Cooper A2 jacket question

PilatusPilot

Active Member
Hey guys, I'm still looking for an a2 jacket and still debating whether to get an original or a 5 star leather one. I had an amazing experience last time with Shawn so I want to buy from him again, but at the same time I keep seeing those Cooper A2's all over eBay for super cheap!! I've even found some in my area where I can just go pick them up myself... My question is, why are they so cheap? Are they bad jackets? Are they worth it? Or am I better to get a 5 star? I can't find any info about the Cooper jackets even on the forum so I'm a little confused about the nature of the brand!!
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
The Cooper jackets aren't bad at all. But they're kind of apples and oranges with a repro A-2: the Air Force discontinued the A-2 jacket in 1943 and brought it back in the '80s because people had so many positive associations with WW2. The cooper jackets are government-issued flight jackets from after the A-2 was reintroduced. They're worth buying, but they aren't the same pattern that was used back in WW2 and a lot changed over time. If you're buying a Five Star (or a Bill Kelso, or an Eastman, or a Good Wear), you're buying one jacket maker's attempt to recreate the original A-2 jackets. If you buy a cooper, you're going for a modern flight jacket. Most collectors want WW2 jackets or good repros of WW2 jackets, so the demand for the coopers is pretty low. Hence the low price tag.

So the real question is, do you want a modern Air Force jacket or (a copy of) a vintage Air Force jacket. The advantage of the Cooper is that it will hold its value, or even increase in value over time as they become more rare. The advantage of the Five Star is you're getting something closer to a WW2 jacket.
 
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PilatusPilot

Active Member
Ahhhhhh I understand now!! That's the info I needed. Honestly I'm not sure which one I would need. I fell in love with the A2's after rewatching the movie pearl harbor. And if I'm being honest I kind of want the same look those guys had in the movie! So I don't know what to get, so many options...
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Well, you say you want the Pearl Harbor look - my advice would be buy one of the modern jackets (Cooper, but also be on the look out for branded orchard, another good company) to tide you over and stay on the lookout for an Eastman, since they made the jackets for the movie. Eastman A-2s come up for sale all the time, and if you're patient you can find great deals on them.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
As hokey as it is, he isn't wrong! He's definitely playing fast and loose with the truth about Cooper providing the jackets in WW2 though - they had one contract for 5,000 jackets in January 1942. The US manufactured around 750,000 A-2 jackets before and during the war, so...not a lot of pilots had a Cooper back then. :D
 

Bombing IP

Well-Known Member
I have had Cooper jackets some of the leather is great some of them have weak leather .By this I mean the the top finish peels back no shiney top surface anymore. The other difference is the pocket flaps shape are non descript horrible . The back has side panels which originals did not have and the cuff and waistband are cheap synthetic . I would describe the fit as 1980 baggy . Once your flight jacket taste gets more refined you will not like them ,save your money and get something better first time . It will be better made it will mold to your body and will get better looking as it ages ,and chances are when you go to sell it you will not lose money . That my take on the Cooper nothing wrong with it also nothing right with it !.

Roger Wilco out
 

PilatusPilot

Active Member
I have had Cooper jackets some of the leather is great some of them have weak leather .By this I mean the the top finish peels back no shiney top surface anymore. The other difference is the pocket flaps shape are non descript horrible . The back has side panels which originals did not have and the cuff and waistband are cheap synthetic . I would describe the fit as 1980 baggy . Once your flight jacket taste gets more refined you will not like them ,save your money and get something better first time . It will be better made it will mold to your body and will get better looking as it ages ,and chances are when you go to sell it you will not lose money . That my take on the Cooper nothing wrong with it also nothing right with it !.

Roger Wilco out
Yeah I definitely understand that!! Then maybe save up for an Eastman a2 like said previously! I don't mind spending of course, I just don't want to necessarily pay 1000$ for the jacket just because it's a real WW2 era.. I am not interested by that :/ I want a reliable, long lasting and good looking jacket. That's why I'm also considering the 5 star ones... The quality is incredibly good. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to pay that rarity tax you know? I don't need a rare jacket.. I just need a good one.
 

