Protection for pilots
An aviator hat, in its classic form, is a leather cap with large earflaps, a chin strap and short bill turned up at the front revealing the fleece or fur lining. It is often accompanied with goggles. Felt is another material used for aviator hats.
Aeroplanes had open cockpits in the early days of aviation in the early 20th century. Pilots needed protection from the cold and wind, so needed a hat to keep their heads and ears warm. Goggles were used to protect their eyes in flight.
When closed-cockpit aeroplanes were introduced, aviator hats became less of a necessity. Charles Lindbergh however still wore one when he crossed the Atlantic in 1927, even though the Spirit of St. Louis was a closed cockpit monoplane.
Aviator hats became a fashion accessory and practical winter hat whilst continuing in aviation use throughout the Second World War and becoming synonymous with the Battle of Britain Spitfire and Hurricane pilots.
On the arrival of jet fighters, the classic aviator hat was superceded with solid plastic and carbon fibre helmets.
Other names for an Aviator Hat
- Bomber Hat
Famous Aviator Hat wearers
- Charles Lindbergh