Skydiving demands extreme accuracy for it to be safe. All it takes is a slight miscalculation or deviation from crucial procedures, and a jump can easily end in tragedy.
Fortunately, there are mechanisms you can use to help improve your safety. One of these is called the Automatic Activation Device (AAD).
What it Does
The AAD is a nifty piece of equipment. It’s a small computer capable of recording both the altitude as well as the vertical speed of a skydiver during a jump. The AAD has to be activated on the ground prior to a jump.
This is so it gets to record the air pressure on the ground, which it will then utilize to calculate the skydiver’s altitude. The AAD releases a pyrotechnic charge to initiate deployment of the pilot or reserve chute should the skydiver fail to do so at a specific altitude.
Why it’s Needed
Accidents are very rare in the sport. But there’s no way of knowing when a mishap will happen.
Cases of jumpers losing consciousness during a jump have been recorded. The rush one gets from jumping can get a skydiver distracted too. Faulty equipment or another person flying too close can also greatly compromise your jump.
With the AAD, you can breathe easier. You know you have a safety mechanism that will automatically deploy your skydiving gear for you should you, for any reason, fail to do so.
Professionals Use it Too
Believe it or not, even veteran skydivers who have thousands of jumps under their belts rely on the AAD. For one, instructors who assist novice skydivers during tandem jumps utilize this piece of equipment.
Camera flyers, since they carry extra equipment that present snag hazards, count on the AAD as well.
Which to Buy
The two most prominent AAD brands are Cypres and Vigil. Cypres units are the very first automatic activation devices made available in the market. Cypres units are guaranteed to work for 12.5 years and have a 4-year battery life. Units are waterproof, feature jump counters and have set jump modes (Student, Speed, Expert and Tandem) as well.
Vigil units, on the other hand, have a 20-year warranty. Batteries are field-replaceable and should be changed at least every 5 years. The units are waterproof too and feature multiple skydiving modes that can be easily configured pre-jump by the user.
Cypres and Vigil are both trusted brands. When deciding which to get, it’s really about considering your budget as well as the features you’d like present in your AAD. There’s nothing wrong with asking for recommendations from more experienced skydivers. They’ve been consistently using such devices and have certainly more informed assessments about their advantages and disadvantages.
Your next step should probably be learning more about skydiving, now that you know about AADs.
Written by guest blogger Shane.