From top gun fighter pilots to models on the runway, the MA-1 is undeniably one of the most recognizable jackets in history. Designed for the high caliber fighter pilots of World War II, the MA-1 has experienced a very rich history and is a piece of gear like no other. Be you a pilot or someone that just likes to have good gear, the MA-1 bomber jacket is one of the best articles of clothing to have in your closet. Here’s why…
History of the MA-1 bomber jacket
The start of the MA-1
During the later years of the second world war, jet aircraft were very quickly replacing propeller driven aircraft such as the famed P-51 Mustang. As most of you know, jets bring with them a LOT of power. Much more than that of a propeller plane. With all of that performance comes many challenges. The primary issue that came about with jet aircraft was the size of their cockpits. The cockpits of fighter jets in general (but especially early ones) are INCREDIBLY cramped compared to that of their propeller driven counterparts. The jackets that were being issued before the MA-1 were B-15 flight jackets. These were thick, leather and wool flight jackets. They worked fine for more spacious cockpits but for the tight, cramped cockpits of fighter jets, the B-15 wasn’t cutting it. The MA-1 solved this issue by both getting rid of the large wool collar, and manufacturing the new MA-1s out of nylon instead of cotton. Being made of nylon, these new jackets were small, lightweight, sleek and as an added bonus, water resistant. MA-1 jackets were one of the first pieces of clothing to be produced using nylon! Another one of these issues was the extremely low temperatures at high altitudes. The service ceilings of jet aircraft are much greater than that of propeller driven planes. With these high service ceilings comes very low temperatures. Of course these planes are heated, but it can still get very chilly up there. The MA-1 was the solution to this problem as it was both lightweight and sleek, but also warm. The first of these jackets to produced were made in blue, but green was chosen to be the final color.
The MA-1 bomber jacket in modern day culture
After the Vietnam war and much of the fighting ceased, many people started purchasing military surplus. One of the most popular pieces was (you guessed it) the MA-1 bomber jacket! As more people started to wear these military jackets, the MA-1 was found to be quite fashionable. The MA-1 first started to become famous when it was popularized by British mods or “skinheads”. As the world started to see how good the MA-1 looked casually, its popularity exploded. Today, the fashion scene has taken a liking to the MA-1. The jacket can be found on almost any fashion runway (no pun intended 😉 ). But what was ultimately the purpose of the MA-1 bomber jacket?
Purpose of the MA-1
The main purpose of the MA-1 bomber jacket was primarily comfort. Like I talked about before, the jacket was quite literally designed to be comfortable in tight spaces. This is one of the reasons I not only recommend an MA-1 to pilots, but to anyone. They really are a joy to wear. But I’ll get more into that later.
Safety and survivability
One of the most important aspects of the MA-1 was the fact that it helped keep pilots alive in wartime scenarios. If a pilot somehow ejects from their plane and end up in the jungle, the MA-1 keeps them incredibly warm. One of the very interesting things about the MA-1 is the fact that it’s made of nylon. Nylon, being a water resistant material, makes the MA-1 very good at keeping pilots dry in wet locations. Thus reducing the chance of hypothermia. The MA-1 really is an amazing piece of gear.
The MA-1 bomber jacket is, quite literally, made to last. An authentic MA-1 bomber jacket will last its wearer years if taken care of. Anyone that wants a warm piece of clothing that will last a long time, the MA-1 is undoubtedly the best way to go.
Why the MA-1 is perfect for pilots
When it comes to aviators, an MA-1 bomber jacket is probably the most useful piece of gear for the money. They are relatively cheap and will serve its wearer well. One of the primary reasons an MA-1 jacket is perfect for any pilot, (not just fighter pilots) is the fact that they allow for much more movement. Any other, more bulky jacket will reduce the pilots ability to move around the cockpit more comfortably. This isn’t necessarily a benefit to safety (although it can be), but is more in the tune of comfort. Say you’re on a very long flight in a small single engine aircraft. Having a jacket that restricts your movement is very slowly going to become a huge pain in the butt. This is why I HIGHLY recommend that all pilots have at least some form of an MA-1. They will make your piloting life much much easier in the long run.
Why you need an MA-1
But what about people that aren’t pilots? Are MA-1s good for them too? Absolutely they are! Like I said before, the MA-1 is made to last. When I say it’s made it last I mean it’s made to last. These jackets can take a beating and have nothing to show for it. This makes them incredible jackets to work in! For those of you that need a durable and warm, yet light jacket, I can not recommend an MA-1 enough. They’re comfy as hell and they look good in doing so. Even for those that don’t need a work jacket, MA-1s are very comfortable quite stylish. They’re amazing for the fall and winter months!
Where can you find an authentic MA-1?
Where can you find one of these bad boys? If you just Google “MA-1” you’ll get thousands of different jackets. I strongly recommend that you purchase an authentic jacket if you’re going to buy an MA-1. Authentic MA-1s are much higher in quality than their copy-cat counterparts. I’ve taken the liberty or finding three of the best, authentic MA-1 bomber jackets to save you some time! they can be found below.
In conclusion, the MA-1 bomber jacket has experienced a very vast history. From the runways of WW2 to the runways of today’s fashion shows, the MA-1 is a timeless piece of gear. This jacket has become one of the most recognizable in the world, but also one of the most versatile. They are good for pilots, but anyone else as well. Overall MA-1s are an incredible piece of gear and should not be overlooked.
I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article and I hope to see you in the next one!
Check out my last post on how an F-16 dodged six SAMs! you can find it here!