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EUROPE - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

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RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby jrichardn2 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:14 pm

I've been poking around the Interwebz for a while looking at pix of flight suits. Around the end of WWII aviators stopped wearing something very similar to a walking-out uniforms and started wearing one-piece flight suits.

What interests me is that for decades, in the RAF, the RCAF, the USAF these flight suits are a drab green, sometimes tan.

Were they ever RAF blue? Somewhere in my memory I see them but I've found no images. And why were RAF suits ever made green?
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Re: RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby Blakwhit » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:46 pm

I can't say if they were ever blue but I can comment on the green color. So I believe that the green/tan flight suit was chosen because those colors lend well to escape and evasion (E&E) if the flight crew is shot down. So you will notice that most flight crews who are flying in arid regions wear tan and then switch to green when in a more temperate climate. You will find pictures of US/UK/CAN flight crews in Iraq and AFG wearing tan flight suits, and when they are operating in Europe they will wear green.
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Re: RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby Blakwhit » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:48 pm

The only people I know that wear blue flight suits are Astronauts (NASA, ESA, Russian Space Agency) and the Blue Angles.
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Re: RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby Silverturtle » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:11 am

I'm not too sure -- it being over 25 years since I left the USAF; but I think the "Thunderbirds" wear blue flight suits too.
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Re: RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:24 pm

I agree with Blakwhit, the green was camouflage for downed fliers. The USN used to have orange flight suits to aid rescue at sea, and so did USAF Air Defense Command interceptor pilots, on the principle that if they went down it would be on friendly territory and they would be better visible to rescuers. Vietnam pretty much ended all that and everybody went to green, also roughly coinciding with the adoption of Nomex.

I have read that in the '60s the Thunderbirds had red, white, blue or gray "show suits" they would rotate. The white was not popular, especially with the slot pilot, because it showed every particle of soot from the engine exhaust.

Another thing that happened in Vietnam was the world of USAF "party suits," which were privately made for off-duty wear and came in a rainbow of squadron colors.

I don't know anything about RAF blue suits, but some googling came across a few like this:
http://www.historicflyingclothing.com/e ... 5Y8aTXLJIF


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Re: RAF (and RCAF and USAF) flight suits

Unread postby jrichardn2 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:47 pm

Thanks! Better google fu than me; and vindication that my vague childhood memories are right and that early RAF flight suits were in fact (at least close to) RAF-blue.

Are flight suits so expensive that different suits can't be worn in different enviroments? RCAF transport pilots in domestic or peaceful service wear green flight suits, i.e., not the orange that I'd think they'd want to wear?
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