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Pilot Uniform Tradition Question  
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2225 posts, RR: 19
Posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4276 times:

Hey All:

Ever since I was 7 years old I myself will soon peruse my goal to become an airline pilot. I have noticed in movies, at the airport and even on the plane I noticed the uniforms the pilots wear, which is the white shirt , black pants, and the airline company tie. I have often wondered where this tradition came from as I must say it is certainly one of the most classy uniforms out there! ( aside from the New York Yankees pinstripes  Wink ) I have also noticed some airlines such as VX and B6 deviate from this tradition as well with a blue shirt as well as dark blue pants? Anyways I am not sure what forum this goes in so mods please feel free to move this to the appropriate forum,but nevertheless I think its certainly an interesting topic!


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRichM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 796 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

I'm not sure exactly, but I have noticed that captains on large ships often wear similar uniform. Also, a lot of nautical terms are also used in aviation, so it may have originated from that.

[Edited 2008-09-08 20:45:41]

User currently offlineStratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1647 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4242 times:

I think DL follows this uniform to the letter..I think UPS has the most ugly uniform out there.


NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2529 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4156 times:

It is a long tradition going back to naval uniforms from over a hundred years ago. Some things change (UPS brown, DHL(?) gray, mid-80's UAL brown, etc), but for the most part, it is essentially a dark suit - black or navy - with white shirt and associated emblems. The hat also comes from naval tradition, although more and more airlines are doing away with that part these days.

The uniform is a symbol of professionalism in many jobs; doctor's scrubs, lawyer's suit, pilot's uniform. For pilots, it also helps with quick identification during an emergency. If a passenger sees one of us in uniform shouting orders, he is much more likely to follow them than orders being shouted by random strangers.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4156 times:

I believe that a lot of the nautical influences in aviation came about when Pan Am began flying the China Clipper routes in seaplanes. I don't know if PA was the first one to wear the stripes of ship captains, but I do think that they were influential in a lot of the traditions that airlines follow today. I don't know where I saw or read that, but I think it might have been on the History Channel.

User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2529 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 4148 times:



Quoting Acey559 (Reply 4):
I don't know if PA was the first one to wear the stripes of ship captains, but I do think that they were influential in a lot of the traditions that airlines follow today.

Quite a few airlines were wearing 'naval' style uniforms even back in the 20's. I have several photos of the original Hawaiian crews, dating back to our founding in 1929 with the standard dark suit/white shirt/epaulets uniform. PanAm may have perfected it though with their white hats and sharp tailoring.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 784 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4124 times:

I believe that Pan American World Airways and Pan American Grace and also German Lufthansa got someone to design their uniforms in the 1930s -- especially the Clipper flight crews in their white uniform-type hats.

User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4124 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 5):

Very cool, thanks for the info. Like I said, I don't remember where exactly I heard that, but I do know that it was at least a few years ago, so my memory is pretty foggy. Are there any books or recommended readings of the history of Hawaiian? I like HA and would like to know a little more about it.


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2529 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4095 times:



Quoting Acey559 (Reply 7):
Are there any books or recommended readings of the history of Hawaiian? I like HA and would like to know a little more about it.

A good one is 'Wings of Paradise' by Peter Forman. It's a detailed history of aviation in Hawaii, with a lot of coverage of Hawaiian, Aloha, and all the other airlines coming and going through Hawaii. Forman has a website and blog at http://www.airlinesofhawaii.com/ You can get the book at larger bookstores, or Amazon.com

There's also a wealth of photos (over 4000) of Hawaii's aviation past at a site run by the state of Hawaii Transportation division; http://hawaii.gov/hawaiiaviation

Have fun, and Aloha!

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlinePa747sp From Australia, joined Jan 2008, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4032 times:

My understanding is that the history of the Royal Air Force is that it started as part of the Navy, hence, naval uniforms were used. From there civilian airline uniforms followed the tradition.


Nothing seems as good since the VC10.
User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 3723 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 8):

Great, thanks very much. I'm hoping to head back to Hawaii sometime soon, so I'll check these out before I head that way. Thanks again!


User currently offlineBA84 From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 413 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 3684 times:
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Alaska Airlines pilots wear leather flying jackets.

Royal Flying Corps (army) history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Flying_Corps

BA84


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2529 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3660 times:



Quoting BA84 (Reply 11):
Alaska Airlines pilots wear leather flying jackets.

Quite a few airlines in the US are offering leather jackets as options for the pilots. We have them at Hawaiian, and I've also seen them at Alaska, Southwest, and USAirways. It's nice to have when travelling to a colder destination, as you can take off the epaulets and name badge, and use it as a regular jacket instead of having to carry another one in your suitcase.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineSLUAviator From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 357 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3635 times:



Quoting HAL (Reply 12):
Quite a few airlines in the US are offering leather jackets as options for the pilots. We have them at Hawaiian, and I've also seen them at Alaska, Southwest, and USAirways. It's nice to have when travelling to a colder destination, as you can take off the epaulets and name badge, and use it as a regular jacket instead of having to carry another one in your suitcase.

We wear leather jackets and it is very nice to not have to worry about bringing another coat on the road. It is also nice when we walk into a restaurant near the hotel and spotting the other guys who are also there in their uniform coats sans stripes and name tags is easy. Its a good way to find a guy to have dinner with.



What do I know? I just fly 'em.......
User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1616 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3476 times:
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It was the US Navy who promoted the use of airplanes for the US military, about 10 years after the Wrights flew their first flights. This is the reason aviation today uses knots for airspeed and nautical miles for distance.

Navy officers were basically the first military pilots so naval uniforms were worn by these early pilots.


User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2225 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3449 times:

Leather Jackets for HA? Isn't it a bit warm down there for that!


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9483 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3373 times:



Quoting Pa747sp (Reply 9):
My understanding is that the history of the Royal Air Force is that it started as part of the Navy

Actually, it was a merger between the Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Navy's Royal Naval Air Service. RAF uniforms aren't particularly like RN uniforms, however. Perhaps they were back then.  Smile


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2529 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3307 times:



Quoting SXDFC (Reply 15):
Leather Jackets for HA? Isn't it a bit warm down there for that!

In HNL or the South Pacific, normally yes. But flying into SEA, PDX, SFO (almost any time of the year), or winter trips to SMF, SJC, LAX, LAS, SAN, or SYD, it's nice to have! We'll normally just carry the jacket onboard in HNL, and put it on once we've reached our destination if it's cold.

We are only required to wear a jacket (leather or suit type) from November through April. The rest of the year we can go 'coatless' if we want to.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineAviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1350 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3263 times:

I can't stand those leather jackets.


I miss the old Pan Am uniforms. The white hats. That was cool.



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
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