For the past four years the International Ski Federation FIS and the protector manufacturer Dainese have been working on a new airbag safety system for the downhillers. Today on the World Cup course in Val Gardena the system was tested for the first time by two athletes, the South Tyrolean Werner Heel and the Canadian Jan Hudec.
The D-Air-System by Dainese has already been in use for years in motorcycling and consists of a sensor system that recognises dangerous situations and triggers specifically developed airbags on the body. Four years ago FIS and Dainese began to develop the system further for ski racing. Today, the Dainese developers and FIS Race Director Günter Hujara announced that the system is now being tested in race conditions. “Four years ago we promised that by Sochi 2014 we want to bring the airbag system into play. At that time we were belittled, but now we’re almost ready. We will be presenting the system in more detail in Kitzbühel,” Hujara told the media at a press conference in S. Cristina.
Today two athletes were on the go with the new system for the first time. The National Canadian and Italian Ski Teams have been involved in the Dainese development work for three years, so it is not surprising that two athletes from these nations, Werner Heel and Jan Hudec, tested the D-Air-System. D-Air will be used again at the next speed date in Bormio. The development, however, has not been completed yet, as Hujara explains: “The tests will continue and further data will be collected to find out when the airbag has to deploy.”
Heel on the D-Air-System: Hopefully already compulsory next season
Werner Heel and Jan Hudec tested the Dainese D-Air system for the first time in race conditions in the second training run on the Saslong. Heel sums it up: “I’m pleasantly surprised, but some improvements are still necessary. I’m hoping it will also be used in the races in the near future and that it will already be compulsory next season.”
Werner Heel: “The D-Air-System is a skiing airbag similar to the one used in motorcycling. Today I was able to test the D-Air for the first time in a World Cup training and I am pleasantly surprised about how it feels in race conditions. There are still some improvements to be made, especially regarding the fitting. But all in all, Dainese has developed a good product and I hope it can be used in the near future. Maybe it can be made compulsory in the World Cup as early as next year. D-Air is definitely the right way forward.”