FASHION AVIATION: the history of pilots' uniforms.

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The history of aviation is not just the history of aerospace engineering, which describes the course of aviation from the first flying machines, from winged bicycles to today's sophisticated aircraft with bedrooms and swimming pools. The history of aviation also includes fascinating pages about the evolution and mission of pilots. The first commercial airlines were served by mail aircraft that had only a few seats for reckless passengers.

The history of pilots' uniforms.

In the first days of the flight, the pilots completely ignored the uniforms - to the regret of their ground superiors. It was not a concerted effort of rebellion. The pilots simply had better ideas about what worked best in the air. Prior to the 1930s, pilots wore clothing derived from the military tradition established during World War I. Military pilots wore very practical and comfortable clothing, which consisted of:

  • Leather BOMBER JACKETS with oversized front pockets for easy access to diagrams.
  • scarves to keep his neck protected from the currents
  • a pair of glasses
  • khaki pants with black shoes or boots
  • soft leather headphones with intercom pockets or radio headphones.

Such an outfit was quickly adopted in the civil aviation sector by former military pilots who, in peacetime, worked in the air transport of mail and cargo.

The first standardized pilot uniforms appeared in 1931, introduced by Pan Am.

Things began to change in 1931, when Pan Am inaugurated South American routes using the Sikorsky S-38 and S-40 flying boats named American Clipper, Southern Clipper and Caribbean Clipper. Later, in 1939, they allowed the start of a weekly transatlantic passenger service between the United States and the United Kingdom.


Thus, the company decided to move away from the military aspect and dress the line pilots in an outfit similar to naval uniforms. Therefore, the pilots were offered black trousers, black jackets with braided cuffs on the lower sleeves denoting the rank of crew member and black caps with white, either with gold or silver insignia, representing either the name of the airline. , or the logo.

The success of Pan Am in the 1930s and expansion in the 1950s led to the establishment of one of the largest and best-known world-class airlines. Many other operators, who wanted to mimic the success of Pan Am, adopted the elegant look of the pilot's uniform for their crews.

pan-am pilot

Most crews consist of a pilot in command (also known as a captain), and a co-pilot (also known as a first officer). Systems integration and reduced workload have eliminated the need for additional crew members (also known as "ACM"), such as the flight engineer, navigator or radio operator.

However, because some older aircraft are still used for freight, such mixed crews still exist.

Each crew member's uniform shall be decorated with insignia representing his duties on board the aircraft.

  • The captain has four stripes on his shoulders and four stripes on his blazer arms.
  • The first officer has three stripes on the shoulder pads and arms of the blazer. In some airlines, for example Ryanair, a less experienced first officer has only two stripes.
  • Additional crew members (ACM) have two stripes on the shoulder pads and arms of the blazer.
  • Students or those in training have a stripe on the shoulder pads and arms of the blazer.

Pilots also wear a badge indicating their flight qualification and seniority. The color matches the color of the sleeve band, and the badge can be a metal needle or an embroidered patch. Generally, the badge has the airline logo in the center.

The pilots of the US airlines have as their insignia a star enclosed in a laurel wreath above. This car is similar to that of the United States Air Force (USAF) pilots. A first officer has only one star, similar to a senior USAF pilot.

Over the years, pilots' uniforms have not changed much flight attendant uniforms. They remained just as elegant and sober, attracting the eyes of those around them.

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