Wwii 1926018 1920

Irvin Flying Jacket: A Must-Have for Open Cockpit and Vintage Aircraft Enthusiasts

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A symbol of daring, adventure, and resilience, the Irvin flying jacket has seen the ravages of war and the progression of aviation history. Born in the tumultuous era of World War II, these jackets were originally designed for aircrews flying in a wide range of aircraft, where heating was unreliable or nonexistent and the chill of high-altitude flights was a constant menace.

Inside a WWII bomber like the Avro Lancaster, which was not pressurized or insulated like modern aircraft, the temperature would be only slightly higher than the outside air temperature. The heating in these aircraft was rudimentary, mainly arising from electrical suits for the crew and some heat from the engines. But these systems were not particularly efficient, and crew members often reported extremely cold conditions, particularly on long night-time bombing runs over Germany. It would have been well below zero at 20,000ft+during those long raids.

Amidst the freezing temperatures and perilous heights, the Irvin RAF flying jacket became a trusted ally, braving the elements alongside the brave men who wore them. Over time, these jackets came to be synonymous with courage and endurance, much like the stalwart figures known to have donned them – the bomber crews aboard allied aircraft in WWII.

The Irvin Bomber Jacket: A Nod to History

Fast forward to today, and the Irvin jacket has evolved into the Irvin bomber jacket. While still retaining its historical authenticity, it has seamlessly adapted to the nuances of modern times. The Irvin bomber jacket continues to be a style statement with its classic design, warm sheepskin lining, and practical utility.

Nowadays, you don’t need to be soaring above the clouds to appreciate its charm. It’s equally at home on the fashion runways as it is in the cockpits of vintage aircraft, highlighting the intersection of history and style that makes this garment so unique.

The Irvin Aviator Jacket: Essential Gear for Open Cockpit and Vintage Aircraft Flyers

The Author Wearing An Irvin Flying Jacket While Waiting For A Ride In A Tiger Moth
The author wearing an Irvin flying jacket while waiting for a ride in a Tiger Moth at Duxford Aerodrome

When it comes to recreational aviation, specifically for open cockpit and vintage aircraft enthusiasts, the Irvin Aviator Jacket is more than just a nostalgic fashion statement—it’s essential gear. The open cockpit environment exposes pilots to the elements, particularly the cold. 

Constructed from top-quality sheepskin and designed with meticulous attention to detail, it offers unparalleled warmth, making it perfect for those chilly altitudes. From light sport aircraft to vintage biplanes, gyrocopters to microlights, the Irvin Aviator Jacket proves its worth by keeping recreational aviators comfortable and focused on their flight.

Ask any aviator who’s worn it during an open-air flight, and they’ll tell you how it transforms the flying experience. There’s something about wearing a piece of history that adds a whole new level of authenticity and immersion to your aviation adventures.

Irvin RAF Jacket for Flight Sim Fans

Even if you’re not a recreational aviator but are a flight simulation enthusiast, the Irvin Jacket has something special to offer. Wearing this jacket can significantly enhance the immersive experience, especially when you’re emulating open cockpit and vintage aircraft flights.

Just as professional pilots use high-quality yokes, pedals, and throttle quadrants to simulate real flight, an Irvin Jacket can help create a more authentic experience for flight simulators. Imagine feeling the weight of the sheepskin on your shoulders, its warmth surrounding you as you navigate your virtual plane. It’s an immersion like no other.

Aviation Leathercraft: Preserving the Legacy of the Irvin Jacket

Aviation Leathercraft'S Original Irvin Flying Jacket
Aviation Leathercraft’s original Irvin flying jacket

For those seeking an authentic Irvin flying jacket, look no further than Aviation Leathercraft. Based in the UK, this revered company has been the official manufacturer of the Irvin flying jacket since 1977. Aviation Leathercraft’s commitment to quality and authenticity makes it the go-to choice for aviators, history enthusiasts, and fashion connoisseurs alike.

Handcrafted to Perfection

Every Irvin jacket that Aviation Leathercraft produces is handcrafted. This dedication to traditional craftsmanship ensures that each jacket stays true to Leslie Irvin’s original design. From the rugged brown sheepskin to the warm honey lacquer on the inside, the detail and accuracy are nothing short of impressive.

A Range to Choose From

Aviation Leathercraft offers a range of jackets, catering to a wide array of preferences. Their collection includes original Irvin flying jackets, styled after the iconic RAF jackets from World War II. They also offer a variant known as the Irvin Light, which is designed for those who prefer something a bit lighter, ideal for warmer weather or less chilly altitudes. Additionally, they have an Irvin Ladies’ Jacket, specifically tailored to fit women.


