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lyosha

VIGIL student mode for wingsuitting?

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Hi!

In a recent wingsuitting fatality the max descent rate of an unconscious individual in an X-something from Tonysuits has been demonstrated to be 50 mph. This makes it seem like an AAD is more or less useless (hit or miss at best) in expert mode when used in conjunction with a wingsuit.

Just to paint an even a picture - once your body slows down to 50 mph in vacum with zero air resistance it will take it over a second to accelerate back to firing speed for AADs. Factor in the air resistance that your sleeping bag of death provides, and you're gonna have a bad day.

Now, I know Cypres is a dead fish. The student version has an activation speed of 29 mph. But a Vigil II has an activation speed of 45 mph, which is much more applicable to modern canopies.

In addition, the student mode has a raised activation altitude which is also applicable to the increased burble altitude disparity that AADs likely suffer from when used in conjunction with wingsuits.

Discuss.

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Airtec has fixed it so that the activation altitude can be changed. They could change the speed so that it could be adjusted too, if they wanted to. I wonder if anyone has approached them with this question.

I have been concerned about this very thing as well.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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piisfish

If you want to change to student AAD, make sure your canopy will not fire it either.
Change to student loading and adopt student flying. No fast and low turning.



This is a given. But 45 mph for a Vigil is a lot more forgiving than 29 mph on a cypres. In the only other thread I found on this topic (about cypres specifically), an individual said the top vertical speed he could attain on a 1.3 loaded sabre2 was 45 mph. And a Sabre2 loaded at 1.3 is more aggressive than most wingsuitters I know personally fly.

A follow up question would be - if you fly big suits in a skydiving environment, does a large main (possibly dedicated low bulk main i.e. squirrel epicene) become a necessity for your AAD to be effective?

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lyosha


This is a given. But 45 mph for a Vigil is a lot more forgiving than 29 mph on a cypres. In the only other thread I found on this topic (about cypres specifically), an individual said the top vertical speed he could attain on a 1.3 loaded sabre2 was 45 mph. And a Sabre2 loaded at 1.3 is more aggressive than most wingsuitters I know personally fly.

A follow up question would be - if you fly big suits in a skydiving environment, does a large main (possibly dedicated low bulk main i.e. squirrel epicene) become a necessity for your AAD to be effective?



I have to admit that this fatality made me think about firing parameters as well. I have a Cypres II but seems like it's very possible it would not fire if i were unconscious. But I can't think of a mode that would be ideal. I fly Sabre2 135, loading at around 1.5 so would likely need to get a bigger canopy, but with my smaller rig, that would mean low bulk BASE canopy. Which is ok, but I don't need to spend 2K on that (or more on a new container).
I thought it would be nice to maybe have AAD disarm after it detected opening event so then it could be set for something slow, even like 29mph, but wouldn't fire after one opens. The problem would be that I'm sure there would be people fooling the device that they opened. I don't even fly a mattress but I've managed to trigger my altis to record opening on the flare from a dive... I wonder what will the solution (if it's even a problem to begin with) be to the wingsuit scenario (if any).

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michalm21

So you took the time to google and attached a 'citation needed' picture but you couldn't go over to the incident forum and go check it yourself?
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=4728872#4728872



Yup. My priorities are way out of whack.

But thanks for the link. Wow. 50mph is really slow for an unconscious body in free-fall, and I just didn't think that was possible.

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lyosha

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so would likely need to get a bigger canopy



... or not make aggressive turns. I'm actually curious, at 1.5 what is your highest rate of descent for a max input toggle spiral?



I'll let you know when I get my flysight. I do like to swoop, so not making aggressive turns would take away the fun from my landings ;)

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dthames

Airtec has fixed it so that the activation altitude can be changed. They could change the speed so that it could be adjusted too, if they wanted to. I wonder if anyone has approached them with this question.

I have been concerned about this very thing as well.



I contacted Airtec with the question regarding a possible future variable that would allow some other options in the activation speed.

Airtec has acknowledged my question and said they would get me an answer.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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lyosha

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so would likely need to get a bigger canopy



... or not make aggressive turns. I'm actually curious, at 1.5 what is your highest rate of descent for a max input toggle spiral?



Ok, got my flysight. So far only 3 jumps on sabre2 135, loaded 1.5. I did not try toggle whipping as I didn't remember your question precisely, but my 150ish degree swoop from 420ft ended up with just over 45.2mph on the vertical speed according to flysight.
[inline sa2-135.png]

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dthames

***Airtec has fixed it so that the activation altitude can be changed. They could change the speed so that it could be adjusted too, if they wanted to. I wonder if anyone has approached them with this question.

I have been concerned about this very thing as well.



I contacted Airtec with the question regarding a possible future variable that would allow some other options in the activation speed.

