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aviation

  • American Airpower Museum: Preserving American Aviation

    The American Airpower Museum's Curtiss P-40 Warhawk The American Airpower Museum's Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

    Since it’s inception in 2000, Cockpit USA has stood side by side with the American Airpower Museum in its mission to preserve the legacy of all Americans who have served to defend our liberties, and to educate our newest generations regarding the courage, valor and heroism of our nation’s citizen soldiers.

    The American Airpower Museum's North American AT-6D “Texan”. The American Airpower Museum's North American AT-6D “Texan”.

    The American Airpower Museum is a New York Chartered 501c3 not-for-Profit museum at the historic Republic Field in Farmingdale long Island. Operating out of an original WWII hangar, the museum uses the sounds, smells, and experience of fully operational aircraft and vehicles to provide the complete educational experience to its visitors. Cockpit USA is proud to support such a long-standing and committed organization, and encourage you to visit and support AAM as well.

    One of AAM's pilots flying over Long Island. One of AAM's pilots flying over Long Island.

    Cockpit USA will be donating 10% of our net sales to the American Airpower Museum from May 25 to May 29, for Memorial Day weekend.

  • History of the Souvenir Jacket

    Detail of the embroidery on Cockpit USA's 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket Detail of the embroidery on Cockpit USA's 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket

    The souvenir jacket originated shortly after World War II in occupied Japan. American soldiers who served in the Pacific Theater commissioned these beautifully hand embroidered jackets as a memento of their travels and time abroad. The souvenir jacket reached the height of popularity during and after the Korean War (1950-1953).

    The popularity of souvenir jackets grew in both Japan and South Korea, following the Korean War. During the Cold War, U.S. military base exchanges around the world, imported souvenir jackets from Asia to sell at their kiosks to meet the demand. These jackets featured “Local maps” combined with some of the more popular Asian motifs. More unique custom graphics also increased over time. Not surprisingly, as souvenir jackets gained popularity with servicemen, these decorative jackets sparked a trend with friends, family, and eventually the general civilian population.

    7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket 

    Cockpit USA 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket Cockpit USA 7th Air Force Souvenir Jacket

    Established on 19 October 1940 as the Hawaiian Air Force it was part of an expansion program of the U.S. Army Air Corps, activated at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and suffering a considerable loss of aircraft and personnel, the HAF was re-equipped and re-designated in 1942 as the Seventh Air Force based at Hickam Field. During WWII the 7AF retained the mission of providing air defense for the Hawaiian Islands and also engaged in combat operations primarily in the Central Pacific AOR. It was assigned units engaging enemy forces in the Gilbert IslandsMarshall IslandsCaroline IslandsMariana Islands, and in the last major battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of Okinawa.

    During the Korean War the 7AF was based at Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea and have remained there till this day. A combat ready Air Command and serving as a deterrent to North Korean aggression.

     

    Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket (Coming Soon)

    Cockpit USA's Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket Cockpit USA's Aloha Hawaii Souvenir Jacket

    World War II dramatically changed the Hawaiian Islands forever. In the aftermath of the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Naval bases and surrounding Air Fields became the hub of US Pacific Theater Operations for all services. The beauty of the islands were also now seen for the first time by hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who transited on their way to and from the battlefields of the Pacific. This new exposure would bring more Americans both in and out of uniform to the Hawaiian Islands beginning in the 1950s. Once again Hawaii played an important role during the Korean War from 1950-53, and then again during the Vietnam War. Since then the islands have been home to generations of servicemen and women and still play a vital role for the US Pacific Fleet, and Air Forces.

    Our souvenir jacket is inspired by the mementos purchased for off duty wear in the 1950’s and 60’s by Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen alike. These jackets were often customized based on where one traveled, or was stationed. Often adorned with maps, and local symbols the jackets were eye catching as they were finely tailored from silk, nylon or rayon. Our jacket features a beautifully embroidered map of the Hawaiian Islands, hibiscus blooms and palm trees with references to the famed landmark Diamond Head volcano and Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. The Cockpit USA Aloha Souvenir jacket is a great piece that celebrates the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, and its rich history.

