HELO JACKET, Signal Yellow/Navy Blue
“Sea Hunt” mfsc collection, Fall 2014
The final heavy hitter of our “Sea Hunt” two season-long saga comes in the form of an airborne pilot-type jacket: the “Helo”.
We first made a signal yellow Helo. And against Tina Turner’s advice, realized we needed another Helo. So there’s a navy blue version as well.
Are you still there?
I know nothing about flying machines, but I’ve always found helicopters fascinating. All kinds of shapes and colors, unlikely floating crystal bubbles in metallic frames, hovering and defying gravity and winds…
“When the command is GO… SCRAMBLE!” said the old GI Joe™ Action Pilot™ leaflet I dug out of surviving bits and pieces of childhood stored in a metal trunk back in the Old Country.
I was not much into video games or fire trucks as a kid, but kinda dug helicopters for some reason. Maybe because TV programs were full of them. Félix, the bright yellow Hughes 300 lifting off from the helideck of the Calypso with Cousteau on board meant Adventure. TC’s chopper in all its ‘Verner Panton’ paint job glory meant bizness…
Fancy recreational toys, island tour vehicles, for rescue missions or airborne stunts, Air Cav mean machines or rotorhead dreams… no matter the assignment, these flying crafts always seemed to be manned by skilled daredevils, handling real joysticks that surely beat Atari’s. I was sold.
Some of the above vintage photos/infos courtesy of members of the Professional Pilots Rumour Network, rotorhead section. All credits to the original owners.
So, when it came to designing a pilot-type jacket for one of our ‘Sea Hunt’ character, a rescue helicopter pilot, I was GO.
In many of the 1960’s-1980’s photos I’ve researched, helicopter pilots are wearing flight coveralls, CWU (Cold Weather Unit) jackets or jet pilot type jackets. It seemed that a jacket specifically made for helicopter pilots never existed in the US Air Force (I could be wrong). So I decided to blend nylon flight suits with MA-1, N-3B and CWU-type gear to come up with one.
The expert at Buzz Rickson’s kindly opened their doors, and allowed us to utilize their resources and mil-specs trims.
Back in California, we played with several ideas, different body types, length balance, styles, periods, tweaked pocketing and construction for a while…
For those into design anecdotes, the early sketch had a narrow and straight throat latch and a zipper chest pocket. After seeing an actual early prototype sent from Toyo Enterprises, I realized it made the jacket look too ‘racing’. I opted for a latch in the shape of an L-2B flight jacket waist tab and an alternate chest pocket design instead…
Well, let there be flight and there was flight, from sketches to prototypes, we eventually landed a ‘plausible’ hybrid. A jacket that looked to me like it had been around tarmacs cockpits for decades. The Mister Freedom® mfsc “Helo Jacket” was born.
Our “Helo Jacket” shares its insulating qualities with original Air Force MA-1 type flight jackets (I mean the real vintage USAF deal, not the cheapo ‘Made in Pakistan’ civvy versions). While the thick wool pile lining will guarantee warmth, the wool knit collar and wrist bands will help prevent the cold air from penetrating.
The ‘Space Age’ V-shape of the cuffs was borrowed from a 1960’s WEP fixed-wing USN pilot jacket (detachable top part of a winter flying suit MIL-S-18342 C. Many thanks to reader Matt Henderson for the knowledge. More valuable insights on WEPs here).
This specific detail proved to be a real challenge during manufacturing. I believe the original purpose of these V-shaped cuffs was to allow extra stretching for a wrist instrument. In 2014, their main achievement was to provide real headaches to the skilled machine operators mounting our Helo Jacket… Sorry ’bout that.
Instead of the familiar orange lining of vintage MA-1 or L-2B reversible flight jackets, we opted for a non-emergency yet contrasting weather cloth lining. This is the same fabric we had milled for our Spring 2014 “Skipper Jackets“. This 100% cotton fabric not only feels nice against the skin, it also provides an interesting contrast in texture/hand/feel next to the mil-specs 100% nylon twill shell.
The Helo is a heavy winter jacket of about 3 Lbs.
Designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
Shell: Mil-specs heavy 2/2 nylon twill, milled in Japan.
Lining: 100% cotton 6 Oz. “Weather Cloth” tightly woven windbreaker popeline, milled in Japan.
Inner: Insulating wool pile.
Two model options:
a) Signal yellow shell/Navy blue linning & knit trims.
b) Navy blue shell/Olive “Jungle” green lining and knit trims.
* Original design inspired by vintage US Air Force flight gear.
* Vintage mil-specs replica parts & trims.
* Heavy duty 1950’s-type “Crown” zipper front closure.
* Inner windflap.
* 100% wool knit collar and cuffs.
* Two inside chest pockets.
* Snap throat tab.
* Expanding knit wrist “V” gussets.
* Arm “cigarette” zipper pocket (fits a case-less iPhone5)
* Bottom cinch string, leather sliders and eyelets.
* Made in Japan.
When needed, professional dry-cleaning ONLY.
Do NOT wash.
Our Helo Jacket is true to size, with somewhat of a slim fit. If you are usual a 38 in msfc jacket, you are a 38 in the Helo.
Please refer to approximate measurements in the chart below. Please note that due to the thickness of the shell/inner/lining, measurements are somewhat subject to interpretation.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.