Flight/Aviator Jacket Recommendation?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by heydude, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. heydude

    heydude New in Town

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    I want to buy a COOL flight / aviator brown leather jacket.

    I am told there is nothing like horween AERO horsehide. Do they have a place in the US to order from?

    What do you recommend? What brand? links / pics! do you have one yourself! Show it!
     
  2. Foster

    Foster One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    N.C., U.S.A.
    I like flight jackets myself, but they can be addictive.
    If you're looking for a simple leather flight jacket, I recommend the A2. If you need something warmer there are shearling flight jackets which also use horsehide as reinforcement or to join seams. The USN models of flight jackets are also popular, but I prefer the USAAF styles myself.
    If you want a stitch for stitch replica that really captures the details of originals by contract, I suggest Good Wear Leather.
    Eastman Leather makes great jackets but some details differ from originals, especially if you just get a brand name one (not a copy of an original contract). I have been impressed that Eastman seems to be using more authentic hides the past few years.
    Aero has beautiful horsehide they use in their A2 jackets.
    As for other makers, there are some but I am not very familiar with them, so others will need to share their observations on those.
     
  3. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,713
    Location:
    UK
    If I was in the States,and looking for an A2, I would certainly be knocking on GoodWear's door.

    A long wait time, but a US company, and certainly the most accurate. And brilliant quality.

    Both Eastman and Aero make pretty good ones (I've bought both), but being in England, that is easy for me.:D
     
  4. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,491
    Location:
    Texas
    You might also look at Gibson & Barnes since you are in the USA. My experience is that G&B jackets run somewhat large, so you might want to go one size down. I think that Aero A-2's are mostly mid-weight horsehide and not tanned by Horween. Should you go with Aero, consider either their "1950's Flight Jacket" or their "Happy Days" Jacket, both made with Horween FQHH. I think that the FQHH might be a bit too heavy for an A-2, but that is just my opinion.
     
  5. I own a over half dozen Aero's, including a recent A2 and M422.
    I also own/have own Goodwear, ELC, Gibson and Barnes, Superior Flight Apparel jackets

    I LOVE Aero's heavy horsehide on their civiian jackets. Would NOT want it on an A2. For many folks, an "off the rack" A2 doesn't fit all that comfortably. Often a bit of pinching across the shoulders, restricted room across the back.
    Now...make an A2 out of heavy full quarter HH that Aero uses.....you better make sure the jacket is a perfect fit for you. Difficult even with a custom made jacket.
    About a year ago I custom ordered an A2 directly from Aero. Having purchased many civilian jackets from them over the years I figured that they had my design down pat...and discussed the measurements with them.
    The jacket was uncomfortably tight across the shoulders and back, sleeves too short and body length way too short. I returned it, and they made me another A2 that fit much better....though I hardly wear it as it is not nearly as comfortable as my other A2's.
    As impressed as I am with Aero's FQHH, I am not all that impressed with the leather they used on the 2 A2's they sent me.
    Stiff, no grain. OK leather, but again, not as nice as my other A2's

    IMO the BEST A2 repro maker out there is John Chapman at Goodwear.
    He routinely gets great leathers from around the world, jacket designs are full of vintage "vibe", and according to those who collect WW2 A2's, is spot on in his recreation of the different A2 contracts.

    I also prefer his M422's (basically G1 design.). Great goatskin, great vintage mouton, excellent design capturing the original vintage designs better than any other maker I have seen. (I do own several vintage G1's/M422's to compare with.)

    ELC makes nice A2's....leather is good, design good....don't like their fit (basically their jackets are "off the rack" standard sizes/measurements. If you are a bit tall/short, long/ sort armed, too bad. ) For what they cost, I feel my money is much better sent on a GW.

    My Gibson and Barnes is a nice jacket..the goat skin not nearly as nice as Goodwear offers. Mine is "custom fit". They charge extra for it. The fit is OK...but not spot on as I expect with a jacket custom designed to my measurements.

    Recently received an A1 from Mark at Superior Flight Apparel. A SUPERB jacket. Custom made...absolutely nailed my fit, uses the same leathers Goodwear uses. Great to deal with. He also does A2's. VERY reasonably priced.

    The only experience I have with Bill Kelso was disappointing.
    I recently received one of their W&G M422's new from them.
    Despite some good reviews I read here and at the Vintage Leather Jacket forum, I was very disappointed with the fit and leather quality.
    Their A2's look nice in pictures...but I'm not willing to take the risk again, especially with what fit/design issues I see as inherent in any A2 design.
    Rather save up for another Goodwear or Superior Flight Apparel.
    Not thrilled with their "customer service". Very polite..but the 2 week delivery time they quoted me when I specifically asked them how long it would take and if they had all the materials they needed to make the jacket turned into several months.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  6. /|\

    /|\ One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Birch Bay
    I have a goatskin Navy G-1 from Gibson & Barnes. I grew up in San Diego, and spent a lot of time at NAS (now MCAS) Miramar. Pilots from Miramar often bought G-1s from Flightsuits, Ltd. (the former name of G&B); and if they're good enough for them, they're good enough for me! I am completely satisfied by the product. Looks good, feels good. Too bad I've gotten too fat to wear it! My Royal blue Nomex jacket has gotten a lot of use, and a lot of air time.

    Whether it's jackets, flight suits, or helmet components, Flightsuits, Ltd./Gibson & Barnes has always given me exemplary customer service.
     

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