FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Aviation

Why does Simpson recommend upgrading from 4-point to 5-, 6- or 7-point harness systems?

The addition of the 5, 6 or 7 points will stop the pelvis much earlier in an event than traditional 4 points. Testing has proven the life-saving potential and ability to keep the occupant more upright in the seat.

Why does Simpson only use polyester webbing in its harnesses when some manufacturers still use nylon?

Nylon is old-school but some harness manufacturers continue to use it. However, leading safety manufacturers like Simpson know that nylon webbing grows weaker over time. Top-of-the-line harnesses are now made of better and stronger polyester webbing instead of nylon. It is important to note polyester minimizes elongation and sunlight degradation. Polyester also absorbs energy better in a crash. Don’t skimp on your harnesses.

Why don’t Simpson aviation harnesses use retractor belts?

Spool-down of the webbing on the retractor is going to give you forward movement, 4” at 2300#. This is very low load and is not nearly as safe as harnesses without retractors. The spool makes you think your harness is tight but the spool-down in retractor belts are more likely to cause injury in the event of a crash situation. Much more so than a harness that is pulled tight through adjusters, as with Simpson harnesses.

Are Simpson aviation harnesses compatible with Van’s Aircraft’s RV Kit Planes?

Yes, Simpson has harness sets for all Van’s RV models.

Where are your harness belts made?

Simpson aviation harnesses are made in the USA at our AS9100-certified manufacturing facility in Mooresville, N.C. The facility also produces racing harnesses used in the top series in motorsports, including NASCAR, NHRA and many more. Simpson racing harnesses meet the toughest standards in the world for both SFI- and FIA-sanctioned racing and have been real-world proven to protect drivers in 100G crashes in cars going over 300 mph.

Why don’t you use airbags?

Our decades of motorsports experience and testing has shown us that a 7-point harness set outperforms a 3- or 4-point airbag system.

Why do all jets and commercial cockpits have crotch belts?

Commercial builders and the FAA require the best protection available for the pilots in these cockpits. Wouldn’t you like that same protection or better for yourself? The addition of the 5th strap is a well-known addition to a good safety system. At Simpson, we use 5-point sub straps as well as 6- and 7-point sub straps for maximum protection to help control the lap belt and pelvis in a high-speed crash.

Why should I choose Simpson harnesses over the competition?

At Simpson Flight, we use only the best materials and hardware. Our exclusive adjusters are the smoothest in the industry and provide exceptional locking action, whether in route to your favorite destination or in the unlikely event of a panic situation. Our aviation harnesses are engineered with proven racing technology to offer you top-of-the-line performance.

Will my Simpson harnesses come with shoulder pads?

No, but shoulder pads can be added as an accessory and may be ordered in either a “sewn-on” or a “slide-on / Velcro” style.

Can Simpson customize my harnesses?

Customizing is a Simpson strength. We can build harnesses to fit your plane, giving you the style, comfort and safety you deserve. For your safety, we do not manufacture 4-point or fewer harnesses – 5-, 6- and 7-point harnesses are our standard.

Do you offer aerobatic belts?

Yes, we have aerobatic belt models. Many talented aerobatic pilots use Simpson harnesses now to be better protected in extreme flying.

What colors of Simpson aviation harnesses are available?

Simpson harnesses are offered in black, grey/silver, red and blue.

Will Simpson harnesses fit over my parachute?

Yes, our harnesses fit over a parachute.

My plane cannot accommodate a 5-point harness. What do you suggest?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to equip your plane with Simpson harnesses.

Harnesses

What certifications do Simpson harnesses hold?

All Simpson racing harnesses and nets are SFI or FIA approved and dated. Our harnesses are not DOT approved. We sell an extensive selection of racing, off-road and aviation harnesses.

Why don’t you stock inventory for racing harnesses?

Every system is made when ordered to ensure a current SFI date.

How often should I inspect and/or replace my harnesses?

We recommend replacing your harnesses every 2 years. This is a requirement for most sanctioned racing.

You should inspect your belts before every use. Replace belts that have nicks, cuts, excessive wear, fraying and/or have been exposed to harmful chemicals or the environment.

Proper harnesses are a very important factor in safety. Replace any belts that experience a crash or anything other than normal use. Do not use the harness system ever again, even if it appears OK.

Again, most sanctioning bodies require racing harnesses be replaced 2 years after the date stamped on the SFI tag. Consult your sanctioning body for more information.

Do you re-certify harnesses?

No. Our first priority is your safety and we do not believe this is a safe practice.

How should I clean my harnesses?

Use a mild detergent and soft cloth. Never use solvents or harsh chemicals.

What’s the advantage or difference to “pull up” or “pull down”?

