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the Barnstormer was born, and was worn by a kind of gypsy pilot who traveled from small town to town performing aerobatics at county fairs and giving rides to willing passengers. Remember that this is the early 1920’s, the aeroplane was new, and people looked to the sky when they heard an engine’s drone overhead. Not like today where it’s all taken for granted. While there was money to be made, much of it went into their ships. Landing gear, tires, fabric and propellers all took a beating on America’s rough farmland that was the pilot’s home. Having the honor of flying my own as well as other vintage aircraft in the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s collection in Upstate New York during weekend summer air shows, it is only fitting to wear the proper attire while flying these vintage aeroplanes. Being a stickler for accuracy, I reviewed pictures of the period to get an insight into what they wore. If a visitor to our air show takes photos of you flying in a vintage biplane from 20’s, 30’s or perhaps in a WWI fighter, your appearance should be as accurate as the aeroplane you’re flying. Most pilots’ back then lived in the clothes they had. Much of their wardrobe came from a variation of their military days in France. Jodhpurs, boots (often Cavalry riding boots), helmet, goggles, silk scarf and of course the ever popular and well worn leather flying jacket were part of the every day uniform for a Barnstorming pilot. He made a dashing hero to many. The early flying jackets like the A-1 had one main distinction. Buttons. Zippers replaced them in later designs like the famous A-2 jacket.
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