Introduction and history of the Pilot Uniform
First of all, lets get into the history of pilot uniform. The modern uniforms you see pilots wearing today, was really started and inspired by the airlines Pan American world airways in the 1930’s.
Before 1930’s pilots, of course coming from a military background used to wear, leather jackets with big front pockets, a scarf to keep their face and neck covered, khakhi trousers, black leather shoes, leather gloves and leather helmets. This was the attire of the WWI pilots.
Now Pan Am, started with Sirkosky S-38 and S-40 which was also known as the flying boats, so they decided to step away from the WWI pilot look and adopt the naval officer look. This also enabled the passengers to feel less nervous while flying. The passengers could relate to the sea-farers look much better, as by sea was a much more common mode of transport than by air!!.
So, Pan Am started issued its pilots the naval officer inspired uniform which consisted of black trousers, white shirt, black double breasted blazers with loops on the lower sleeves denoting the ranks of the pilots, black leather shoes and white officer style caps with the airlines logo. With the growth and expansion of Pan Am all the other airlines which came up adopted the similar look too. Now, 88 years later, even though flying boats are mostly in-operational, more or less the same look is being adopted.
What is expected of a pilot and the uniform?
Is it alright if you see your pilot entering the aircraft in a sweatshirt and shorts? For a passenger who is not a comfortable flyer, that would make him/her just much more nervous. What does an airline and its passengers expects of a pilot? Leadership, professionalism, calm, composed, confident, cheerful individual. Well, the pilot uniform is there mostly to depict all this, and rest is upto the individual. As they say, even a monkey can wear a uniform, but that does not make him a pilot.
The pilot uniform gives an elegant and professional look . Don’t forget, the pilots are the sole authority of the aircraft and responsible for multiple lives up there. Basically, why do you dress well, its because how you dress defines you. Well, many of you will oppose to this saying, “My clothes do not define me”, well it might not, but people will perceive you the way you dress.
All pilots wear a standard uniform, but each crew member’s uniform is decorated with insignia which, akin to naval uniforms, represents his or her duties on board the aircraft. The captain’s insignia corresponds to the naval captain’s insignia which is Four stripes on the shoulder epaulets and four stripes on the blazer arms. First officer’s insignia corresponds to the naval commander uniform, bearing three stripes on shoulder epaulets and blazer arms. The second officer wears two stripes and a trainee pilot wears a single stripe.
Flying is a privilege which not everybody gets, and so is the Pilot uniform. If your wearing it respect it and live upto it. Fly safe, Happy landings. Those of you who are trying to be pilots, good luck.
I hope you liked the article. Thankyou for reading through
Further Information on www.dgca.nic.in