I have yet to see an Air Force pilot wear leather in the cockpit. They were definitely a return to the pilot era of WW II. The new issue, however, are restrictive and not very warm. Most of the crewmembers I've met had them altered during their rotations through Turkey. Sleeves (notably the armpit area) were lengthened to give reach, pockets altered so one could put gum, grenades, you know,cool stuff in their pockets while liners were modified as well. Most of the mil pilots I know wear the Nomex jackets during flight.
As for merits, the A-2 jacket still looks rather appealing despite its inability to keep one warm. Form over function these days but definitely a piece of aviation history.
The grey German leather flying jackets have been very popular among AF pilots. In the late 80s and early 90s, A-10 pilots from RAF Bentwaters occasioned four German bases for permanent forward presence of the tankbusters. While at these German bases, pilots traded, pleaded, etc., to get one of the German leather flying jackets. Too cool.
Just some thoughts.
Posted on Nov 22, 2001, 3:50 PM from IP address 18.104.22.168