This year marks the 60th anniversary of NASA and 49 years ago this month, mankind first planted its feet on a not too distant heavenly body, solidifying our steps and future among the stars.
Now you too can own a reproduction of one of the most iconic items you saw worn by Earth bound Astronauts of the era you've always wanted to have.
Already in production is the very first model "Flite Wear" flight jacket worn by astronauts through the Gemini and Apollo Programs. Based loosely off the 1950s L-2B flight jacket, the original jackets were made in small batches in off the shelf sizes. Each batch is noticeably different in minor aspects: Fabrics, color, zippers, Pattern cut, and snap finishes.
There is roughly 5 variations of the "blue jackets" made during the early years of NASA with the earliest ones made by a small tailor shop in Kansas who originally supplied them in Olive Drab to local Boeing test pilots. The first pattern jackets have never before been reproduced by any company until now.
- Blue Cotton poplin shell fabric: Not Cotton twill as seen on later patterns. We've matched this fairly accurately to originals.
Khaki front zipper: On later jackets these were dark blue. On all surviving known 1st pattern jackets they are all khaki. We believe that this was the only color on hand with the original manufacturer at the time, so they used them with the rush time and small batch size of the initial order. We've replicated this.
- Dark Blue Exposed edge zipper on the shoulder pocket: Later these were covered by an additional piece of fabric matching the jacket for a neater appearance.
- Nickel snaps: Later during Apollo, these were changed to black. Ours come from the same gov supplier as the originals and are installed by us right here in our shop in the USA.
Reversible "Emergency" Orange Polyester Satin Lining: Originals were a semi-thick Rayon based satin lining with a thin wool backing. Without driving the cost of our jackets into the stratosphere by having custom rayon fabric milled, we've picked a very nice polyester based satin that is very very close in appearance and feel to the originals. We DID NOT use cheap thin Taslon nylon you find in 99% of any flight jacket reproductions.
Cut edge twill Type 2 style NASA patch: We have painstakingly worked with our patch embroidery people to accurately recreate the correct type 2 style patch. You won't be displeased. (Our prototype shown in the photos has the patch embroidered directly on the jacket. The actual production has been corrected and will have the cut edge twill sewn on patch, not direct embroidered.)
Pocket flaps: Correct size, angles, and mid chest placement. Often missized, misshapen, or lower on the body compared to the originals, ours are right on the money.
- "The Fit": Most commercial flight jacket reproductions are longer and sit lower on the torso compared to original era flight jackets. We based our patterns and sizing off early 60's L2B flight jackets just like the originals. They sit on top of the hips with ample room in the upper body for range of motion for your arms.
We have striven to stay as strictly accurate as possible to the original jackets without deviation, but we have added several nondescript details to make the jackets a bit more functional and give that extra " Real Deal" feel.
- An additional internal chest pocket to the inside lining on left breast big enough for a wallet or cell phone like on the Air Force Issue L2B.
- In addition to reproducing the original collar label, we added our own military style nomenclature label by the internal breast pocket.
Is our reproduction in the same stitch for stitch, using new old stock era fasteners and custom milled fabric category of super expensive high end Japanese replica flight jackets? No, and we don't pretend it is. Nor does our price reflect that.
Is our jackets better quality and more historically accurate than your common big name brand that surplus stores or big box online retailers carry? You betcha! You won’t be displeased. We have worked hard to make the most accurate reproduction possible but keeping the price down for the most bang for your hard earned buck.
So Why Kickstarter?
So the big question you're probably asking yourself: "If you already have them in production? Why a Kickstarter? Why not just start offering them up on your website?" It's not an unreasonable question to ask.
The first batch of 200 Jackets is in production and scheduled to start shipping from our facility around the first week of September. There is roughly 32 in each size we're producing. We know that the demand for these quality jackets is much higher than 32 people world wide. We've seen enthusiasts clamoring for an affordable and accurate quality reproduction for years, but unfortunately we're unable to meet that demand on our own like much larger companies.
To make sure we can meet the demand, we're going direct to you, the backer and our customer, to make sure we can meet that demand and give you a significant discount of 30% off what our normal retail MSRP would be if just directly selling them from our site in the process. Sure, we could sell the 200 and then take 4-6 months to restock, but we'd rather get them out to you as fast as possible and keep our momentum rolling.
For the early backers, we're offering the first batch of our jackets currently in production and individually serialized. If your size is sold out, that's ok! Our second batch will be shortly behind them at the same price, so you'll continue to get the same great deal.
With the 60th Anniversary of NASA upon us right now, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing next summer, and the upcoming motion picture about Neil Armstrong coming to theaters this Fall, You will be guaranteed to stand out in the crowd as a space exploration enthusiast and supporter while rocking our stylish reproduction.
1) Jacket Length is measured from top to bottom on the back side.
2) Bottom is measured unstretched and then to the maximum stretch. This measurement includes smallest possible fit to largest possible fit. This measurement will be just above the hips.
3) Chest measurement is 1/2 of the chest, measured from armpit seam to seam.
4) These jackets are meant to be large in the chest, so the best unit of measure is sleeve length and jacket length.
This jacket is sized within the measurement allowances of the original vintage (1960’s) L-2B flight jacket military specifications provided to manufacturers by the Department of Defense. Therefore, this jacket will generally fit the same as an L-2B jacket.
Risks and challenges
Every Project has its own ups and downs. Murphy's Law is always trying to peak it's head in the door at you as a manufacturer.
We only work with contractors that are trusted, with the highest quality standards. We strive for as close to humanly possible accuracy to the originals we base our products on, while keeping in mind the price point for our customers. We want you to achieve the look you’re wanting, without having a 2nd mortgage size impact on your monthly bank statement.
As the Numbered Edition run of jackets is already underway and nearly completed, the only potential issue we foresee possibly running into is arrival dates to our facility from our supplier. Most of this is the shipping aspect. To curb this potential issue, we spent the extra money and logistical nightmare on having our products air freighted to our facility. No being lost in transit nightmares that can last for months on end. In the worst case we could see with these is possibly being delayed a week or two. As we install the U.S. made snaps here at our facility, we will be doing a 3rd quality control check to make sure everything is up to our specifications before it heads out the door to our backers.
As the cuts of the garments patterns and materials have already been established through months and months of work with our prototype and now being in full production, the heavy leg work is done. Production and shipping are fairly expedient and should be delivered right on the mark.
As always, any delays or hiccups or good news, we will inform our backers as soon as we know them.
If this campaign is successful, we have many other future Gemini and Apollo projects in the works, so whether you back us or not, please keep an eye peeled for more!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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