Meticulously copied from one of only a few extant examples, A-2 Flight Jackets from the HLB Corp. contract 37-3891P of March 1937 represent the second-rarest of all A-2 Jacket contracts, which numbered only 375 pieces in total. These A-2 Jackets also have some of the most unique features to be found on any A-2 Jacket, not the least being an early-style Kwik zipper with metal base attached with grommets.
The A-2 Jacket this copy was patterned from is depicted in the side-by-side photo comparisons in the gallery on this page. One of the details you may immediately notice is that the vintage example is much darker than copy we offer, which is because the vintage examples was a re-issued jacket that had been refurbished by the AAF Materiel Command later in WWII, thus it was re-dyed a dark brown color to hide scuffing and damage as was typical with re-issued leather jackets; the true, light brown coloring found on the earlier jackets has been utilized in crafting our copy offered here.
HLB Corp. A-2 Jackets have many interesting features, including some not found on any other A-2 Jackets. Please note the following as unusual and/or unique to HLB Corp. A-2 Jackets:
• Sleeve cut – unique to HLB
• Inset collar hook - unique to HLB
• Leather-tabbed zipper reinforcement at inside waist - unique to HLB
• Double top-stitched pocket flaps - unique to HLB
• Early Kwik zipper in nickel plate with metal base attached via grommets - unique to HLB
• Nickel-plated ball-style press studs on pockets and collar - unique to HLB
• Collar hook enameled black with “kinked” eye and hand sewn in place - unique to HLB
• Italicized font on spec. label in lining neck area - unique to HLB
• Single-stitched epaulets
• Beveled pocket corners
The cut and fit of this A-2 Jacket has been taken inch-for-inch off the original; it is a very comfortable cut, with a tad extra length in the body compared to most other A-2 Jackets, but most markedly a completely unique cut to the sleeve underarm, which is like no other - giving this A-2 a noticeable amount of extra lateral arm movement when raising one’s arms to the side.
All other authentic features have been slavishly copied from the vintage example, which include the heavy-gauge, all-cotton thread, custom-made cotton lining and wool knit, both of which precisely match the vintage example in weave and color, spec. label woven on vintage shuttle loom, and, of course, the “Vintage Warhorse” horsehide leather in Havana Brown, which is 100% vegetable tanned from one of the premier tanneries in Italy and dyed with pure aniline so as to come as close as possible to recreating the weight, color, and character of grain found on the vintage jackets.
This is also a historically significant A-2 contract: an HLB A-2 Jacket was worn by one of “Doolittle’s Raiders” on the famous Tokyo mission, which is now on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH. For the A-2 Jacket enthusiast, this is the rarest of copies that will ever be available, as only in this unique specification can it be made 100% authentic, which includes the trademarked Kwik zipper exclusive to us.
Sizes available: 36-48 regular. Long and extra-long fittings available at no additional cost on special order only. Please see our SIZING TIPS for advice on how to get the correct fit.
Imported from England
USAC A-2 Flying Jacket, HLB Corp. Contract 37-3891P
About this Style: It is important to keep in mind that this A-2 Jacket is an HLB Order 37-3891P, thus this style is cut differently than any of our other A-2 Jackets; however, it is a very comfortable A-2 that shouldn't create fitting problems for most individuals. The sleeves are a bit more tapered than most other A-2s we offer, so it's natural to perceive slight snugness in the elbow region when moving your arms in any stretching motions, but it's also not anywhere near as snug in the sleeves as our Star Sportswear A-2 jacket, which is also a narrower cut in the body, and both this and the narrow sleeves compel wearers of the Star Sportswear A-2 to go up one size.
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 4”of room in excess of your chest measure if you prefer a trim fit in the chest and shoulders, thus if you have a 40” chest circumference measure, 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. If a roomier or longer fit is desired, then order the next available size after reviewing all relative measures that pertain to that 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: If you have other A-2s from us other than the Star Sportswear model, ordering a size in this HLB A-2 should correspond to any other A-2 we offer, so if you upsized in another model A-2, you'll do the same in this HLB A-2, and if you wear your actual chest size in an another A-2 style from us, then do the same with this HLB A-2. If your waist measure is equal or greater than your chest measure, you will almost certainly need to go up one size from your actual chest measure, so if your waist measures 44" and your chest is 42", its highly likely you will need a size 44. 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.
USAC A-2 Flying Jacket, HLB Corp. Contract 37-3891P
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” are 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 40 is 21”, doubling this measure yields a 42” 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 6” of room. If your chest circumference is 40”, a product with a 22” chest width has a 44” external chest circumference and would provide 4” of external room in this scenario (chest measures 40”, external chest measure of jacket is 44”, thus 4” 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 18” and the arm length is 26”, adding 9” (half the shoulder width) to 26” (the arm length) will yield an overall sleeve length of 34” 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 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.