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Not turning on your AAD

 

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Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 11, 2008, 10:35 AM
Post #51 of 61 (1257 views)
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Re: [tetra316] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

>I don't quite understand the fear of opening lower than 3000.

I think it's due to AFF. Static liners start their training getting out at 2500-4000 feet; AFFers often pull at 5000 to start out with and then gradually reduce that. When they graduate, they are far more comfortable opening at 5000 feet because it's what they have done most often.


livendive  (D 21415)

Nov 11, 2008, 12:01 PM
Post #52 of 61 (1244 views)
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Re: [flyhi] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

I went several years without an AAD (except on tandems) and got used to it. Eventually, I took a shot to the chin on an AFF jump that convinced me to put an AAD back in my rig for at least some jumps. At first, I would only use it on AFF jumps and on freefly jumps with people I didn't know (I'm not very good at FF). I would turn it off for all other jumps because its presence freaked me out. It's been 2 years and I now always turn on it for AFF and freefly, and sometimes even for RW (at least a third of the time). I'm just not a fan of having something on board making decisions for me, regardless of the fact that I understand it's usually safer to have an AAD on than off. For me, it's about comfort, and AADs usually make me uncomfortable.

Blues,
Dave


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Nov 11, 2008, 7:39 PM
Post #53 of 61 (1208 views)
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Re: [labrys] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

Minimum opening altitudes vary by license. C and D recommended minimum container openings are 2000 feet.

The cutaway decision altitude is 1800 feet for all licensed skydivers.

If you're not doing hop-and-pops (which give you 3.5 seconds to accelerate to 1800 feet with nothing out when you open at 2000 feet, and mean your canopy opens in less altitude) or jumping a fast (unacceptably so according to many skydivers) opening canopy that precludes a 2000' pack opening altitude.

A 2000' hop-and-pop with a fast opening square canopy isn't a big deal. You'll be open by 1950 feet.

2000' with fast opening square canopy at terminal is getting closer, but may still have you fully open by 1800' with a somewhat higher than steady state descent rate. A 2000' hop and pop with a moderately soft opening canopy like a Stiletto will have you open pretty close to 1800' and you won't be going that fast if it doesn't.

At 2000' at terminal with a slow opening canopy the slider will still be all the way up the lines when you go through 1800' at 90 MPH.


This also ignores the 1800 foot decision altitude being predicated on canopies with low decent rates (you won't loose that much altitude while finding your handles and cutting away) while malfunctioning and little risk of a hard cutaway due to the slow spins and mechanical advantage offerred by big 3-rings.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Nov 11, 2008, 7:47 PM)


Baksteen  (C 708753)

Nov 12, 2008, 1:36 AM
Post #54 of 61 (1183 views)
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Re: [billvon] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
>I don't quite understand the fear of opening lower than 3000.

I think it's due to AFF. Static liners start their training getting out at 2500-4000 feet; AFFers often pull at 5000 to start out with and then gradually reduce that. When they graduate, they are far more comfortable opening at 5000 feet because it's what they have done most often.

For me (as a SL-er) it's not that I fear to open low, but just that i don't relish the prospect of having to go search for my main after having cut away a linetwist I normally could have kicked out of.
If the clouds are at 2500 (minimum opening altitude), I'll sit it out.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Nov 12, 2008, 2:29 AM
Post #55 of 61 (1175 views)
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Re: [Baksteen] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
For me (as a SL-er) it's not that I fear to open low, but just that i don't relish the prospect of having to go search for my main after having cut away a linetwist I normally could have kicked out of.
I like my Triathlon really much for opening fast and reliable.


Baksteen  (C 708753)

Nov 12, 2008, 3:03 AM
Post #56 of 61 (1170 views)
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Re: [phoenixlpr] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

Just breaking the Chain of Events...Smile


DanG  (D 22351)

Nov 12, 2008, 5:53 AM
Post #57 of 61 (1152 views)
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The cutaway decision altitude is 1800 feet for all licensed skydivers.

Where is that from? When I was much more current my decision altitude was 1,500ft. I've since increased it to 1,800ft. I decided that all by myself. There is no "minimum".


labrys  (D 29848)

Nov 12, 2008, 7:31 AM
Post #58 of 61 (1133 views)
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The cutaway decision altitude is 1800 feet for all licensed skydivers.

While the USPA does include a general recommendation of 2500 feet for students and A license holders and 1800 feet for C and D license holders, this is not a BSR. Minimum container opening altitudes, on the other hand, are a BSR.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Nov 12, 2008, 10:41 AM
Post #59 of 61 (1111 views)
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Re: [NickDG] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

Very interesting historical reminder. I had the chance to used several of them: Kap 3, Sentinel, FXC, Cypres 1 and 2 and Vigil 1 and 2.


