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When is a Nomex flight suit acceptable to wear?

Given Top Gun is out in the cinema this week, it prompts the question. I have mulled this question over for a while. Outside of the course of paid employment where it is an established part of the job, when it is ok to wear a Nomex flight suit? My own thoughts are it needs to be a worthy combination of:

- Higher risk flying (aerobatics/test flying/ex mil/advanced training & so on)
- Cold Weather
- Fuel/Oil/Grease contact with your daily clothes

So obviously sitting in Costa coffee on your way to fly a Cessna 152 from big airfield A to big airfield B is not a worthy combination of elements. Someone doing the first flight on a homebuilt from a farm strip in March, or doing a display in a Yak 52, then it probably would be fine logic. If you stretch your mind to other activities where wearing XYZ has very minor practical merit but is the norm like game shooting, martial arts, tennis etc etc and you wonder are you overthinking it. I have never been able to rationalise the patches on flying suits, I didn’t get that far. I also have no developed thoughts on cotton flight suits which have no benefit over regular daily clothes.

*For full disclosure I own one navy Nomex flight suit with zero patches and last wore it 4 years ago when I was flying the Alpi 300 at MTOW from a wet strip in January.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EISG, Ireland

I have a second hand (£20) Nomex no patches, but hardly wear it. Most of the aerobatic pilots use just golf shirts.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

I would wear one if it guarantee discount in shops (Costa for 1£), 50% on train fares, free entries to football games or cinema (Top Gun film) and if it saves me getting speed ticket in Honda CBR600 doing 150mph with 90mph !

The problems:
- I had it when 17 years old, it was roomy but can’t get inside now
- Getting perks out of flying suits work in 3rd world countries
- I never earned my patches

Last Edited by Ibra at 26 May 18:58
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Never have had a Nomex suit. Never considered it.
“Fuel/Oil/Grease contact with your daily clothes.”
Would be a waste of Nomex. I have worn a cheap oversuit for working, but not inside an aircraft or car, and not as a fashion statement.

EGPE, United Kingdom

I have a second-hand one that I wear for technical work. It’s amazingly dirt-repellent.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

WilliamF wrote:

and you wonder are you overthinking it.

Yes, you are – just wear it whenever you feel comfortable in it. Doesn’t matter what other people think


Most artisans here wear some form of overall as a matter of habit. Come midday they just take off the overall, wash hands and are able to sit and have lunch in a restaurant without depositing dirt on seats for the next person to sit on.🙂
Most engineers would normally take off the overall to fly a plane for the same reason.
However, as the question is about Nomex, the only time I have worn them is in helicopters, mainly military types, in a Stampe (I had one but no ordinary overalls that were clean,) and in a Harvard which had just been renovated and the renovator/pilot started the passenger briefing by saying “if it bursts into flames on start up….”🙂


I have a black nomex suit and I wear it when I fly my RV-8. I even have a custom patch with my name on it! I want to look like a badass!

I also wear fireproof driving shoes, and have nomex gloves, which I only wear when it’s cold.

There are probably better clothes for flying, but the nice thing about the suit is it has lots of pockets for stuff like escape knife, PLB, phone, and other survival gear. All these pockets are easy to access when in the aircraft, but not so useful when walking around. Some recommend fishing vests for holding survival gear, but I have not found one that I like.

I guess after the “Pop Gun 2” movie, I’ll start wearing my nomex flight suit a lot more, to get more chicks! :D

Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

Interestingly, no one mentioned flight gloves. If you suffer burns on the palms of your hands the muscles contract and you are left with a claw, and in effect loss of use of the affected hand.

Nomex suits tend to acquire an earthy smell like hung game, dry cleaning or washing removes the fire retardant properties.

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

Nomex suits tend to acquire an earthy smell like hung game, dry cleaning or washing removes the fire retardant properties

It’s easy to test with a cigarette lighter, preferably while suit is removed

Last Edited by Ibra at 27 May 08:27
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom
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