I don't need an altimeter, or an audible, but they don't hurt either.
They might not hurt, but you'll hear a lot of people in this sport caution against using audibles very early in your skydiving career. I didn't buy an audible till I had over 100 jumps, and I'm very glad I waited. To this day I don't think an audible has ever *caused* me to take action on a jump; generally, I hear my audibles as I am breaking grips and turning to track or when I'm already in my track. I like having them there as a backup, but I'm glad I took time to develop my altitude awareness habits before that.
There is a fine line in this sport between embracing new technology and developing our instincts. You'll find a lot of the "old guard" believe that skydivers have become device dependent. Just do a search for the millions of "would you jump without an AAD" discussions on these forums.
The point is, developing skills and instincts without a backup or confirming device is really important in this sport because, ultimately, it's all you have.
GPS is cool technology, and we've certainly embraced it in this sport for spotting purposes, but just look at how many people don't *really* know how to spot. They say "oh, I know how to spot" but in reality, if the pilot weren't there turning the green light on they would be lost as to where to get out. That's because they learned in a place where they didn't have to really learn. Spotting at many DZs means confirming what the pilot has already done, not actually picking the exit spot.
I think that's the fear being expressed with you using such a device under canopy early on. You may think you're going to look with your eyes and confirm with the device, but it's easy to go the other way - look at the device and confirm with your eyes. That's what many people do with airplane spotting, even though they think they are spotting.
I learned at a cessna DZ where for every jump up till I got my A license, I had to look at the wind chart and draw three marks on a mockup of the landing area to say "this is where I'm going to climb out" and "this is where I think I should exit" and "this is where I expect to be open given that spot" and review that with my instructors. No technology at all involved there except the computer in my head.
Long, rambly, and a bit off-topic....
(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Oct 6, 2006, 1:31 PM)