Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
AAD Vs. Hooknife

 


Nullified  (C 32259)

Feb 2, 2004, 9:35 PM
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AAD Vs. Hooknife Can't Post

I have no desire to light another fire beneath the dependence on AADs issue, but I read a reply in another thread which bothered me a little.

So that you know where I stand personally on this, I do have an AAD. Sometimes I turn it on, sometimes I don't...sometimes because I forget. It's not a big deal to me.

We all know the, "...It's OK, I have a Cypres..." people, and judging by what I've read on these forums, there isn't an argument between us regarding how we view the people who have that attitude.

But, there are others, others who will not jump without an activated AAD, who's attitude is very different from the, "...It's OK..." people.

I know that this has been done to death, so if you'd like to exit this thread now, my feelings won't be hurt.

The way I look at it is, I won't do CReW without at least one hooknife, and I don't want to fly CReW with someone who doesn't have at least one on their rig.

The argument of experience has nothing to do with it. I don't care if the plan is a new world record, or for me to go do a simple 2-stack at 12K with one of the top CReW Dogs in the land. Hooknives, or no CReW for me.

If you're going to say that it's apples and oranges, don't bother. Yes, using a knife in the case of an emergency would require decisive action on my, or someone else's part, and an AAD requires no direct action in order to be useful. But, the decisions that we make ARE actions, whether proactive, reactive or passive.

In the past, Ron has said something to the effect of, "I won't do any skydive that I wouldn't feel comfortable doing without an AAD."

I truly respect that, and I admire him for that.

But, not everyone's comfort level is the same, and the reasons vary.

Like so many people have said throughout all the many 'skydiving is safe' threads, you can do everything right, and STILL die.

Understanding and accepting the meaning of that reality, why should someone with 50, 500 or 5000 skydives be criticized for refusing to jump without an AAD?

And I'll remind you, I'm not talking about the, "...It's OK..." people. They're in their own category, so PLEASE, leave them out of this thread.

We all make choices, and two people sure as hell can make the exact same choice for two very different reasons.

I guess that's it.

Stay safe,
Mike


Kat1221  (C 3121)

Feb 2, 2004, 9:53 PM
Post #2 of 23 (1334 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you on this - I also have an AAD, but sometimes forget to turn it on. I really couldn't care less if the people I just with have one - I'd rather that they are heads up and aware etc. I think students should have to have one, because of their lack of experience, but any licences jumper should be allowed to make that choice for themselves. I've jumped at DZ's with a policy stating all rigs must have an AAD - not sure the point, because like I said - I have one but I still forget to turn it on sometimes...


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
Moderator
Feb 3, 2004, 12:01 AM
Post #3 of 23 (1302 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I have an AAD, but it's years past it's 8 year check and I don't care. It's not what opens my canopy. I do that. If I can't, and it doesn't - that's OK.

Now to hook knives. I'd rather do 1000 AAD'less skydives with a lunatic trying to kill me, than a single CRW dive without a knife.

A knife is a simple tool. If you've ever been in a bad wrap, you're blind, can't read alti, trying to breathe through ZP, and been thinking "Fuck... fuck... knife... got it.. fuck.." you'll know how absolutely fucked you'd be without it.

I'd go so far as to say that in life - if I were to choose only one tool to survive - it would be a knife.

t


Nullified  (C 32259)

Feb 3, 2004, 12:58 AM
Post #4 of 23 (1290 views)
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Re: [Tonto] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with everything you're saying, 100%.
I have yet to be in a situation where I need to use my knife, and most of the CReW Dogs I know and have spoken with haven't had to use them, and probably never will. It's there for that rare freak occasion when you least expect to need it, but need it most, and I'll be damned if that one jump happens to be the one jump when I said, "Oh, I don't need to run back to the picnic table for my knife".
Regarding AADs, I can take or leave 'em, but for those who insist upon wearing them themselves, I don't see why they should be criticized any more than you or I should be for insisting upon knives.

For some idiots, yes, AADs are all about complacency. For others, they're about safety. There is a difference, and the difference should be recognized.

Stay safe,
Mike
Quote:
I have an AAD, but it's years past it's 8 year check and I don't care. It's not what opens my canopy. I do that. If I can't, and it doesn't - that's OK.

