The History of Helite – it started with a hang glider!
Helite was founded in 2002, after Gérard Thevenot had spent almost 30 years in the Hang Gliding industry, as a pioneer, manufacturer and main engineer for his own company La Mouette. The first idea behind Helite was to develop an airbag for hang glider pilots. Gérard won a prestigious French innovation award, for his first airbag. His passion and dedication for safety grew quickly as many people were throwing out ideas about how great it would be to have a better protection for: motorcyclists, for horseback riders, for snowmobile riders, skiers…
The motorcycle air jacket was the most obvious place to start because there were already a few companies that had tried to bring products to the market. There were only a few criteria left to solve and improve, to make it an accepted, reliable, safe and effective product.
The Air Jacket for Riders followed quickly after as the triggering technique would be very similar to the motorbike sports. In the event of a fall/accident, the rider is separated from his horse/motorcycle. In 2004, Helite was launching its first specific air jacket for horse riders, the Hippios. The product was constantly under tests, taking on feedback and being improved:
- Faster inflation time
- Better airbag shape
- Stronger but lighter materials
- More practical and comfortable to wear
- Easier attachment
Though the product was already very good, there were no marketers to reach customers, until Helite crossed the path of a very motivated and well-connected Englishman. Point Two was founded to distribute and market the Helite air vest, at a time when our air vest inflated in .2 seconds! (Helite Air Jackets now inflate in 0.1 seconds)
The air vest finally reached horse riders and became a respected and valuable piece of safety in the horse riding sport.
The engineering and technical expertise of the Helite team is second to none and is continually growing as it is shared with more engineers who are all keen, enthusiastic and creative. They are planning to extend their expertise to other sports (check out our newest ski airbag video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0tpOTh1ZY) aswell as making sure the equestrian Airbags are the best they can be.
The Research and Development process
The variety of projects that have been conducted for multiple sports and industry applications has permitted Helite to be creative and transfer good ideas from one application to the next.
Projects have ranged from developing an inflating device for a theatre actor that had to blow up gradually during the whole time of the play to developing an airbag for train drivers that needs to protect the chest and inflates extremely rapidly.
Helites partnerships with big companies, network with administrations, associations and universities allows for quick information exchanges, precise statistics and scientifically proven results.
But the best motivation and most important information for Helite is client feedback. Please feel free to get in touch with us at Treehouse or contact Helite direct via their website below.