What The

Uniform Means…

Please meet SalahEddine Benbetka. Pictured in his Air Algerie First Officer Uniform

Competence, confidence, professionalism, calm & leadership, that’s what Pan Am Airlines tried to project in their pilot uniforms when they first created it in the 1930s. With the purpose to make nervous passengers feel more confident about flying. Mostly inspired from US navy officers uniform. 90 years later almost all airliners are sticking to Pan Am’s initial design with few or no changes at all.

Just as with naval officers, the stripes on a pilot’s uniform denote the rank of the wearer. There are slight variations from one airline to another but most commonly a captain gets four stripes on their sleeves and epaulettes. Three stripes for a first officer and two for a second officer (or a junior first officer). While one stripe identifies a trainee pilot. With gold as the most common colour for stripes.

Uniforms are very powerful working tools, whenever you are a pilot or not, keeping your uniform up to shape is very important, because you’re not only representing yourself and your company, but also all the guys who share the same working dress as you.

I remember myself as a kid, I was always fascinated by the flight crews walking to the airport terminal, and that was pushing me to work hard so I can be one of them one day. Today it’s a big honour and proud moment every time I put my uniform on before going to work, hoping that I’m carrying the same image I was seeing as a kid, and making my passengers as confident and relaxed as the Pan Am’s designers were aiming for.

Photo credit @omar_dib_photography

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    Pan AM Museum Foundation logo

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