Flight suits are a staple of aviation nowadays, but it wasn't always this way. Today, many pilots would be surprised to know that pilots previously wore wool and leather when they took to the skies, rather than the standard NOMEX or fire-retardant material.
Before the Flight Suit
The only reason pilots wore layers was that many early planes were open, with no glass to protect pilots from the elements. Considering higher elevations of the atmosphere experience colder temperatures, it makes sense that pilots would want to layer up.
Pilots preferred to wear multiple layers during this time, as most leather or wool jackets weren't thick enough. Jackets also lacked the closable pockets they needed to store their flight logs and other equipment. Open pockets meant a higher likelihood for items to displace or fly away while in the air.
The Advent of Sidcot Jackets
Aviation jackets weren't developed until much later in aviation history. During World War I, a successful pilot finally created a dedicated aviation jacket. It was made of Burberry, cotton, and air-proof silk, providing pilots with excellent insulation while in the air.
Australian pilot Sidney Cotton is to thank for this development. He pioneered the Sidcot design that pilots used until the advent of nylon jackets, which aviators predominantly used until the 1960s.
Nylon Suits Take to the Skies
In the 1960s, pilots were running into a lot of issues with nylon and Sidcot suits. These suits were not fire-resistant, which means they did not protect pilots in aircraft fires.
Worse still, nylon suits especially had an issue with sticking to the skin once burnt. Nylon suits caused various injuries to pilots, resulting in their retirement in 1972, replaced by other alternatives.
New NOMEX Suits Become the Industry Standard
One of these alternatives was the NOMEX suit, which is so effective that it is still in use today. NOMEX Suits were developed in the 1960s, seeing a release sometime in 1967.
Due to the suits' heat and flame-resistant properties, they were quickly popular with pilots and aviators across the globe.
These suits consist of a rigid polymer material that is both durable and effective at keeping the suit warm in cooler altitudes. The polymer helps trap body heat inside the suit while keeping flame away from the skin.
The NOMEX suit is also highly sought-after due to its many storage capabilities. The many pockets of the NOMEX suit allow an aviator to store their maps, equipment, and logs while keeping objects from falling during flight.
Many pilots have seen the crucial difference between NOMEX suits and their alternatives. These NOMEX suits have an edge above the competition, providing many benefits that many flight suits don't have. They are both warm, protective, and functional, giving pilots easy access to the tools they need to stay in the skies.
Where Can I Get NOMEX Suits?
Thankfully, there is an easy way to get a NOMEX Suit that will last years in the cockpit. Sisley Evolution (SE) Flight Suits is here to help any aviator find the perfect suit for them. Our massive selection of products makes it easier than ever to find the best flight suit for any pilot.
SE Flight Suits is proud to offer NOMEX Suits in all sizes and colors, built to match any aviator's preference. We offer Military-Spec (MIL-SPEC) products, which any US Army branch can wear.
We make our quality products to last, giving pilots a sturdy suit designed for years of usage. No matter where a pilot might be flying, they can trust in flight suits from SE Flight Suits.
Contact SE Flight Suits Today
If you or your team requires top-quality aviation products, look no further than SE Flight Suits. If you're interested in any of our products or would like to find out more, please give us a call at (321) 821-4724 or email us at [email protected].
We would be happy to help you find the best flight suit so you can take it to the skies as soon as possible.