B-1 and B-2 suits: one for winter, one for fall

Discussion in 'General Flight Jacket Discussion' started by zoomer, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    The Type B-1 winter flight jacket and A-1 trouser, of horsehide lined with shearling, were designed in 1931 by Leslie Irvin, who re-used the basic pattern for the famous RAF suit bearing his name. Switlik Parachute was the sole contractor.

    Almost identical in construction were Types B-2 and A-2, the same designs but lined with either moquette (a silk pile) or wool blanket cloth. Both Switlik and Werber Leather Coat built these garments.

    The article below is from the Air Corps News Letter, April 8, 1932, when the suits were starting to reach units. It mentions that the moquette-lined suits were being used at the same time as the shearling, and intended for fall and spring flying! Indeed the same drawing numbers, 31-2412 (jacket) and 31-2411 (trousers), apply to both types.

    In any case, the AAC standardized on B-2/A-2 only, lined in a heavy wool blanketing, no doubt to save on cost. Supposedly these were not as warm as the B-1/A-1, which had tested down to -40°C (-40°F). This must have suggested the return to shearling in the B-3/A-3, adopted in 1935.

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
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  2. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Thank for posting this Paul. The B1/A1 jackets and trousers were designed at around the same time as Leslie Irvin designed his Irvin suits in the UK. The first Irvin suits appeared in 1932.
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  3. Falcon_52

    Falcon_52 Active Member

    Iowa, U.S.A.
    Very interesting. I had always assumed that the B-1/A1 was replaced by the moquette-lined B-2/A-2. It sounds like they were actually complementary with the latter intended for cool (not cold) weather flying. Thanks for posting that zoomer.

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  4. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    This sounds about right Noel. As far as I can make out the first contracts for the B-1 jacket and A-1 trousers and B-2 jackets and A-2 trousers date from the 1932 fiscal year. Switlik Parachute & Equipment Co was awarded AC 4552 for B-1s/A-1s during this fiscal year and second contract, AC 5515 in the following fiscal year. Werber was awarded a B-2/A-2 contract, 4665 shortly after Switlik's first B-1/A-1 contract in the 1932 fiscal year.
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