What Is the Best Flight Jacket?

flight jacket

The flight jacket, also known as the aviator jacket or bomber jacket is perhaps the most identifiable piece of clothing a person can own. [Credit: CanvaPro]

The flight jacket, also known as the aviator jacket or bomber jacket is perhaps the most identifiable piece of clothing a person can own. Even the aviation-challenged are familiar with the style. The aviator jacket is more than a piece of clothing – it is a statement of who you are. For the serious aviation enthusiast, the selection of an appropriate flight jacket depends on the mission and the message you want to convey.

Quicklook: Best Flight Jacket

7 Best Flight Jacket Options

The type of flying you do dictates what kind of aircraft you fly, the type of flying you do should be considered when you shop for a flight jacket. Some flight jackets, like the B-3 bomber jacket, are designed for cold weather, The A-2 and MA-1 flight jackets can be worn year-round.

Pearl Harbor B-3 Bomber Jacket

The Pearl Harbor B-3 Bomber Jacket is best for cold weather flying is often the shearling bomber jacket. They were designed for B-17 bomber crews who flew in unheated aircraft in below-zero conditions. 

Best For: Cold Weather Flying 

Material: Leather and lined with sheepskin shearling

Color Options: 

  • Seal Brown/Beige Shearling Lining
  • Royal Air Force Jacket Russet with Auburn Lining

Special Features:  

  • Hand warmer pockets
  • Detachable collars
  • Storm flap 


  •  The warmest of all the aviator jackets
  •  The most comfortable of all the aviator jackets
  •  The B-3 bomber jacket will definitely get a lot of attention at the airport


  • The bomber jacket is the most expensive of the aviator jackets
  • The less expensive bomber jackets may not be made of leather, but rather from synthetic materials. The garment has the look of a bomber jacket, but not the quality
  • Because the bomber jacket is so large and bulky it can be difficult to fly while wearing the jacket.
  • Hard to clean
  • Hard to find a place to repair repair

 Air Force A-2 Flight Bomber Jacket

The A-2 is one of the most widely recognized aviator jackets and is a classic that will never go out of style. For the serious aviation enthusiast who is looking for a flight jacket that will take them from the cockpit to the conference room, the A-2 is the one. 

Best For: Year-Round Wear

Material: Leather and cotton 

Color Options: 

  • Leather: Brown
  • Fabric: Brown

Special Features

  • The lining of the A-2 flight jacket is cotton.
  • The map pocket in the aviator jacket is perfect for a cellphone or wallet.


  •  The leather A-2 flight jacket is the most easily accessible flight jacket.
  •  The leather A-2 flight jacket is a jacket that will last your lifetime.


  • The leather A-2 flight jacket tends to run small on the shoulders, so the buyer may want to go a size up.
  • Leather flight jackets can be hard to clean
  • Leather flight jackets, when torn, can be difficult to repair as you need to find a business that has machinery that can put a needle through the leather, and all patches will show.
  • The more modern aviator style A-2 jackets tend to be a bit baggy
  • Some of the older flight jackets do not have handwarmer pockets
  • Some A-2 flight jackets only have one interior pocket that lacks a button or snap to secure it.

Cockpit B-3 Leather Bomber Jacket

Top Gun, the 1986 action movie romance starring Tom Cruise did more than boost the enlistment numbers for the United States Navy – it made the G-1 Naval Aviator jacket a fashion trend. Note that in the Navy, the persons who fly are referred to as aviators. In maritime parlance a pilot is a person who drives a boat, hence the distinction.

Best For: Top Gun Look

Material: Leather and fur collar 

Color Options: Brown or Black

Special Features

  •  Detachable fur collar
  •  Fur collar
  • Interior pocket 


  • The detachable fur collar on the G-1 Naval aviator jacket.
  • Often insulated better than the A-2 flight jacket as the G-1 was designed for wear at sea.
  • Instantly recognizable, especially when customized with patches.
  • Works great as a motorcycle jacket.


