The U. S. Air Force Type B-15C Intermediate Flight Jacket replaced the earlier Olive Drab B-15B Flight Jacket beginning in 1950. The early B-15C Flight Jackets were produced in the same Olive Drab of the B-15B Flight Jackets, while later-production B-15C Flight Jackets, which represented the majority of this spec., were produced in USAF Blue. By 1950, the USAF began changing the color of most of its flying clothing from Olive Drab to Air Force Blue as part of an overall plan to forge a separate identity from the other branches of service, especially the army. Though all B-15C Flight Jackets are scarce, a Type B-15C (mod.) Flight Jacket is truly a very special and rare garment, and a B-15C (mod.) Flight Jacket in Olive Drab stands as the rarest of these two modified B-15C Flight Jacket styles.
The designation of “mod.” stands for modified, meaning the B-15 Flight Jacket has been “modified” by a USAF Materiel Command Depot in accordance with a USAF directive of 1954. The directive called for all of the types of B-15 Flight Jackets on issue or in stock to be “modified," whereupon the factory-installed fur collar was to be removed and a wool knit collar installed in its place. This modification was intended to reduce the flight jacket’s flammability that was considered greater with a fur collar in place. B-15 Flight Jackets so modified were to have a new label indicating this new “modified” status sewn either directly over the original factory label or located somewhere under the original label. The label information could be printed, typed, hand written or applied with a stencil or ink stamp on any available fabric. Since the modification was performed after the jacket was originally made, it is typical to find the thread color around the collar area not matching the thread that assembled the B-15 Flight Jacket, and it is also common to find the new knit collar color to be in a shade that doesn’t quite match the knit on the rest of the jacket. In all other ways, the flight jacket remained a B-15 Flight Jacket of whatever spec. it was originally - B-15A, B-15B, B-15C or B-15D.
The B-15C (mod.) Flight Jacket’s lightweight construction, comfortable non-bulky warmth, fabulous blue color 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 22 degrees and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, thus ideally suited for early spring, late fall and winter. The famous USAF MA-1 Flight Jacket was directly derived from the “modified” B-15 Flight Jackets in 1957. Although superseded by the MA-1 Flight Jacket, it was not uncommon to find an old veteran still wearing some of the B-15 series flight jackets in their “modified” configurations into the 1960s. The popularity of B-15 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 B-15C (mod.) Flying Jacket in exacting detail. Buzz Rickson’s heavy-weight, 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 flying 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 B-15C (mod.) Flying Jacket correctly captures all the nuances found on an original vintage B-15C (mod.), 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
- Authentic typewritten label indicating the “modified” status sewn on top of factory label
- Custom manufacturing of the correct weight and weave Olive Drab nylon outer and inner lining shell to precisely match 1950 USAF specs. and treated to repel water
- Correct USAF-spec. inner lining of warm alpaca and wool fiber filling sandwiched between the outer and inner shell lining
- Collar area authentically sewn with thread that does not match the thread used to assemble the rest of the jacket, exactly as on a “modified” B-15
- Two snap-down interior pockets lined with heavy 100% cotton twill fabric precisely matching 1950 USAF specs.
- Two snap-down exterior pockets lined with warm 80/20 wool-rayon fabric precisely matching 1950 USAF specs.
- Exact copy of the super-desirable, spring-loaded late 1940s Crown zippers on sleeve pocket and jacket front, with zip tape made of all-cotton HBT fabric, not incorrect poly-cotton
- Center-set frontal zip closure, exactly matching original B-15C specs.
- Heavy wind flap protector located behind zipper closure
- Correct USAF-spec. leather pull tabs on zippers
- Custom manufacturing of the correct two-ply 100% worsted-wool knit collar, cuffs and waist skirt in olive drab, with the collar knit correctly not matching the color of the cuffs and waist skirt in keeping with the way an original “modified” jacket would appear
- Brown leather tab 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 vintage B-15Cs
- USAF insignia transfer on left sleeve and under maker label in lining
- Zippered pocket on left sleeve outfitted with four pen/pencil slots and two anti-puncture pencil caps made of USAF-spec. brass
Sizes available: 36-44. Please see our SIZING TIPS for advice on how to get the correct fit.
Crown is a registered trademark in the USA of History Preservation Associates
Imported from Japan
Buzz Rickson USAF B-15C (mod.) Flying Jacket, Olive Drab
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 B-15C is a very easy-wearing style that creates very few sizing issues for the overwhelming majority of individuals. About 70% of our customers prefer a B-15C to fit 10” larger than their chest measure, while the remaining 30% prefer to have a fit 8” larger than their chest measure.
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. It is best advised for most customers to order a size that directly equates to their chest measure: Chest measures 40”, order size 40. 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 oversized.
Buzz Rickson USAF B-15C (mod.) Flying Jacket, Olive Drab
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 40 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.
Please understand that no jacket can be two jackets in one (you may have to make a compromise in fit somewhere). The best look is achieved wearing a shirt and undershirt, or a medium-weight sweater with undershirt; the goal being a trim, sleek look. If the application of our jackets is with multiple layers of clothing, then the original look will be compromised; when purchased oversized, please keep in mind that the jacket will fit NOT trimly but LOOSELY when fewer clothes are worn.
As a rule here, if the jacket squares up nicely on the shoulders when worn with the sort of clothing you will wear most of the time, falls about 1 1/2" below the top of your trousers (if a waist-length jacket), allows you to reach into trouser pockets and recover keys, wallet and change without discomfort or pain, as well as allow normal strides while walking, then this is very likely a good fit and how the jacket would have been worn when originally issued.
Using the good-fit test where one draws their arms across their chest as a barometer for snugness will almost certainly produce some binding in an A-2 jacket of the correct size, and thus push you further up the sizing scale into a very large A-2 jacket. A true 1940's A-2 jacket has no bi-swing action back (as found on the USN M-422A or G-1jackets, USAAF B-6, Tanker jacket, etc.) and is not cut for such a great range of movement as experienced when doing the arm-crossing act. If you can get that sort of movement range without binding in one of our A-2's, then it will surely be rather loose and sloppy when you aren't drawing your arms across your chest in front of you.
What makes more sense, having a jacket that looks great and feels fine during 90% of your activities, or only when you cross your arms in front of you? Do you walk around with your arms crossed in front of you? The choice is yours and we will gladly oblige all tastes, but do try to get the look originally intended.