Frequently Asked Questions
Is the airbag reusable after activation?
Yes, the airbag for riders is reusable after activation if it hasn’t been too damaged. The cartridge is the only part of the rider’s airbag that must be replaced after inflation. If you are not sure whether your airbag has been badly damaged we will gladly check it in our factory, in France.
Activation of the equestrian air vest frightens the horse?
The most common reason you fall off is because the horse is already frightened or not concentrated. In that case he will not notice the activation. We had a few people reporting their horse ran off, however they all finished their testimony by saying that the most important is that they were protected by the airbag when they fell off.
Can I roll in a Helite jacket when it is inflated?
Yes, you should still have full movement of your arms and legs. We have done extensive testing with jockeys and riders in other disciplines and the jacket did not stop them rolling in the event of a fall.
Can the Helite AIR JACKET vest be washed?
The jacket should be hand washed with water and soap, by scrubbing inside and outside. Do not sink the airbag system in water and do not put it in the dryer.
Can the Helite AIR SHELL be washed?
The AIR SHELL is composed of two elements: the Shell and the airbag liner.
The Shell you can machine-wash like any other garment. The airbag liner you cannot machine wash, please use warm water and soap and wash by hand.
Can I wear my clothing or a backpack over my Helite equestrian airbag?
Yes, so long as it is fitted loose and there is no interference with the functioning of the lanyard. However, please remember that wearing something on top means slightly slowing down the time it takes for the airbag to inflate. In other words, for optimal protection, we recommend it is on top of every other garment.
How long does the Helite airbags take to deflate?
All our airbags inflate in less than a tenth of a second, and will hold the rider tight for 15-20 seconds. After this, they will deflate within two or three minutes. Should you have a fall while on the cross-country course and want to continue, you can still move your arms and legs normally.
Can you breathe when the Helite air vest is inflated?
Yes. Our airbag inflates towards the body so you will be compressed and this compression will help significantly minimize impact consequences. We want you to feel like a cocoon that is firm before hitting the ground.
If I fall on the CO2 canister is it going to hurt?
No, the CO2 canister is located on the least harmful place of your upper body. In addition to the airbag under the canister, a foam rubber pad and an ABS pad keep the bottle further from your body. The gas contained in the cartridge is only CO2 gas, which is totally harmful.
Won’t the airbag burst if I hit too hard?
No, our airbag is made of a very resistant sheath that can stretch 700%. If you fall on a sharp or pointy obstacle it may happen, however it will mean the airbag will have played its roll.
Gas cartridge life span in the equestrian air vest
there is no expiration date. However if the cartridge impacts the ground badly, if there is any deterioration or rust, we ask you to replace or at least have the cartridge checked.
The cartridges are guaranteed for 10 years. However we advise you to check your cartridge once a year. Just unscrew the cartridge and check on a kitchen scale whether the weight equals the weight indicated on the cartridge.
Do I have to wear a body protector under the Airbag?
You are free to wear anything under your airbag vest. We of course recommend you to wear as much protection as possible. Combining a body protector with an airbag has proven to be the best protection as of today. For competitions you might be obliged to wear a body protector under your airbag vest.
Are there any test results?
Helite has revolutionized safety in the equestrian world by providing effective and reliable airbag vests at an accessible price. We have successfully outperformed the certification requirements of the renowned Testing and certification organizations: CRITT, TNO, and SATRA… All are vests and Airbag systems are CE certified.
How can you be sure the airbag really protects?
Our airbag is 100% made in France, insertion of airbag in the textile is done in France and every single airbag is quality controlled before it is sent. In just the same way a helmet manufacturer never claims to eliminate all head injuries while wearing the helmet, Helite does not claim to eliminate all the risks of injury to a rider wearing an airbag jacket. The evidence is now clear and scientifically proven that wearing a Helite airbag jacket provides greatly increased protection.
The production of a safety product should not be neglected. There’s no point wearing an airbag that doesn’t work 100%. We have been developing airbag jackets for horseback riders since 2004 and have since then drastically improved the system. There are 4 engineers working full time on developing new and better airbag systems that will make sure the safety level of dangerous sports is increased.
Does the airbag inflate inwards or outwards?
The airbag inflates inwards in order to protect more efficiently. Indeed the airbag will not only buffer the impact it will strengthen your body to hit the ground like a piece of wood whether than a rubber-band. Of course you will be tighter but that’s the whole point of protecting you efficiently. In case the airbag is uncomfortable after the fall you can quickly unclip and be free from breathing and from bruises!
First instalment of the equestrian air vest on your saddle?
The vest is delivered with a stirrup strap. The stirrup strap needs to be installed on the saddle once, and stays there at all time. Remove both stirrups leathers from your saddle. Standing at the pommel of your saddle, thread one end of the Stirrup Strap through the D ring. Repeat the process with the other end of the Stirrup Strap on the other side of your saddle. The strap should be short enough to not exceed passing behind the pommel but not so tight it lies flat on the horses wither. Replace your stirrup leathers ensuring they are securely on. Now you can mount your horse and clip in with your lanyard.
Is the airbag identical in the AIR JACKET and in the AIR SHELL?
The Airbag-System is identical in all the current HELITE equestrian airbags.
The choice in the model only depends on your individual taste; there will be no safety difference. HELITE constantly improves its airbag technology; therefore there are safety differences between older model sand newer models.
Which body parts are covered by the airbag?
How do I replace the gas cartridge and reset the trigger?
A used gas cartridge cannot be refilled; it has been deteriorated by the airbag inflation system. You will notice that the used bottle has been perforated, whereas a new one has no holes, it is full. Replacing a cartridge is very quick (5minutes the first time, 2 minutes the next times) but it must be done very carefully. Below are the steps to a successful recharging:
1. Unscrew the used bottle gently by turning anticlockwise
2. Unscrew the plastic end of the triggering system anticlockwise
3. Put the internal piston back in the correct position
4. The piston has the exact shape of the key ball that can be placed back in the hole
5. Holding the key ball in place, screw the plastic cap back using the Allen key supplied with your product.
6. Screw a new gas cartridge gently, until you reach the point when you can’t turn it more.