Traditional pilots wings now have security role
Even in the era of ultra-high-technology security screening with growing reliance on techniques such as biometric identification, there is still a place for traditional air crew “wings,” name badges and other uniform insignia, according to family-run specialist supplier Johnson’s Jewelry. The Dayton, Ohio-based business has been supplying airlines and corporate aircraft operators for 30 years and is now using digital technology to provide a secure representation of a company’s logo and a high-quality finished product that will not degrade in appearance over time.
“We do not sell our products to wing collectors and aviation enthusiasts,” explained Johnson’s Jewelry sales and marketing vice president Larry Johnson. “Some suppliers will but we treat these like police badges and we prefer to trade only with operators
and individuals we can vet [for security purposes].”
In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security now requires that all air crew and cabin attendants have to be clearly identified by wearing insignia such as pilot wings and name and cap badges decorated with a clear corporate identity. According to Johnson, who is a former professional pilot, crews also find that the same approach can make it easier for them to move around airports almost anywhere in the world. He said that despite the current economic downturn, sales have been increasing, especially among international operators.
Once Johnson’s has received a digital example of an operator’s logo and any other artwork required (either via e-mail or taken from a company Web site), it can quickly replicate it using its own patented Color-Imaging process to precisely match corporate colors. The company can produce insignia and jewelry in as little as two weeks and can economically handle orders for as few as 10 items. By contrast, some other suppliers insist on a minimum order of 1,000 units.
Most of Johnson’s products are made from brass that is plated with gold, silver or pewter. It also offers its own J-Coat protective coating for badges to guard against the damage that can be done by, for example, salt water in the atmosphere.
Johnson’s has an extensive collection of badges and wings available for customization. It also produces epaulettes, lapel pins, uniform buttons, tie tacks, ties and even earrings.