During WWII, Stuart Newman was a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying bombing runs over France. He recently mentioned that he didn’t bring back any mementoes from the war like so many of his buddies had.

Stuart is always a difficult person to shop for at Christmas, and the office often opts to make a donation to one of his pet charities. But this year we came across this flight jacket in a catalog, and it seemed perfect.

First issued to the U.S. Army aviators in 1931 and worn by flight crews throughout World War II, the A-2 flight jacket was reissued by the U.S. Air Force in 1987. Made exclusively for Hammacher Schlemmer by Cockpit USA, the current supplier of leather jackets to the Air Force, this updated classic version has a rugged outer shell of lambskin. The 100% polyester lining is printed with a pilot’s escape map of England and occupied Europe — a replica of the maps printed on silk that Stuart says were issued to aviators because they could be folded into a very small size and secreted in a pocket.

Now all he needs is a flight helmet, goggles … and a plane.


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