What you use is a matter of personal preference and the equipment you are using. For example:

  • Does the belt go through the seat?
  • Will you adjust it, or will someone on the crew?
  • What hardware works best with your set up: bolt-in, floor mount or wrap around?

The “pull up” belts are 62” in length. The “pull down” belts are 52” in length. (Inches are in reference to the lap belt.) Refer to our “15 Minutes Can Save Your Life” video tutorial for proper harness mounting practices.

I need a different length on the harness than what’s offered. Can you do this?

Simpson can build custom belts. Please call our customer service team at (800) 654-7223 for additional information or complete our custom build order form.

I don’t see the harness setup I need for my car. Are there other options?

Yes. Simpson’s harnesses can be purchased à la carte so you can get each component just how you need it. We have a large selection of options that include ratchet, camlock, latch and link, 2- or 3-inch uppers and 5-, 6- and 7-point systems.

HEAD & NECK RESTRAINTS

What’s the difference between available head and neck restraints?

We offer a racing harnesses and complete line of HANS devices and Simpson Hybrids.

The HANS is a yoke-style head restraint and has a loyal following worldwide.

The Hybrid is a backpack style device designed to stay with the racer upon entering or exiting the race car. The Hybrid line features the Hybrid S, the only head restraint in the world that is tested and proven to work with 3-point OEM seat belts, a plus for HPDE and Track day participants.

Both the HANS and Hybrids are popular with top-level NASCAR, NHRA and WRC drivers. The difference in head restraint models comes down to weight – all HANS and Hybrid head restraints offer the same exceptional level of protection. We offer composite and carbon fiber models to service every price level. Simpson has historically worked to lower the price on head restraints to make this crucial piece of safety equipment affordable to all racers.

How do I care for my head restraint?

HANS devices need almost no maintenance but should be kept clean and dry. Avoid extreme hot or cold environments as well as petroleum products and other corrosives as these can affect even the strongest composite materials and resins. To protect them, head restraints should be stored out of direct sunlight. They may be cleaned with soapy warm water.

When should I replace my head restraint?

Unless it saves your life in a major wreck, you might never have to replace your HANS or Simpson Hybrid device. If you are involved in a major wreck, we are happy to inspect your head restraint for future safety and use. In general, keep the device away from sunlight as this attacks the high-performance resins used. SFI rules mandate HANS and Hybrid head restraints be recertified every 5 years. A charge for recertification will apply.

What if my head restraint is in an impact?

Tethers should be replaced after any major impact. Examine your device visually and run your finger around the edges. Any sign of de-lamination or surface cracking and exposed composite material means the device has served its purpose and should be replaced. Even the most thorough inspection can fail to detect damage. This is one of the reasons we do not resell used devices, and we do not recommend anyone buy a used device. If in doubt about the integrity of a head restraint, it should be replaced. If you are involved in a major wreck, we are happy to inspect your head restraint for future safety and use.

Do I need a special helmet?

HANS device and Simpson Hybrid helmet anchors fit any competition-approved Simpson or Stilo racing helmet.

Do I need a different head restraint for each helmet?

No. As long as each helmet is fitted with the proper anchors, you can use your head restraint with multiple helmets. HANS device and Simpson Hybrid helmet anchors are compatible.

What type of shoulder belts work best with a head restraint?

Any SFI or FIA approved shoulder harness system works with the HANS device and Simpson Hybrid head restraints. Be sure to mount and replace your belts in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. HANS and Hybrid head restraints spread the belts around your neck, preventing chafing and maximizing belt performance.

Are my tethers too long? I can touch my chin to my chest with the device on.

The HANS devices and Simpson Hybrids allow for exceptional vision range. However, proper tether length is very important. Please refer to the instruction manual that comes with your head restraint or our Installation Guides page for more on proper tether length and instructions.

The device rubs against my neck. Is that normal?

Yes. The padding is adjustable and moving it away from the neck often remedies this concern. This is a compromise to allow the driver to have greater clearance for steering and other arm movements.

Can shoulder belts slip off the head restraint?

Properly mounted belts do not slip off the device. If your shoulder belts will not stay securely on the device, chances are you do not have the belt mounts properly located in your chassis. Certified head restraints actually maximize belt performance by spreading the belts around your neck, allowing the belts to be mounted as closely together as possible for best performance.

I race on a short track at relatively low speeds. Do I need a head restraint?

Yes. Serious head and neck injuries happen at impact speeds as low as 35 mph. On short tracks with tight turns, it is easy to hit and head into a wall or barrier. Don’t put your safety at risk. The sliding tethers available on all HANS and Hybrid head restraints allow full vision on a tight track.

