I'll be traveling back to the UK from the 7th - 17th June. Any orders placed after 10am ET on June 6th will ship when I return on June 18th. Thanks!

WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit

WW2 USN/USAAF Strato Equipment Company Experimental Air Ventilated Flight Suit

Regular price
$150.00
Sale price
$150.00
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
per 

Another beautiful and incredibly rare piece. This wonderful garment is a WW2 experimental Air Ventilated flying suit, made as a prototype by the Strato Equipment Company in Minneapolis, this is absolutely unique, a one of one, known as 'Model no. 37'. Strato Equipment Co. was founded in 1942 by John Ackerman, Dean of Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Minnesota from 1931 until 1959. Akerman, a Russian immigrant was an expert in aviation technologies, working with Boeing and many others to develop technologies that contributed to both the war effort and later the space race. His company specialised in early pressure suit development, and made some of the earliest US pressure suit designs and researched many of the systems that would later make their way to the space suit. 

This suit is a prototype air ventilated flying suit, the principal idea of which is to pump appropriate temperature air around the body to keep the pilot comfortable in flight. The problem with early flying was huge variation in cockpit temperatures for a pilot. At low level or on the ground, the heavy flying suits required for high-altitude was too hot. At higher altitude the temperatures dropped considerably. Then with the dawn of the jet age, the extremes of speed and wearing of pressure suits again made life for the pilot uncomfortably hot. This suit would originally have been fitted with a mesh of small flexible tubes allowing hot air to be bled from the engines and pumped around the body to provide heat, or cold ambient air to provide cooling. Air ventilated flying suits never really took off in any great way, the RAF introduced the 'fairy suit' in the 1960s, and the US introduced one in the 50s, but neither saw extensive use. This is certainly the earliest example I've ever seen. The suit itself is labelled #37, and Strato Equipment liked to number each of their prototypes, so it stands to reason that this is model number 37. Akerman's papers still exist in the University of Minnesota, so further research could be done there.

The suit itself is a heavy modified AN-6550 Summer Flying Suit. To this is attached a rather wild hood, which closes through an additional zipper and button closure. Throughout the inside of the suit are attached large padded sections of alpacca (similar to the lining of B-15), and over this are the stitch marks from where the flexible tubing would have been sewn. Lamentably the tubing has since been removed, but non-the-less and interesting example of a very rare suit - most pieces like this that I've seen are in the Smithsonian or other museums.

Condition

Unfortunately the years have not been kind, especially to the legs which have extensive damage and remain very delicate. This suit should be handled with extreme care and belongs in a collection/archive of early flight equipment.

Size

  • Tagged a 46
  • It's not wearable, further size details on request