X-2 - The A-2 Pre Contract Test Jacket by Headwind Mfg Co

foster

Well-Known Member
It's a one piece back like an A-2. We can't say for sure but I would think that moving into the new design, the back would have been changed from the Yoke back of the A-1 to the one piece back of the A-2
If only they took photos of the back in those original images! I could just as easily imagine them with the A-1 style back as the A-2 style.
 

DiamondDave

Well-Known Member
Not to be crappy, but if I may play devils advocate a moment. Isn’t all of this kind of hyperbolic? I mean a “pre contract” doesn’t mean anything really, especially as it pertains to a military designator. So, to say pre contract just means a civilian jacket with no ties to the military except for an officer who could afford a private purchase A-2 and did.
Curious about others thoughts on this. Just me?


DD
 

foster

Well-Known Member
It was customary for a long time that officers bought their uniforms, as opposed to having them issued to them. It did change over time, in some cases based on the item (I think). I could easily see where a pre-WWII pilot would buy whatever flying jacket he wanted, if he didn't like the A-1 or A-2 that was standard issue at the time.
 

Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
Not to be crappy, but if I may play devils advocate a moment. Isn’t all of this kind of hyperbolic? I mean a “pre contract” doesn’t mean anything really, especially as it pertains to a military designator. So, to say pre contract just means a civilian jacket with no ties to the military except for an officer who could afford a private purchase A-2 and did.
Curious about others thoughts on this. Just me?


DD
What I mean in this case is "Test Jacket For The A-2 Specification Process". If these jackets were contracted as part of the A-2 design process, which I believe they were, They would have been made by a loose government guidance "Specification". They seem to have done the same thing with the A-1 according to documents, why not the A-2?

The timing is another factor, they appear between the A-1 and A-2 jackets chronologically in photos, and the fact that all 3 jackets match.

Also they were "issued" to prominent pilots to presumably Beta Test.

Regards,
Jay
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
This jacket first came to light when searching for the Goldsmith jacket; https://www.vintageleatherjackets.org/threads/buttoned-pocket-flaps-a-2-jackets.20145/page-2

Several notable Air Corp fliers were found to have been photographed wearing the same design.
Hence lead to the supposition that it is an official prototype A2 jacket. Probably made to drawing 30-1415.

Documentary evidence would be needed to prove this.

"Pre-contract" is inaccurate terminology.

The drawing number 30-1415 interesting. It is of the same format as A2 orders which would indicate
a fiscal year of 1929/1930. It could that 30-1415 is the order number for the prototype jacket.
An archive search for order 30-1415 might find some useful documents.
 

Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
It was customary for a long time that officers bought their uniforms, as opposed to having them issued to them. It did change over time, in some cases based on the item (I think). I could easily see where a pre-WWII pilot would buy whatever flying jacket he wanted, if he didn't like the A-1 or A-2 that was standard issue at the time.
For me it makes more sense for the identical three jackets worn by prominent pilots, that are close to the A-2 design, to have been part of the specification process.
 
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Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
This jacket first came to light when searching for the Goldsmith jacket; https://www.vintageleatherjackets.org/threads/buttoned-pocket-flaps-a-2-jackets.20145/page-2

Several notable Air Corp fliers were found to have been photographed wearing the same design.
Hence lead to the supposition that it is an official prototype A2 jacket. Probably made to drawing 30-1415.

Documentary evidence would be needed to prove this.

"Pre-contract" is inaccurate terminology.

The drawing number 30-1415 interesting. It is of the same format as A2 orders which would indicate
a fiscal year of 1929/1930. It could that 30-1415 is the order number for the prototype jacket.
An archive search for order 30-1415 might find some useful documents.
Pre contract Stricken!

Yes I had thought about that 30-1415. This is my thoughts exactly first prototype.
 

DiamondDave

Well-Known Member
gents,

Hm, maybe those images are the actual Goldsmith jacket in question? Interesting thread but again supposition should not be cited as evidence imho.

Sorry, Devil needs an advocate, bearing in mind people will be reading this stuff for years to come. One hopes.

DD
 

Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
gents,

Hm, maybe those images are the actual Goldsmith jacket in question? Interesting thread but again supposition should not be cited as evidence imho.

Sorry, Devil needs an advocate, bearing in mind people will be reading this stuff for years to come. One hopes.

DD
I appreciate your insights Dave! This jacket appears before the Goldsmith so it is not that jacket.

I agree that supposition is not evidence. Let me clear the record right now on this jacket.

I BELIEVE This jacket is a prototype for the A-2 jacket program. I do not have irrefutable proof. The timing, unique details, people seen wearing it, etc, have led me to this conclusion. All the findings are mostly here in this thread and I think they make a pretty compelling case. I think that quite a few others are thinking the same things.

Do we have to have 100% irrefutable evidence to make a cool historic jacket like this? Personally I don't think so. I will be sure to be mindful of how I word things as to not be misleading. That was never my intention, ever, with this jacket or anything.

