Current USAF Issue A-2s

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by HackerF15E, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Oklahoma
    This exchange from the "Obama's A-2" thread got me to thinking, and inspired me to take a trip down to the Flight Equipment Issue office at my current AFB.

    At the base I'm at, the equipment issue office maintains a rack of A-2s that are used for fitting/trying on. They have every size from 36 up to 48, and a variety of manufacturers. I figured that would help sort out what jackets had what features.

    Here's what the rack looks like:

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    Some details of the jackets hanging up there:

    In this photo (L to R): An Orchard, a Saddlery, (unknown), and an Avirex.
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    In this photo (L to R): a couple Saddleries and a Cockpit USA.
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    A Saddlery, Cockpit USA, and Orchard:
    [​IMG]

    First off, regarding the question of side panels: we're both correct. It looks like Saddlery jackets size 42 and smaller had no side panels, and 44 and larger did (that would explain why the ones I owned in 42 didn't).

    First up, 1995 Size 36 Saddlery without side panel:
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    Next, a 1995 Size 48 Saddlery with side panel (but no underarm gussets):
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    More images in the next post....
     
  2. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    On to some of the other things I learned today:

    The most interesting thing I learned is that the side-panels-and-gussets mod did not start exclusively with the Avirex jackets in '98, nor did all Avirex jackets have the gussets from the beginning of their contract.

    Here is a '98 Avirex in 44R that does not have gussets or side panels.
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    Here is a '98 Saddlery WITH side panels and gussets
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    Here is a 1992 Orchard -- a bit of a rarity:
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    Here is one of the new Cockpit USA jackets (made in 07). These are the most currently-supplied jackets...and they are HORRIBLE. This, IMHO, represents the absolute lowest in A-2 quality that I've ever seen outside of fakes in Korea. Although the tag claims the shell to be actual leather, it appears to my eyes to be some kind of pleather/fake. Even if it is the real thing, it looks, feels, and wears absolutely terribly. The people working in supply related stories to me of these Cockpit jackets delaminating and cracking even only a short time after issue.
    [​IMG]
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    Cooper A-2 and kasa7 like this.
  3. captaincaveman1

    captaincaveman1 A-List Customer

    Cool. Much of the A-2 threads are focused on $$$ WW2 repros. This is an interesting change from the usual fare. Thanks for posting. Yes, the hide on that last Cockpit looks odd. Grain actually reminds me of horse.
     
  4. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    HackerF15E, that is great information. Thank you. I just checked my "quiver" and I found the same as what you report. Both of my size 48 Saddlery jackets ('88 and '96) have side panels but no gussets. Both of my '98 Avirex jackets lack side panels and gussets. My '92 Orchard/Branded Leather lacks side panels and gussets, but has an interior pocket.

    Looking at the new A-2s produced by Cockpit makes me glad that I limited my collection to the first edition of the new A-2. Those new jackets look terrible and plastic. What a shame.

    AF
     
  5. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    Reminds me of the leather typically found in a '76 Imperial Leather G-1. Hardcore cow. Sometimes late at night, if you listen closely, you can hear it "moo".

    AF
     
  6. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Location:
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    I have a '76 Imperial G-1...and it is positively luxurious compared to that Cockpit jacket. The Imperial is WAY better...it's offended that you even compared it to the Cockpit A-2.
     
  7. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    Location:
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    This is my old Imperial. Weighs a ton. Stiff as a 2X4. Squeaks like a flock of seagulls when you wear it. Collar makes you sweat like its made of melted down Mountain Dew bottles.

    Man oh man, we gotta get you something C-series or older! Keep poking around over on VLJ...we'll hook you up!

    [​IMG]
     
    davyjones007 likes this.
  8. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Yep, sounds pretty much like mine. I didn't know very much about 1970s G-1s when I bought it, so I didn't know it was considered the lowest point in G-1 history. The funny thing is, I actually like mine in a really twisted way...it seems like it's so thick and stiff (sts) that it's actually bulletproof. It seems like it would be a great jacket for a snowstorm...or a hurricane...or acid rain...or getting drug under a truck like Indiana Jones.

