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The Cockpit

  • 100 Years of The British Royal Air Force

    Today on this 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Cockpit USA commemorates the bravery and history our country’s strongest ally in Europe.  Our RAF sheepskin bomber jacket represents the epitome of English heroism during WWII. Worn over London skies in the summer of 1940 by English fighter pilots flying Spitfire and Hurricane fighters in air battles against Nazi air forces, this bomber jacket provided the warmth and freedom of movement needed during combat.

    Click here for 20% off on our RAF Fighter Weight Sheepskin Bomber Jacket. Offer valid from March 30-April 3rd 2018

    Pilots in the RAF tailored their jackets to shear down the wool to allow more freedom of movement. We at Cockpit USA have introduced a short sheared sheepskin version light enough to wear with a sweater or other layering pieces. We also commemorate the efforts of the RAF by showcasing a beautiful R.A.F belt buckle inspired by the British crown insignia.  On this anniversary Cockpit USA introduces our new "RAF Eagle Squadron Tee" which pays respect to the three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force formed with volunteer pilots from the United States. We honor the achievements of one of the most important military units ever assembled and focus on the its development by looking back at its early years of service during WWI and WWII.

    jets-throughout-history-2

    The British Royal Air Force was formed on April 1, 1918 as an integration of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The development of British flight engineering began years later after the American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the fist ever flight of self-propelled heavier than air aircraft flight in 1903. This gave birth to the Royal Naval Flying School at Eastchurch, Kent on December 1911. The school was eventually integrated into the Royal Flying Corps forming a new airplane squadron. Soon after, the specifications of the navy introduced the RNAS.

    Montrose-Royal-Flying-Corps-officers-and-an-airmen-background-from-No-2-Squadron-pose-in-front-of-a-BE-2-biplane WWI Montrose-Royal-Flying-Corps-officers-and-an-airmen-background-from-No-2-Squadron-pose-in-front-of-a-BE-2-biplane WWI
    RAF Aircrew in front of a Hurricane Aircraft 1940 RAF Aircrew in front of a Hurricane Aircraft 1940
    RAF Pilots, 1940 somewhere in England RAF Pilots, 1940 somewhere in England

    On August 4th 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and entered WWI. The British RFC only had 84 aircraft while the RNAS had 71. Germany’s advance technologies gave it great advantage during air strikes, which crippled towns in England through damaging bombings. This disadvantage caused the British military to create a separate ministry, which could focus on the development of strategic air bombing against Germany.

    WRAF Servicewoman WWII WRAF Servicewoman WWI

    It was on April 1st, 1918 that the RAF was born incorporating a female group called the Women’s Royal Air Force. The WRAF came forth after the concern of the loss of specialized female workforce. The WRAF fell into two categories; one fell under “immobiles” as they stayed attached to their local station. The second category being “mobile” lived in quarters on or near the workplace and could be transferred elsewhere if needed. The WRAF held the reputation of becoming the most professional and disciplined of all women’s service due to the strict guidelines imposed by the RAF. The WRAF came to and end on August 1919 and became an individual asset to the RAF as a whole, their bravery and call to action to a country in need held these women as one of the most important service groups during WWI.

    By the end of the first World War on November 11,1918, the RAF had dropped 5,500 tons of bombs and claimed 2,953 enemy aircraft destroyed, gaining clear air superiority along the Western Front and contributing to the Allied victory over Germany and the other Central Powers. It had also become the largest air force in the world at the time, with some 300,000 officers and airmen—plus 25,000 members of the WRAF—and more than 22,000 aircraft.

    The RAF expanded quickly due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The men of the regular pre-war air force were joined by those from the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, formed in 1924 to provide a reserve of manpower, and the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), who were put on the active list when war was imminent and who were vital to the RAF's performance, particularly during the Battle of Britain. During the Second World War the RAF fought in every major theatre, the Battle of Britain being the most famous campaign where Britain fought the superior German Air Forces, blocked the Luftwaffe air supremacy over southern England and therefore preventing the German invasion of England.

    Photo of French Pilot flying with original RAF Jacket Photo of French Pilot flying with original RAF Jacket. Click here for Cockpit USA's RAF Sheepskin Bomber Jacket

    The rapid expansion of the RAF came to life after the absorption of the men and planes of the air forces of the British Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This also included European countries in exile fighting against the Nazis such as Poland, Czech Republic, France, and Belgium as well as British Indian colonials and British West Indian recruits. During World War II the RAF reached a total power of 1.2 million men and women, of whom 185,000 were aircrew. Unfortunately about 70 thousand personnel were killed. The British Royal Air Force will forever be known as one of the most significant professional groups ever assembled and a true ally to the United States of America.

