The first reproduction RAF test jacket that I made is now one year old, so I thought I’d take some comparison photos of the jacket next to an original wartime jacket. The test jacket is starting to show lots of character, and is looking more and more like an original 1940s jacket.
The original wartime jacket in the photos isn’t the one that I used to make that pattern from – that jacket is still in pieces, in a box, awaiting ‘re-cronstruction’! There are a lot of similarities though between my first test jacket, and this original. I like the way that the sheepskin is developing creases in the same places as the original, and is looking like it’s had a fair few trips in a Spitfire or Lancaster!
Here are the photos – can you tell which is the original one? (Click on the image to see a larger version)
Although not a jacket that I have made (and it’s a nylon flight jacket, rather than sheepskin) I thought I’d share this. I have collected vintage flying jackets for some years now, and I bought this 1970s USAF flight jacket recently. I looked up the patches and found some info about NCAR, which I hadn’t heard about and it sounded interesting.
The name tag had a piece of black tape over it, which I removed to find the pilots name – Jim Ragni. I Googled him and found some great info. It’s always good to be able to link a vintage jacket to its owner – particularly when they have such an interesting story.
Here are a few photos of the jacket, a short bio of Jim Ragni, and a link to a page with info about what he was up to at NCAR.
“NCAR’s latest research aircraft will be in the capable hands of Jim Ragni, an Air Force veteran with some 8,000 hours of flight time. Luckily for NCAR, Jim flew a WB-57F (then designated the RB-57F) on a variety of air-force reconnaissance missions worldwide. Now, 21 years later, Jim and a NASA pilot based in Houston are the only pilots currently flying the two remaining WB-57Fs out of the original 21 built. Jim’s experience includes 100 combat missions over North Vietnam in the F4 Phantom jet, for which he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and eleven Air Medals. With a B.S. in economics and a master’s degree in international relations, Jim also served with the State Department as the U.S. air attache in Nigeria from 1973 to 1975, logging some time in the Soviet-built MIG with the Nigerian air force”.
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