Airtec has acknowledged my question and said they would get me an answer.

Airtec did reply. To summarize what they said, this is an ongoing topic as they continually review their product offerings/features. There was no indication of a pending change that would allow additional modes or vertical trigger speed settings.

I think the "two out" concern from someone exceeding the vertical speed under canopy is at least one reason they have not offered lower trigger speeds (other than Student mode)
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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There has been lots of talk about raising activation ceilings (which you can do yourself by adjusting the altitude offset; not sure what the verdict on that is) and having variable vertical speed activations as well as the ability to disable the AAD after opening (mostly for swoopers).

The skydiving environment is becoming much more dynamic and finding good solid solutions takes time, especially because someone might make a WS, Freefly, and RW jump on the same gear in the same day. Not to mention the burble effect on the AAD under different conditions.

Ultimately it is a question of probability, are you more likely to need your AAD while unconscious and spinning at 50 mph vertical speed (I was surprised to see that too) or are you more likely to accidentally fire it while under canopy on a student setting, etc etc? The hypotheticals are endless.

The flare power of big suits is a problem for automatic deactivation because you can achieve 0 mph vertical speed in flight (even sustained flight in the 20-30mph range is within many pilot's reach), simulating a deployment. I've even had altimeters (set to slow flight) not register a jump at all with "deployment" occurring immediately after exit.

Perhaps more advanced AAD's with GPS or accelerometer sampling taken into account and more complicated algorithms to "predict" activation are the answer. But that also makes accidental firing more likely and increases the complexity of the firing window that the jumper has to be aware of in flight, not to mention a lot more battery drain. If you have highly specialized operating parameters then you are certainly going to have accidental firings, or non-firings occur because "the AAD was in the incorrect mode for the jump."

There is also the whole "what if" scenario after opening, what if you have to avoid a canopy collision and bury a toggle resulting in firing the AAD even though you "planned a conservative canopy flight" or have a canopy collision resulting in a temporary acceleration past that firing speed? Or what if you have a malfunction and cruise through your higher ceiling and a lower airspeed that triggers the AAD when if given another second you could have chopped and had a clean reserve deployment? Even though the conditions were different, Jeff's death is an example of that last scenario, if his AAD had not fired he may well still be with us today (even though it did exactly what it was suppose to do).

The bottom line is that wingsuit flights, especially with big suits, are reducing the effectiveness of current AADs. We would be wise to remember though we try and make skydiving safe, there are no perfect solutions that work in every scenario. Because none of us are going to stop jumping waiting for the perfect AAD, we have to do the best we can with what is available. AADs are a last ditch effort to try and save someone when everything else has already gone wrong, to think of them as "having to work" is the wrong attitude to take into the air.

Based on my non-empirical analysis [citation needed ;) ], I'm more concerned with my AAD firing when it shouldn't than not firing when it should. That is why I set my AAD to Pro for all of my jumps (even big wingsuits) and do everything in my power to try and keep from ever needing it. Skydiving will never be a 0 fatality sport. The scenarios mentioned are also extremely unlikely in a statistical sense and gear has to be designed to work for the "rule," not the "exception." If you decide to play in the "exception" parameters, you have to accept that the gear will be less effective. I'm not trying to say improvement and innovation aren't extremely valuable, just that there will likely never be "perfect" solutions for every problem.

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You are very correct in your understanding that "Modern" disciplines can and do hinder the currently available AADs ability to do the intended job, both properly and predictably.

"Progress" in AAD design and operation has been legacy based, with very little if any truly "New" technology to keep the performance of the AADs up to the challenges that the new, "High Performance" disciplines present, but instead efforts have been focused on managing the limited information the AADs have to work with, which more often than not, results in taking away margin from one area in order to add it to another area that is lacking. For example, lowering the firing speed so it will work for a Wingsuit Flyer in full flight, but as has been pointed out, although it helps the chances that the AAD will work in one area of the descent, it also increases the chances of the AAD firing under canopy descent.

For Wingsuit and HP Canopy pilots, the AAD manufacturers are going to have to start over which will be very costly for a small percentage of the overall market that does operate with in the current AAD’s parameters.

You are also correct in regards to battery life being impacted due to higher processing demands. The M2 is claming a 15 year battery life…. how much processing do you think that thing is doing to make the battery last that long?... The Cypres and Vigil with 4 + year battery life?... Compare that to how long your smart phone battery lasts…. The next generation of AADs will require more power to run, there is just no getting around that.

Your concern with the added complexity of the firing parameters leading to an increase in unwanted firing is not totally unwarranted, depending on the approach (philosophy) the designer takes and the information they have to work with, the result can very dramatically. It is easer to over complicate a design than it is to refine it into an elegant process. Any design must be able to pass any “what if” test, and if it falls short, effort must be put forth to overcome the short coming without compromising the other aspects of the design.

