Jacket, Flying, Type A-2, United States Army Air Forces, Gen. Charles E. Yeager


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

In 1931, the United States Air Corps issued an order to update and modify the Type A-1 flight jacket. The significant design changes of the jacket included replacing the button down front with a zipper and the knit collar with a leather drop fall collar. The new jacket was designated -- Type A-2. This jacket became associated with American pilots serving on every front during World War II and is still issued by the U.S. Air Force today. Many pilots and aircrews modified their jackets with custom artwork that depicted the name of their aircraft. These jackets are nick named "Painted Ladies" for the common practice of using the pinup girls for the aircraft's name and nose art.

On October 14, 1947, flying the Bell XS-1 #1, Capt. Charles "Chuck" Yeager, USAF, became the first pilot to fly faster than sound. The XS-1, later designated X-l, reached Mach 1.06, 700 mph, at an altitude of 43,000 feet, over the Mojave Desert near Muroc Dry Lake, California. The flight demonstrated that aircraft could be designed to fly faster than sound, and the concept of a ‘sound barrier" crumbled into myth. This Type A-2 Flight Jacket was worn by Yeager on this record breaking flight.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Donated by Gen. and Mrs. Charles E. Yeager


Leather, brass, natural fabric, wool


  • Clothing: 69.9 x 81.3 x 7.6cm (27 1/2 x 32 x 3 in.)
  • Clothing Size: 40

Country of Origin

United States of America

Physical Description

United States Army Air Forces Type A-2 Flying Jacket; waist length seal brown horsehide jacket with brown knit wool cuffs and waist band; brass zipper down front; two front flap pockets with hidden snaps; stand and fall collar with snaps; brown rayon lining; shoulder straps; dark brown sewn in manufacturer's tag with embroidered gold text on inside collar (see inscriptions for full text).



Inventory Number