    Flying Tiger Souvenir

    Cockpit USA's Women's Flying Tigers Tour Jacket Cockpit USA's Women's Flying Tigers Tour Jacket

    Prior to the United States declaring war on Japan in December 1941, a group of American volunteer pilots and ground crew, joined the Chinese in the fight against the Empire of Japan. Nicknamed the Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group (AVG) was eventually absorbed into the US Army Air Forces on July 4th 1942, the 23rd Fighter Group was the official new name for the AVG, but kept their nom de gar “The Flying Tigers”.  The Cockpit USA Flying Tigers Souvenir jacket was created to honor the bravery and commitment of the AVG.

    Our Flying Tigers Souvenir Jacket is available for men and women.

  • Congratulations to pilot Thom Richard

    As you may or may not know, Cockpit USA is a proud Sponsor of Reno Air Race Gold Unlimited Class P-51 Team, "Precious Metal". Cockpit USA would like to take the time to congratulate pilot Thom Richard for successfully becoming the first World Champion in the international F1 World Cup Series. Thom is not only a supporter of our brand, a pilot for our museum, and a dear friend, he also moonlights as one of our models! Way to go Thom, and all of the members of the "Precious Metal" and "Hot Stuff" teams!

    Thom Richard at the American Airpower Museum Thom Richard at the American Airpower Museum
  • WCW: Blanche Stuart Scott

    We always admire a woman with a sense of adventure. Blanche Stuart Scott changed the ideas behind aviation and automobiles as possibly the first woman to fly solo in an airplane in the United States.

    From a young age, automobiles entranced Scott. Inspired by Alice Huyler Ramsey, Scott and reporter, Gertrude Phillips, became the second women to drive across the United States. From New York to San Francisco, Blanche showed the U.S. that women could do anything men could, even drive a car and make the repairs.

    Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane

    After her cross-country feat, Scott received the attention of Glenn Curtis, who agreed to give her flying lessons. Starting off focusing on taxiing the biplane around, Curtis taught Scott the basics of the plane before she could take to the sky.

    On September 6, Scott’s plane lifted off the ground to about 40 feet, before she gently landed. Though the flight was short, and possibly caused by a gust of wind or the limiter moving, she took to the air like a bird.

    On October 24, 1910, she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team. Known as the “Tomboy of the Air”, she was the first woman to fly as a public event in America. Never afraid of a challenge, she became an accomplished stunt pilot, exceeding in “death dives” that would leave the crowds roaring.

    Contracted to fly for Glenn Martin in 1912, Blanche became the first female test pilot. By 1916, she retired by flying because she was bothered by the public interest in air crashes. Scott was also against the aviation industries views that women could not become mechanics or engineers, even after she and other had proved women could be car mechanics.

    Blanche Scott Blanche Scott autograph

    Never losing her love of aviation, in 1948, Chuck Yeager piloted a TF-80C with Scott as the first woman to fly in a jet. Familiar with her past as a stunt pilot, her treated her to some snap rolls and dives. Rekindling her love of flight, she began working to help acquire early aviation materials for the United States Air Force Museum.

    An inspiration to women across the U.S., Scott will always be remember for her ground breaking work in the world of aviation for women.

  • MCM: James Herman Banning

    The belief that freedom of the sky would help create freedom on the ground made James Herman Banning one of the revolutionaries of his time.

    James Herman Banning James Herman Banning

    Born in 1899 in Oklahoma, Banning grew up with the determination to one day fly despite lack of resources and prejudice. Moving to Iowa where he studied electrical engineering for a little more than a year, his passion for aviation grew. Flight obsessed, he applied to multiple flight schools where he was rejected. Finally he found a pilot, Lt. Fisher, who saw the spirit in Banning and agreed to teach him to fly on the sly.

    Unfortunately, Lt. Fisher died in a plane crash just as Banning was near ready to fly solo. Without Fisher’s help, Banning was faced with finding a plane to fly when no one would lend him a plane to complete his required solo hours.