    British bomber crews during a mission in 1942, North Africa British bomber crews during a mission in 1942, North Africa

     

     

     

     

  • Jacky Clyman on International Women's Day

    This month we observe International Women's Day on March 8th and we would like to spotlight someone near and dear to us, our Vice President Jacky Clyman. Jacky is an inspiration to many that work at Cockpit USA and a role model to women who are veterans in the workforce as well as those starting their journey. We recently asked Jacky a couple of questions during her never ending day, and found her story to be one of passion, focus, and defiance.

    Photo Taken by Jürgen Frank Image of Jacky Clyman Photographed by Jürgen Frank while wearing the Vintage Walking Out Coat

     

    Jacky Clyman is known to her family and colleagues not only as a devoted mother and EVP of Cockpit USA but most importantly a strong businesswoman who is a true force to be reckoned with. Prior to joining her husband’s vision of launching a brand that would replicate historical flight and military styles, Jacky worked as an Executive Director of Pro Musicis, a not-for profit foundation sponsoring outstanding classical soloists and bringing their talents to those who would have very little chance to hear them. “While I was working as the Executive Director of Pro Musicis, my husband Jeff decided to launch a brand that would recreate all of the iconic flight and military styles that were only available at that time in surplus stores. Remember that the A-2 jacket, for example, had not been issued since 1943. It was also during the turmoil of the Vietnam War, when Americans were feeling that the whole world thought poorly of them, that Jeff wanted to create “real American icons” and remember those who fought and wore these pieces. Thus was born the first mail order catalog for the brand”. Jacky decided to leave the non for profit world, joining forces with Jeff Clyman to fulfill their vision of what is now Cockpit USA, quoting that she would be the “administrative” arm of the business.

     

     

    Jacky Clyman’s venture into the apparel business began out of passion for aviation. Being an “Air Force brat”, Jacky understood the pilot and military lifestyle that ultimately became the business module that is Cockpit USA. Throughout the years Jacky confronted challenges of being an entrepreneur, especially as a woman. “Learning how to work with foreign customers whose language I did not master was one of my fondest memories” said the multi-lingual woman who’s first job was as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department. “While in negotiations with a Japanese company for a whole day thinking we were on the verge of signing an agreement, only to realize that what I had been interpreting as acceptance of “terms” was just an acknowledgement that they had understood what I had been saying, not formally agreeing to it”. These are just some of experiences that shaped Jacky’s career.

     

    For Jacky, the apparel business is no different than any other sector as it always involves politics and egos. “Telling men what to do especially when I was in my 30’s, realizing that a woman in a position of power was considered a ‘bitch on wheels’ while a man would simply be considered assertive” became one of the obstacles Jacky had to face in 42 years in the industry. According to Jacky through many changes have advanced women in the work place, the one thing that has not changed has been the perception of others while entering the room with Cockpit USA’s president Jeff Clyman; and still being considered the designer and not the administrative arm. Today Jacky remains a strong figure in the business aspects of Cockpit USA, providing her employees with support and feedback in design, sales, and marketing, as well as superb customer service. When asking Jacky what she would say to young women joining the workforce today she simply said “I wouldn’t just give advise to young women but to all women joining the business: it’s a tough business and a real roller coaster, so be prepared for it”.

     

     

  • 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.

  • #CockpitGlobeTrotters: The Story Teller

    It had been 7 years since Matthew and Jen Landis spent their honeymoon on Safari in Africa. A magical experience that marked the beginning of their adventures together, and a promise to themselves to one-day return. Since their last trip to Africa, the couple added two beautiful children to their ranks, and established a media company specializing in telling the story of a brand. Their storytelling talents lead to the call that would finally bring them back on Safari, and back to Africa.

    Matt Landis and his wife, Jen watching the sunset while on safari with Don Young. Matt Landis and his wife, Jen watching the sunset while on safari with Don Young.

    The voice on the other end of that call was that of Mr. Don Young, CEO of the historic Newland, Tarlton & Co. Safari Company. Being familiar with Soluna Media, Don was drawn to their specialization of telling the story of a brand through multimedia production. Matthew has 17 years of multimedia development experience, while Jen has built a career as a creative director at a brand advancement agency. That talent, along with their passion for Africa and past Safari experience was exactly what Don was looking for.

     

    The adventure Don presented to them, was to come to Kenya to present their vision and experience of his tented safari camp in the Masai Mara, and the “Kiota Safari House”, a private safari home located on the 12,000 acre El Karama Wildlife Conservancy. Matt and Jen jumped at the chance to return to Africa and to give their perspective on the Newland, Tarlton & Co. Safari experience. Fortunately for us, Matt happily agreed to field-test Cockpit USA products while in production.

    Matt Landis with his drone preparing to film the African wilderness. Matt Landis with his drone preparing to film the African wilderness.

