Aramid – The Unique Fabric of the Nomex Flight Suit

The Nomex Flight Suit is an essential uniform that protects hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women in the US military. DuPont developed the fibers for the Nomex material in the early 1960’s. The fibers consist of para-aramid and meta-aramid fibers. The combination of these durable, flame-retardant fibers is found in bullet-proof vests, firefighter uniforms, flight suits for pilots and crewmembers, as well as a variety of other forms of body armor and safety gear.

The word aramid is derived from two words, “aromatic” and “polyamide.” Aramid material is synthetic and has many molecules that are linked together and form “chains.” You have heard the quote, “there is strength in numbers.” Well, the same applies here. Aramid fibers consist of chains that have many molecules within in the chain. The strand of molecules provides remarkable strength to the aramid fabric.

Three primary companies manufacture this material around the world. These companies include DuPont, which is here in the US, Teijin, a Japanese corporation, and Kolon Industries in South Korea. The most familiar brands that are common in America are Kevlar and Nomex. Unfortunately, there are conflicting dates about when Kevlar and Nomex materials were discovered. However, what we do know is that Aramid did not dissolve quickly in liquid. DuPont wanted to make this material more useful for the public, and a DuPont research scientist named Stephanie Kwolek is responsible for discovering the lyotropic liquid crystalline aramid material. She and Mr. Paul Morgan incorporated ways to dissolve the amines and acids in different liquids. They used very low temperatures during their experiments. Once the aramid material was finalized, Ms. Kwolek invented a unique spinning process that kept the material light-weight, as well as durable. This para-aramid composition of substances became known as Kevlar.

Nomex, on the other hand, is made of the meta-aramid fibers. These fibers have an incredible tolerance for heat up to 572˚F or 300˚C. According to the Aramid.eu website, Aramid does not become brittle, or melt when exposed to such temperatures. Another outstanding characteristic of these fibers is that they do not melt and are “self-extinguishing” when in contact with normal oxygen levels. The fibers in the Nomex material are twice as strong as fiberglass or nylon, and it’s five times stronger than steel. The meta-aramid material also resists organic substances. When exposed to high temperatures as mentioned above, Nomex maintains its strength and keeps military personnel and civilian public servants safe.

Some other uses for the aramid fabric are snowboards, sailing cloth, asbestos replacement, fiber-optic cables, and electrical insulation. Aramid fibers are also used for various forms of sporting goods, like hockey sticks, in addition to reeds for wind instruments, and engine enclosures for airliners.

Aramid is a unique combination of fibers that make the Nomex Flight Suit flame-resistant with material that has a high melting point. Another essential quality of this product is that it is lightweight with solid durability. These characteristics of the flight suit are critical for the protection and comfort of the men and women who wear this article of clothing while serving in our armed forces.

Famous Women Role

Famous Women and Their Role During the Civil War

The Civil War was one of the worst wars in American history because it claimed so many lives, including soldiers, as well as civilians. This war was a turning point and the deciding factor that determined the union or division of the States. Our school’s textbooks sing the praises of some famous people who served in that war. Men, such as General Lee, General Grant, and Colonel Singleton, and women who nursed the wounded and sick, such as Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman was instrumental in helping Slaves make their way north through the Underground Railroad.

There are other equally famous women that you may not know much about who played an integral part during the Civil War. These courageous and resourceful women were spies, soldiers,humanitarian organizers, and smugglers.Some of these women were Belle Boyd, Sarah Edmonds, and Dorthea Dix.

Isabelle “Belle” Boyd was born to a very wealthy family in West Virginia. When the Union soldiers had come to her family’s estate, she used her wits and charm to obtain enemy information. Then, Belle transposed it into a secret code and had messages sent to General Stonewall Jackson, with whom her father was serving. When one of the soldiers insulted her mother, she shot him. On another occasion, Ms. Boyd hid in an upstairs closet in her aunt’s house. Union soldiers had made the residence their headquarters for a time. She rode her horse for 15 miles at night and took the information to a Confederate Colonel.The Union soldiers captured and jailed Belle for transporting the secret codes to the “enemy.”Ms. Boyd was a fearless young woman and was a great asset to the Confederate soldiers.