All The Best,
Jay
 
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2BM2K

Well-Known Member
gents,

Hm, maybe those images are the actual Goldsmith jacket in question? Interesting thread but again supposition should not be cited as evidence imho.

Sorry, Devil needs an advocate, bearing in mind people will be reading this stuff for years to come. One hopes.

DD
There are also some design clues.
Early A2 jackets had a jetted edge on the left side. There was no obvious reason for this.
The "prototype" A2 jacket has an internal windflap. This would then give a reason
for having the jetted edge, such as making a seal.

The internal windflap was deleted from the the design but the jetted edge remained.

A couple of latter A2 contracts, the HLB and Fried Ostermann, have similarities which
which look to be copied from the "prototype" jacket.

The important point is being aware of the existence this jacket and finding drawing 30-1415
or order 30-1415.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
gents,

Hm, maybe those images are the actual Goldsmith jacket in question? Interesting thread but again supposition should not be cited as evidence imho.

Sorry, Devil needs an advocate, bearing in mind people will be reading this stuff for years to come. One hopes.

DD
In the Hell-Bent for Leather book by Nelson & Parsons they said a number of companies submitted possible open cockpit flight jacket designs in the fall of 1930, but that a committee took bits of each to create the A-2, so no single company or person was responsible for the A-2 design. We have no information on if existing or new designs were submitted by the various vendors for an A-1 replacement, nor how many. When the first A-1 production bid was to be offered vendors submitted two or three sample jackets for contract consideration, so for the original A-2 design consideration maybe one or, at most, two jacket samples were likely made if not a standard production item.

Willis & Geiger Outfitters and Averix re-spec’d the A-2 in 1988 for the Air Force to come up with a one (1) page document for the A-2 seal brown goatskin re-design as the Air Force was unable to find the original A-2 drawing 30-1415 (aka make it like the W&GO style A-2 or Avirex style 2107G). I’m still looking for the A-2 drawing, by after finding info on the A-2 re-spec I’m not holding my breath. Also, after seeing the type D-1 jacket drawing from spec 94-3084-A (below) I wouldn’t expect to learn much from drawing 30-1415 either.

At this point we can prove the 1931 Goldsmith jacket was the first A-2, but there are no known survivors. Other than that, absent a paper trail, we just know they made some cool looking jackets in the early 1930’s based on the photos we can find. We have to applaud Jay for bringing some of them back to life.

Page_05.jpg
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
In the Hell-Bent for Leather book by Nelson & Parsons they said a number of companies submitted possible open cockpit flight jacket designs in the fall of 1930, but that a committee took bits of each to create the A-2, so no single company or person was responsible for the A-2 design.
This looks to be taken from W&G's version of events. Hell-Bent for Leather uses the incorrect TDS 31-1415
number.
The correct number 30-1415 indicates 1929/1930, at a guess the design date would be the Fall of 1929 or very early 1930. The photograph of Dargue is dated to April 1930.

A search for (Purchase?) Order 30-1415 might yield results, if so it could give dates. quantity and who made them.
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
I find the drawing of the D1 interesting. The drawing is inserted directly into the spec., that is the drawing does not have it's own number.

If this method is applied to the A2 jacket design then the drawing would have been inserted directly into the order 30-1415.

From this it would seem a search for an order 30-1415 might yield some results.
 

foster

Well-Known Member
I think this is a captivating project. I realize my personal expectations when it comes to A-2 jackets are empirical and based on being able to copy existing originals. Each contract has its nuances, but without an original it is a far greater challenge and one that relies upon some degree of imagination to create what we cannot see in the photos. In this case, it is not an option to make a true definitive replica. I respect those challenges Jay is taking on, and I believe the end result will be remarkable. The test jacket certainly looks solid and stylish.

The photo of Johnson shows the internal wind flap, but the photo of the replica don't seem to show this. I know the image of Spaatz shows his jacket zipped up and we cannot tell for certain if it has the internal wind flap. I think this is a neat distinction and I hope the internal wind flap is kept in the repros.
P1050153A.jpg
 

Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
I think this is a captivating project. I realize my personal expectations when it comes to A-2 jackets are empirical and based on being able to copy existing originals. Each contract has its nuances, but without an original it is a far greater challenge and one that relies upon some degree of imagination to create what we cannot see in the photos. In this case, it is not an option to make a true definitive replica. I respect those challenges Jay is taking on, and I believe the end result will be remarkable. The test jacket certainly looks solid and stylish.

The photo of Johnson shows the internal wind flap, but the photo of the replica don't seem to show this. I know the image of Spaatz shows his jacket zipped up and we cannot tell for certain if it has the internal wind flap. I think this is a neat distinction and I hope the internal wind flap is kept in the repros.
View attachment 26565
Yes it will be on the production model! The guys in production in did not understand my instructions on that feature. To their credit, they did a great job on the jacket and this double wind flap design is strange and unusual.
-Jay
 
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