    Because in the wilds of Africa, the best light for filming is often in the crystal clear cold air before sunrise and after sunset, Matt chose our iconic Cockpit USA R.A.F. Shearling Jacket to keep him comfortable in the chilly mornings and nights. The R.A.F. Shearling Jacket was originally designed for pilots flying open cockpit biplanes and later gained legendary status during the Battle of Britain.

    Matt Landis piloting his drone in Cockpit's RAF Sheepskin Bomber Matt Landis piloting his drone in Cockpit's RAF Sheepskin Bomber

    Feeling warm and heroically stylish in our Cockpit USA R.A.F. Shearling jacket, Matt piloted his video drone above the breathtaking wildebeest migration, over Don Young’s safari camp in Masai Mara and around Don’s Kiota Safari House - capturing exciting moments on safari. For Matt and Jen Landis, their safari with Newland, Tarlton & Co. was a dream come true. For Cockpit USA it was another chance to showcase how our legendary jackets are built for the most rugged of lifestyles.

     

     

    We are happy to share the video production that resulted from this trip, and encourage all of you to check out Newland, Tarlton & Co. Safari Company, The Safari Company of Teddy Roosevelt, and a name synonymous with luxury since 1904.  

  • 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
  • History.com: North Africa Campaign

    Beginning on June 10 1940 until May 13 1943 and traversing deserts in Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the North Africa Campaign was a battle between the Allied and Axis Forces. Two years in, the U.S. joined British forces in the campaign. Take a look at these fascinating images compiled and connected by History.com - as history fanatics and endorsers, we at Cockpit USA were enthralled!

  • Stories of the Jacket: Cotton ‘100 Mission’ A-2

    With Spring around the corner, here at Cockpit USA we are beginning to think less about leather and more about lighter weight outerwear. This is why we came up with yet another classic! Cousin to the battered ‘battle worn’ antique lambskin ‘100 Mission’ aviation jacket, this cotton version is the perfect alternative for the summer seasons. While the days may swelter, there’s sometimes a cold chill in the air at night – cue the cotton A-2! Crafted from cotton twill and boasting a whole host of features including snap close top and side entry pockets, epaulets, an interior chest pocket and a sleek leather snap down collar along with knit cuffs and waistband, this Cockpit USA creation ticks all the boxes for everything and anything a warm weather jacket needs! What’s more, for added authenticity, the cotton lining boasts a silk screened patriotic citation design and a Cockpit USA I.D. leather bar tab on the left chest. Don’t say we don’t think of it all…!

     

  • History.com: Jimmie Kayana

    Born in Oregon in 1920 to Japanese immigrants, Army Medic Jimmie Kayana fulfilled his ambition of becoming a military man when he enlisted in the U.S. army in 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kayana was alienated within the army and his family was sent to an internment camp but undeterred, he valiantly joined America’s first all-Japanese Regiment in 1941. This very moving short documentary courtesy of History.com tugged at Cockpit USA's heartstrings as it illustrates the dramatic twists and turns Kayana’s military life took along with the unceasing pride he felt to be fighting for the U.S. side, a side he regarded truly as his own.

  • Stories of the Jacket: Top Gun G-1

    Steeped in a proud sense of achievement and success, the Top Gun G-1 aviation jacket was designed by Cockpit USA with the Navy’s top fighters in mind. Decorated with an assortment of authentic embroidered squadron patches and a magnificent naval aviator blood chit on the back, this G-1 bomber jacket acknowledges the service history of the USN’s most elite fighter jocks. Adorned with statement making prowess and crafted from 100% antique lamb, this iconic bomber also boasts a copyrighted and intricate adaptation of a WWII pilot’s escape evasion map lining making it luxurious both on the inside and out. If you want a jacket that will turn heads and kick start conversations, this is the jacket for the job!

  • Stories of the Jacket: The M-43 Field Jacket

    The M-43 field jacket is first and foremost a true piece of historical battle attire. First introduced in 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, right up until the end of the war in 1945, this jacket was a second skin to the brave GI’s of the Allied American Armies. Continuing its reign and colorful history, the M-43 was worn by both air forces and infantry during the occupation of post WWII Europe as well as in combat in the hills of Korea during the 1950s. Designed to suit servicemen’s needs for a well-fitted, warm jacket with the potential for added optional extras such as a hood and liner system, this field jacket provided it all. We at Cockpit USA are such fans of the jacket we produced a version, the Omaha Beach M-43 in its simplest form. Reproduced according to the slimmer fitting style of the 1940s original, this jacket is crafted from high-count 100% dense cotton poplin and boasts interior pockets and a soft cotton military specified label along with the contemporary addition of a bi-swing gusset behind the arm for ease and comfort of movement. For an added authentic touch, we even gave the jacket the Cockpit USA signature broken in look treatment, making it as close a model as possible of the original. Grab yours today!

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