Sarah Edmonds was a Canadian who was a “runaway” because she did not approve of her pending arranged marriage. She disguised herself as a man and crossed the border into the US. Ms. Edmonds changed her name to Frank Thompson and sold books for a time before enlisting in the Union Army. At that time, the army did not require physical exams. Her identity was safe, at least for a while, since she had a deep voice and short hair. Although she was of small build, it was to her advantage that she had masculine mannerisms. Unfortunately, in 1963, Ms. Edmonds became very ill. Sarah did not want to be discovered, so she deserted the army. After many years had passed and she was a marriedwoman with her own family, the US government pardoned her for her desertion and gave her a pension.

Dorthea Dix was a renowned nurse in her region for improving insane asylums. Soon, she took on the oversight and management of the war hospitals and infirmary camps. Ms. Dix was sixty years old when she witnessed the nurses tending the Union men in horrid conditions Dorthea was determined to provide much-needed assistance and guidance in their mission. She also took it upon herself and toured the North learning that the hospitals were in grave disrepair, were understaffed, and lacked necessary supplies. As soon as she discovered these deplorable conditions, she spoke to the surgeon general directly.Dorthea also implemented better meal preparations through food drives, for the wounded that were in the nurses’ care. Ms. Dix took caring for the soldiers seriously and immediately dischargedany doctor who was drunk while on duty, as well as having them court-martialed. She was a dedicated and genuine woman who frequently was found sleeping on the floor of her home because she gave her bed and other rooms to the nurses. Once the Civil War ended, she began caring for the mentally challenged once again.

Some other famous women who served both sides of the Civil War include Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, a humanitarian for equality, Loreta Velazquez who was a Confederate soldier and fought in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862 and Mary Frances Battle, who was also a Confederate spy and smuggler. If you would like additional information about these and other brave women during the Civil War, please see the following websites, History.com and the Middle Tennessee State University website.

Military Flight Doctor

The History of Military Flight Doctors

The history of medicine dates back thousands of years during the ancient civilizations in China and Egypt. Medicine has progressed significantly throughout the ages and continues to make strides through scientific research. However, it wasn’t until the invention of flight that physicians had the opportunity of tending to the sick who were in different regions of a country.

It seems like people have been obsessed with flight since the dawn of time, but only the brave made many attempts to replicate flight. In fact, some individuals designed “wings” out of various materials, but the inventions always failed. Unfortunately, the inventors either succumbed to their death or were severely injured from their falls. Doctors who treated these men are some of the first doctors to practice “Aerospace Medicine.” During these examinations, physicians determined that their patients often suffered from hypoxia. Hypoxia is when the body does not receive adequate oxygen, which is transported via the bloodstream, to tissues and other organs of the body.

The first hot air balloon took flight in 1783 in Paris. According to GoFlightMedicine.com, the balloon rose 3,000 feet into the air for a total of 25 minutes. Thus, began the history of aviation. In the following year, two doctors, Dr. John Shelton from Great Britain, and Dr. John Jeffries from the US recorded physiologic responses that the pilot had in flight. During this time, another American physician by the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush discovered that one of the first signs of hypoxia is an elevated heart rate.

Two men are recognized as the “Father of Aviation Medicine.” In no significant order, the first was a French physiologist, Paul Bert and the other gentleman was US Brigadier General Theodore Lyster. Mr. Bert conducted hundreds of experiments to determine how flight affected the human body. He also invented the hypobaric chamber which was used to simulate heights of 36,000 feet. He used this device to determine how higher elevations gravely reduced oxygen in the body. Paul strongly advised pilots to use supplemental oxygen when flying. General Lyster was instrumental in establishing a set of standards for selecting US pilots. He came from a physiological standpoint and wanted to ensure that pilots were healthy enough to withstand the physical demands they face in the air. Theodore was the first man to create the idea of a flight surgeon. At that time, during World War I, the primary function of a flight surgeon was to care for the pilot and those in the aircraft. In 1917, General Lyster became the first Chief Surgeon, Aviation Section, for the US Army and later in his career; he founded the Air Service Medical Research Laboratory.

