Why silk scarves were a must-have for pilots

  • Mar 15, 2021
Why silk scarves were a must-have for pilots
Why silk scarves were a must-have for pilots

Since the advent of aviation, the pilot of an airplane has been and remains one of the most romantic professions. At the dawn of the 20th century, aviators were generally perceived in society as real heroes. Plus, they were some of the most eligible suitors ever! At that time, a white silk scarf became one of the most important elements of the romantic image of the pilot. It's time to figure out where it came from and why it is needed.

Scarves are worn for a reason. | Photo: baskino.me.
Scarves are worn for a reason. | Photo: baskino.me.

The First World War was the first serious military conflict in which military aircraft were involved. At that time, the Air Force in all countries was in an embryonic position, and many things were still not brought to the point in flight, not to perfection, but at least to mind. A striking example of this was the flight equipment, which had to be refined several times. Interestingly, the initiative at that time often came from below.

Initially, scarves were made from parachutes. | Photo: natpress.net.
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The cockpits of the first aircraft did not have full glazing. There were no flight suits that would take on the role of the pilot's life support system. Nevertheless, even at not very high altitudes it became very cold. The issue was resolved using methods available for the beginning of the 20th century. The pilots wore warm clothing, insulated helmets, goggles to protect the eyes from the wind, as well as leather jackets or raincoats with a collar, which were supposed to protect the body and hands from gusts of cold wind.

Over time, it became an attribute of clothing. | Photo: kinobaza.online.

The only problem was that high-collar clothing was extremely impractical for aerial combat. Since there were no high-tech detection tools at that time, pilots could only rely on visual observation of the ground and the enemy in the sky. I had to turn my head a lot. So many that even the sewn-on collar did not save. In literally one flight, the pilot could wipe his neck into blood.

The scarf looks very beautiful. | Photo: primeambassador.com.

It was then that the French pilots were the first to think of silk scarves. The pilots simply began to cut scarves from parachute fabric supplies. And parachutes were made at that time just from silk. The result is not only a utilitarian neck protector, but also a fashionable accessory. The command quickly approved of the officers' initiative and soon the silk scarf became an obligatory piece of equipment in many units. And after the First World War, the white scarf also became one of the symbols of pilots.

Scarves were not used everywhere. | Photo: smolbattle.ru.

By the Second World War, with the development of professional equipment, flight scarves were gradually forgotten. Although they were still used in a number of units and divisions, including in the Soviet Union. Today, in the era of waterproof suits made of modern materials, there is no need for scarves. Nevertheless, in a number of countries, they are part of the traditional and ceremonial wardrobe of Air Force pilots. For example, in Sweden silk scarves of different colors indicate pilots belonging to different squadrons.

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Gradually, scarves went out of fashion. ¦Photo: ocean-media.su.

In conclusion, it should be noted that there is also a myth on the Internet that silk scarves are supposedly were used to determine the speed of an aircraft due to the fact that machines from the First World War there was no cockpit. Such claims are untenable. The equipment was much more modest than even the machines of World War II, but speed and pressure sensors already existed. Just look at the photo of the aircraft cockpit of the early 20th century.

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Here is the cockpit of a plane from those times. ¦ Photo: ya.ru.

If you want to know even more interesting things, then you should read about 6 rules for the airplane crewwhich they prefer to remain silent about.
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