BigMark  (D 17505)

Dec 2, 2012, 3:47 PM
Post #60 of 61 (878 views)
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Re: [NickDG] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
>>I can't believe anyone would verbalize the old, "I'm an instructor and might have to chase a student down low." But are there people who think that way?<<

Modern AADs on both students and Instructors have made it a moot point. Although world wide it still happens from time to time and there was a recent thread about an Instructor who died chasing a student. But even prior to reliable AADs this debate still occurred. Even today if I hear a long time Instructor express the idea I can understand what they mean because I understand where they're coming from. Newer jumpers will consider it out of hand and nuts.

If you began jumping after the advent of the Cypres you may look at these devices a bit differently then someone who remembers a time without them. Especially if you were an Instructor at the time. When I began jumping and all our initial student jumps were solos no experienced jumper in the sport used an AAD. Well, maybe a very few who had some sort of physical or medical issue.

There were basically two models of AADs available in those early days. There was a Russian one called the KAP 3 and it was used on military and civilian jumps to activate the main parachute. It was a rather bulky mechanical thing that you wound up with a skate key like an old grandfather clock. If your student was doing a 10-second delay you'd set it for fifteen seconds. It was reliable enough but one problem with it is if your student hesitated after it was activated they would be eating into the clock. It could be shut off and reactivated by the JM, but if the student was out of reach like out on the strut you had to get them off before the "bomb" went off. And while it wasn't often you did see these KAP 3s in the States once in a while.

The prevalent AAD of the time was the American made Sentinel. BTW, originally these devices were called AODs for "Automatic Opening Device" until we became sue happy and a malfunctioned reserve having nothing to do with the AOD could land the manufacturer in court because the device failed to "open" the canopy. So they changed "opening" to "activation" in the 1980s for legal reasons. And I'm a bit surprised these days there aren't called, Just Might Save Your Life Devices, for the same reasons. There was a third American made AAD called the FXE and it was probably the most reliable of the bunch but I didnít see any of those to years later.

I had my first AOD malfunction on my 9th jump or so. And whenever these devices go wonky that's what I still call it, a malfunction. We tend to now call it a premature firing or an inadvertent activation, as those are slightly more comforting terms that denote more an annoyance than a life threatening situation. I was sitting in a Marine Corps helicopter minding my own business on the way up and since I was going to be first out at about 5000-feet I was sitting close to the open ramp with only my Jumpmaster between me and the void. All of sudden the pilot banked hard to avoid something possible a cloud or another aircraft and the "G" force of the turn fired the Sentinel on my chest mounted reserve. My reserve pilot chute flew across the cabin and bounced off the startled jumper sitting across from me. I was startled too. Sentinels weren't mechanical they were gas operated. And you'd never get through airport security with one them today. They actually used a 22. Caliber blank cartridge to blow the ripcord handle out of the reserve container. And it could be rather loud in a confined space and just like a gun going off.

We were, of course, taught to sit with our hands over the reserve to protect the ripcord handle. But you kind of did it loosely and there was no way I could have been fast enough catch the pilot chute. So after hitting the other jumper it was now on the deck, and because the forward crew chief's upper door was open the wind blowing through the cabin is making it skid toward the open ramp. My JM/Instructor, a grizzled old Marine Master Sergeant, just reached out with his leg and stomped on it.

He handed it to me and sent me forward with a glare that said I was in a bucket of shit. The fact if I'd been dragged out I probably would have went into the sea and been drowned wasn't as scary as what was now waiting for me on the ground. In the Marine Corps there is no such thing as "shit happens" everything that goes wrong is somebody's fault. And I'd be it . . .

My punishment later on was putting away all the club gear and packing all the mains well into the night. In the meantime everyone else is drinking beer with steaks sizzling on the grill. And every once in a while some drunken killer would come by and give me a swift and hard kick in the ass. God, with all the problems we have I sometimes wish we still taught parachuting that way now. These days whenever I'm "correcting" a problem student I'm polite and use all the accepted modern methods. But in the back of my mind I can't help but think, man, this guy needs a good boot in the ass . . .

One the big perks of finally getting off student status in the 1970s was being able to ditch the AOD. It was akin to removing the training wheels from your bike when you were a kid. And in my case it was certainly one less thing to worry about. A few weeks later I saw my first AOD save when a student Army jumper's Sentinel fired at 1000-feet and he later said he was totally confused and surely would have went in without it. So while I saw the value in AODs, in my mind, that value laid only in student use. When an experienced jumper died nobody thought to say, "If he'd only had an AOD," it was more simply you became the honored dead and your photo went up in the club wall.

Now back to the original question. Why do some Instructors chase students into the ground? And how does that idea still linger today? It's hard to understand now, but I've no doubt the JM/Instructor I had, the same one who opened the can a whup ass on me, would have given his life to save mine without a second thought. Because in his simple military mind my failure was his failure. And this wasn't purely a Marine Corps thing. Even in the civilian world most Instructors understood they weren't getting the three dollars a head to teach skydiving as much as they were being paid too keep their students alive. There was a trust factor between Instructors and students. And there was no imaginary line in the sky were the deal was off.

