There's only so much space you can devote to a hobby. Back in 1993, David's personal collection of WW2 RAF flight gear was 'out of hand' so a plan was hatched to streamline it and The Historic Flying Clothing Company was established as a full-time business.
Initially a basic 'list' was created using an old manual typewriter and sent out to potential customers who had answered a 'sales' advert in the classified section of 'Flypast' magazine. Suprised by the overwhelming response to that first advert, further lists were soon produced, each longer than the last. A glance at the early lists reveals some very appealing prices including 1941 pattern Mae Wests at £45 and B-types for just £75. Both would have made excellent investments!
The typewriter was replaced with a word processor and we soon progressed to producing A5 catalogues with hundreds of items complete with a colour photo section at the centre.
The business became web based in 2007 and we ceased production of the catalogue the following year. The website was totally redesigned in 2014 to make it more appealing to look at and easier to use and further changes were made in August 2022.
What we do...
As you've probably guessed, we love flying gear and specialise in WW2 Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces kit as well as supplying items from the Royal Flying Corps, Luftwaffe and other Air Forces, from WW1 right up to the present day. Typical stock includes flying helmets, goggles, oxygen masks, boots, flying jackets, flying suits, uniforms, insignia and other aviator clothing. We also stock parachutes, escape and evasion equipment, survival kit and aviation related documents and paperwork ranging from Pilot's Notes to flying log books. In short, if you are looking for anything aviation related you are in the right place.
From the outset we have strived to supply detailed and accurate descriptions of each item backed up with high quality photographs. We want you to know exactly what to expect should you decide to purchase from us. 30 years on our priority remains to provide interesting kit and outstanding customer service. All stock is of course original and authentic to the period stated and carries a money back guarantee.
The Historic Flying Clothing Company also supplies props and technical advice for film, television and theatre productions. Some of the projects we have been involved with are listed below :
Allied, (2016). Director - Robert Zemeckis. Starring Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard. Nominated for an Academy Award for Costume Design. Much of Brad Pitt's clothing was supplied by us.
Allies, (2014). Director - Dominic Burns. Starring Julian Ovendon, Chris Reilly, Matt Willis, Edmund Kingsley, Leon Vickers. The director was born in Derbyshire and film locations close to our HQ were used.
Adrift - 47 days With Sharks. (2012). True WW2 USAAF survival film.
Alien : Covenant, (2017). Director - Ridley Scott
Secret Agent Selection, WW2. (2017). Produced by Wall To Wall Media for BBC2.
Pan, (2015). Director - Joe Wright.
Guy Martin, The Last Flight Of The Vulcan Bomber, (2015). Produced by North One TV for Channel 4.
Goodnight Sweetheart starring Nicholas Lyndhurst. Alomo Productions for the BBC.
Much Ado About Nothing Theatre Production, The Old Vic, London, (2013) starring James Earl Jones & Vanessa Redgrave.
Television Advert, (2018). Director - Ridley Scott
1917, (2019). Director Sam Mendes.
Jack Absolute Flies Again, The National Theatre, London, (2022) by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris. Starring Caroline Quentin, Laurie Davidson, Natalie Simpson and Kelvin Fletcher.
The Shepherd, (2023) starring John Travolta. A short film based on the novella by Frederick Forsyth.
We have also supplied items for the collections of many well known museums and attractions including :
RAF Museum Hendon, London
The Australian National War Memorial
B-17 Museum, Switzerland
Bentley Priory Museum, Stanmore, Nr. London
Musee de L'Armee, Paris, France
Polish History Museum / Muzeum Historii Polski, Warsaw, Poland
Madame Tussauds (Merlin Studios)
AVRO Heritage Museum, Woodford
Prince Edward Island Regiment Museum, Canada
Wings Museum, Balcombe, Sussex
The American Heritage Museum, Hudson, USA
Recollections of War Museum (The Shapland Collection), Albany, Australia
The National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, Virginia, USA