In 1922, Dr. Louis Bauer began the Army of School of Aviation Medicine, and in 1926, he published the textbook, Aviation Medicine. That same year, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Air Commerce Act of 1926 into law. Two years later, Dr. Bauer and a host of other physicians established the Aero Medical Association of the United States. The purpose of this association was to evaluate civilian pilots according to the medical standards that were implemented by the aviation medical examiners. These standards are still being used today to assess pilots.

When a service person was injured during the Vietnam War, it took 45 days to return that soldier to the US and receive proper care. As you can imagine, 75 percent of the wounded soldiers survived, and the US lost many soldiers because of this. Thankfully, there have been outstanding improvements in ensuring that our men and women in enemy territories receive the proper treatment in flight back to the US. Now, the Air Force has a serviceperson in the US within three days, no matter where they are in the world with a survival rate of 98 percent. And unlike the past, when the flight surgeon was primarily looking out for the welfare of the pilot, now planes are staffed with a full medical team, including an intensive care doctor. Most of the physicians wear the flight suit uniform while on this kind of mission, even if they are not a trained pilot. The aircraft are also furnished with proper medical equipment to address physiological changes for safe treatments while the patient is in flight.

As you can see, there is a rich history behind flight doctors. They are an essential part of the military and do everything in their power to ensure that soldiers come home to the US safely so that they can receive proper care upon arrival in the States.

History of the Flight Suit

History of the Flight Suit and How Nomex Material Changed the Industry

The aviator flight suit has evolved just as modern aircraft has over time. At first mention of the early aviator uniform, one might picture an image likened to the Flying Ace in full gearfeatured on the Red Baron Pizza box. The costume may consist of full-length, baggy trousers complete with a bomber jacket with awhite woolen trim, a leather helmet, and a red scarf wrapped around his neck. However, this only a somewhat accurate representation of a flight suit.

The first airplanes were open to the environment and flew at low altitudes. Therefore,
pilots took it upon themselves to have proper protectionfrom the atmosphere. For example, an aviator might wear a pair of goggles and a leather jacket. As the advancement of planes emerged, and their motors became more powerful, so did their capacity to fly at higher elevations, in addition to faster speeds.These new advances in aviation posed a greater threat to the US pilots because the cockpit was open without any protective covering. Pilots who flew during World War Ifound this to be a greathindrance and distraction while they carried out their mission. It is unfortunate that they were exposed to the elements while in flight. Some of the flight suits during this time were a one-piece garment primarily made of thin material that did not keep pilots warm, nor did it protect them from the bitterly cold air while in flight. Some pilots opted to wear a two-piece set that consisted of overalls and a leather jacket. Back then, the military did not have a determined uniform for pilots. But according to the website Aerosociety.com, a new flight suit was inventedin 1917 known as the Sidcot Flying Suit No. 5. The US pilots raved about this new uniform because it kept them warm during their mission. This was revolutionaryat this time in history. The new flight suit had three layers: one made of fur, another layer was made from airproof silk,and the outer shell was a thin, light Burberry material. (1.3.1 – The Sidcot Suit) This suit remained an essential part of the pilot’s gear until World War II when the US pilots flew in enclosed cockpits.

During World War II, airplanes flew at altitudes of approximately 30,000 feet which meant that the cockpits were still cold even though they were enclosed. So, electrically heated flight suits were introduced, except they were bulky and restrictive. It wasn’t until pressurized cabins were on scene that the cabins were warmer which meant that bomber pilots could shed the bulky uniform in exchange for a formal uniform and a flight coat.

On the other hand, fighter pilots needed a suit that they could wear within the confines of the cockpit. The AN-S-31 flight suit played a significant role in the US Army Air Corps. Some of its key features are the two pockets that buttoned on each side of the chest, as well as a button-down shin pocket on each pantleg. Not long afterward, the US Navy adopted their flight suit. The only difference was that the pockets were slanted on the material instead of positioned straight across.

