A thorough and fascinating work.” – Air Power History
“It takes more than a flight jacket to outfit an aviator. This book describes the development and characteristics of every item of personal equipment used by Army pilots from World War I through the end of World War II.” -Air Force Magazine
Personal anecdotes give meaning to the absorbing background story of research, testing, laboratory work, and combat experience. Why parachutes were issued to German airplane crewmen in World War I while none were available to Allied pilots? Who really was responsible for the design of the first modern, free-fall, back-type ripcord-operated parachute? What the secret wartime antigravity developments were that gave American fighter pilots an advantage over Axis flyers? What caused the failure of the AAF full-pressure suit program in 1943 and what ingenious alternative was successively introduced?
Over 160 photographs illustrate the myriad types of oxygen equipment, parachutes, armor, pressure suits, and other flying equipment and survival gear. A detailed glossary, comprehensive index, and extensive notes make this book a definitive reference work packed with facts and information. Flyers, historians, aviation buffs, veterans, and aviation-memorabilia collectors will find Combat Flying Equipment an indispensable source.
A consultant to the Air Force on flying clothing and personal equipment, C. G. (Glen) Sweeting was the curator of flight material at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, from 1970-1985.
Published by the Smithsonian Institute Press, this book is a delight for historians, collectors, and preservationists interested in military aviation.
With my dad and four uncles involved in aviation during World War II, I was especially interested in the items they were issued.
It’s amazing what it took to attempt to keep air crews flying and as safe as they could be even when in combat and in emergency situations. Oxygen equipment, parachutes from well before WWI, armor, anti-G and pressure suits, vests, rafts (plus what they could carry), parachutes and emergency kits, survival and sustenance kits, even signal pistols.
One of my uncles and other P-38 pilots enjoyed their signal pistols on New Years Day 1945 at their base at Triolo, Italy.
The book also includes notes, a glossary, bibliography, and an index.