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Bill Kelso - Aero 16160 Chennault

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
We made around 5000/6000 leather jackets for LVC
Every single one was tied up in a ball, soaked in a bath of hot water for an hour or two, some overhight, then put on mannequins with bent arms and dried in room heated with indudstrian garage hot air blowers,
Never hurt a single jacket
These show up regularly almost 20 years later, I've yet to see one that was harmed in any way
 

Skanstull

Member
We made around 5000/6000 leather jackets for LVC
Every single one was tied up in a ball, soaked in a bath of hot water for an hour or two, some overhight, then put on mannequins with bent arms and dried in room heated with indudstrian garage hot air blowers,
Never hurt a single jacket
These show up regularly almost 20 years later, I've yet to see one that was harmed in any way
Were lining, thread and zipper band cotton or man made fibre? I’m asking as I assume that could make a difference. The leather was veg tan?
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Some Rayon Lined, Some Cotton
Cotton thread with poly core
Cotton banded zippers (All genuine Vintage 50s) THe only period zippers we've ever had a problem with shrinkage were WW2 Crown
Chrome Tanned Horse
Veg Tanned Goat
 

Aeroga

Member
Some Rayon Lined, Some Cotton
Cotton thread with poly core
Cotton banded zippers (All genuine Vintage 50s) THe only period zippers we've ever had a problem with shrinkage were WW2 Crown
Chrome Tanned Horse
Veg Tanned Goat
Thas interesting. What wound be the areas, if any, with most significant shrinkage?
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Nice photos, how old is your jacket? Victory HH seems to get scratches quite easily and they are all over my jacket already just from wearing at home. Just waiting for the jacket weather here to wear it outside.
not sure as I got from EBay directly from BK.
it was a test jacket they shipped out to at least one customer back when they were fine tuning the dark seal Victory HH.
I think subsequent jackets were a little less dark from the get go.
here is mine in afternoon sunshine. But mostly it looks a very dark brown when indoors. Some might say black though If you placed a swathe of black leather next to it you’d see the difference immediately.
843A48DF-5806-421A-B570-785080A3DFCB.jpeg
 

Skanstull

Member
Some Rayon Lined, Some Cotton
Cotton thread with poly core
Cotton banded zippers (All genuine Vintage 50s) THe only period zippers we've ever had a problem with shrinkage were WW2 Crown
Chrome Tanned Horse
Veg Tanned Goat
Thank you Ken, interesting. I agree shrunk zippers are not good but I'm curious what make some cotton zippers shrink and some not.
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
I’ve seen originals with wavy zippers. No doubt due to some serious wearing in some gnarly conditions.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Thank you Ken, interesting. I agree shrunk zippers are not good but I'm curious what make some cotton zippers shrink and some not.
No idea why some cotton tapes shrink, most vintage dont, Talons never shrink, nor Conmar. Some modern Talon (Circa 2010-12) do shrink
We' had a batch of blue vintage Crown Zippers, usually we dye these brown but like all Crown, the test dye zipper shrunk,
Over the last few years I've seen quite a few Crown that have obviousdly been dyed brown and shrunk but still been used in new jackets :(

I’ve seen originals with wavy zippers. No doubt due to some serious wearing in some gnarly conditions.
Very possibly but they could have been badly fitted, it's easy to get the crinkly teeth look even with a good zip, fitted sloppily and it'll looked crinkly, the machinist were in a hurry during WW2
 

Aeroga

Member
Thanks for the advice from all. I'll take my time in breaking in the jacket and as mentioned before, probably just need to get used to a different fit.

In return of all the advice and kind words, managed to take some detail shots for sharing. The color is difficult to be captured accurately and from different angles and lighting there's a huge contrast in the color tone and hue. Whilst the color is a light seal to my eyes, it also has a hint of burgundy under sunlight.

My feeling towards the victory HH is it's relatively more "oily" as compared to shinki that is more dry in touch. Areas that are creased tend to get lightened in color along with any scuffs. The finishing is also more dull overall and only folded corners appear to be shiny.

The layered patches are very detailed and well sewn, and the bloodchit seems to be a very good repro of the original ones seen (based on photos on the internet). As I read chinese, it's interesting to note that BKs version of the bloodchit is very accurate in its calligraphy. The handwriting actually resembles the style of a person learning Chinese, which makes sense at that point in time.

In terms of fit, a very roomy waist and sleeves for a person of an athletic build and a small waist. Shoulders fit is on spot and I love the collars that holds shape. As the leather gets more relaxed (quite quickly) the body is looking blousy, with the leather folded in just above the waist knit. Whislt I enjoy the appearance of a shortened body, the waist knit could have been tighter. Overall this jacket gives me a lot of freedom in movement, I spent the weekend wearing it doing chores with no problem at all.

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Technonut2112

Well-Known Member
I think the jacket looks fine as-is. The A-2 design is also known as a 'blouson' jacket, and is intended to have some blousing over the knit waistband:

A blouson or blouse jacket is a jacket that is drawn tight at the waist, causing it to blouse out and hang over the waistband. Some of them have a hood. It takes most of its modern traits from the American flight jacket and police blouson. It is related to the Eisenhower jacket.
After many years of collecting jackets and studying period air-crew pics, an A-2 just doesn't look 'right' to me without a certain amount of blousing when worn. I'm of the opinion that the 'form-fitting' A-2 repros seen over the past 20 years or so are more a modern interpretation / fashion statement than historic fact. The original jackets were worn over uniform shirts, flight suits, and in quite a few instances, issued sweaters and vests. The exception would be pics of fighter pilots wearing more form-fitting jackets, but given the vast number of bomber crew pics showing the contrary, it's possible that some fighter pilots sought out and obtained tighter-fitting jackets due to the confined cockpit space availble to them. Check out the Pinterest leather flight jackets link in my sig below to see many of the pics I've collected over the years.