Now to hook knives. I'd rather do 1000 AAD'less skydives with a lunatic trying to kill me, than a single CRW dive without a knife.

A knife is a simple tool. If you've ever been in a bad wrap, you're blind, can't read alti, trying to breathe through ZP, and been thinking "Fuck... fuck... knife... got it.. fuck.." you'll know how absolutely fucked you'd be without it.

I'd go so far as to say that in life - if I were to choose only one tool to survive - it would be a knife.

t
D515


winsor  (D 13715)

Feb 3, 2004, 1:12 AM
Post #5 of 23 (1284 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I have like 3 or 4 CYPRESes and 20 some-odd rigs. Actually, two CYPRESes aren't even installed at the moment.

Which rig I use is entirely independent of whether it's AAD equipped; if it's there, nice, I'll turn it on, if it isn't, too bad.

I have at least one hook knife and usually two on every sport rig. I avoid the cheapo Zak type, and go for a Jack the Ripper at a minimum.

I had one jump where I really needed a hook knife and didn't have one (NOT CRW), and very nearly died. It made a believer out of me.

The AAD is a nice touch, but a hook knife is a fundamental tool.

As far as CRW goes, there's no way I will do CRW with someone who doesn't have a hook knife. If you're in a wrap with nothing but teeth and fingernails, you have a real problem on your hands.

This is not like whether I'd jump with someone who's AAD-dependent. In a wrap, my life may be dependent on the actions of the other person.

As an aside, on the ride to altitude at the Convention, I overheard a couple of low timers planning to do some CRW after opening. Since only one of them had a hook knife, I had the other guy put on my spare Jack knife, and he was on his way to buy one when he returned it after the jump (it was uneventful).


Blue skies,

Winsor


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Feb 3, 2004, 1:45 AM
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the best example of the person you are describing is (I think) Skymama. I remember one of her posts that she will not jump without an AAD becuase of her daughter. She is already maxing out the 'risk' that she is willing to put her family to by jumping. Removing the AAD just tips the scales.

Skymama is not someone who belives "its ok I have an AAD". She knows that it only saves your life in a small number of situations, but she has made her decision, based on her family life, that she is unwilling to accept the risk of those small number of situations.

Why would anyone want to criticise her for those decisions. They are hers, hers alone, and who are we to judge.

I think the important factor is not the decision the person comes to, but the information on which they base their decision. I am confident that Skymama has based her decision on all the right information. I would bet money that the average newbie who says "its ok" has only examined a fraction of the data and doesnt understand much of that. How could anyone be comfortable with a decision reached on only part of the available data?

(all my wording paraphrasing what I remember her posting some time ago).


nbblood  (D 26355)

Feb 3, 2004, 3:41 AM
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Re: [mr2mk1g] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Skymama is not someone who belives "its ok I have an AAD". She knows that it only saves your life in a small number of situations, but she has made her decision, based on her family life, that she is unwilling to accept the risk of those small number of situations.

If I read this right, I don't think this is the criticism. Rather I think the criticism is for the folks that think, "Because I have an AAD, I can do anything in the sky I can think of, regardless of risk, because if I fail, the AAD will save me." This is the mentality I believe is criticized, and in my opinion, rightly so. I have Cypreses in my rigs and always use them and turn them on. However, if my Cypres were turned in for maintenance, I would go ahead and jump the rig anyway. Also, if my AAD ever fired because of my failure to take appropriate action, I would seriously reconsider my ability to continue in the sport. It is merely an insurance policy and should make no difference in my actions and is not an excuse for my actions. Just my .02.

Blues.
Nathan


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Feb 3, 2004, 3:53 AM
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Re: [nbblood] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I think thats what Nullified is saying. Within the class of people who say "I will never jump without an AAD" there are two subclasses.

Subclass A says - "I can do anything cos my AAD will save me. To that end I will never jump without an AAD".

Subclass B says - "I recognise an AAD only gives insurance in certain situations but for various reasons I am unwilling to accept the risk of posed by those situations".

Subclass A is dangerous as they do not appreciate the risks they take and inflict upon others. We should question their decisions and try to make them re-think.

Subclass B is not - they have identified the risks, assessed them and decided which they are willing to take. We should not berrate them.

The problem Nullified correctly identifies is that people are too quick to identify someone as bing in the overall class of someone who will not jump without an AAD without considering the subclass they to which belong. Without that second consideration, they question the safety of both classes of people, and in the case of people in class B, wrongly so.


