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pchapman

Philosophy of banning the Argus

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I think you misunderstood. Both the vigil and CYPRES issues were due to them firing *when conditions were met*. You may not like those conditions, but they were met. Therefore they are not malfunctions.



Nonsense.

Here is Airtec's page describing the Cypres firing parameters.

Here's AAD's page describing the Vigil firing parameters.

The advertised parameters are speed and altitude. Of course we all know that these parameters are calculated based on a pressure sensor and an internal system clock, but the specifics there are not advertised nor published. If your AAD fires for any reason whatsoever and you were not descending faster than the advertised speed and within the advertised altitude range, then it constitutes a malfunction, period.

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sorry if this has already been discussed i really couldnt be bothered reading through 5 pages but why dont they put the cutter on the bottom of the tray that way if it hung up you could still deploy your reserve. is there a major reason why all cutters placed on one of the closing flaps?

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Nonsense.



No, sense.

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The advertised parameters are speed and altitude. Of course we all know that these parameters are calculated based on a pressure sensor



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then it constitutes a malfunction, period.



It works on PRESSURE... Period. The vigil claims to use some math, but clearly that is not 100% true since you never left the plane and it will fire due to the PRESSURE change if a door opens.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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If the website, users manual, etc. said, "Will fire when transitioning from at most X Pa to at least Y Pa in less than Z ms." then I would agree with you.

That's not what it says. That's not the advertised specification. I don't care if their problem is a lame software algorithm, a mechanical design flaw, or a manufacturing defect, if the thing fires outside of its advertised specifications, it's a malfunction.

/edited to add: by the way, I'm aware that AAD has responded to the incidents by saying that their device performed exactly as designed. That tells me they don't understand the above concept either, and that's why I will never buy nor recommend one of their products.

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Ok, the first SB is related to a software bug. The second is related to the design of the cutter. The cutter was recalled.

Here you have a company, trying to get into a market that has two (main) players. They have a new product that has unique features and have had a couple of problems. I'm not sure what "a couple" relates to in terms of actual recalls, incidents or fatalities (and I'm not trying to trivialize them either) but I don't think these problems are unique to this company. How did people react to the Vigil issues? What about the CYPRES' issues?

I would be more inclined to agree with you if they'd had the same issue a number of times, claimed they'd fixed it and then people had died. But in this case, we don't even know that for sure. I'd like to see the company given the chance to examine the gear (not sure that's even valid at this point given the time that has passed), make them do that under supervision if there's some suspicion about their ethical leanings. At least give them the chance to check the device logs and condition.

The second SB showed a recall for the housing of the cutter, that was not identified as the issue here so I think it's unfair to say that Avaicom has had their chance. They've had issues and, ostensibly have fixed them. This may be a new issue that they need to resolve. As described by the PIA, there were issues with the condition of the rig and the state of the reserve system was unknown prior to this event. Are we really happy to just blame the cutter/AAD and ignore the other factors (this is not a rhetorical question)?

Isn't it the HC manufacturer who decides where the cutter goes?

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Ok, the first SB is related to a software bug. The second is related to the design of the cutter. The cutter was recalled.

Here you have a company, trying to get into a market that has two (main) players. They have a new product that has unique features and have had a couple of problems. I'm not sure what "a couple" relates to in terms of actual recalls, incidents or fatalities (and I'm not trying to trivialize them either) but I don't think these problems are unique to this company. How did people react to the Vigil issues? What about the CYPRES' issues?

I would be more inclined to agree with you if they'd had the same issue a number of times, claimed they'd fixed it and then people had died. But in this case, we don't even know that for sure. I'd like to see the company given the chance to examine the gear (not sure that's even valid at this point given the time that has passed), make them do that under supervision if there's some suspicion about their ethical leanings. At least give them the chance to check the device logs and condition.

The second SB showed a recall for the housing of the cutter, that was not identified as the issue here so I think it's unfair to say that Avaicom has had their chance. They've had issues and, ostensibly have fixed them. This may be a new issue that they need to resolve. As described by the PIA, there were issues with the condition of the rig and the state of the reserve system was unknown prior to this event. Are we really happy to just blame the cutter/AAD and ignore the other factors (this is not a rhetorical question)?

Isn't it the HC manufacturer who decides where the cutter goes?



First of all we are discussing the ARGUS AAD and what the other manufacture do is for another thread. As I understand it there have been 3 incidents in the recent past. Aviacom’s response to these problems has been weak at best. They always say the fault lies with someone else. The way they handle there customer base would be an embarrassment to most companies.
I worked with pyrotechnic cutter is various shapes and sizes for almost 20 years. There are cutters on the market that will cut cleanly through Kevlar or a ½” cable. They can be electrically initiated or time delay. They can have an anvil or blade cutter bar. I can’t understand why they are having such a hard time coming up with one to work with their product. It appears they are not spec it right or are not testing it thoroughly. You can continue to defend them if you wish but think long and hard about jumping one.

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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If the website, users manual, etc. said, "Will fire when transitioning from at most X Pa to at least Y Pa in less than Z ms." then I would agree with you.

That's not what it says. That's not the advertised specification. I don't care if their problem is a lame software algorithm, a mechanical design flaw, or a manufacturing defect, if the thing fires outside of its advertised specifications, it's a malfunction.

