It's always a pleasure to find and enjoy a piece as rare as this! This is a stunning example of the 'third pattern' L-2B jacket, which would have been made as a pre-production prototype around 1956/57. In the timeline of these iconic flight jackets, this was the last L-2B made before the switch to orange linings in 1960, it's retains the gold rayon lining and epaulettes, but the oxygen tab is no longer part of the specification. This would be rolled out into service as the 'MIL-J-7448C', some of which were produced with and without the oxygen tab around 1957-58.
The beautiful piece retains the all important 'Experimental Test Sample' label, and it includes the often lost cheesecloth tag that still faintly shows the "DATE, SUB-ORDER, TYPE, SIZE" where specific information could be handwritten about the exact piece. Unfortunately the writing has long since washed away. This likely would have been handmade at the Air Force's clothing branch, headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB and given to a senior officer for testing and evaluation. There is evidence of a leather name tag, as is common with test samples, but unfortunately this has disintegrated over time.
Needless to say, these prototype jackets are exceptionally rare, this is only the second I've had and they are the pinnacle of any flight jacket collection.
This came to me in rough shape, and has been loving restored to as close to its original configuration as possible. It's been very carefully cleaned to remove a huge amount of staining, and restore it's beautiful sage green colour. I've removed an incorrect zip, and replaced with the correct period crown zipper, including a crown zipper pull from an original 1950s L-2B. The cuffs have been replaced, and I've invisibly reinforced a scuff to the left below. Great care has been taken to follow original stitching lines as closely as possible to ensure this is an authentic as possible. The jacket is now wearable, though as ever I would recommend this as an archive piece.
- No size tag
- Fits a modern large/XL
- Pit to pit 25"
- Shoulder to shoulder 21"
- Shoulder to cuff 27"
- Collar to hem 26"