(This post was edited by mr2mk1g on Feb 3, 2004, 3:55 AM)


pkasdorf  (D 40)

Feb 3, 2004, 4:39 AM
Post #9 of 23 (1220 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm one of those who would not jump without an AAD. Not jumping with a fully functional AAD is simply increasing the risk one takes by skydiving. This is absolutely non-controversial.

What is controversial is if everybody should jump with one and if it should be mandatory. I think it should but I accept the "freedom to choose" argument, particularly because in not having an AAD you do not put others in danger.

Concerning the hook knife for CRW, please correct me if I am wrong since I do not do CRW: Can you get into a situation where you get entangled with a partner and a hook knife could help liberating both?

If it is so it should be mandatory because you may be affecting others than yourself.


btucker  (E 1974)

Feb 3, 2004, 4:49 AM
Post #10 of 23 (1215 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice post Mike, I'm glad I read it. I cycle between hating AAD's (getting service bill) then loving them (seeing a save). I think you attitude is a good and realistic one.

I would make the point, even with an AAD installed in a rig, it isn't available all of the time. There are those maintenance issues. A CYPRES service can easily be 10 weeks here. Do you stop jumping? Last season I had a blast filling in on a four way team on a weekend away - someone's AAD had a flat battery. We still jumped, it wasn't a drama at all.

Personally, I prefer to do most of my jumps with an AAD numbers game. Naturally when I did get a knock on the head, it was the rig without the AAD. I can't always jump with a working AAD and that's that. The last CYPRES I bought was so I can sell my rig! In Oz you need an D or even E license to jump without AAD + very fashionable wanted item. Yes, I'll leave the knife on it too, no rig complete without.

BTW With regard to overdue CYPRES service: It is interesting to note that there was a CYPRES fire on the ground due to [radar] EMI on the 372 attempt, on a older unit http://www.theworldteam.com/news/0201.htm. Possibly, having regular four year service would reduce frequency of such incidents. i.e. Gain improvements in EMI hardening (if any) and check shielding etc... Side issue in anycase.

Perhaps EMI is yet another reason a jumper may have to turn off their AAD. Landing at another elevation is another one, I'd be sure to stuff it up!

There is a great video of BASE jumper cutting a lineover ftp://ftp.jaffie.com/Public/BASE - see the file LineOverRT.mov. Want that knife now?


Blue Benno


Synapse  (D 30163)

Feb 3, 2004, 6:24 AM
Post #11 of 23 (1180 views)
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Re: [winsor] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have at least one hook knife and usually two on every sport rig. I avoid the cheapo Zak type, and go for a Jack the Ripper at a minimum.

So would you recommend the Jack The Ripper knife or is there another brand that you prefer since you said you would go for a JTR at a minimum? I'm asking because I'm fresh out of AFF and looking to get a hook knife for my first rig.

Speaking of AFF, why don't instructors discuss the use of hook knives during AFF training?

-syn


chuckbrown  (D 19538)

Feb 3, 2004, 6:38 AM
Post #12 of 23 (1165 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't jump with an AAD, but can appreciate the benefits they provide. The mandatory use of an AAD would upset me though.

As for hookknives, I've always carried one for CRW as a rule, but didn't carry one on RW jumps until I saw somebody die when his cut-away main's bridle tangled around his legs and deployed reserve; a hookknife would have drastically increased his chance to clear the entanglement by cutting the bridle away from the rest of the main. An old rigger once asked "what are you going to do if you get a line-over on a reserve and can't clear it? with a hookknive you can cut the brake lines and land with risers"

A hookknife can save your life, even if you're not doing CRW.


winsor  (D 13715)

Feb 3, 2004, 8:59 AM
Post #13 of 23 (1112 views)
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Re: [Synapse] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I have at least one hook knife and usually two on every sport rig. I avoid the cheapo Zak type, and go for a Jack the Ripper at a minimum.

So would you recommend the Jack The Ripper knife or is there another brand that you prefer since you said you would go for a JTR at a minimum? I'm asking because I'm fresh out of AFF and looking to get a hook knife for my first rig.

Speaking of AFF, why don't instructors discuss the use of hook knives during AFF training?

