The U. S. Air Force MA-1 Intermediate Flight Jacket was introduced as the direct descendant of the “modified” B-15D Flight Jacket in 1957. Flight Jacket models B-15A through B-15D had been “modified” in accordance with a USAF Materiel Command directive of 1954. The directive called for all of the types of B-15 Flight Jacket on issue or in stock to have the factory-installed fur collar removed and a wool knit collar installed in its place; this modification was intended to reduce the flying jacket’s flammability that was considered greater with a fur collar in place. These new “modified” flight jackets were considered to be a substantive improvement, thus the next garment in the evolution of the USAF Intermediate Flight Jacket would be produced at the factory without a fur collar but with a short wool knit collar in its place. Thus began a flying-jacket legend!
The MA-1 Flight Jacket’s lightweight construction, comfortable non-bulky warmth and natural good looks made this style an instant success with jet jockeys at bases around the world, as well as anyone who could beg, borrow or steal one of these coveted gems. It was intended for wear in climates between 25 degrees and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, thus ideally suited for early spring, late fall and winter. The MA-1 Flight Jacket would see combat life during the Cold War and Vietnam War, as well as in fashion life that, in many forms and colors, continues to this day. MA-1 Flight Jackets produced for the USAF in the 1960's declined in quality and warmth from those of the 1950s and featured a reversible orange lining. But those early MA-1 Flight Jackets that were made from a grayish shade of sage green in heavy-weight nylon twill, warmly lined with woolen fiber filling sandwiched between the outer nylon shell and the sage green inner nylon lining were, and likely will remain, the nylon flight jacket of greatest desire by both aviators and collectors. Although the orange-lined MA-1 Flight Jacket was superseded by the newer Nomex jackets in the 1980s, it was not uncommon to find an old veteran still wearing an MA-1 Flight Jacket for some years afterwards.
The popularity of MA-1 Flight Jacket series produced one of the longest continued service careers of any flight jacket in the history of the USAF. Buzz Rickson has reproduced the 1957 first-model MA-1 Flight Jacket in exacting detail. Buzz Rickson’s heavy nylon twill fabric is never to be confused with the cheap, flimsy flight satin used by lesser manufacturers to produce so-called vintage reproduction USAF flight jackets. In fact, the only other flying jackets in the world today made from this nylon are those vintage examples of the USAF! This Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 Flight Jacket is a Special Edition, correctly capturing all the nuances found on MA-1 Flight Jackets once produced by the renowned Lion Uniform Company, making this product virtually indistinguishable from an original vintage example of the USAF. Take note of these authentic features:
- Copy of original maker’s label design produced on a vintage shuttle loom
- Custom manufacturing of the correct weight and weave nylon outer and inner lining shell to precisely match 1957 USAF specs. and treated to repel water
- Correct USAF-spec. inner lining of warm wool fiber filling sandwiched between the outer and inner shell lining
- Two snap-down exterior pockets lined with warm 80/20 wool-rayon fabric precisely matching 1957 USAF specs.
- Two snap-down interior pockets lined with heavy all-cotton twill fabric precisely matching 1957 USAF specs.
- Exact copy of the heavy-duty 1953 Crown zippers on sleeve pocket and jacket front, with zip tape made of all-cotton HBT fabric, not incorrect poly-cotton
- Heavy all-cotton zipper pull tab as found on Lion Uniform MA-1s, designed for easy functioning with gloves
- Heavy wind flap protector located behind zipper closure
- Correct USAF-spec. leather pull tab on sleeve pocket
- Custom manufacturing of the correct, two-ply, 100% worsted-wool knit collar, cuffs and waist skirt in sage green
- Heavy-weight parachute harness nylon in sage green, correctly sewn to left front chest for attaching oxygen mask retainer clip
- Two snap-down tabs (one on each breast) for retaining headset and microphone wiring leads, exactly as on original 1957 MA-1s
- USAF insignia transfer on left sleeve and under maker label in lining, exactly as found on early MA-1s
- Zippered pocket on left sleeve outfitted with four pen/pencil slots and two anti-puncture pencil caps made of USAF-spec. brass
Sizes: XS – XXL. Please see our SIZING TIPS for advice on how to get the correct fit.
Buzz Rickson’s goods are imported from Japan
Buzz Rickson USAF 1957 MA-1 Flying Jacket, Lion Uniform Co.
About this Style: It is important to keep in mind that this jacket style is heavily padded between its two nylon layers with wool batting, thus the external chest measures listed here are just that – EXTERNAL measures – and don’t account for the lesser amount of room on the inside of the jacket. Likewise, if you plan to wear heavy layers under this jacket style, that application will further subtract from the room inside the jacket. However, the MA-1 is a very easy-wearing style that creates very few sizing issues for the overwhelming majority of individuals. About 60% of our customers prefer an MA-1to fit 10” larger than their chest measure, while the remaining 40% prefer to have a fit 8” larger than their chest measure.
When comparing the sizes in this jacket style to other Buzz Rickson jacket styles sized numerically, the size range would approximately equate as follows:
Small/36 Medium/38 Large/40 XL/42 XXL/44
Tip 1: Follow the instructions entitled “How to Use Product Measures to Obtain a Good Fit” listed under the PRODUCT MEASUREMENTS tab for this product. After finding no substantive conflicts with your body measures obtained from the tab entitled BODY MEASURING, order this garment with 8” - 10” of room in excess of your chest measure if you prefer a trim fit in the chest and shoulders. If a roomier or longer fit is desired, then order the next available size after reviewing all relative measures that pertain to that size. Those whose chest measure falls on an odd number, such as 41” or 43”, will have to determine if they want less room or more room when selecting a jacket size.
