jackets just to use as beaters. And nobody gave a flip about repros...except Ricksons...and a few of us didn't care about them.

    Nowadays, all that I see on eBay is cheap reproductions and a very few originals in terrible condition. Oh well. At some time in history even original A-2s and M-422As were dirt cheap.

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  17. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

    Atticus: Thanks for your help, have now purchased a Bi Swing CWU 36 in XL (1980) a Centre MFG Co contract.
  18. kowalski

    kowalski Practically Family

    old jacket kontract (67-70 y made) dry cleaned or in the washing machine ? Label in pocket does not give any information ; traditional laundry :washing: or chemically :washing: ? :help:;)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  19. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

    Slight diversion, but the relentless rain over here has me considering a hooded MA-1 or N-2B. Any recommendations for makes/sourcing them? Alpha seem to be popular, but wondering if there other equally good makes or is it worth looking for a vintage one?
  20. Justhandguns

    Justhandguns Practically Family

    I have a single experience with dry cleaning a late 60s' L-2B jacket and it came back looking just fine. I guess that is the way to go. I am not sure if your vintage MA-1 maye have wool inner lining or not. Some other nylon flight jacket expect may be able to tell you.

    I think it is a safe bet to get the N-2B up north. There are still plenty of vintage N-2B floating around in mint conditions, I think they are certainly of better quality than modern made Alpha's, especially those made in China ones. I considered getting the N-2B earlier on but later scored an Alpha B-15D Vintage series for a very reasonable price. No hood though with the B-15D.

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