Here are just a few showing commonly seen blousing:

b04f66b19228f158b7345abf2493fe8b.jpg


f9d1f412b9acdcafe956b686425cbce0.jpg


3c72cefdd7c43d6c3ead63803dbf5176.jpg
 
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Serghei87

Member
Thanks for the advice from all. I'll take my time in breaking in the jacket and as mentioned before, probably just need to get used to a different fit.

In return of all the advice and kind words, managed to take some detail shots for sharing. The color is difficult to be captured accurately and from different angles and lighting there's a huge contrast in the color tone and hue. Whilst the color is a light seal to my eyes, it also has a hint of burgundy under sunlight.

My feeling towards the victory HH is it's relatively more "oily" as compared to shinki that is more dry in touch. Areas that are creased tend to get lightened in color along with any scuffs. The finishing is also more dull overall and only folded corners appear to be shiny.

The layered patches are very detailed and well sewn, and the bloodchit seems to be a very good repro of the original ones seen (based on photos on the internet). As I read chinese, it's interesting to note that BKs version of the bloodchit is very accurate in its calligraphy. The handwriting actually resembles the style of a person learning Chinese, which makes sense at that point in time.

In terms of fit, a very roomy waist and sleeves for a person of an athletic build and a small waist. Shoulders fit is on spot and I love the collars that holds shape. As the leather gets more relaxed (quite quickly) the body is looking blousy, with the leather folded in just above the waist knit. Whislt I enjoy the appearance of a shortened body, the waist knit could have been tighter. Overall this jacket gives me a lot of freedom in movement, I spent the weekend wearing it doing chores with no problem at all.

View attachment 25677View attachment 25678View attachment 25679View attachment 25680View attachment 25681View attachment 25682View attachment 25683View attachment 25684
I was watching this one too but i passed because my shoulders are 18-18,5’ and BK said this one is 17’. Does it make a huge difference in this kind of leather 1’ difference on shoulders? I was afraid it would be too tight for me
 

Aeroga

Member
I think the jacket looks fine as-is. The A-2 design is also known as a 'blouson' jacket, and is intended to have some blousing over the knit waistband:



After many years of collecting jackets and studying period air-crew pics, an A-2 just doesn't look 'right' to me without a certain amount of blousing when worn. I'm of the opinion that the 'form-fitting' A-2 repros seen over the past 20 years or so are more a modern interpretation / fashion statement than historic fact. The original jackets were worn over uniform shirts, flight suits, and in quite a few instances, issued sweaters and vests. The exception would be pics of fighter pilots wearing more form-fitting jackets, but given the vast number of bomber crew pics showing the contrary, it's possible that some fighter pilots sought out and obtained tighter-fitting jackets due to the confined cockpit space availble to them. Check out the Pinterest leather flight jackets link in my sig below to see many of the pics I've collected over the years.

Here are just a few showing commonly seen blousing:

View attachment 25685

View attachment 25686

View attachment 25687
Thanks for posting the photos. I'm in agreement that the more period photos I see the more I'm used to the blousy look. There's a practical reason as a jacket that is just fit or too form fitting really restrict movement of your arms, not to mention the inability to wear multiple layers underneath to stay warm. The defining difference is that the jackets in the photos are well worn and the leather drapes naturally on the body, shoulders and arms. Something I hope to achieve with mine in the future.

Thanks again for the photos, great resources you got.
 

Aeroga

Member
I was watching this one too but i passed because my shoulders are 18-18,5’ and BK said this one is 17’. Does it make a huge difference in this kind of leather 1’ difference on shoulders? I was afraid it would be too tight for me
I would never gamble for jacket with small shoulders. Whilst obviously the shoulders won't fit properly creating constant discomfort, the sleeves will inevitably be shorter on your arms. These issues will never go away and almost impossible to be corrected (at least not altering the original design of the epaulet).
 

Aeroga

Member
not sure as I got from EBay directly from BK.
it was a test jacket they shipped out to at least one customer back when they were fine tuning the dark seal Victory HH.
I think subsequent jackets were a little less dark from the get go.
here is mine in afternoon sunshine. But mostly it looks a very dark brown when indoors. Some might say black though If you placed a swathe of black leather next to it you’d see the difference immediately.
View attachment 25654
Your jacket doesn't look so dark in the photos, you can see the nice undertone. How do you find the victory HH after wearing in?
 

Lebowski

Well-Known Member
Your jacket doesn't look so dark in the photos, you can see the nice undertone. How do you find the victory HH after wearing in?
Gorgeous jacket, absolutely gorgeous, and considering its final bid of slightly above a thousand - for such gorgeous leather like Victory HH it doesn't look a tiny bit overpriced. Victory HH is highly rare on the market nowadays, 'cause its production was discontinued several years ago.
I find this abovementioned BK Victory A-2 to be highly desirable jacket (as is Jeremiah's and as some other TFL members' Victory HH jackets too). Superb purchase, sincerely congrats! Very very well done!
 
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ZuZu

Active Member
This message is for those who don’t believe in the virtue of zig zag stitch pattern. BK’s stitch pattern shown here is also zig zag, though without the large blowout hole.

There is NO virtue in a zig-zag pattern in a repro- originals don't usually show it- it's not a real thing... BK's jackets aren't nearly as exaggerated as the Aero Scotland jackets. It's not a thing of virtue- it looks ugly- fine if it's inadvertent but not a feature to be proud of. it's not a thing...
 
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