In the early 1960’s, Dupont invented the first ever flame-retardant flight suit made from an innovative Nomex material. The Nomex flight suit was initially developed for the US Navy; however, the Nomex flight suits were, and still are suitable for all branches of the military. The makers at Dupontstate that,

“We know that military personnel face a range of threat levels, so we offer materials that can be further processed to help optimize performance attributes including protection level, durability, comfort, and aesthetics. This allows military clothing… the ideal performance for the threat, either confined space (mounted) of dismounted, whether from a fuel fire or an IED or RFG explosion.”

Today, the Nomex flight suit is a one-piece uniform that is worn by pilots and crew alike in most branches of the military. It is not only an incredibly durable fabric,but most importantly, the aramid fibers that are in the Nomex material are fire-resistant. Making sure our military personnel are protected from danger is Carter’s primary goal. We at Carter NY take great pride in producing the Nomex flight suit and making it readily available to the men and women who serve our great country. When the soldiers wear our product, they know that they can fully concentrate on their mission and can rest assured that they are wearing a fire-resistantsuit from a company that has their safety in mind.

As with the unique history of American Aviation, the history of the Nomex Flight Suit is intriguing and continues to not only meet military expectations but supersedes them as well.

Pilot Flight Suit

The History of the Flight Suit Sleeve Policy

The United States has five branches of the military; they are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. Each military branch has their unique set of dress code standards for military trainees and personnel. For example, members of the Marine Corps are not permitted to run errands or get out of their vehicle for any reason while they are on duty and dressed in their uniforms. Another regulation that the Corps has implemented is that large tattoos are not allowed on the calves or forearms. Any form of body jewelry is also not tolerated. As always, marines must maintain the grooming standards too. According to NBC News.com,  the Marine Corps has a “spit and polish” image that it is upholding and these new guidelines reflect that.

The Air Force also has their dress code as well regarding appropriate times to wear the flight suit. Air Force Times.com states that as of January 23, 2017:

“When a pilot, navigator or other aircrew member wearing a flight duty uniform pulls up his or her sleeves, they must be held in place with the Velcro strap attached to the flight suit. Sleeves must end at or within one inch of the natural bend of the elbow when the airman’s arms hang naturally to the side.”

However, sleeves should remain rolled down slightly past the natural bend of the wrist whenever airmen are completing in-flight tasks. Said duties include, but are not limited to all flight-related functions, which consist of preparations made before and during flights, as well as miscellaneous duties after each flight. The previous rule was that airmen who are not performing in-flight duties are allowed to roll their sleeves under, so long as the sleeve is not above the natural bend of the wrist.

The change has been anticipated by many airmen and compliments the standing regulation that is associated with the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) which allows servicemen and women to roll up the sleeves of their uniforms. However, this is at the discretion of their commander. Some of the reasons why the Air Force had such a strict sleeve policy was to protect the troops from sunburn, that could lead to skin cancer, and to ward off insects that carry diseases, such as mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus.

Some airmen feel that it is a privilege and honor to wear the flight suit and should be permitted to wear it anytime and anyway they wish. Some arguments that have been proposed are because many servicemen and women have endured vigorous training to become pilots. Therefore, some personnel fee that it commands respect and is exemplary of a pilot’s level of commitment to serving America. Unfortunately, some of the commanding officers don’t share this point of view. One retired officer, Steve Helms said that the flight suits and other uniforms have nothing to do with the commitment that an airman has to the country. The actions of the servicemen and women reflect their dedication to the United States, not the article of clothing they wear. As long as an Air Force personnel practice perseverance and respect their authorities, they will move up the ranks in the military and be recognized by their peers. Again, the flight suit does not automatically gain respect for the pilot who is wearing it.

As you can see, the military has strict guidelines that must be followed. However, slowly, some changes are being made to make the uniforms more comfortable in warmer weather.

Woman Plot

Women of the Air Force, Past, and Present

The US Air Force is one of the five branches of the military in the United States. All five branches of the military have a primary objective to defend her country in the event of military conflict, as well as assist American allies. Sometimes the military will offer protection and aid for various groups and natural disasters, such as the recent hurricanes.

Courageous men and women serve the US and bravely enlist in the US Air Force. Some of the tasks that the Air Force completes include repairing and constructing new runways, guarding US airports and military bases around the world, patrolling enemy targets, in addition to the obvious bombing missions and cargo transportation.

