Flying Caps of the US Army Air Force

Posted on April 5th, 2016 by:

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Flying Caps of the US Army Air Force:

During WWII, the US Army Air Force utilized two standardized flying caps for their pilots and air crew, the B-1 summer flying cap and the B-2 winter flying cap.

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B-18 crew members prepare for an anti-submarine patrol. Three of the crew are wearing the B-1 Summer Flying Cap

The B-1 summer flying cap was made out of lightweight, khaki gabardine, with a leather sweatband and a stiff front visor. Being lightweight it was favored in the Pacific and Mediterranean, but was also used by Air Force personnel is colder climates.

The B-2 winter flying cap was manufactured from shearling and featured a flip down ear flap that, when not in use, could be flipped around the back of the cap to expose the interior shearling material. Most B-2 caps were worn with the flaps up so earphones could be worn at the same time. Early B-2 caps were of a reddish leather color were later ones were darker brown.



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8th Air Force Crew wearing the B-2 Winter Flying Cap

Often seen worn in photographs by 8th Air Force personnel, the B-2 winter flying cap has come to symbolize the bomber crewman in the early bombing campaign against Germany.

Although widely used in the early years of the war, by late 1943, new developments in oxygen masks and flying helmets relegated these caps obsolete in the eyes of the Army Air Force who stopped their procurement in 1944. However, due to their popularity, air crews continued wearing both the B-1 and B-2 until the end of the war.

B-1 Summer Flying Cap

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Army Air Force B-1 Summer Flying Cap

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Some B-1 caps were modified later in the war by adding oxygen mask snaps to the sides of the cap



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Top view of the B-1 Flying cap

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Interior of the B-1 Summer Flying cap

 

Interior tag of the B-1 cap

Interior tag of the B-1 cap

B-2 Winter Flying Cap

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Army Air Force B-2 Flying Cap



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Top view of the B-2 Winter Flying Cap

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Interior of the B-2 Winter Flying Cap

 

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Interior tag of the B-2 Winter Flying Cap

For more information about the USAAF B-1 and B-2 flying caps check out:

Gear Up: Flight Clothing & Equipment of USAAF Airmen in WWII


One thought on “Flying Caps of the US Army Air Force

  • Curtis says:

    I am in search of purchasing a b2 shearling flight cap ..size lge-xlge…
    Basically the kind seen in the movie Memphis Belle…do you have them..or any info who may have…and able to ship to Canada…
    Thank you

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