Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
What makes AADs so expensive ?

 

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Southern_Man  (C License)

Mar 19, 2012, 7:32 PM
Post #26 of 62 (1216 views)
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Re: [theonlyski] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

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In reply to:
My Neptune N3 works exactly the same way but only cost me 300$ .. and has a lifetime of.. well.. unlimited! I am sure some tech freak could program a N3 to activate another device in the case of still being in freefall at given altitude... If you ask me charging more than a thousand dollar for an AAD is a complete ripoff but unluckily we don't have any choice... because if you're looking for a fairly reliable AAD there's only 2 products! so no competition = max producer surplus!

We do have a choice, I'm free to jump with any AAD (minus Argus which is banned in my container) that I chose, or none at all. That's a choice. Wink

Also, if the market is really that inefficient there is ample room for somebody else to recognize a market opportunity, develop his own AAD, sell if for considerably less and still reap large profits.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Mar 19, 2012, 7:34 PM
Post #27 of 62 (1215 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
My Neptune N3 works exactly the same way

No it doesn't, not even close.

Look at the failure rates, and the rate of returns for operational issues, and that's where you'll see the differences. I can think of 10 people who have had problems with their Neptunes in the past few years, and about half of that number who have had problems with a Cypres in the last 17 years.

Note- not to disparage Neptunes, they are a fine product and seem to be well made and well within accpeted limits for what they are. I have also heard of great customer service anytime there is a problem.

AADs are not that expensive. Look at the price of other consumer products and there are tons of electronics above the $1500 price point, and every single one of them is made in far greater numbers than the Cypres and by far larger companies than Airtec.

Look at SLR cameras. Cannon makes 2 or 3 models under $1500, and at least that many above that price. They also make 1000's of them per year, and are a huge international corp. Do you think it's crazy that they produce high-end cameras?

When it comes to an electronic device that has a cutter aimed at your reserve closing loop at every phase of the jump, from climbout, to high speed freefly, to busy big ways, do you think it's out of the question to expect a high end device? How would you feel knowing that the guy climing out two group in front of you has an iPhone app hooked up to his reserve closing loop? It wouldn't make me happy to still be in the plane.


AlexDias  (A 61839)

Mar 19, 2012, 7:54 PM
Post #28 of 62 (1207 views)
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Re: [davelepka] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Siri, Can you remind me to open my parachute please?
Laugh

I don't mind paying that much for something that could potentially save your life and that lasts 12-20 years... I'm just positive that it could cost less/have a longer lifespan... I am pretty sure it's not that hard to make it have an unlimited lifespan provided you do some check ups.. Reminds me of the story on light bulbs... at first they always tried to make them last longer.. then they discovered that if it was the case then no one would ever replace them so the market would die.. and now every regular lightbulb has a lifespan of around 1'000 hours or so..


davelepka  (D 21448)

Mar 19, 2012, 8:05 PM
Post #29 of 62 (1203 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Reminds me of the story on light bulbs... at first they always tried to make them last longer.. then they discovered that if it was the case then no one would ever replace them so the market would die.. and now every regular lightbulb has a lifespan of around 1'000 hours or so..

That might be true, but the consequences of having a light bulb in operation beyond it's useful life are quite different than that of an AAD.

Do you disagree with life limits on aircraft components? Aileron control cables, and wing attachment bolts, and the like?

A life limit on an ADD is the same thing, and I certainly want my 'aircraft' (my rig) to be held to the same standards as any other aricraft. I like for the materials used to be tracked from the loom through production, I like for the designs and specs to be certified, and I like them worked on by a certified rigger. Why would I go to the trouble (and cost) of all that only to stuff a piece of 'discount' electronics in the reserve compartment?

The gear, and all the trouble that manufactuers go through to ensure it's reliability, is what makes this sport possible. Jumpers can find a way to kill themselves when wearing eve the best rigs. Imagine if in addition to all the 'user error' related deaths, there were just as many due to gear failure because of 'discount' materials, design, or construction.


Abedy  (D 10153)

Mar 19, 2012, 11:37 PM
Post #30 of 62 (1178 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My Neptune N3 works exactly the same way but only cost me 300$ .. and has a lifetime of.. well.. unlimited! I am sure some tech freak could program a N3 to activate another device in the case of still being in freefall at given altitude...

If it were that easy someone would have already done, huh?
Whatcha think how come that competitors ended up in almost the same price range? Only due to them being greedy?
Building a reliable AAD isn't easy, there are many facts to consider.