Tip 2: Please note that your chest circumference measure is not necessarily the labeled size you wear in another jacket you may own from a different maker or even the same maker, so please take the time to obtain your true chest circumference measure so as to compare to our chart of jacket measures; this will enable us to perform a better job getting you the right size and minimize your chances in having to deal with the hassle and cost of exchanges.
Please ask us for fitting advice if in doubt.
Tip 3: Individuals who prefer looser fits and/or those with a waist measure that is nearly equal to or greater than their chest circumference measure may jump up one size in this jacket for comfort and desired fit (when we refer to waist measure we do not mean your trouser size; we mean the actual circumference measure of your waistline at its widest point). If you are unsure of the size to order we will assist you; please contact us with the following information: Height, waist circumference measure, chest circumference measure, body weight, and type of clothing to be worn beneath the jacket most of the time, as well as the type of fit you prefer: Trim, roomy or over-sized.
Buzz Rickson USAF 1957 MA-1 Flying Jacket, Lion Uniform Co.
The following table provides actual product measures. These measures are provided as an aid because, in conjunction with the information found under the SIZING TIPS tab for each product, they can sometimes be very useful when comparing the measurements from this garment to the measures of your body; however, acting as an armchair tailor should be done with caution, as well as with knowledge of other important areas of fit that are not displayed here. Armchair tailors frequently fail to take into account other significant elements that impact fit; following the information found under the SIZING TIPS tab for each garment on this web site is strongly suggested, which can be very useful in supplanting or supplementing the listed measures below.
Our measures were derived from averaging measurements taken from many garments of the same size from each specific size in the range of any given product, thus the measures provided are representative for each size but they may not be exactly what you will receive. Some fluctuation in size is normal and to be expected, especially in these garments that have been manufactured on the bench by hand. Size fluctuations are rarely encountered in the width measures and more typically encountered in length measures, and particularly with respect to leather jackets and jackets with knit cuffs and waistbands. Fluctuations in width measures are very rare, and when they are encountered they are typically insignificant: 1/8” – ¼”. Normal fluctuations in sleeve and/or body length + /- a ½” is more common but still rare, and such fluctuations in that increment range are within spec. for jackets of the same size and style.
How to Use the Product Measures to Obtain a Good Fit:
1) Using the measurements listed for this product and information found under the tab entitled MEASURING GARMENTS to understand our measuring technique, please double the chest measure to obtain the total external chest circumference of this garment. For example: If the chest measure listed for size LARGE is 25”, doubling this measure yields a 50” external chest circumference.
2) Measure your chest circumference as per the tab on this web site specifically addressing BODY MEASURING, then compare your chest measure to the chest measure of this product.
3) Many jackets are cut in such a way that the wearer requires no less than 4” of room in the jacket for a sleek fit that is also comfortable, while other jacket styles require the wearer to have more than 8” of room. If your chest circumference is 40”, a product with a 25” chest width has a 50” external chest circumference and would provide 10” of external room in this scenario (chest measures 40”, external chest measure of jacket is 50”, thus 10” of external room would be realized).
4) Again, using the measurements listed for this product and information under the MEASURING GARMENTS tab to understand our measuring technique, add half of the shoulder width to the arm length. For example: If the shoulder width is 19” and the arm length is 26”, adding 9.5” (half the shoulder width) to 26” (the arm length) will yield an overall sleeve length of 35.5” in this product.
5) Measure your overall sleeve length following the instructions on this web site under the tab specifically addressing BODY MEASURING, then compare your overall sleeve length to this product.
6) If desired, repeat the measuring comparisons for back length.
7) Compare your body measures to the listed garment measures and follow the advice found under the SIZING TIPS tab to obtain a good fit.
IMPORTANT: Because you need room in a garment for comfort, garments with a 44” chest circumference are NOT a size 44, nor are they intended for anyone with a 44” chest circumference. Tee shirts and thermal shirts tend to have the most body-hugging fits of our product offerings because these were originally intended to be undergarments, thus these can be ordered to stretch to fit if that is how you wish to wear such garments. Other shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. will all have some amount of room incorporated in their designs, thus these will all measure larger than your actual chest measure by varying degrees.
Sometimes-Problematic Way to Determine a Good Fit:
Due to differences in how even near-identical garments are cut by different manufacturers, it is not necessarily a good idea to compare the listed measures of this product to the measures of an existing, similar product in your wardrobe to determine the correct size to order in this product. Though such comparisons can indeed work some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, vast experience with and knowledge of the products we market has proven such practices will sometimes fail. This inaccurate measuring methodology doesn't factor in other key variables of fit relative to you and the garment that includes: Armhole opening, shoulder slope, high-point shoulder, high chest, width of sleeves at all points including the all-important elbow, waist measure, and the thickness, plumpness, and rigidity of the material the garment is made from, naming just some variables influencing fit that do not appear on any list of measurements for a garment or that a customer is likely to account for.
It is best to compare your actual body measures to the listed measures of this product AND follow our advice listed under the SIZING TIPS tab specific to this product to obtain a good fit in this style.
A Good Fit:
This is highly subjective - what one person may think is too big, another may think fits perfectly. Some garments are cut quite generously and others are cut quite trimly. If comparing measurements of one of our products to another you may own, some individuals will surely find that none or maybe only one area of measure is commonly shared or remotely close to being the same. Ultimately, chest measure is the most important area to properly fit, then all other areas of measure will have to fall into place. And some individuals who are extremely tall may find that body and/or sleeve length are more important to accommodate than even chest measure.
We strive to create a crisp fit between our products and the customer, and not a loose, sloppy look. If you prefer your clothing to fit more loosely, then we will do our best to work with you to that end, though, by the very nature of our product designs and fits it may not be possible to duplicate the slack looks found in many mainstream clothing brands even if you go up one or two sizes in our products.