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STEPHAN/H is a division of Groupe Huot, which includes a number of aviation-related companies: Capitale Hélicoptère Flight School; GoHelico aerial work, charter and tour company; and Quebec airborne medical services provider Airmedic.
Since it was founded in 2012 by Quebec real estate mogul and helicopter pilot Stephan Huot, the pilot apparel company that bears his name has largely flown under the radar. But over the last two years, that’s been changing — and fast.
“At the beginning, Stephan Huot had all these pilots and staff who needed to be suited and he looked at the different options,” said Stephanie Huot, general director of STEPHAN/H and Stephan’s daughter. “My father didn’t find anything that was up to his own standards and the market’s standards, so he started STEPHAN/H to produce comfortable, high-performing flight suits for aviation professionals. It’s a revolution in protective industry apparel.”
STEPHAN/H wants its clients to feel like their flight suit is an integral part of their operation, ensuring optimal function, comfort, and ergonomics on a daily basis. That’s why it was very important for the company to make its clients a part of its research and development process.
“We’ve been equipping more and more pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and a lot of different ‘action’ professionals who need not only functional suits, but a second skin that is also comfy and good-looking,” Huot said.
Originally designed for helicopter pilots, STEPHAN/H flight suits are now conquering a new frontier: space.
NASA has bought hundreds of its blue Rotor flight suits for its development program. And most of the private space programs, such as Blue Origin, have also turned to STEPHAN/H for their flight suits.
“It seems our design is a cross between a suit that is specifically designed for pilots but also fits well in the space environment,” Huot said. “It’s an area where we had a big breakthrough. Alyssa Carson, who is currently training to go to Mars one day, is the brand ambassador for STEPHAN/H and has done several Instagram stories with our suit — she wears it all the time.”
STEPHAN/H produces three collections. The bestseller is the Signature Collection that was designed to exceed the highest standard for flame-resistant clothing. The main concept of the Signature is to minimize air infiltration while still offering the same seated ergonomics, flexibility, and performance as the original patented design.
The Rotor collection, which comes in one or two pieces with six color options, is made from water-repellent stretch fabric that moves with busy pilots. Its unique features include four-way stretch inserts and abrasion resistant fabric in high-wear areas. It is also lined with mesh, which creates an air layer between the shell and skin for better ventilation.
The Ultimate collection has been designed and developed in conjunction with Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex in the U.K. to meet its demanding daily needs. The fabric, among other features, is flame resistant and protects against minor projection of liquid chemicals, bodily fluids and the hazards of an electric arc. The high-wear areas, such as the knees, elbows, and shoulders, are reinforced, while the numerous pockets can accommodate all the essentials of a first responder kit.
“We use only top-quality materials and handcrafted design,” Huot said. “We work closely with our own staff and ambassadors to develop these suits, and we work hard to ensure we use double stitching or special fabricating techniques where necessary. Our suits are meticulously crafted by a team of dedicated seamstresses in Quebec City, so they are much more durable and will last longer. Over 200 components go into our flight suits — it’s an investment in comfort, durability, and functionality.”
The company sells its products worldwide from its Quebec City headquarters, and STEPHAN/H’s production team constantly challenges itself to take the company’s suits to the next level. For instance, it has developed a line of women’s flight suits that are specially designed to fit the female body, thereby improving functionality, ergonomic performance, and appearance. As well, staff look for even better-performing materials and take care to promptly implement client feedback.
“For us, it’s not only the material but also the small things,” Huot explained. “No matter the size of the client organization, we can tailor suits for each of their staff. When you see someone wearing a STEPHAN/H suit tailor-made for them, it makes a huge difference and makes them look unique.”
Looking down the road, STEPHAN/H will focus on sharing its passion with clients and partners for high-performing aviation wear. In addition to space, the company is providing suits to other industries that need highly technical clothing for demanding environments, such as helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) and search-and-rescue.
“We are also working on a street wear collection that reflects the quality and look of our products, for anyone who wants to look ‘professional grade,’” Huot said. “The future is now for a new generation of flight suit. We bring to market a product line that’s in a class by itself. Once you try it, you won’t want to go back. You’ll know you have something that is highly functional that you are proud to wear without compromising comfort and style.”
Tradeshow attendees will be able to see and feel STEPHAN/H’s revolutionary flight suits at the company’s tradeshow booth. The team of experts was at Helitech to help attendees choose the best uniform for their operations.