If you want something cheap, look for a KAP3.


Larhsw  (D 14462)

Mar 20, 2012, 1:44 AM
Post #31 of 62 (1160 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with a gps is that you need a clear and "unobstructed view" of the satellites or a gps passive antenna/retransmitter mounted inside the airplane in order to keep the gps signals and have a continuously updated position. The longer you travel from the point where your went "dark" to the satellites the longer it will take to get updated and on the grid again. This can take as much as 2 minutes, during which you will be back on the ground after your jump...

Also, with the not-perfect positioning of most civilian gps equipment, I don't think this would be a very good idea...


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Mar 20, 2012, 6:55 AM
Post #32 of 62 (1130 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Siri, Can you remind me to open my parachute please?
Laugh

I don't mind paying that much for something that could potentially save your life and that lasts 12-20 years... I'm just positive that it could cost less/have a longer lifespan... I am pretty sure it's not that hard to make it have an unlimited lifespan provided you do some check ups. Reminds me of the story on light bulbs... at first they always tried to make them last longer.. then they discovered that if it was the case then no one would ever replace them so the market would die.. and now every regular lightbulb has a lifespan of around 1'000 hours or so.. .

Really?

Don't you think that someone would have if they could have? Vigil and Argus both tried, both had lots of issues (CYPRES did in the beginning too).
Vigil has been addressing them, Argus went into denial/silence mode and seems to have mostly abandoned the idea (NOTE: This is a very general/overall comment, I don't want to restart the debate about Argus)

The pyro charge in the cutters has a pretty specific lifespan. After a certain time it becomes unreliable. Not inert, but a small but significant percentage of them fail to fire.

There's no way to test this without firing it.

The circuit boards deteriorate over time. Some of it is testable, some isn't (at least non-destructive testing).

And you can buy "Long Life" incandescent light bulbs. The per hour cost is somewhat lower than regular bulbs, but the initial cost is pretty high, so most idiots don't do the math. I use them in the fixtures that are a bitch to change or ones that are on a lot.


diablopilot  (D License)

Mar 20, 2012, 7:08 AM
Post #33 of 62 (1125 views)
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Re: [feuergnom] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

ETA: this is not meant to be an insult on drew eckhart - more as a general fedup notice to the public coming from a poster whos simply fed up with people arguing about the cost of skydiving equipment and the sport as such. want someting cheap? get a bowling ball

^This.


piisfish

Mar 20, 2012, 7:41 AM
Post #34 of 62 (1112 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Siri, Can you remind me to open my parachute please?
Laugh
o..
some french dude came up with the iCutter App and extenison, all you need is to connect it to your iPhone.

Suck this, Android double cheeseburger with pickles and extra bacon
Attachments: iCutter.JPG (59.9 KB)


Squeak  (E 1313)

Mar 20, 2012, 7:10 PM
Post #35 of 62 (1042 views)
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
The initial development of the Cypres 1 was over one million german marks back in the 80s. I think we can say that today it equals more than a million euro or 1,5 million USD.

Divided by 83,000 units sold (Cypres 1, there are another 70,000 Cypres 2 units out there) that combination of exchange rate and inflation would yield $20/unit development costs.
now incorporate, staff pay, insurance, building costs and upkeep, and insurance, ongoing R&D, marketing including travel to boogies publishing etc.. and many more that I dont know about.
The costs do go up some.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 20, 2012, 8:20 PM
Post #36 of 62 (1023 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I am pretty sure it's not that hard to make...

I'm just positive that it could cost less...


In reply to:


I'll take DeLorean for 300 Alex. Sly


Glandu  (D 26253)

Mar 21, 2012, 8:51 AM
Post #37 of 62 (971 views)
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Re: [virgin-burner] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

What makes Skydiving in general so expensive now ?????????


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Mar 21, 2012, 10:39 AM
Post #38 of 62 (948 views)
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Re: [Glandu] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Glandu,

Quote:
What makes Skydiving in general so expensive now ?????????

IMO it isn't; it was more expensive when I started in '64.

I worked for the US gov't. for over 30 years so I used their pay scales to compare.

In 1964 ( when I started jumping ) a jump to 12,500 ft cost me $5.50. The 1964 pay per hour for a US gov't worker at GS-10 @ Step 10 = $5.16 per hour. He/she had to work 1.06 hours to jump at 12,500 ft.