In line with their dedication to quality and fit, all jackets from Aviation Leathercraft are made-to-order. This allows customers to provide their measurements and ensure the jacket fits just right. After all, a jacket like this isn’t just about style and history – it’s about comfort and functionality as well, particularly if you’re going to be using it while soaring through the skies in a vintage aircraft.

The Aviation Leathercraft Experience

The experience of purchasing from Aviation Leathercraft goes beyond acquiring a jacket. It’s about becoming a part of a tradition that goes back decades. As soon as you don the jacket, there’s no question that you’re part of something special – a tradition of quality, authenticity, and a nod to the brave aviators of the past.

A Key Part of the Aviation Experience

This item of clothing stands as a testament to the brave aviators of the past and an essential companion for the open cockpit and vintage aircraft flyers of today. Its rich history, coupled with its exceptional warmth and style, makes it more than just a jacket—it’s a symbol of the thrill, adventure, and romance of flying.

Whether you’re a recreational aviator braving the chilly skies in a vintage plane, or a flight simulation fan seeking a more authentic experience, an Irvin Jacket is an essential part of your gear. When you don an Irvin, you’re not just wearing a piece of clothing; you’re embracing a piece of aviation history.

The Genuine Irvin Original Flying Jacket: A Masterpiece of Design

The genuine Irvin original flying jacket is a testament to Leslie Irvin’s commitment to excellence. The inventor of the parachute “rip-cord,” Leslie Irvin, drove the creation of the original Irvin flying jacket in the 1930s, combining his understanding of the harsh environments pilots face with an eye for robust, hard-wearing materials.

An Original Irvin Jacket – A Legend in Aviation Leathercraft

What sets the Irvin jacket apart from others is its heritage. The heavyweight sheepskin garment was born out of necessity during the Battle of Britain. Leslie Irvin’s original design featured supple sheepskin to keep the pilots warm. This brown sheepskin has since become a signature element of the Irvin flying jacket.

One of the most impressive aspects of the original Irvin sheepskin flying jacket is the attention to detail demonstrated by its creator. From the wide collar that could be raised to provide excellent insulation around the neck and lower part of the head, to the belt at the waist designed to ensure draughts couldn’t drop the pilot’s body temperature and reduce his level of alertness, every feature has a purpose. Interestingly, the original design did not include pockets as they were considered unnecessary and potentially disruptive in the confines of the cockpit.

The Irvin Jacket – More Than Just a Jacket

Every time you put on a genuine Irvin original flying jacket, there’s no question that you’re part of something special. The warmth of the heavyweight, top-quality sheepskin combined with the supple leather bindings and sturdy Talon zipper, all contribute to an experience that’s both practical and profound. The jackets are made with the same pedantic attention to detail demonstrated by its creator, Leslie Irvin, himself.

The inside color of the original Irvin jackets is a warm honey, a result of the lacquer applied to the sheepskin. This color, along with the natural brown leather bindings, has become an iconic part of the jacket’s aesthetic. Every genuine Irvin jacket is made with sheepskin, a natural material, and as such, some color variations can be expected, adding a unique touch to each piece.

Sheepskin, as a material, is not only warm but also incredibly resilient. If well cared for, your genuine Irvin jacket could last you virtually forever. Much as anything else owning a genuine Irvin just feels right.

A Testament to Aviation History

B-17 Flying Fortress
B-17 Nose

At the RAF museum, you’ll find these original Irvin flying jackets, a testament to the critical role they played in the Battle of Britain. The production of them was ramped up in order to meet demand, indicative of the altitudes to which pilots could fly constrained further still during the war.

Today, it is considered a masterpiece of design, applicable to clients across the aviation spectrum – from those piloting vintage aircraft, flying open cockpit planes, to flight simulation enthusiasts. Leslie’s insistence on using top-quality, rugged sheepskin and his premeditated design choices, such as the decision to create a jacket without pockets, have resulted in a piece of aviation history that still remains relevant and sought-after.

So, whether you’re a recreational aviator or a lover of vintage aviation fashion, donning an original Irvin flying jacket means you’re wearing a piece of history.  A jacket that was not only designed to keep the brave RAF pilots warm but also to ensure their alertness and effectiveness in the skies. That is the legend of the Irvin jacket.

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