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The Cockpit USA Story Proudly made in the USA since 1975

Our Story begins in the skies…

In the early 1970’s Cockpit USA President and founder Jeff Clyman, a seasoned Warbird pilot, was spending his free time flying vintage WWII era aircraft as a performer in air shows. Sporting his fathers Army Air Corps aviator jacket, he took notice of the crowds of people wanting to know where they could get one of their own. Jeff saw an opportunity to create a business and career out of his passion for aviation, and his unique knowledge of genuine historic military fashion.

The business started with Jeff trading and selling his personal collection of original period jackets with other collectors and enthusiasts, amassing one of the most impressive personal collections of vintage flight jackets. He quickly realized that the demand for these iconic pieces of American fashion would quickly outpace the supply.

In 1975, Jeff Clyman founded AVIREX Ltd, and officially began an adventure that has continued for the last 40 years. Working from original military designs for the A-2, and G-1, AVIREX began to establish itself as a leader in original period aviator jackets. Recreating these iconic jackets was not always easy; many records were lost, along with the methods used to produce the rugged functionality needed for combat. The art of producing the impervious finish found on the original B-3 Bomber jacket had been lost; Jeff committed himself to rediscovering the lost process. After a month in a tannery laboratory, he was able to successfully reproduce the process, a technique that we still use today.

By 1978, “THE COCKPIT” catalogue was born, and through that, the brand grew. Soon there after, the U.S.A.F. began buying A-2 Leather flight jackets, and the company became an official government supplier. Over the years we have supplied various government agencies, the U.S.A.F., U.S. Navy, ARMY, NASA, and International armed forces. In 1983 the company partnered with Warner Bros. to promote the blockbuster hit “The Right Stuff”, doing the same in 1986 with Paramount Pictures to Promote the blockbuster hit “TOP GUN”. The popularity of the product has continued to grow, and our jackets have been seen on a myriad of celebrities over the years, Sylvester Stallone wearing our B-3 Shearling in Rocky III, Presidents’ Bush and Obama wearing our A-2 on Air Force One, and even Beyonce, in a recent video used on the Mrs. Carter World tour.

Cockpit USA has remained a name synonymous with craftsmanship, quality, and authenticity. For over 40 years we have been reproducing genuine, and contemporary versions of Iconic American civilian and military design.



Our Cockpit Timeline


1975

Jeff Clyman, flying World War II aircraft in airshows wears his father’s army air corps leather flight jacket. He can’t keep people away from asking to buy the flight jacket. Avirex USA starts as a brand dedicated to the continuation of the apparel made famous in WWI and WWII.

 

1977

Jeff Clyman founds Cockpit to reproduce authentic replica vintage flight clothing in the Avirex Aeronautica catalog.

 

1978

Jeff Clyman perfects a process to produce “antique” sheepskin and leather in trying to recreate lost WWII tanning process formulas no longer to be found.

Jacky Clyman joins husband Jeff to launch The Cockpit mail order catalog in black and white, at a time when brands did not have their own branded retail stores and catalog.

 

1980

Cockpit catalog features full line of khakis and flight gear.

 

1981-1990

The Cockpit sponsors the “Six of Diamonds” aerobatic team in the tri-state area. Cockpit makes their flight suits, uniforms, flight suits and authentic leather flight jackets.

 

1982

The Cockpit features the first authentic retro collegiate jacket replicating the team jackets of the 1930s offered to the public – again a first in the fashion world!

 

1984

The Cockpit teams up with Chuck Yeager and General Motors to publicize “The Right Stuff” movie, creating the collector’s item Chuck Yager A-2 flight jacket.

 

1986

“Top Gun” with Tom Cruise is an overnight hit – The Cockpit advertises the movie in a number of catalog issues. This association between brands, movie properties and a catalog is also a first!

The flagship Cockpit store opens at 595 Broadway, the first theme fashion store in SOHO, a burgeoning art center of New York City amidst the old existing wholesale textile outlets. This was before SOHO became the retail destination of today.

The store has the feel of an aircraft carrier and displays not only vintage museum clothing but a real AT-6 Texan WWII trainer airplane. People wait for hours on line to buy the “authentic” products never sold as fashion items before.

 

1993

Cockpit sponsors the American Airpower Museum, a non-profit foundation promoting military history of flight using a collection of vintage aircraft that perform demonstration flights at airshows.

 

1994

The Cockpit Catalog is a finalist in the 1994 American Catalog Awards sponsored by Catalog Age in the “Apparel over $100 Consumer categories”.

 

2005-2008

The Cockpit is relaunched as a life style brand of premium contemporary clothing including a full line of sportswear, bottoms, denims, wovens, knits, textile and leather Americana themed clothing at Project New York and Project Las Vegas and the luxury Premium Show in Berlin for Europe.

 

1990s-2011

Cockpit USA makes the Air Force A-2 leather pilot’s jacket.

 

2012

Cockpit launches “Civilian Pilot Training” as a more contemporary fashion sportswear collection. Civilian Pilot Training refers to the program in 1939 created to train pilots in advance of our country’s entrance into WWII.

 

2013

Cockpit USA and Civilian Pilot Training launch a bag line recreating modern versions of functional and authentic military and aviation bags.