Monday, February 13, 2012

WW2 A-1 Horsehide Flight Pants by Switlik Parachute & Equipment Company

 Before the advent of the pressurized cabin, early military pilots would have to do some serious bundling to survive to sub-zero temperatures at high altitude flight.  Sheepskin flight pants and coats were a staple amongst the US Army Air Corps from the 30s up through World War 2.

There is much documentation and trade happening of the "B" series flight pants, but I haven't been able to find much about the earlier "A-1" flight pants.  Unlike the B-1, which is made entirely of sheepskin, these A-1 pants are made of a much more durable horsehide with the sheepskin being quilted to the inside.  I suspect that, much like the A-2 horsehide jackets, production costs and supply forced the Army to find a more practical alternative in order to keep up with the war-time demand.

An excellent condition pair of B-1 flight pants can fetch between $250 and $400, but due to the limited availability, I have no idea what the actual value of a pair of A-1 flight pants is.

This pair was made by the Switlik Parachute & Equipment Company probably in the mid-late 1930s.  I'm assuming that they are one of the earliest examples of a pair of high altitude flight pants.  You can check back and find out how much these sold for here.

A-1 US Army Air Corps Flight Pants

A-1 US Army Air Corps Flight Pants Back Side

Unzipped inside

One 1930s Wide Head Talon Zipper for each leg.