It will be very interesting to see what, if anything, Airtec and AAD do to address the Wingsuit and HP Canopy disciplines….

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I currently jump a Safire 2 169, wingloading around 1.2x.
If I wouldn't do any hard turns-swoops below the firing altitude, it should be safe to reduce my AAD's firing speed to 45mph, correct?
A friend of mine is in a wheelchair now, because in a non-WS jump he got knocked out in freefall, and his AAD (won't mention the brand now to avoid further discussions) miscalculated his falling speed greatly. Imagine a very heavy guy unconsciously backflying and the AAD thinking it was at 70mph at 1000ft. The speed reading went good again too late, triggering the reserve opening just on time enough for him to crash on the ground with the reserve at line stretch.
We all say we need to trust our AADs etc, and indeed they are proven to work in many situations, but I've seen this issue happen with my own eyes, and made me realise that our AAD settings might be a bit too tight, especially if you are not concerned with a sporty canopy.
So, especially with WS, and not having a sporty canopy, I have already raised my activation altitude to 1300ft, and considering to lower the firing speed to 45mph, and well, simply fly my canopy in a relaxed manner, which I already do.

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So the AAD saved his life? Mission accomplished!

Sarcastic, but you get the point.

To me, raising the activation ceiling makes more sense than changing the fall rate setting.

The reason being, you have no business pulling at 2,500ft or less (if you are, then you shouldn't be using an AAD) and to have an AAD fire because of a 1,300 ft floor means something went really wrong, even with a 1k ft snivel.

But with speed, you have to continually avoid activating it after being deployed. And you can plan to fly nice and conservative but there are a lot of what if's (traffic, obstacles, needing to make a big course change, canopy collision, etc) So all of those things become potential problems, but with altitude adjustment, only failure to pull is a problem, and in that case you want it to activate.

What I am saying is that during a jump, using altitude, the AAD is removed from the equation after deployment (ideally), using speed, it becomes a liability after deployment. 99.9999% of deployments will be successful (with or without EP's) so you are creating potential problems on 99.9999% of your jumps rather than the extremely unlikely event that you would actually need it (unable to pull and falling slow).

So basically by setting it to student you are "creating a potential problem on essentially every jump, in fear of something that will probably never happen." (lose/probably will never win)

By upping the altitude you are "increasing your safety margin with the caveat that you can't low pull, which also increases your safety margin."(win/win)

Several hundred WS jumps and I still pull at 4k every single time. I use to pull at 3k but a pierced bridle resulting in a PC in tow cured me of that. (I use an AAD but set on PRO and without an altitude adjustment). I'm more concerned with it firing when it shouldn't than not firing when it should. But I don't fault an altitude adjustment.

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danielfornies

The speed reading went good again too late, triggering the reserve opening just on time enough for him to crash on the ground with the reserve at line stretch.



I'm interested to know what the activation altitude was as recorded by the AAD. It has been acknowledged that a back flying reserve deployment at or below 800ft may be insufficient to get a fully inflated reserve before impact. The 3sec/300ft rule is only tested in stable belly to earth positions and every reserve deployment I've seen barely makes it or doesn't make it. (Including one of my own from a fully inflated main with a skyhook (basically a "perfect" reserve deployment situation), video has it right at 3 seconds, maybe a tad more).

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piisfish

As long as battery cost is not too high, I don't care about changing battery every year if needed.
You can change it during a scheduled repack.



Battery changes have to be done by the manufacturer for all new AADs (older vigils maybe a rigger can do). So yes it can be done during a repack but you'll be without an AAD for 2-3 weeks and it'll cost a couple hundred $$ - not ideal to do every year.

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lyosha

Hi!

In a recent wingsuitting fatality the max descent rate of an unconscious individual in an X-something from Tonysuits has been demonstrated to be 50 mph. This makes it seem like an AAD is more or less useless (hit or miss at best) in expert mode when used in conjunction with a wingsuit.

Just to paint an even a picture - once your body slows down to 50 mph in vacum with zero air resistance it will take it over a second to accelerate back to firing speed for AADs. Factor in the air resistance that your sleeping bag of death provides, and you're gonna have a bad day.

Now, I know Cypres is a dead fish. The student version has an activation speed of 29 mph. But a Vigil II has an activation speed of 45 mph, which is much more applicable to modern canopies.

In addition, the student mode has a raised activation altitude which is also applicable to the increased burble altitude disparity that AADs likely suffer from when used in conjunction with wingsuits.

Discuss.



Look at the REAL reason for having said device. If your unconscious and falling to Earth(even in a WS) your device should fire, PERIOD. If your "flying your WS" that slow maybe you need a little two out to spice things up!

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