I have an unusual race car. Do you make a head restraint device that will fit it?

Yes. HANS devices and Simpson Hybrid head restraints are beneficial in any vehicle when the user is wearing a helmet. Contact our customer service team at (800) 654-7223 to determine which product is best for you.

Helmets

How are helmets rated?

Simpson helmets are certified to Snell SA2015, SFI, FIA 8859 and 8860, CMR, DOT and ECE standards.

Auto racing helmets are rated as either M, SA or K.

  • The most current Snell rating is SA2015. SA stands for Special Application. SA-rated helmets are used in competitive automobile racing and require a fire-retardant rating.
  • M stands for motorcycle or motorized vehicles. M-rated helmets are used for racing vehicles that do not require a fire-retardant rating.
  • K- and CMR-rated helmets are used for karting applications and are not required to be fire retardant. Please refer to your sanctioning body rulebook.

How do I measure my head for a helmet?

Using a cloth tape measure, measure around your head, beginning right above the brow and continuing around the widest part of the back of the head. See our size chart for conversions in both hat sizing and XS-XL.

How should my helmet fit?

Your helmet should fit tightly to your head without being uncomfortable. It should be well-seated at the crown and you should feel contact with even pressure around your head. Cheek and ear areas can be custom fitted.

When should I replace my helmet?

Snell recommends you replace your helmet every 5 years. Your helmet should be inspected by a professional following any impact. Remember, you only have one head and racing is a dangerous sport. If you are in doubt regarding your helmet’s performance and integrity, get a new one.

Does Simpson re-line helmets?

Yes. The helmet must be Snell SA2010, Snell SA2015, or an FIA certified Simpson helmet to be relined. The cost is $150. Helmets must pass inspection by our technicians before we replace the interior. Shipping charges are the responsibility of the customer.

Does Simpson install head restraint anchors on its helmets?

Yes. We install head restraint anchors on new, full-face helmets. Please order at time of purchase. An installation fee will apply.

PARACHUTES

When do I need a drag parachute?

It depends on the length of the track and your speed. We estimate that if you reach speeds of 160 mph on a 1/4—mile track or 110 on a 1/8-mile track, you need a chute. Check the rulebook for your sanctioning body requirement. Call our customer service team at (800) 654-7223 for additional information.

We know parachutes. The drag chute is our flagship product. We sell 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-ft. chutes that can be customized for sponsor recognition. Additional fees apply for custom chutes. Simpson has been “Stopping Your Ass Since 1959.”

RACING SUITS

How do I care for my racing suit?

Simpson racing suits manage extreme heat while maintaining comfort, style and durability. We recommend you dry clean your suit with a reputable dry cleaning establishment. Never use petroleum-based dry cleaning solvents on your fire suit. After a race, hang the suit to dry before storing. You can also wash, spot clean, protect and refresh your suit with Molecule fabric care products.

What does TPP mean?

TPP stands for Thermal Protective Performance and is a rating system used to determine the time you would have to escape a fire situation before you experience second-degree burns. Simpson racing suits play a pivotal role in providing the valuable seconds racers need to escape fires that can result from on-track and pit accidents.

Why do I need fire-retardant undergarments?

Nomex or CarbonX underwear underneath your racing suit will dramatically improve Thermal Protection Performance (TPP) in the case of an accident involving fire.

SHOES & GLOVES

Are all of your shoes driving shoes?

Most Simpson shoes are made with Nomex for its fire-retardant properties. SFI rated shoes will have an SFI tag. We also carry casual shoes that would NOT be suitable for driving.

What are the differences between the different kinds of Simpson shoes and gloves?

We offer a broad range of shoes and gloves to meet your comfort and style choices. Each of our shoes and gloves are designed with the racer in mind and contain unique style features. The choice is yours!

FINANCING

Do you offer a financing program?

Yes. We offer a program that allows you to pay in three payments over a 90-day period with no interest. Some restrictions apply. Call us at 1-800-654-7223 or visit our Financing page.

ORDERS & RETURNS

Why haven’t I received a shipping confirmation?

If you haven’t received a FedEx shipping confirmation, your order has not shipped yet. You can always call our customer service team at (800) 654-7223 Monday through Friday to check the status of your order.

How long will it take for my order to ship?

Most orders will ship within 1 to 3 business days. Custom-made products such as helmets, racing suits, parachutes, restraints and some other items require an additional lead time. Please call our customer service team at (800) 654-7223 if you would like to inquire about your order.

How do I request a return material authorization?

Please contact customer service team at (800) 654-7223. Product in new condition with the proper proof of purchase may be eligible for a return or exchange. Custom suits and customized helmets that have been altered in any way are not eligible for return.