-syn

The Jack knife is fantastic for cutting through anything short of cable. Its only down sides are that it can hang up in the sheath if the sheath is not sewn to something like a jumpsuit, and it can break. The breaking part is not during use, like with a Zak knife, but if in a gear bag being tossed around by bag handlers, for example. I have one that's in two pieces from trauma during shipment.

The shorter aluminum knives are way durable and easy to deploy. I'll probably wind up with one of the aluminum Jack clones, since I really like the double blade setup.

FWIW, a Zak knife is better than nothing. Often it is one line that is hanging things up, and a Zak knife will usually do just fine for that. It's usually when you have to cut a lot of microline that a Zak gets dull enough to require enough force to break it.

Thus, I have a few Zak knives on hand, but use them as primary or secondary backups. If you have nothing and see a Zak for sale, buy it - it's much better than nothing.

As far as AFF goes, my opinion means nothing. When I started jumping there was no such thing, and I have never seen fit to get an instructor's rating.


Blue skies,

Winsor


Falko  (D 10613)

Feb 3, 2004, 11:47 AM
Post #14 of 23 (1070 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
For some idiots, yes, AADs are all about complacency. For others, they're about safety. There is a difference, and the difference should be recognized.

Well said, I agree.
As for me, I wouldn't jump without a Cypres. (Needless to say I belong to Matthews "subclass B".)
I'd even go as far as to say I wouldn't jump with someone who doesn't have their AAD turned on.
But for rather selfish reasons:

1) Shit happens. If I accidentally knock them out (not necessarily my fault or bad move), and they go in, I'm bound for a padded cell. Frown
2) Even if I had nothing to do with them becoming incapable to pull, and I'd fail to reach them and deploy for them, I'd feel guilty for the rest of my life.

I know people will disagree with me. Cool


gerryfuss  (A 10270)

Feb 3, 2004, 12:34 PM
Post #15 of 23 (1051 views)
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Re: [winsor] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I had one jump where I really needed a hook knife and didn't have one (NOT CRW), and very nearly died. It made a believer out of me.

Just curious if you would care to share that story.


Nullified  (C 32259)

Feb 3, 2004, 8:44 PM
Post #16 of 23 (970 views)
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Re: [pkasdorf] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Concerning the hook knife for CRW, please correct me if I am wrong since I do not do CRW: Can you get into a situation where you get entangled with a partner and a hook knife could help liberating both?
The short answer is, YES! Considering that CReW involves inserting yourself into another's lines and / or risers, when things go wrong, a hook knife can be a life saver.
And, as someone else pointed out, you don't need to be doing CReW in order to find yourself in a situation where a knife can be a life saver.

Stay safe,
Mike


Nullified  (C 32259)

Feb 3, 2004, 8:52 PM
Post #17 of 23 (967 views)
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Re: [Synapse] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Speaking of AFF, why don't instructors discuss the use of hook knives during AFF training?
In reply to:
They may feel that an AFF student is already dealing with enough new knowledge, without having to discuss hook knives as well.
Or, maybe they don't want to risk a student hacking away at a 360 degree line twist at 4000'!

I don't really know.

Maybe not in the beginning, but at some point during student training, hook knives should be covered. In my opinion, anyway.

Stay safe,
Mike


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
Moderator
Feb 3, 2004, 11:43 PM
Post #18 of 23 (947 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Speaking of AFF, why don't instructors discuss the use of hook knives during AFF training?
In reply to:
They may feel that an AFF student is already dealing with enough new knowledge, without having to discuss hook knives as well.

That's my reason.

I usually introduce the hook knife concept when the AFF student graduates to single instructor levels, or if they ask prior to that. We still do some Static Line at our DZ - so it's easy to explain how a knife could be useful in that senario. Being tool users, we usually figure it out from there.

I always have a knife on my rig. (Thanks for the option, Mirage!)

I wear 2 when I do CRW. That one instance when I needed it, was the only occurence in 600+ hard core rotation dives, 11 wraps, 6 entanglements and 6 chops and subsequent reserve rides.