Some of the most famous men, including country singer, Johnny Cash, and actor, James Stewart, have been recognized in the Air Force. But what about the countless women who have overcome obstacles and stereotypes, and have served their country honorably because of their unwavering dedication to the United States of America. These women, whether they be on the ground, or in the air have successfully earned the privilege to serve side-by-side with their male counterparts. Some of the women who stand out above the rest are Maxine King, Colonel Eileen Collins, and General Lori J. Robinson.

  • Col. Maxine King, also known as Micki King enlisted in the US Air Force in 1966. Ms. King was a two-time US Olympic Diver who used her athletic expertise to her advantage. She became the first female athletics instructor at the US Air Force Academy in the early 1970’s. According to the US Air Force’s website, Micki also served on a committee and was greatly influential in prompting the military academies to open their doors to women. During her career in the Air Force, Ms. King was promoted to Colonel and retired in 1992.
  • As a small child, Col. Eileen Collins was mesmerized when she’d watch the aircraft perform amazing tricks and aerial acrobatics at the countless air shows her and her father attended. She knew that she wanted to be a pilot and enlisted in the Air Force in 1979.  Shortly after her training, she became the first woman flight instructor, who also happened to teach mathematics. She remained in this capacity for the next eleven years. Ms. Collins attended the Air Force Test Pilot School and was one of the first women to graduate in 1990. Throughout her career in the Air Force, Ms. Collins earned the rank of Colonel and decided to enroll with NASA to be an astronaut. Upon the completion of her aeronautical training, she became the first woman to pilot a space mission. Later, in 1999, she was the first female to be a shuttle commander a space shuttle.  Col. Collins retired from the US Air Force in 2005.
  • For Gen. Lori J. Robinson, serving in the US Air Force is a family tradition as her father is a 30-year veteran. Her husband, who is now a retired General, and daughter served in the Air Force as well. After 9/11, the Pentagon created nine centers to work with Canada and patrol the US and assist in emergency situations. One of these centers is called Northern Command where Gen. Robinson was one of the leading superior officers for that facility. General Robinson’s peers speak highly of her and recognize her strong leadership skills, her insight into confronting and solving problems, as well as her compassion for others. General Robinson is one of two women who are four-star Generals in the US Air Force and is still serving in this capacity today.

Over the last 50 years or so, the Air Force has made great strides in allowing women to serve the United States along-side their “brothers in arms.” Thankfully, the rights of women have come a long way.

Buffalo Soldiers

Who Were the African American Buffalo Soldiers?

Most people know who George Washington Carver is when they hear his name, but unfortunately, many history books do not mention the African American soldiers who fearlessly fought in the Civil War. As a matter of fact, about 200,000 African American soldiers served the US to rid the plague of slavery within its borders. However, there is little known about them and the great impact they had in the US Army.

It wasn’t until 1866 that the US Congress passed the Army Reorganization Act and added thirty regiments, including six army regiments, called the US Colored Troops. According to http://BuffaloSoldiersAMWest.org, the six regiments “were identified as the 9th and 10th Calvary and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry Regiments. The four infantry regiments were reorganized in 1868 as the 24th and 25th infantry.”

The Native Americans gave Buffalo Soldiers this term at the time. There were two main tasks for the soldiers. The first duty was to guard, protect, and defend wagon trains, while the other task was to carve out and build roads for the pioneers traveling west.

As you know from American history, the pioneers tragically encountered the Native Americans on their pilgrimage to the west. To the Native Americans, the African American soldiers reminded them of the buffalo, which they hold in high regard in their culture. In the event that a battle should erupt, the African American troops did not shy away from it, but rather faced the dangers and fought gallantly.  By nature, the buffalo have a tenacious nature and fight fiercely as did the servicemen, hence the nickname, Buffalo Soldiers.

Believe it or not, the Buffalo Soldiers were treated very fairly by the US Army and US State Department. Not only did they received the same pay as white troops, but they also received the same quality supplies, which included fine horses. Obtaining quality horses was important since these were Calvary and Infantry Regiments who relied on horses for their transportation, as well as fighting the enemy. However, many horses died in confrontations, and the Army could only afford about $100 per horse. Other supplies that the Buffalo Soldiers received that were of the same quality as their white counterparts were guns, ammunition, as well as food, and medical care. That’s not to say though that these courageous men didn’t encounter racial prejudice because they did. It is unfortunate that some US Generals refused to serve alongside these brave men based on their skin color.

