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.