The material composition of the B3 flight jacket are a combination of sheepskin and very thick sheep fur. The jackets were not meant to be just the regular types, as they were intended to keep people warm at an altitude of up to 25,000 feet. Thus earned the jacket its reputation as one that was capable of providing sufficient warmth. Each of the jackets had two leather straps that could be used to close the open collar.
THE HISTORY OF THE B3 FLIGHT JACKET
The Type B-3 flight jacket, arguably the most recognisable flight jacket in history, underwent a series of specification changes over the years, culminating in the simplified pattern of late 1943.
Most heavy bombing raids in Europe during World War II took place from altitudes of at least 25,000 ft, where ambient temperatures could reach as cold as negative 50 degrees Celsius. The cabins of these aircraft were uninsulated, so a warm, thick flight jacket was an essential piece of equipment for every member of the crew. The B-3 would become the standard issue 'Heavy Zone' flight jacket for the next 10 years.
During the autumn of 1942, the United States introduced the B-17, a long-range strategic bomber better known as the Flying Fortress, in Europe. The plane would prove instrumental in winning the war. As the Allied crews flew punishing 8-9 hour missions, it was essential to retain body heat in the cold, unpressurised cabins at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet. No amount of armour, fire power, or flying savvy could prepare the men for these brutal, below freezing temperatures. It was then and there that sheepskin leather made its fateful appearance and the B-3 Jacket earned its place in aviation history.
Unlike other materials, the crimp of the sheep's wool creates insulating air spaces, naturally retaining heat and wicking away excess moisture when the body generates it. This protection was essential to the crews of the B-17.
The men who donned the B-3 Jackets relied on their rugged and tough exteriors as much as they did on their soft and pliable interiors.
The type B-3 has become an item proudly passed from father to son, generation after generation, not to be replaced, traded or retired, but cherished and worn for its amazing natural properties.
The B-3 Flight Jacket:An American Icon
Decade after decade, the B-3 Flight Jacket remains an undisputed icon of American fashion and style. Both practical and durable, this shearling sheepskin workhorse earned its wings protecting the brave airmen who paved the way for the liberation of Europe during WWII.
General Barton in a B-3flight jacket
The B-3 Flight Jacket perfectly reflects that ethos of bravery and determination that saw the United States help liberate an entire continent. Whether through high altitudes, wet snow, strong winds, light rains or blizzard conditions, the high-quality heft of the B-3's sheepskin insulates the wearer from heat loss in a wide range of high-impact activities as well as during cool, leisurely days.
What makes the B3 Flight Jacket so functional?
The unrivalled value offered by this garment can be boiled down to several core qualities, including:water resistant,moisture wicking,multi-climate comfort and ultra-durable.
- WATER RESISTANT
Sheepskin is naturally water resistant. Wool fibers possess sturdy, water-repellent layers that protect the fiber's core against moisture. The core of each wool fiber can absorb 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without getting damp.
- MOISTURE WICKING
Aside from repelling external moisture, sheepskin wicks perspiration away from your skin, effortlessly keeping you warm and dry in a wide variety of climates.
- MULTI-CLIMATE COMFORT
Sheepskin is renowned for its breathability and moisture-wicking properties, which keep the body temperature regulated regardless of temperature fluctuations in the environment.
Though sheepskin coats tend to cost more than your average leather or fabric coat, they more than make up for the difference with their increased durability. When sheepskin coats are properly cared for, they can last for decades.