    Here's a quick snap of my '76 Imperial hanging out with my issued '99 Avirex.
    [​IMG]

    Definitely hope so!
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  9. Republic_Flier

    Republic_Flier Familiar Face

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    USA
    HackerF15e i think i might have seen you on another forum before not trying to be a creep or anything, but your avatar looks real familiar. While I'm at it you fly f15's?
     
  10. HepKitty

    HepKitty One Too Many

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    It must be fun to fly Strike Eagles. Or any other fighter jet for that matter
     
  11. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Location:
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    Yes, I've used that avatar on other forums. Most likely the same guy. Not flying Eagles currently, but have at various times in my career.
     
  12. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Fun, but work too. Fun right up until the point when the bad guys start shooting back.
     
  13. Republic_Flier

    Republic_Flier Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    USA
    Do you wear your issue jackets at all or is it not so popular these days?
     
  14. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Personally, yes -- I have a '99 Avirex with all of the 'evil' new design features (so say the purists!) that I prefer to wear on the ground much more than any of the Aramid jackets.

    In flight, I don't wear it. Partly because in the past it was prohibited, but also because the 36/P jacket is much thinner than the A-2 and easier to wear in a single-seat cockpit. The 36/P also has pockets that are accessible while wearing a parachute harness and a pen pocket on the sleeve.

    I posted over on VLJ about how some USAF pilots -- some fighter pilots, specifically -- don't wear the A-2. I don't happen to agree with the reasons some guys dislike it, and choose to buck the trend.

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    davyjones007 likes this.
  15. captaincaveman1

    captaincaveman1 A-List Customer

    ^^Great pic. Thanks for posting. I've found that pics of contemporary flight crews wearing the current issue A-2 are rather rare. Or perhaps my google skills just suck. Again, quite refreshing to see A-2s from the modern era.
     
  16. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Location:
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    The photo was taken over at Kleine Brogel Air Base over in Belgium. That raptor was used to chase away birds from the airfield -- I swear for the first minute that I had him perched on my hand, he just stared at me in preparation for trying to kill me. I'm fairly certain that he could have, too!

    I've found that the tanker/transport/cargo pilots and crew wear the A-2s orders of magnitude more than fighter/bomber/trainer guys do. Just a cultural thing, for better or worse.

    The only thing I don't like about my jacket is the fit: it's a size 46, which fits perfect across the shoulders and chest, but balloons out and makes me look enormous around the middle. I've put serious thought to taking it to a leather tailor and having the whole bottom end modified, but am too lazy to do it (and I'm sure it would cost way more than it's worth to have it done).
     
    davyjones007 likes this.
  17. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

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    Location:
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    I work in the Pentagon from time to time and I have only seen one older gentleman, who didnt look like he had flown for quite a while, wear an A2. I havent seen any pilot or senior officer wear an A2 or G1 other than that one person. They all wear green flight jackets, Im not much into flight jackets, so I dont know what they are called. In fact, the only people I see wearing the A2 jackets are the weapons contractors and sales people and they stick out like a sore thumb.
     
  18. HepKitty

    HepKitty One Too Many

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    That would be the downside...
     
  19. HackerF15E

    HackerF15E Familiar Face

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    Oklahoma
    There you have it! Doesn't surprise me, frankly. The non-pilots (controllers, etc) seem to love it, which is some of the reason some pilots don't like it.

    Indeed...but the flying part is pretty cool, too.

    The Eagle is actually a very easy airplane to fly. Pilots transitioning into it take a commercial/multi/instrument checkride in it after only 7 flights.
     
  20. HepKitty

    HepKitty One Too Many

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    *sigh* I would have if I could have, I'm too short though. 7 flights if you already have a commercial/multi/instrument rating? That's really cool. Sorry everyone didn't mean to hijack the thread
     
    davyjones007 likes this.

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