    Banning, undeterred, bought the engine from Lt. Fisher’s crashed plane and acquired plane and auto scraps to build his own plane, “Miss Ames”. Flying on his homemade plane, he earned his solo hours and was the first African American to receive a pilot’s license from the United States Department of Commerce.

    His love of flight, gave him the idea to become the first African American to fly across the United States, during the Great Depression. With no backers or newspaper coverage, Banning went out to find a way to fund his flight. In 1932, teaming up with mechanic, Thomas Cox Allen, the two came up with the idea to fund their flight along the way by soliciting small donations from the towns they landed in. Whether the donation was a meal, a place to sleep, or gas money, these donors would then inscribe their names on the wing of the plane, called “The Gold Book”. Each contributor was sharing their name in a piece of history, with a total of 65 individual names written on “The Gold Book”.

    "Miss Ames" & pilots James Herman Banning & Thomas Cox Allen "Miss Ames" & pilots James Herman Banning & Thomas Cox Allen

    Starting in Los Angeles, Banning and Allen faced many hardships and adventures on their cross-country flight due to the color of their skin, having no money, and flying a rickety plane. In one city, a whole town searched to find the right car parts to send them on their way after they crashed into a barn. In another city, Allen had to sell his suit for gas money. The last trek of their journey was funded by the Democratic Party in exchange to have Banning and Allen throw “Vote Roosevelt” flyers out of the cockpit as they flew over towns on their way to New York.

    After an exhausting, exciting 21 days of flying they completed their journey with a victory circle around the Statue of Liberty then landed at Valley Stream Airport. However, Banning’s accomplishment was unattributed. As a “race pilot”, his accomplishment was not considered news worthy by the white-owned newspapers.

    After their plane failed in Pennsylvania on the flight back, Banning and Allen were stuck returning to the West coast in the back of a bus.

    Trying to raise money to repair his beloved airplane, “Miss Ames”, Banning decided to fly a number of stunts in an AirTech Air Show. On the day of the show, the Chief Flight Inspector refused to allow Banning to fly one of his planes because he believed Banning couldn’t be trusted due to the color of his skin. An unlicensed white Naval mechanic offered Banning a seat in his friend’s plane, as a passenger. The mechanic wanted to preform the stunt, but during a loop stalled the plane, causing it to crash into the ground, costing Banning his life. In his honor, a group of his friends tried to rescue his beloved plane, only to find out it had been sold for scrap without Banning’s permission or knowledge. The physical record of the journey and “The Gold Book” were all destroyed.

    Banning’s determination, courage and hope for freedom was an inspiration to many other aspiring African American pilots and those who want to feel the freedom of the sky.

  • WCW: Bessie Coleman

    A true pioneer of her time, Bessie Coleman was the first female African American pilot and the first African American to hold an international pilot license.

    Bessie Coleman Bessie Coleman

    Coleman was born in Atlanta, TX in 1892 to a large family. Growing up in poverty, she worked hard to make a living and accomplished all 8 grade of schooling, excelling in math. At 23, she moved to Chicago to live with two of her older brothers. There, she heard tales of flights from pilots who were returning from WWI. Motivated by these stories, her brother’s taunting her and the lack of belief that African American women could fly she set out to find a school that would teach her. After repeated rejects from flight schools in the United States, Coleman began to look else where to achieve her dream.

    In 1920, she set off to Paris to learn to fly at a school that would teach her. After seven months of training in a 27-foot unreliable biplane, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded Coleman her international pilot’s license in June of 1921. She trained further in France, specializing in stunt flying and parachuting.

    Bessie Coleman standing near a plane. Bessie Coleman standing near a plane.

    Returning to the United States, she spent the next five years performing at countless air shows. Defending her and others’ rights and equality, she took a stand against locations that wouldn’t admit members of her race and would refuse to perform there. Coleman used her fame to encourage other African Americans to fly by speaking at schools and churches. She also raised money to found a school for African American aviators, wanting to spread the right of flight to other women and men of her race.

