17 years ago...

Discussion in 'General Flight Jacket Discussion' started by Tom Bowers, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:41 PM.

  1. Tom Bowers

    Tom Bowers Member

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    From my archives, 2001 Militaria International cover promotional photo shoot for Reading PA WWII weekend. The B-17 is of course the Movie replica owned at the time by Dave Tallichet. I'm on the left wearing my 1984 vintage Avirex A-2, original gabardine flight suit, boots helmet A-10 gloves in the pocket of the flight suit, and original harness and mae west. On the right is Bob Azzarelli from Dunmore PA wearing his all original B-3, pants and cap along with original Mae West and chute harness. In the center is Greg Witmer, the warbird coordinator fr the event, and he has another old Avirex. We hadn't planned this but it was a huge amount of fun, after this I got to hoist myself, Gregory Peck style, into the B-17 and spend about an hour in the pilot's seat for some sadly lost photos. Great experience MI cover .jpg
     
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  2. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Well-Known Member

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    Cool photograph!
    I need to check that show out.
    Is it anything like the Show of Shows in Louisville
     
  3. Tom Bowers

    Tom Bowers Member

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    Not at all like SOS but in my opinion better. Huge WWII camp, great warbirds, WWII vehicles and a very large WWII flea market. Much more like the war and peace show in Beltring but with WWII aircraft,
     
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  4. johnwayne

    johnwayne Active Member

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    899
    Cool pic Tom and great to get into the cockpit but is an Avirex ever vintage?
     
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  5. Tom Bowers

    Tom Bowers Member

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    I bought my Avirex 35 years ago and have had many many adventures with it. That alone makes it (and me) vintage.

    Back then there were no "high end" hipster jackets out there. The japanese market hadn't happened yet, Eastman wouldn't start making jackets for another 17 years.

    In the 1980s you had few choices and one of the few who made a reasonably authentic jacket was Avirex

    Hard to remember now, but Avirex had a life before "top gun" and their current line of urban hip hop wear

    Back then they were the only game in town and they didn't make a bad jacket.

    They were also pretty "high end" for the day with their straight A-2 in Goatskin selling for $300.00+ in 1980s dollars, if you could find them.

    I do wish the color resolution on the magazine cover really showed the color of the jacket which is in a really nice lustrous seal brown with just the right amount of wear

    So, is it vintage? well one of the definitions of vintage is a period of existence and just on than merit and the classic A-2 style, it's just as vintage as a Made in China B-10 is

    Tom Bowers
     
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  6. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    5,202
    Location:
    Ireland
    Hi Tom, not having a go at your Avirex A-2 in any way. I also started out with one, but in the 80's was it not very easy to get hold of nice originals for $300 or less ? This may not have been the case. I'm just going by what I've heard from other sources.
     
  7. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

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    yeah, if you are of an age, your first date was with an avirex. my studio was 2 1/2 blocks from the original nyc factory and not so showroom, on the 7th floor in a building on lower broadway. jeff always there. as ya pored over what was then a significant purchase, ya could look at the folks running the sewing machines......probaly not unlike what you would have see had ya visited the aero beacon factory in 1942.....except on a way smaller scale. and, yup, i had one, wore the bejesus out of it, and thought it was the cats meow.......until......anon.
     
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  8. Tom Bowers

    Tom Bowers Member

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    Depends what you mean by easy to get ahold of.

    I've had original A-2s and never found one for less than 600.00 and I've been collecting militaria since I was 10 years old.

    I always heard stories that you could pick up A-2s for cheap, but not in my neck of the woods.

    I was also always a big guy so, I'm sure you can attest, size 46-48 A-2s were never in great supply, maybe if someone was a size 34-36 they could find one but not me.

    I had a B-6 that I could, and did wear but it was too fragile to continue wearing it and for a while I was svelt enough to wear one of my original A-2s but like she said "size matters" especially when it comes to jackets.

    Tom Bowers
     
  9. Tom Bowers

    Tom Bowers Member

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    back then there was no internet, no E-bay and importantly there wasn't anyone out there making a better one than Avirex

    It's easy to hate on them for what they become and I'm the first to roll my eyes at their top gun years and foreign made jackets

    But objectively, they made a decent jacket for the time but now others have raised the bar

    Tom Bowers
     
  10. Monsoon

    Monsoon Member

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    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    My first was an Avirex jacket. Saw the ad in "Sporty's" when I was stationed in Germany. I liked it and even bought one for my younger brother stationed south of me.

    I outgrew it (Damn, I wore a 40 when I was 22?), but still have it in the closet.
     
  11. johnwayne

    johnwayne Active Member

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    Sorry Tom my comment wasn't intended to degrade what at the time as you say was a decent attempt by Jeff Clyman and perhaps he doesn't get enough credit for his part in bringing flight jackets to the larger audience. Cowboys of the Sky was the first book I discovered that widened my knowledge and maybe turned me into the jacket nerd I've become! Furthermore, the Cockpit store was prob the first shop I sought out on my first visit to NYC in '92 I think it was. If only he have stayed true to his beliefs and reproduced more faithful jackets instead of the mall type, baggy fit they turned into. Re 'vintage' then to me that reads 'original' and like you say again, pre- internet days unless you knew where to look and even more difficult this side of the pond, such jackets were hard to come by.
     
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