But then all though the 1980s the main excuse from experienced jumpers against AADs was they just weren't reliable enough. Then in the early 1990s the Cypres changed all that. They were reliable enough, not perfect, but reliable enough that we were running out of excuses. And slowly at first, than like a land slide, experienced jumpers began to embrace the technology. I resisted it until the late nineties. It wasn't wholly based on any "deal" I made in my mind with my students even though, yes, it was there, it was just a big collision between the old ways and the new ways and I was caught in the middle. And a lot of jumpers went through the same dilemma.

Then a few things happened that changed my mind completely. I was lucky in that in many years of jumping and teaching I'd never gotten a scratch on me. And of course I chalked that up to my superior ability. And while I always played it strictly by the book with students in my personal jumping I was up for anything. Night bandit skydives, B.A.S.E. jumps, fun Al Frisbee loads not being totally sober along with everyone else on the load, all that stuff. But then, and all of sudden, I started to get hurt. The first time was on my 80th B.A.S.E. jump when I had a bad opening and broke both my legs. But that I thought was an anomaly as in a lifetime of jumping where some amount of plaster is to be expected. And the year I spent laid up was a relief in a way as I was sure nothing like it would ever happen again.

Then I found myself with a young woman on an AFF jump who went unstable, got below me, and was now spinning badly. I'd learned long ago to avoid getting knocked out you approached these students from above or below and I was dropping down on her back when at about 6000-feet she reached in and pulled her reserve handle. I never forget what rig she was using it was student Racer number nine because the pop top had a big number 9 on it. And just like intentioned with Racers that reserve pilot chute launched like a shot, caught air, and then hit me square in the head. I woke up in a plowed field with my main out and lying next to me. I have no other explanation for what happened except somewhere in the twilight zone of being unconscious I deployed my main pilot chute or it got knocked out somehow. The student, BTW, landed fine.

But still I thought that was just a weird occurrence, part of the game, what you get paid for. Then some months later I experienced what I now call strike three. Another AFF jump with a so far switched on student doing a later level. He'd just finished his planned for tracking, which like most students was a little crooked and wobbly, and I set up in front of him waiting for his wave off and pull. And I didnít give him a check altimeter signal because I saw him dutifully look at it. But instead of waving off he turned 180 degrees and started tracking again. I spent a second thinking, "Were the hell is he going?" And then went after him.

I donít jump snively gear so I donít have an issue taking it down low. And my generation came up believing it was better to go low looking for clean air rather that panic dump in some big RW formation that funneled late and sloppy. But somehow this student pulled a stellar tracking position out of his ass and being he was a smaller and lighter then me the harder I tried to go after him the lower I was getting on him. But I knew by now he didnít have a clue about his altitude. So I got bigger and popped up enough to make a one last ten-man speed star swoop on him and it worked. I got myself into his burble and was falling down onto his back when his AAD fired.

I was about 20-feet above him and I watched his container open and the pilot chute start dancing around on his back. "Holy shit," I thought, "I'm in the kill zone."

I rolled right as hard and fast as I could and avoided his pilot chute and deployment bag but as he got pulled up I knew I was going to hit him. So I stuck my right hand out to protect my myself and some part of his leg hit my hand and shattered it. I managed to still use it to throw out my main. But that was it. I'm ignorant about a lot of things, but I'm not stupid.

And I could read the writing on the wall so I got myself a Cypres. The first few jumps with it were nervous ones. Sitting in the aircraft I could almost swear I was hearing it ticking but that was just my imagination I suppose. Then soon enough I became used to it and now it's not a "thing" anymore.

The first time I heard the Student/Instructor "new" deal was as an evaluator in one of Rick Horn's AFF courses in Monterey, California years ago. Basically he said below the hard deck it was every man for himself. And we then started to teach new Instructors the last ditch move was, "If you pull the student will pull."

And yes, that made sense to me, as long as you were in the student's sight line. But I was having a hard time reconciling what Rick was saying with what I knew. Not all students are this way, but some are. And I've been with enough of them in aircraft who were shaking with fear. They'd cling to my jumpsuit, even after I told them on the ground not to be grabby in the airplane. What made these people jump, I always wondered? That very morning they'd never met any us and now here they were hanging on by the last bit of guts they could muster. The only reason I could come up with is they did it because they trusted me. I can't speak for the rest of you guys, but that's a hard thing to turn you back on.

I can still see both sides of the argument because I lived both sides of it. And even though it's not politically correct to say, I've come to take some amount of comfort from the fact there's an AAD in my reserve container. And yes, anyway you cut it that is being device dependent. And it may not keep me from chasing a student below the hard deck again. But it will give me a boot in the ass before my lights go out . . .

NickD Smile

Was searching the forum and found this gem, bump for a great post!


dthames  (B 37674)

Dec 4, 2012, 10:47 AM
Post #61 of 61 (647 views)
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Re: [BigMark] Not turning on your AAD [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick, Thanks for posting. Great insight.


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