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What makes AADs so expensive ?

 

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J0nathan  (A License)

Mar 18, 2012, 9:33 AM
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What makes AADs so expensive ? Can't Post

hi
i was wondering recently why aads are so expensive...if you look for example into a vigil 2 aad there are 2 batteries a few chips, cables and a bit of rubber making it water proof. i know that adds have to work very good in order to be reliable and save someones life and also that the companys have to have a high price since there are not that many people who buy skydiving gear compared to other sports. also they have a long life so per skydiver about 1 is bought every 12-20 years (not counting those who dont use one). is that the reason that makes them expensive or is there something else (e.g in the production) which makes them expensive?

blue skies


(This post was edited by J0nathan on Mar 18, 2012, 9:35 AM)


sundevil777  (D License)

Mar 18, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

The production/mfg costs are probably not what causes such a high price.

The costs associated with initial development and testing of the design have to be spread out over the units sold. The costs associated with making tooling for any parts (castings, electronic boards, etc.) have to be spread out over the units sold.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Mar 18, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Re: [sundevil777] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The production/mfg costs are probably not what causes such a high price.

The costs associated with initial development and testing of the design have to be spread out over the units sold. The costs associated with making tooling for any parts (castings, electronic boards, etc.) have to be spread out over the units sold.

Exactly. It's a small niche market, with high demand within the niche, virtually no demand outside the niche, low overall supply and very little competition.


darkwing  (D 4164)

Mar 18, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

And lawsuits.


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Mar 18, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
hi
i was wondering recently why aads are so expensive...

Because

1) The market is willing to pay that much for them. In a sport which costs $5000 a year $125 on AAD life isn't much.

2) A lower price limit is set by R&D and fully burdened costs of employees needed to design, build, maintain, and market an AAD which are divided over a rather small number of units sold.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Mar 18, 2012, 11:19 AM)


virgin-burner

Mar 18, 2012, 11:48 AM
Post #6 of 62 (2723 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

why are parachutes so expensive!? they're just a bunch of rags and lines sewn together..

why are rigs so expensive!? bit of material here and there, couple grommets, bit of steel-tubing..

Crazy


feuergnom  (D License)

Mar 18, 2012, 11:57 AM
Post #7 of 62 (2718 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

ok, i'll give it a shot:

last summer i had the opportunity not only to meet helmut cloth (the inventor of the cypres-unit) bit to have some very in depth talks with him and the chance to take part in one of his presentations of the cypres.

to state that it's just another electronic gizmo with some circuits and wiring falls short of what it really is: its a highly sophisticated piece of electronics where each and every component has undergone extensive testing and quality control during assembly - either in part or the whole.

as helmut cloth told it, no other electronics manufacturer (he dropped some big brand names) wanted to go trough the adventure of manufacturing it - so he had to invent the whole production / quality control process.

if you search the forums you'll probably find a thread about dissassembling old cypres units (cypres 1 that would be) and what you find in them, iirc with pics. so try to imagine what it takes to put it together in the first place and seal it off with silicone....
assembling cypres units is still done by hand and - again iirc - it takes a week do finish one unit.
even if I have no similar stories from the other aad-brands you can be sure there are a lot of factors that add to the cost - which is why I find the point of "marketing-issues" a bit retarded.

one more thing to think about: a cypres will last 12 years - if you divide the original cost to the amount of time it will serve you, there's loads of more expensive (and many times pretty useless) skydiving paraphernalia around Smile


diablopilot  (D License)

Mar 18, 2012, 5:17 PM
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Funny thing is they've been about the same price for 10 years or so.

Since it's a product of limited demand, and the liability exposure is only growing minute by minute I think that's pretty amazing.


Skybear

Mar 19, 2012, 9:44 AM
Post #9 of 62 (2378 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

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. And then it didn't stop. Continous research is done to evaluate the lifetime limits, the usefulness in new disciplines (swooping, birdman), new hardware (waterproof cases) and so on. Plus what feuergnom already wrote.