    Bessie Coleman standing on her plane in 1922. Bessie Coleman standing on her plane in 1922.

    Tragically, Coleman and her mechanic, William Wills, took their last flight on April 30, 1926. Preparing for an air show the following day, the plane unexpectedly plummeted, and this brave aviator fell to her death.

    Her spirit and accomplishments have not been forgotten. As a revolutionary figure in history, Bessie Coleman has continued to inspire women and men alike to follow their passions and take flight no matter what may stand in their way.

    “I refused to take no for an answer.” – Bessie Coleman

  • WCW: Jerrie Mock

    In 1964, an Ohio housewife went on the flight of a lifetime and became the first woman to fly around the world solo. Jerrie Mock was not your ordinary housewife. Flying her single engine Cessna 180, the "Spirit of Columbus", Mock made her world trip alone in just 29 days. She is an inspiration to pilots and go-getters, like ourselves, everywhere.

    Jerrie Mock standing next to her Cessna 180, the Spirit of Columbus. Jerrie Mock standing next to her Cessna 180, the Spirit of Columbus.

    To learn more about this incredible woman, check out this great article we found on BuzzFeed about her: www.buzzfeed.com/amyksaunders/the-untold-story-of-the-first-woman-to-fly-around-the-world

  • MCM: Tom Landry

    Before he became one of the most innovative and distinguished coaches in NFL history, Tom Landry was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII.

    Tom Landry circa 1944 Tom Landry circa 1944

    Starting off as a quarterback in high school, than continuing his game at the University of Texas, Landry put a hold on his education to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, both his brother, Robert had enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Unfortunately, during a flight over the North Atlantic Ocean, Robert’s plane went down and he was declared dead.

    Tom enlisted in the armed forces in honor of his brother, Robert. Though his first experience in a bomber did not go as planned, he was committed to flying. Training as a co-pilot for a B-17 in Sioux City Iowa, in wasn’t until 1944 that he received his first orders and sent off to England. Landry was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, 493rd Squadron in Ipswich.

    Earning his wings and a commission as a Second Lieutenant at RAF Debach, he was co-pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress in the 860th Bombardment Squadron. From November 1944 to April 1945 he completed a combat tour of 30 missions and even survived a crash landing after his plane ran out of fuel.

    Tom Landry coaching the Dallas Cowboys in 1971. Photo from Harold Valentine/AP. Tom Landry coaching the Dallas Cowboys in 1971. Photo from Harold Valentine/AP.

    After the war, he went back to playing football while at college. Then went on to become one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, creating the “4-3 defense” alignment and winning two Super Bowl Championships. His service to his country and the heart he put into all he did is just one of the many reasons we consider Tom Landry an American inspiration.

  • TBT: 1979/1980 Catalog

    Check out our very first "Cockpit Catalog" from our initial mail order days circa 1979/80. The first to bring then long dormant aviation fashion back into the world and been keeping up this tradition for 40 years now!

    Check out our very first "Cockpit Catalog" from our initial mail order days circa 1979/80. The first to bring then long dormant aviation fashion back into the world and been keeping up this tradition for 40 years now! The first Cockpit Catalog cover from 1979/1980
  • Aviator: Harry Atwood

    Imagine after three months of your first flying lesson, you set a record breaking flight of 576 miles from Boston to Washington, DC, and land on the lawn of the White House. That's exactly what aviator, Harry N. Atwood did.

    Harry Atwood Harry Atwood

    Atwood began training to be a pilot at the Wright Brother's Flying School in Ohio. Soon after his flight to DC, he began flying across the U.S. from Chicago to Milwaukee and then St. Louis to New York. Wanting to get more involved with planes, Atwood, left exhibition flying to build planes. He managed to become a flight instructor for William Starling Burgess and then General Aviation Corporation. After a few years with he realized that he belonged else where in the skies and went back to exhibition flying. On May 31, 1912, he made the first airmail in delivery in Massachusetts from Atwood Park to Lynn.

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