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The Newsletter of the Snell Memorial Foundation

September 22, 2011

This is the fifty-seventh edition of the Foundation's newsletters to the helmet manufacturing industry. The fifty sixth was sent out in June 2011. Comments and items for inclusion in subsequent issues are invited.

PDF version

In This Issue

Manufacturers’ Meeting

The Foundation’s next annual manufacturer’s meeting will be held this February 16, 2012, in conjunction with the Indianapolis PowerSports Expo. The meeting is open to manufacturers of Snell certified helmets and their guests. We have not yet settled on whether to meet in the morning or the early evening. Please let us know which you would find more convenient. An evening meeting might allow some to fly into Indianapolis the same day while a morning meeting might avoid conflicts with other activities. Please contact Ed Becker with your preferences as soon as possible.



One of our staff accepted a C.O.D delivery addressed to Snell recently and paid the small charge with a personal check rather than delay the deliveryman. An unexpected and unauthorized charge of $294 was made to that person’s checking account shortly afterwards by an entity calling itself PowerSportsDirectory-dot-com. Quick action got the charge canceled and, at the bank’s advice, new account numbers assigned. It’s a major reorganization of personal finances but far better than more unexpected charges later.

Such practices are reprehensible if not precisely criminal but the bank’s response suggests they are also commonplace. Since the hit was to a personal checking account, it was discovered quickly. But how many business accounts are suffering this sort of leeching either unnoticed or because it’s impractical to cure?


Gib Brown Goes Part-Time

Mr. William G. “Gib” Brown has opted to cut back on the hours he spends here at the Snell lab. Gib’s first contact with Snell was in 1968 when he met with Dr. George Snively at the then Snell laboratory. At the time, Gib was McClellan AFB’s instrumentation expert. When Snively asked for a professional assessment of the test gear, Gib scoffed. I doubt Snively was surprised, things were pretty primitive. So in his wisdom and maybe partly for revenge, Snively immediately drafted Gib into the effort and Gib’s been on the team ever since.

Gib has agreed to spare us two or three days a week to keep us on track and out of error. I hope soon to surprise him with a new shackle ring set into his office floor.


Snell Certification and Enforcement

We’ve gotten some questions on the thinking behind the different impact severities and criteria set for Snell certification and enforcement esting. The intent is to assure that uncertainties in est measurements do not interfere with the orderly administration of Snell programs. Once a model is certified, helmet units identical to those passing certification testing ought always to pass enforcement testing. A technical brief explaining he procedures will be posted on the Snell website shortly.


Submissions for Certification

When submitting helmets for certification testing, please make sure that all the helmets are complete and in ready-for-use condition. All the samples should have all the necessary face shields, peaks (eye shades) and other accessories included with them. Lab managers may grant one-time exceptions to this policy but exceptions will be rare. If an exception is necessary, ask in advance, before sending samples.


New Hire

Ms. Stephanie Palmer will join the Snell Staff this July as a Mechanical Engineer. Ms. Palmer is currently a member of the Sac State Formula Racing Team and can answer Jerry Seinfeld’s question, “Why would anyone do anything for which they’d need a helmet?” We look to her for continuity as we, her aged colleagues, are finally put out to pasture.


Helmet Return

Archived helmets saved from certifications to M2000, SA2000 and K2000 will be available for return to their manufacturers this January, 2012. Manufacturers are asked to provide boxes and will be charged for shipping. Unclaimed helmets will be destroyed.


Dr. Newman’s Book

We here at Snell heartily recommend Dr. James A. Newman’s book, Modern Sports Helmets Their History, Science and Art, for its excellent representations of helmet artistry and for Dr. Newman’s entertaining discussions of helmet history and arcana. For those familiar with Dr. Newman, it should come as no surprise that this book also incorporates an excellent overview of helmet technology from protective performance, materials and design through testing and evaluation that is both immediately accessible and a pleasure to read.


Comments and Suggestions

Please direct any comments, suggestions or complaints about any aspect of the Snell programs or services to Ed Becker.


Contacting Snell

US office:
Snell Memorial Foundation, Inc.
3628 Madison Avenue, Suite 11
North Highlands, CA 95660
Phone: 916-331-5073; Fax: 916-331-0359; Email:
All Other:Ed
UK office:
4 Farnham Business Centre
Dogflud Way, Farnham
Contact:Paul Walker,
Phone:+44 (0) 1252 714920
Fax:+44 (0) 1252 737137

Editor: Hong Zhang, Director of Education