African American soldiers earned and received nineteen Medals of Honor during the Civil War alone.  A couple of the battles that they fought in were at the Battles of Honey Springs, and the Battle of Cabin Creek. From the time of their inception in 1866, these renowned Army troops were comprised of only African American men and defended civilians and the United States of America until 1951.

Many Buffalo Soldiers reenlisted in the US Army after the Civil War. They reenlisted for a couple of reasons: even though slavery was abolished, they did not have a home in which to return, because the men didn’t want to go back to the plantations where they were enslaved. These African Americans were treated more fairly while they served in the Army than if they were civilians, so it made sense for them to stay and many made a military career of it. These soldiers also knew that prejudice was still prevalent and many did not want to subject themselves to that kind of horrible treatment.

The Buffalo Soldiers were a driven and bold group of men who fought for equality and basic human dignity. They are among the first who bravely stood up for the cause of civil rights.


Movies That Have Used the 27P Nomex Flight Suits as Part of Their Wardrobe

Our company was founded in the mid-1990’s and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. We are located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in the small historical town of Olive Hill, Kentucky. Carter NY is the only manufacturer and provider of flight suits and coveralls for the US Military, and all of our products are made on premises in our factory in northeastern Kentucky.

One of the products this company is known for is their CWU 27/P Nomex Flight Suit. The suit is made from the Nomex material which is flame-resistant material and is worn by military personnel in most of the branches of the US Military, such as the US Air Force, the US Marine Corps, and Homeland Security. These suits feature an adjustable waist belt, six primary pockets, a two-way zipper, and a multitude of other specialty pockets and prominent features. The flight suits are available in a variety of sizes and are available in two colors, Sage Green, and Desert Tan.

You may have recognized these coveralls in a few of your favorite movies too, such as Ghostbusters, Top Gun, and Flight of the Intruder. For example, in the first Ghostbusters movie, the actors included Bill Murray, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and Dan Aykroyd, wore the tan coveralls without the side pockets. The costume director instructed that the zippers be sanded down to reveal the polished brass underneath the black coating. Some people will protest that the flight suits were gray in the movie; however, this is not the case. Firstly, the flight suits are not offered in gray and secondly, the stage lighting tweaks certain colors and give materials and colors different sheens or hue. Top Gun was another movie where the characters, Iceman (Val Kilmer), Goose (Anthony Edwards), and Maverick (Tom Cruise) sported the 27/P Nomex Flight Suits as well throughout the film. Although the movie had its fair share of mistakes as far as military protocol is concerned, the cast wore the coveralls accurately whenever they were in flight. One thing that was missing; however, were the Nomex gloves that all military personnel is required to wear along with the flight suit. One other thing regarding the flight suits was that T-shirts were worn under the suits instead of golf shirts like the film portrayed. Golf shirts were not permitted until later in the early 2000’s.  The Sage Green Nomex Flight Suits were an essential part of the wardrobe in the film, Flight of the Intruder starring Willem Defoe, Tom Sizemore, and Danny Glover.  This movie was filmed on location in Hawaii. Having the coveralls as part of the costumes was a great match because not only are they lightweight, but they also allow the body to “breathe” when the actors were overheated from the humidity and heat in the tropical climate.

As you can see, the Nomex 27/P Flight Suit has been used in some of the most famous movies of our time, and they continue to be a popular item that we supply our troops, as well as to the general public. We are proud to support, supply, and protect our service men and women in any way we can.


Whiskey 5 – Carter Industries Inc.

Read our feature in Soldier Systems and learn about when Carter Industries was founded, who we are and what makes use successful.

“Our company was established in January 1995 and it has been growing ever since. Our company received an award from the Defense Logistics Agency in January 2009. We were honored and humbled to receive such recognition from the US Defense Department. We want to send a huge thank you to our US Armed Forces and to you, our newest customers. We would not be where we are today without your continued support as our faithful customers…”