My C2 is the piece of electronics in my household which is developed and tested to the highest standards. Neither my Audi S5 or my Canon 70-200 2,8 IS II lens can compete with its standard. Just to mention two really expensive things and not all the fancy stuff from Apple.


piisfish

Mar 19, 2012, 9:51 AM
Post #10 of 62 (2374 views)
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Re: [Skybear] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

plus the manufacturers are greedy and need to feed their lust for big cars, fast girls and hot drugs, and the also give a huge commission to resellers.
Actually the cost of an AAD is around 12$ but with the price you pay them, lots of people can throw a hell of a party Smile


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Mar 19, 2012, 9:57 AM
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Re: [Skybear] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

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.


feuergnom  (D License)

Mar 19, 2012, 10:29 AM
Post #12 of 62 (2339 views)
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I knew someone clever would come up and do this sort of math (insert emoticon of your choice)
since the biggest part of the skydiving community lives in the U.S. aka the home of capitalism and neocons I'll just say: suck it up, cupcakes. who said that businessmen don't have every right in the world to make big big dollars?

on a quick sidenote: IIRC helmut cloth originaly wanted a partner but was turned down by many big companies - so he dished out all the dough out of his own pocket - which by the time being the eighties of the last century was a shitload of money.
so stop bitching about the cost for an electronic backup device that not only has saved many dumbasses lives but might be doing the exact same thing for your sorry bum Unimpressed

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 post was edited by feuergnom on Mar 19, 2012, 10:32 AM)


Abedy  (D 10153)

Mar 19, 2012, 10:51 AM
Post #13 of 62 (2321 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
...and a bit of rubber making it water proof...

I picked just this one, because it shows that it's not only "a bit of rubber". If you want to make the unit waterproof you could seal it with rubber/silicone or something but then it wouldn't work any more: It would be airtight, too. So they looked for material that allows for airflow but prevents water from getting in. After very thorough research they finally found a supplier but it turned out even their material had to be individually, manually checked with about 50% of the parts not meeting the high standards.
Airtec is a manufacture, every employee checks the unit he gets thoroughly and completely, then adds his part(s) and so on - followed by several final checks.
If you every have the opportunity to be near them ask for tour. Should be possible if you are with some fellow skydivers. You'll be impressed!


J0nathan  (A License)

Mar 19, 2012, 12:11 PM
Post #14 of 62 (2280 views)
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Re: [Abedy] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

if i get the chance i will certainly ask for a tour Smile

btw, just a random side thought about the air having to be able to get inside...

couldnt you make the aad unit work with GPS ? so that it tracks altitude via gps. wou wouldnt have to adjust altitude if landing zone is higher etc if the device had a rough altitude for the ground level.

edit: i just checked, the altitude accuracy for gps is +/- 15 m which seems ok. so as long as there is a way to ensure constant satelite connection that would work.


(This post was edited by J0nathan on Mar 19, 2012, 12:15 PM)


Skybear

Mar 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
Post #15 of 62 (2253 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
if i get the chance i will certainly ask for a tour Smile

so as long as there is a way to ensure constant satelite connection that would work.

The tour is really excellent. Do it!

About GPS: You can take the chance to talk to Helmut about this on the tour. They thought about it already years ago, but there were numerous problems with GPS that can't be solved in a satisfactory manner for different reasons. It is too much to write it down here and I am not an expert for this. But you will see that Helmut is one of the smartest persons ever who designed skydiving gear. The way he thinks and approaches problems is really inspiring. His philosophy is: "If it is not 100% perfect it is not good enough."


J0nathan  (A License)

Mar 19, 2012, 12:43 PM
Post #16 of 62 (2247 views)
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Re: [Skybear] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

anyone got a video series explaining how aad s work bit by bit in detail ?