In 2012 a jump to 13,000 ft will cost ~ $23.00. The pay per hour for the same GS-10 @ Step 10 = $29.75 per hour. He/she has to work 0.77 hours to jump at 13,000 ft.

Just my comparitive thoughts.

JerryBaumchen


Abedy  (D 10153)

Mar 21, 2012, 11:15 AM
Post #39 of 62 (936 views)
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Re: [JerryBaumchen] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In 2012 a jump to 13,000 ft will cost ~ $23.00.

Crazy It's about 29-30 EUR for ~14,000 ft here which is about 38-40 US$.
A pretty good pay-per-hour here (after taxes and social security etc) here is about 12-15 EUR, so we got to work about 2 hours for one ride.

No wonder the number of fun jumps is declining.


f94sbu  (D 16017)

Mar 21, 2012, 1:06 PM
Post #40 of 62 (906 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My Neptune N3 works exactly the same way but only cost me 300$ .. and has a lifetime of.. well.. unlimited! I am sure some tech freak could program a N3 to activate another device in the case of still being in freefall at given altitude... If you ask me charging more than a thousand dollar for an AAD is a complete ripoff but unluckily we don't have any choice... because if you're looking for a fairly reliable AAD there's only 2 products! so no competition = max producer surplus!

How do you guarantee that your N3 has unlimited lifetime? An obvious way you can tell if it isn't working is if the display doesn't match what your eyes tell you. Do you think that it would give you an error code and ask for the unit to be sent in for repair? I guess you are ok with the N3 failing every once in a while because you will manually notice it. However, would you be ok with your AAD randomly failing on you and you have no other way to find out than that you died after a no pull and the AAD had been malfunctioning for some time, but you were not able to notice?
On top of that, how often do you recharge your N3 and how often do you swap the battery in your AAD? Does your N3 have a cutter that is custom made? The list goes on and you seem to have no idea what you are talking about. (FWIW, I work in the electronics manufacturing industry so I have a fair amount of knowledge of electronics etc.)


AlexDias  (A 61839)

Mar 21, 2012, 1:45 PM
Post #41 of 62 (903 views)
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Re: [f94sbu] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Look I understand all of your argument and I'm not trying to prove anything.. It's just a guess here.. but seriously a technology thats 20 years old.. still cost the same price? I call bullshit!

But you know.. maybe I am wrong. And either way it does not matter because AAD are awesome and I'll be more than happy to pay 1'000 for something that might save my life for the next 12-20 years! It's just my personal, not very educated, opinion... but if I look back I remember having a phone that was called the sony Ericsson P800 around 2005 and it was SOO awesome and cost like 800.. now it's just a piece of crap that a wouldn't even buy for 10... so if this applies to practically every new technology.. why shouldn't it apply to AAD? I mean it's just a little computer chip and some wires and a cutter.. Being young and having grown up in this whole tech revolution I don't understand why something that was invented when I was 4 is still top notch technology when I'm 23 when everything else I used to know has just become obsolete like crazy!

Take the time to think about this point of view instead of getting into the details of the products, reliability and blablabla


virgin-burner

Mar 21, 2012, 4:40 PM
Post #42 of 62 (875 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

i find ADD to be awesome!

details are interesting!

look, something shiny!

i want an iphone5!!!


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Mar 21, 2012, 4:55 PM
Post #43 of 62 (871 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

How many phones has Ericsson sold since then?

Along with all the other companies that make them.

I'm going to guess that it's a few more than the <200k CYPRESs that Airtec has sold.

Huge volume and high levels of competition drive technology advances and price reductions.

Once more, it it had been that easy to make one better or cheaper, someone would have done it.


AlexDias  (A 61839)

Mar 21, 2012, 5:29 PM
Post #44 of 62 (861 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think someone would have done it... Cypres has a market share of around 80-90% and it is VERY hard for new entrants in this market because the entrance barrier is so huge and it takes so long to build a reputation.. I don't think if tomorrow someone comes up with an AAD as reliable as cypres but half the price it will sold that good.. because people are too fond of cypres especially in a market where reliability and consumer's satisfaction and trust means everything...
look at vigil.. it entered the market in 2003 and it is still not considered 100% reliable even though it probably is.. (or at least close enough).. and cypres is still dominant..
Not really an incentive to launch a new company in that market.. if you know it's gonna take 10 years until people start trusting your product and buying it...


