The video that illustrates the stringent tests necessary for our helmets’ EN 966 certification
In the EU, Switzerland and UK, the use of an approved helmet is recommended for every different sport.
Each sport has its own characteristics, and therefore the corresponding helmet is specifically tailored to the requirements.
In the case of hang gliding, paragliding and microlight helmets, tests are particularly severe, part of the respective EN 966 legislation.
Each helmet model is tested separately as you can see in the video on this page.
In addition, the entire certification process has to be repeated for every outer shell size. While this may seem excessive, there are good reasons for this requirement.
For a smaller outer shell, for sizes from 55 to 59, a smaller test headform is used, with a lower weight, while for a larger outer shell, for sizes 60 and 61, a larger and heavier headform is utilised.
For the latter, the higher head weight means that the energy to be absorbed in the case of impact is greater, and so a thicker polystyrene inner shell is necessary, possibly with extra layers in the outer shell as well. So the larger helmet is proportionately heavier, which again has to be taken into consideration in its material design and certification assessment.
The same applies to helmets made in a choice of different materials. For example, fibreglass and carbon fibre have different impact strengths.
In practice, this means that for a helmet such as our new NeroHero, 4 separate certification procedures are necessary, requiring notable effort in terms of resources.
But of course, when it comes to safety, we never cut corners.
All our helmets are tested and certified by CSI, a company authorized by the Italian Ministry of Transport. This certification is valid throughout Europe.
At the end of each helmet page on this site you will find the corresponding certification with the complete test report.
We have been making EN 966-certified sport flying helmets for 30 years.
Now we have begun making helmets for other sports, with the following certifications:
The helmet provides protection by reducing the rate of deceleration of the head during an impact. This is achieved by absorbing kinetic energy. In the case of very minor bumps, the rate of deceleration is reduced simply by the gradual compression of the innermost polyurethane padding layer. In the case of a more abrupt jolt, deceleration is attenuated by the permanent deformation of the inner shell, made in expanded polystyrene. When the amount of energy to be absorbed is much higher, as in a violent impact, the only way of offering protection is by the controlled breakage of the rigid outer shell. In other words, a helmet shell that is too robust will not necessarily offer the best protection, and on the contrary it may actually worsen the situation by increasing the rate of deceleration through the rebound effect.
The controlled breakage principle determines the optimal shell material and thickness, so that, in the case of a violent impact, it breaks while absorbing the maximum amount of kinetic energy. This same principle is used in the car industry. In the event of a crash, the front or rear part of the car will progressively collapse, absorbing the impact energy and maintaining the inner cell of the car intact, protecting the passengers. Therefore, it is normal that the helmet’s outer shell should break on strong impact in order to absorb the shock and prevent its transmission to the head. This is why, even though it may seem a contradiction in terms, a helmet must be handled and used with great care. During storage, it must not be exposed to strong pressure, above all in the chin protection and side areas, which are where the helmet should progressively break in order to provide the necessary protection in case of high impact. Likewise, if powerful pressure is deliberately exerted onto the helmet, the surface varnish may split. Cracks on the varnish around the facial area usually appear when the chin protection is strongly pressed backwards. In case of very strong impact, the helmet MUST break in these specific areas!
The fact that a free flight helmet should be light is not concerned with just reducing the overall weight of the pilot-craft system. In fact a heavy helmet increases the risk of neck injury on impact due to the increased inertia.
A helmet has an outer shell in a composite fibre material, and a crushable foam inner shell, in expanded polystyrene. The innermost layer consists of the comfort lining, made in expanded polyurethane and breathable, non-allergenic textile. This part of the lining enables the helmet to be adapted to different sizes (by means of replaceable lining sections), and it makes it more comfortable. In some models, it may be removable and washable. The helmet may have vents, for internal ventilation and air circulation. The chin strap usually has a rapid fastening system, along with Velcro strips to prevent the ends of the straps from flapping about. The visor is a component that increases protection against cold air and intense sunlight. It is made in anti-abrasion thermoplastic material; it may also be anti-fogging. Just as for high-quality sunglasses, the visor is made of a series of high-technology layers, and so it should be treated with care in order to prevent scratching. The visor should be replaced when vision is impeded by small surface scratches.
Once you have chosen the most suitable helmet, make sure that you wear it correctly. For safety, it should always fit snugly, and the strap should be tightly fastened. Remember that the helmet should be worn at all times when practising your sport, in order to exploit the protection that it provides, whatever impact may occur. Though it is true that a helmet can never guarantee total protection for the head when subject to the forces produced by whatever type of impact, this is no excuse to forego wearing a helmet.
Before using the helmet, read the instructions and follow the suggestions provided on how to attain a correct fit. Do not use the helmet without fastening the strap. An unfastened helmet will fall off during the first impact, leaving the head without protection in the case of successive impacts. It may even fall off during flight. Do not fasten the helmet using just the Velcro strips. The Velcro that may be present on the strap is not the principal fastening device: it serves purely to stop it flapping in the wind. If you keep your helmet in your harness pack, don’t sit on it, and ensure that it is not exposed to pressure under the weight of other packs and bags.
To ensure maximum performance, never modify your helmet, whatever the circumstances. The helmet can be seriously damaged by paints and varnish, by all types of chemical solvent, and by excessive heat. Therefore do not add painted decoration; do not wash with petrol or solvents; and do not leave your helmet exposed to the sun. If the helmet is a model with a visor, change the visor if vision is unsatisfactory due to surface scratches.
A helmet does not have a fixed lifespan. In the absence of any minor or major impacts, a helmet will continue to offer optimum protection for many years. However, it is a good rule to replace it after five years, so that you can benefit from the additional protection provided by the latest generation of helmets. As in all fields, performance of these products is increasing continuously as a result of ongoing research and development – such as that conducted by Icaro 2000. If the helmet undergoes an impact, whether minor or major, it must be replaced even if there is no visible damage. In fact the inner shell will have suffered a degree of permanent deformation, because it has absorbed the impact. Likewise, if the helmet suffers a sudden blow – such as falling from a table onto a hard floor – microscopic cracks may develop in the outer shell, reducing its capacity for absorbing a more serious impact at a later date.
If you witness an accident, keep calm. Report the accident immediately, if possible by phoning for an ambulance (dial 118 in Italy) or the appropriate mountain rescue team. Never move an injured person, unless this is absolutely essential because of a situation of greater danger. Only medically-qualified personnel know exactly how to deal with injuries. If the spinal column is damaged, moving the injured person could damage the spinal cord, causing permanent paralysis. If the victim is wearing a helmet, do not remove it, but just open the visor to facilitate respiration. Keep the victim calm, and, if possible, cover him/her. Shock provokes shivering and a sensation of cold. Do not give the victim alcoholic drinks. Stem the flow of blood from wounds, protecting your hands with gloves or similar, throwing them away later if they have been soiled with blood. Do not apply tourniquets: if you place a tourniquet in the wrong position, you could worsen the situation. Never put the victim into a private car. Wait for the ambulance.