Thermals for Military Pilots
Aircraft in the military are commonly in areas with stable weather patterns with lots of airspace for training. For many pilots these coincide with higher temperatures. However, this isn’t always the case for pilots in training or being deployed.
As a pilot, some of the risk factors that can affect your performance are:
• Aircrew Flight Equipment layers
• The cockpits airflow
• Intentional dehydration to avoid any urination
• Heat radiating from avionics or other tactical equipment
Thermal sets for women are designed to keep pilots warm during extended periods of exposure to colder temperatures. They also absorb sweat and pull it away from your skin. This is especially useful during training or combat missions when the added stress causes you to sweat.
While you don’t have a lot of room in the cockpit, freedom of movement is imperative to succeed in the mission. Women’s long johns fit snug but are stretchable enough to allow complete freedom of movement. This way, nothing hampers the quick reflexes you need to pilot your jet and work the controls.
The Air Force, for example, urges their fighters in training to “dress for egress.” This means to wear the clothing you need if, for some reason, you have to eject and wait on a rescue. For many, a set of thermals underneath and a light jacket besides their flight suit is more than enough as the canopy of the cockpit mixed with pulling Gs can raise the temperature like a greenhouse.
For some pilots, especially for pilots of the F-15, will be fitted for a dry-suit. These suits are worn in case you eject over water and are designed to keep water out. This is fantastic if you end up diving into colder waters as anything 70 degrees and under can hamper your survival.
Since most pilots like yourself won’t be taking any transatlantic or transpacific flights, the dry-suit won’t be necessary, and military regulations won’t fit you for this sort of flight. Also, if the temperature of the ocean eater does exceed 70 degrees, wearing the suit won’t be required for any flight. In the end, dressing for egress is always a philosophy to follow.
As technology has improved, so have flight suits. Many provide heat and flame protection, work as a life preserver unit, and a chemical, biological, and radiological layer. This advanced garment technology also acts as a thermal garment.
While the new flight suits are great for you as a pilot, not everyone will be able to use this new technology. Thermal sets for women are soft and will give you some added protection from moisture and the cold without a sacrifice in flexibility. Women’s long johns are thin enough to fit under a flight suit and will help regulate your body temperature. If you find yourself flying in colder climates, a set of thermals will help you stay warm.