Flightengineer

Well-Known Member
Hi colleague. I hope a pilot flying Pilatus should not have financial problems, which means you can just choose what you want. Unless, of course, you are still in the saddle, not like me on the bench.
As mentioned above - Cooper's jackets have different pattern, they have wider shoulders and they are cut differently from this WW2 jackets. Once I had a Cooper, I tried to made it "closer" to the WW2 jackets and my seamstress altered it, reducing the shoulders. And I patched it... It was size 40L and didn't have any extra back panels, but ... Regardless, I sold it anyway.
These jackets have good quality and leather, but this is a goatskin tanned and dyed in a modern way. So this jacket doesn't know how to age - something that everyone here appreciates in the "real A2" - the Cooper jacket will always be like new.
So the choice is yours.
 

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
If you buy an Air Force one but 1-2 sizes smaller than you suit size, they aren’t at all bad.
Asking on here will only get you the “buy an authentic repro”, because none of us want to admit that paying 2, 3, 4 or 5 times more than a Cooper gets you only 1-2 times more authenticity ;)
And unless you have a WW2 build, you’ll never look proper good but at least the Coopers have a cut better for most modern body shapes.
Most of us look like overstuffed sausages in tight A-2’s but don’t mention that elephant in the room !
Merry Christmas
Dave
 

petermack09

Well-Known Member
Picked up from Asia for £70 a number of years ago,,thrown in the washing machine and it’s been a fantastic knock about jacket,,it’s the most comfortable A2 I own.
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PilatusPilot

Active Member
Hi colleague. I hope a pilot flying Pilatus should not have financial problems, which means you can just choose what you want. Unless, of course, you are still in the saddle, not like me on the bench.
As mentioned above - Cooper's jackets have different pattern, they have wider shoulders and they are cut differently from this WW2 jackets. Once I had a Cooper, I tried to made it "closer" to the WW2 jackets and my seamstress altered it, reducing the shoulders. And I patched it... It was size 40L and didn't have any extra back panels, but ... Regardless, I sold it anyway.
These jackets have good quality and leather, but this is a goatskin tanned and dyed in a modern way. So this jacket doesn't know how to age - something that everyone here appreciates in the "real A2" - the Cooper jacket will always be like new.
So the choice is yours.
Man you'd be surprised... I'm a copilot and I started not so long ago.. I still have my big flight school tuition debt. So id say I'm careful with how I spend my money especially with the pandemic hahaha. In a few years when I move up to captain, then sure I'll be able to buy some new toys, but for the moment I'm careful. Regarding the jacket, I love what you did with yours, it looks amazing!! So would there be any other brands that you would recommend personally?
 

Flightengineer

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I haven't looked at your profile and haven't seen your age. If there is no extra money and you like Cooper and you need an A-2 - why not, buy a Cooper. When you will change to the left seat you will buy Eastman or someone else from the major league jacket makers. And you don't want to wear something else after that. Probably.
Good luck! I envy you my boy you still have everything ahead - big planes and great jackets.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Hi
I agree with everything Flightengineer shared with you . Wear what you can afford and as long as you like it, that’s what really counts . As a side note many of us started out the same as you , including myself . We had Coopers , Avirexs and A2 looking mall jackets. In later years we graduated into Eastman’s , Aero Leathers and Good Wears . Some even went further seeking out original WII flight jackets . It’s a process and many of us have worked thru it. You realize that you’ve arrived in this hobby when you have the option to wear the Aero, ELC or a Good Wear in your closet but you by pass them and wear the Cooper simply because you like it and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks , that’s what you feel like wearing today . So sit back and enjoy the ride . It all plays out in the end :)
 
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PilatusPilot

Active Member
Thanks guys! I will probably get the Cooper then! And when I get the money, upgrade to an Eastman! I also heard that cockpit USA have good jackets, and on their site, they claim that they are the official air force distributor... I'm also considering getting a cockpit jacket down the line if the claims are true.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys! I will probably get the Cooper then! And when I get the money, upgrade to an Eastman! I also heard that cockpit USA have good jackets, and on their site, they claim that they are the official air force distributor... I'm also considering getting a cockpit jacket down the line if the claims are true.
If you like issued military jackets Id suggest that you look for a Saddlery A2 jacket . If you find the right contract they were some of the nicer ones made early on in the second issue of them by the USAF . It’s all goatskin and people haven’t come to realize the value in them yet . I purchased one for another project I wrote up on looking like Steve McQueens Virgil Hilts character for under $250.00 . The jacket cost me $75.00 or $80.00. If I remember correctly :
Here it is .
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