In any situation an edge is required, something is better than nothing. Even the plastic Zak knives - as Winsor says, are better than nothing.

t


pkasdorf  (D 40)

Feb 4, 2004, 3:11 AM
Post #19 of 23 (925 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Concerning the hook knife for CRW, please correct me if I am wrong since I do not do CRW: Can you get into a situation where you get entangled with a partner and a hook knife could help liberating both?
The short answer is, YES! Considering that CReW involves inserting yourself into another's lines and / or risers, when things go wrong, a hook knife can be a life saver.
And, as someone else pointed out, you don't need to be doing CReW in order to find yourself in a situation where a knife can be a life saver.

Stay safe,
Mike
Thank you!

"If it is so it should be mandatory because you may be affecting others than yourself."

I suppose you agree with that...


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Feb 4, 2004, 3:16 AM
Post #20 of 23 (923 views)
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Re: [pkasdorf] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Thats one of the reasons it IS mandatory in the UK to carry a hook knife on ALL jumps - unintentional CRW.


winsor  (D 13715)

Feb 4, 2004, 3:19 AM
Post #21 of 23 (923 views)
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Re: [gerryfuss] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
I had one jump where I really needed a hook knife and didn't have one (NOT CRW), and very nearly died. It made a believer out of me.

Just curious if you would care to share that story.

I had lost my Zak knife on the previous dive, and the only replacements had the wrong size snap for my pouch (small instead of large or vice-versa). I decided to put off replacing it, since the chance I would really need it was pretty slim.

While finishing stowing my lines, I realized that my rig was canted so that the risers were uneven. I straightened the rig, unbagged the canopy, gave the cocoon a shake to straighten things out, rebagged it and finished packing. I said "it'll probably work" when I did so.

After lurking a two-way while practicing shooting camera on my back, I turned and deployed. The opening was strange, and the parachute was flying in a shuddering turn. Looking up, I saw that the left side was kind of wadded up from a lineover.

Figuring I should attempt to clear it before chopping, I grabbed the brakes, buried them and let off briskly. The left side went slack then tightened up abruptly, throwing a half hitch around my left hand and altimeter.

I tried to clear the line, but by now I was on my back spinning wildly. Concluding that I wasn't going to outdo 1,000# line by brute force anytime soon, I decided to go to plan B.

The dilemma I faced was that if I cut away I would still be dragging the main behind me. I also risked snipping off some fingers by being hung from the line for any time before going to reserve (I suffered nerve damage in my ring finger that took 6 or 7 years to recover).

Thus, I grabbed both handles and effected a gunslinger cutaway. On the video the reserve pilot chute and D-bag are seen spiraling past the trash with scant inches of clearance.

I wound up under reserve with like 4 line twists (I had been really spinning), with the hung up steering line dialed into the reserve suspension lines.

I kicked out of the line twists and focused on getting to the ground alive. I figured if I gave any thought to the line around my hand, I could get unencumbered too late to effect a survivable landing.

The good part of the deal was that I didn't have to look for my main. The bad part was that dragging the main behind me made flaring the reserve impossible, so I arrived like a ton of bricks, spraining three toes.

Luckily, I had another rig so I wasn't grounded for the rest of the weekend.

In any event, I keep hook knives available no matter what I'm jumping. The tuition on that lesson could have been a lot higher.

Hey, I'd rather be lucky than good.


Blue skies,

Winsor


(This post was edited by winsor on Feb 4, 2004, 3:22 AM)


selbbub78  (C 34824)

Feb 4, 2004, 9:19 AM
Post #22 of 23 (882 views)
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Re: [Nullified] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

Maybe not in the beginning, but at some point during student training, hook knives should be covered. In my opinion, anyway.

Stay safe,
Mike

I agree. I wish i knew the importance of hook knives when i was still on student status. At least there were people around who told me early on that I should get one, and even explain to me why, and what they were used for. Although, I don't know anyone who has needed one, at least i'll have one when I need it.


Nullified  (C 32259)

Feb 4, 2004, 10:25 AM
Post #23 of 23 (868 views)
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Re: [mr2mk1g] AAD Vs. Hooknife [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Thats one of the reasons it IS mandatory in the UK to carry a hook knife on ALL jumps - unintentional CRW.
In reply to:
Not only that, but equipment has been known to snag on exit, seatbelts have been known to grab an ankle on exit, and pins have been know to pop out before exit.
Consider all the possible scenarios. They've all happened.
Hook knives are unobtrusive and fairly inexpensive. Everyone should have at least one on their rig.

Stay safe,
Mike



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