From the Flight Deck features insights from the core of our aviation family – our pilots! This issue, learn more about pilot uniforms with Mike Kopp, Jet Linx Director of Operations and longtime pilot.
Pilots around the world are held in high regard, and the uniforms they wear signify the professionalism and attention to detail that is required from someone charged with the safety of both people and expensive equipment.
After WWI, pilot uniforms of airmail, cargo pilots and early airlines were representative of the uniforms worn by military aviators. Brown bomber jackets with big pockets, thick khaki pants and warm boots were the norm for comfort and functionality.
Passenger air service truly took off in the early 1930s with Pan American Airlines and the introduction of the Clipper series of flying boats, designed to be “oneclass” luxury air travel – a necessity given the long duration of transoceanic flights. In reference to the “boats” they flew, Pan Am elected to do away with the WWI uniforms, changing to a uniform that more closely resembled a Navy uniform.
Pan Am’s success in the 1930s, and expansion in the 1950s, led to the establishment of one of the largest and most well-known world-class airlines. Many other operators, in efforts to emulate Pan Am’s success, adopted the clean look of the Pan Am pilot for their own crews. In the last 80 years, airline and charter pilot uniforms have remained relatively unchanged, with only minor differences in whether crews wear hats or double-breasted suits.
The long history of the pilot uniform makes it easily recognizable worldwide. Jet Linx pilots retain the crisp and professional look widely seen in the piloting profession and reflective of those early Pan Am days, with black trousers and white buttondown shirts, plus black neckties. Our crews also wear black and silver epaulets on their shoulders – another nod to naval tradition.