ShcShc11  (A 15638)

Mar 19, 2012, 2:15 PM
Post #17 of 62 (2184 views)
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Re: [feuergnom] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I knew someone clever would come up and do this sort of math (insert emoticon of your choice)
since the biggest part of the skydiving community lives in the U.S. aka the home of capitalism and neocons I'll just say: suck it up, cupcakes. who said that businessmen don't have every right in the world to make big big dollars?

on a quick sidenote: IIRC helmut cloth originaly wanted a partner but was turned down by many big companies - so he dished out all the dough out of his own pocket - which by the time being the eighties of the last century was a shitload of money.
so stop bitching about the cost for an electronic backup device that not only has saved many dumbasses lives but might be doing the exact same thing for your sorry bum Unimpressed

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

Lol. I think Mr. Cloth definitely earned the right and it is saving lives and helping newer jumpers get over their psychological hump.

Its still worth discussing about the overall cost.


feuergnom  (D License)

Mar 19, 2012, 3:01 PM
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

guess I'm in the mood for telling stories - so here we go (and if I make a mistake there will be someone around here to correct me for sure)

basically an AAD measures changes in airpressure and through a sophisticated algorith aka clever programming tells the unit at which speed you are falling and at which altitude you are - so far so simple and yet so hard to do accuratly. if you do a search in the forums you will find lots of very clever arguements and discussions (some pretty stupid ones also) circling around the slight inaccuracies that are connected to slight variations in pressure around a moving object in airspace - read the effects of the burble.
so in other words: while on the ground the AAD calibrates itself to the local airpressure. as soon as you start you way to alti it logs the changes again and arms itself at a given alti (well at least this is what a cypres does)
once a skydiver has reached his final destination (aka jumprun) one could say that it switches to alarm mode - the ground is approaching. given that you pull in time and there is no more rapid acceleration after deployment, it goes to sleep again.
if you don't pull in time and fall trough a predetermined height with a predetermined speed it will give a signal to the cutter to do it's job. and all this is done in real time - pretty impressive, isn't it?

don't know if there is an in depth vid about all this out there, but if you take a look at cypres' webpage you might find some more answers Smile

ps: its always good to know as much as possible about your gear Cool


piisfish

Mar 19, 2012, 4:01 PM
Post #19 of 62 (2108 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Jonathan i guess you were not jumping when the US military went to war in IrakTongueDon't trust a GPS for Precision. Unless a couple of km off wouldn't change the issue


virgin-burner

Mar 19, 2012, 4:03 PM
Post #20 of 62 (2106 views)
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Re: [feuergnom] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

apparently, people have no problems spending 600$ on a friggin' phone that MAYBE last them two years, but they have a problem spending 1200$ for a device that last them 12yrs to save their lives; says a lot about people, doesnt it!?

Crazy


ShcShc11  (A 15638)

Mar 19, 2012, 5:05 PM
Post #21 of 62 (2067 views)
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Re: [virgin-burner] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
apparently, people have no problems spending 600$ on a friggin' phone that MAYBE last them two years, but they have a problem spending 1200$ for a device that last them 12yrs to save their lives; says a lot about people, doesnt it!?

Crazy

People can go for the 400$ Argus Wink


virgin-burner

Mar 19, 2012, 5:40 PM
Post #22 of 62 (2047 views)
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Re: [ShcShc11] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
apparently, people have no problems spending 600$ on a friggin' phone that MAYBE last them two years, but they have a problem spending 1200$ for a device that last them 12yrs to save their lives; says a lot about people, doesnt it!?

Crazy

People can go for the 400$ Argus Wink

which will be obsolete in what, one year!? Wink


theonlyski  (D License)

Mar 19, 2012, 6:47 PM
Post #23 of 62 (2023 views)
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Re: [J0nathan] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
anyone got a video series explaining how aad s work bit by bit in detail ?

http://skydiveschool.org/#/container/ Click on AAD.


AlexDias  (A 61839)

Mar 19, 2012, 7:22 PM
Post #24 of 62 (2012 views)
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Re: [theonlyski] What makes AADs so expensive ? [In reply to] Can't Post

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!


theonlyski  (D License)

Mar 19, 2012, 7:24 PM
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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!

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


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