  • The fur collar and the leather can be hard to clean. 
  • Once a patch is sewn onto the jacket, the needle holes are there forever
  • Some of the G-1 flight jackets lack handwarmer pilots
  • One of the more expensive jackets

Up and Away Children's Medium-Weight A-2 Bomber Jacket

There are fewer things cuter than a little kid in a flight jacket, especially if it is one of the Top Gun style bomber jackets. If you are looking for a flight jacket for your little aviator, but don’t want to break the bank on something they will be outgrowing, there are plenty of options in kid-friendly designs and materials.

Best For: Kids

Material: Polyurethane

Color Options: Brown

Special Features

  •  The child-sized bomber and flight jackets look just like the adult ones
  •  Two patch pockets


  •  Child-sized flight jackets are easy to find
  •   These flight jackets come in sizes from toddler to teen
  •  Easy to find a flight jacket a few sizes larger than your child normally wears to give them room to grow.
  • The jackets are sturdy enough to be used as hand-me-downs


  •  The child-sized flight jackets can be expensive for kid's clothes.

Authentic MA-1 Bomber Jacket

The MA-1 flight jacket was created as a fabric replacement for the leather A-2 and G-1 aviator jackets. Less expensive to care for, the MA-1 is the choice of many aviation enthusiasts.

Best For: Comfort

Material: Nylon

Color Options: Black, sage green, blue and burgundy

Special Features:

  •  Reversible with bright orange interior  
  • Interior pocket
  • Handwarmer-style pockets 


  • The MA-1 flight jacket can be reversed to its orange side for extra visibility where you want it
  • The MA-1 is the least expensive option for the aviation enthusiast who wants warmth and style 
  • The nylon flight jacket is easier to care for because it can be washed
  • The nylon flight jacket can be worn in the rain


  •  The MA-1 nylon flight jacket is not as fire-resistant as the leather flight jackets
  •  The MA-1 nylon jacket does not have a flip-up collar

Women's Raider Jacket

Just because you fly with the guys doesn’t mean that you have to look like one of the guys. There are alternatives for women who want to wear a flight jacket, but don’t want to look like they are wearing their boyfriend’s or father’s flight jacket like this women's Raider Jacket.

Best For: Women

Material: Leather and nylon

Color Options: Black, brown, sage green and burgundy

Special Features

  • Flight jackets for women are tailored to fit the feminine form, that is, a waist and hips
  • Detachable collar


  • The flight jackets designed for women tend to be better fitting if you have an hourglass figure. 


  • The flight jacket for women can be more difficult to find. 
  • Flight jackets for women can be more expensive than those designed for men.

What Is the History of Bomber Jackets? 

Flight jackets, also known as Bomber jackets were originally developed to keep pilots warm in the unheated cockpits of military aircraft. During World War II when actual bombers – namely the B-17, B-24, B-25 and B-29 were in use the heavy jackets with the sheepskin lining kept the pilots and crew warm in sub-freezing temperatures at altitude.

Do They Still Use Military Flight Jackets?

The military still uses flight jackets. The MA-1, A-2, and G-1 are issued to flights and flight crews to keep them warm.

What To Consider When Buying a Flight Jacket

When you are shopping for a flight jacket, establish a budget and keep to it. Ask yourself why you are shopping for this jacket – are you looking for something to wear in the cockpit or at the club? 


Price is key. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a flight jacket, but that can make it so precious that you don’t want to risk wearing it at the airport because jackets get dirty, torn, or sometimes stolen.


If you are looking for a jacket to keep you warm in the cockpit, make sure it is not so bulky that you lose the ability to move around. 

Second-hand is an option

Military surplus stores, garage sales, airport bulletin boards, and eBay are excellent places to find second but serviceable jackets. Pilots can be very sentimental, and often when they decided it is time to let go of their jacket, they want it to go to another aviator.

Make the Flight Jacket Your Own

When you acquire a flight jacket, don’t be surprised if it quickly becomes a favorite piece of your wardrobe. Depending on the weather, functionality, and quality of your jacket, it could last you many years to come! 



Why do they call them bomber jackets?

The flight jackets that were designed for use in bombers are called bomber jackets. The term is also used by jacket manufacturers to appeal to the adventurous crowd.

Who makes the best flying jackets?

The best flight jackets are those made by the companies that supply the US Military. Check the company website for details.

How do you identify military flight jackets?

Military flight jackets are issued and therefore will have tag in them indicating they are issued.

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