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Mar 21, 2012, 6:35 PM
Post #45 of 62 (846 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Vigil has taken a decent sized share of the market, given the issues that have come up.

Argus was doing the same until the cutter question came up and their reaction to it was...

Less than ideal.

I don't think there's any serious issues with either of them (except for the Argus cutter) and wouldn't have a problem jumping them (again, if the Argus cutter questions had been addressed).

But neither of them was that much lower in price.

And neither of them has been around long enough to have a real answer to the life limit questions.


sagan  (D 29467)

Mar 21, 2012, 9:16 PM
Post #46 of 62 (823 views)
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Re: [Squeak] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ditto --- all those costs are not small and many of them like insurance are paid up front, sometimes well before you have an actual product that can produce revenue.

If you were sitting there in your lab potentially with employees on the payroll, a building, insurance, etc, etc, and you were just starting out I'd say that you'd more than be entitled to the rewards if it DOES work out. Of course you don't start with all that but with the type of device we are talking about, the control and quality process is expensive no matter how efficient you are on day 1 and even if you can do it cheaply it requires a tremendous amount of discipline (translate not a 9-5 job in terms of hours).

Remember also that by using his own money (a substantial amount) he was risking potentially his career and life savings. I'm not sure how much personal capital he had beyond the investment but when you have that much money, what is the motivation for that person to want to part with it? This is especially true when you get into the sums where it starts equalizing 10-15 years of a "normal" salary. Obviously there's passion that drives someone to want to invest and do this but that only goes so far and for so long.

You would be amazed at the Gross Margins of most consumer products especially retail items like clothing. They have to be massive.

All that said -- What I've found in my business career is that this "discrepancy" which has been pointed out here between unit cost and sometimes even overall cost and revenue is what allows for new companies to come into existence and compete with the big dogs. Have an amazing T Shirt idea and can produce the shirt at roughly the same cost as any major brand and are willing and able to sell the shirt for $10 vs $25 for the big dogs? Yes of course it'll work. Then at some point where that company becomes so large and has other obligations beyond just 100% customer focused, say insurance, people's payrolls, or even complex debt covenants with banks and investors and that same company will quickly find it now needs $15 or even $20 to survive where before $10 was content. Before they know it they are the big dogs.

And with that said I go through business plan after business plan where those basic concepts aren't understood or considered. The math on unit and hard costs is all correct but then the rosy "sales" projections or inability to see that there are setbacks with most new ideas (what happens if the development took 2 years vs 1, what's if the TSO is rejected the first time, etc?) most plans typically fall apart.

To be honest I'm amazed at how many vendors there are in a fairly small community such as skydiving and more so I'm amazed at generally regardless of product or manufacturer how well most things are put together (besides jumpsuits, I really have a bone to pick with jumpsuits Tongue why can't anyone use e-thread!!! Bar tack the sucker if you have to. And how come it seems like out of the 20 jumpsuit orders I've seen go through in the last 3 years regardless of measure and re-measurement on the first try it doesn't fit! grrr Sly)


f94sbu  (D 16017)

Mar 21, 2012, 11:11 PM
Post #47 of 62 (811 views)
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Re: [AlexDias] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

You dont get it. The price of the components were not much higher 20 years ago compared to what they are today, you are not paying for the square inches of silicon.
Besides, that Ericsson P200 still works pretty well but my shiny new smart phone keeps dropping calls and loosing connection to the network. I guess that you just appreciate different things today. But with an AAD, I want exactly the same reliability today as I wanted 20 years ago. _Thats_ what we are paying for and not the components inside.


Waldschrat

Mar 22, 2012, 2:56 AM
Post #48 of 62 (787 views)
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Re: [f94sbu] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/
Attachments: cypres.jpg (72.3 KB)


Premier likestojump  (D License)

Mar 22, 2012, 5:17 AM
Post #49 of 62 (771 views)
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Re: [Waldschrat] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post


But even in the late 90's the Cypers1s sold for $950
I am sure they were even cheaper when they came out in the early 90s. Any of you old timers got an old papyrus invoice to reference that ?


pchapman  (D 1014)

Mar 22, 2012, 5:52 AM
Post #50 of 62 (764 views)
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Re: [likestojump] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some standard prices:
Paragear '93-'94 Cypres 1 = $1225
Paragear '11-'12 Cypres 2 = $1425

Someone wanna run the Cypres 1 through the inflation calculator?


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