In the late 1930s/early '40s the sheepskin used for shearling flight jackets was vegetable tanned and hand dyed; this dying produced a mottled, patchy appearance. These B-3 Flight Jackets have a distinct reddish hue (often referred to by the collecting fraternity as 'Redskins') and are a lighter shade than those produced later in the war. By the early '40s the method of dye application and the dye color of this finish changed: They were then spray dyed in a dark brown color (some were still dyed by hand but in the dark brown color). However, during the short period of this transition between dyeing techniques and dye color, some manufacturers were mixing “Redskin” pelts with the dark brown ones within the same garment - this is what we refer to as a “Mixed Batch” flight jacket.
The Perry Sportswear contract 17808 was such a contract where these “Mixed Batch” examples appeared. This was the first contract awarded to Perry Sportswear for B-3 Flight Jackets in 1941, and it's not known precisely how many within this contract were made as a “Mixed Batch,” but they would have been in the minority - they are the “white crows” among vintage flight jackets.
Using a combination of our exclusively prepared veg-tanned “Redskin” and Dark Brown skins, we have recreated an outstanding reproduction of the Perry 17808 ‘Mixed Batch.” Because there was no particular format as to which panels were ‘Redskin” or Dark Brown on the originals (they can be found in various combinations of placement and ratios of each shade), but we have formatted ours with a reasonably equal ratio and symmetrical placement of each color type. And this is constructed from skins with the correct, differing wool depths, not one depth of too-puffy wool as found on inferior knock-offs, so the look and feel of this B-3 Flight Jacket will be just like the original examples. Every aspect has been carefully recreated on this early B-3 Flight Jacket: costly, more-attractive two-piece back and triangle-shaped hip gusset arrangement, custom-made nickel-plated chain hanger in neck instead of leather, authentic wartime Talon zip in nickel plate, snaps on collar and chest, heavy leather belts in matched color with nickel-plated brass buckle, vegetable-tanned aniline-dyed russet horsehide trim, reinforcements and single tool pocket (no hand-warmer pockets ever appeared on the original B-3 Flight Jacket), Perry Sportswear contractor and size labels, correct collar shape and size, and assembly with all-cotton thread. These early jackets saw action throughout the war, particularly with the 8th AF.
Just as is the case with all of our special-edition products, every detail pertaining this contract and contractor has been reproduced. And to further enhance this product and capture the vintage appeal of what is so desirable when finding an original B-3, this model comes with a subtle TimeWorn® finish, thus providing a broken-in vintage look out of the box.
Our reproduction of this model represents the very highest degree of authenticity and quality you can find in a product of this genre, and it is positioned as one of the top-tier models in our range. Due to the amount of time required to produce the special sheepskin material, delivery times may be longer than other styles; if this is the case with your order, your kind patience is requested in advance.
Sizes available: 36-48 regular, with long and extra-long fittings available as a custom order at no extra charge. Please see our SIZING TIPS for advice on how to get the correct fit.
Imported from England
USAAF B-3 Flying Jacket, Perry Sportswear 17808 Mixed Batch
About this Style: This jacket style is bulky and can take some getting used to for those who have never worn a vegetable-tanned sheepskin jacket with substantial wool depth and horsehide sleeve reinforcements. The design does not provide the range of mobility afforded in many other jacket styles we offer and/or that many customers have ever experienced, but the look of this design is so much a classic and the insulation so substantial that forcing one’s self to get used to the stiffer, somewhat-restrictive design can be totally worth the price of admission for most customers. And for those who are naturally less fussy and more tolerant of snug-fitting garments and not inclined to walk around trying to cross their arms in front of themselves, this entire caveat will be meaningless.
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 no less than 8”of room in excess of your chest measure if you prefer a trim fit in the chest and shoulders, thus if you have a 42” chest circumference measure, order size 42. Ordering a jacket size that has a label size equivalent to one’s chest measure has proven to work well for about 70% of our customers. 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, 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 sparing you the hassle and cost of exchanges.
Tip 3: Please keep in mind that this jacket style is made of sheepskin with sheep wool measuring 20 mm in depth in the body and ½” in depth in the sleeves, 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 and the room the seams consume. Likewise, if you plan to wear heavy layers under this jacket style, such an application will further subtract from the room inside the jacket, though heavy layers shouldn’t be required for most cold climates.
Please ask us for fitting advice if in doubt.
Tip 4: 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 have to jump up one full 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.
USAAF B-3 Flying Jacket, Perry Sportswear 17808 Mixed Batch
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.
Long and Extra Long fittings are available upon custom order and aren’t returnable unless faulty. A Long fitting adds 1” to both the arm and body lengths listed in the measures provided, while an Extra-Long fitting adds 1 ½” to both of these areas of measure. Delivery times are greatly extended for custom orders. Please contact us to place an order for a Long or Extra-Long fitting.
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 42 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 3” 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 42”, a product with a 25” chest width has a 50” external chest circumference and would provide 8” of external room in this scenario (chest measures 42”, external chest measure of jacket is 50”, thus 8” 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 21” and the arm length is 25”, adding 10.5” (half the shoulder width) to 25” (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 NOTE: 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 1940s A-2 jacket has no bi-swing action back (as found on the USN M-422A or G-1 jackets, 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-2s, 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.