/edited to add: by the way, I'm aware that AAD has responded to the incidents by saying that their device performed exactly as designed. That tells me they don't understand the above concept either, and that's why I will never buy nor recommend one of their products.



I agree with you to some extent. The danger that most companies have in translating engineering parameters to "user speak" is that a lot of the nuances are lost. It would probably be wise for manufacturers to have a caveat to protect themselves maybe they do somewhere in the documentation.

It is naive to think that we should have access to and understand every single parameter that forms part of their algorithms (whoever they are).
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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I found this little nugget in something written by Cliff Schmucker (cypres-usa) sixteen years ago in 1995:
(http://www.cypres-usa.com/cyp13.htm)

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A loop cut by the CYPRES cutter is very clean, squared off, and precise with no ragged edges, unlike a two bladed or scissors type cutter. Thus the concern raised about the loop "hanging up" when the cutter fires from "pinching", etc. is hypothetical at best.



So it isn't just luck that the Cypres happened to end up with the cutter it did.

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Hi Peter,

While I have read all of the posts in all of the threads about the Argus problem, I thought I would use this one to post some info about a test that Andre' LeMaire ( your countryman ) did about 5 years ago with a 'cutter' mounted below the floor plate of a Vector III. I think this is a very close approximation of a cutter being mounted on the floor plate and activated.

IIRC he did write this up & have photos for an article in SKYDIVING magazine; and I think he once posted it here on this website.

Since I could not find his old posting using Search, I contacted him and he sent me some info.

Here is some of what he wrote back then:

An experiment on the reserve in a VECTOR 3-M

Date : February 21, 2005 by André Lemaire

Preamble :

Following the recall on the Mirage container system in order to change the routing of the AAD cable cutter and the location of the cutter (Skydiving magazine Feb. 2005 issue), I was concerned about a possible failure of a reserve deployment should my AAD fire as it happened to 2 Russian jumpers equiped with Mirage container. Althought I am not concerned with the recall, I really wanted to test my Vector 3-M reserve deployment in a such situation or a similar one.

Installation :

Main parachute has been removed completely from the pack. The harness/container system was flat on the floor. With the reserve container open, the packed reserve in its free bag has been put outside of its container to allow the installation of a hook knife between the pack back cover and the bottom of the reserve container with the knife blade around and near the loop (below the grommet of the closing loop washer, the nearest grommet to the top of container). Attached to the hook knife was a pull cord to allow the assembly (hook knife and pull cord) to be pulled toward the top of the reserve container and that way cut the loop. The packed reserve in its free bag was put back in place and its container closed with all 6 flaps as usual. The pin protector flap (no grommet) was not tucked on the 6th flap it is to allow the pull cord attached to the hook knife to get out and be pulled. A temporary pin (on top of the flap #6) was closing the reserve.


The test :

A camera able of shooting 6 frames per second has been installed at about 10 feet from the parachute system.

At the count down (3-2-1-0) the camera was activated at 1, and the pull cord attached to the hook knife pulled toward the top at 0.

The pilot chute popped up about 5 ft in the air (earlier with the reserve packed and by pulling the rip cord, the pilot chute jumped up also to 5 feet). No difference was observed between the pilot chute behavior during that test and with the reserve activated by pulling the rip cord.

The cut closing loop was found afterward on the floor beside the parachute system and was mesured to be 4 inches and a quarter long.

Conclusion :

The reserve closing loop has been cut with the maximum possible length (4 /4").

That loop had no silicone at the cut location.

The cut closing loop had to go through the grommet at the bottom of reserve container, through the packed reserve, through the flap #1, flap #2, pilot chute, flap 3, #4, #5 and #6.

It seems that no problem at all has been observed and I am confident that the AAD will have no problem at all in order to initiate a reserve deployment.

Materials :

Container/harness system : Vector 3-M serial # 39144
Container size : V348M
Reserve : PD 160R
AAD installed : Vigil Nov.04
Loop : Cypres type
Reserve pin pull test : 17 lbs
Hook knife : all metal BENCHMADE
Pilot chute force (fully compressed) : 40-45 lbs


Assistant/witness and photographer : Raymond Bissonnette


And here are two photos of what he sent to me: One is of the pilot chute at launch & the other is a drawing of his setup.

I am just doing this to provide some information on this problem and cutter location, since both seem to be issues with AADs.

JerryBaumchen

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Fair comments and I can't disagree. I guess what I object to most is the witch hunt but Avaiacom aren't doing themselves any favors. If they were open and transparent about their issues I'm sure people would be more willing to give them a chance.

I had a long chat with one of the senior jumpers/rigger at my DZ about this today.

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My experience of Argus is a strange one. I bought it new because I agreed with the philosophy that all the companies are as bad as are good, and at the the end of the day its a vigorously tested AAD which is safe to use. Then I had a misfire as I deployed my main at 3500ft, which could have been pretty bad, luckily I had a safe main and the twisted reserve sat behind. Argus paid for a repack and a man came and collected the AAD and gave me a new one - pretty good service, I thought - so I decided to stay happy. However, since the cutter situation the service has changed completely. I havn't jumped my rig since September due to the BPA grounding and waiting for the cutter, and I have been offered no compensation. My main concern is the service. Argus need to sort it out or no one will want them even if they are allowed to stay in service (4 months to get my cutter back!!!). For example, If I owned a Toyota and it was recalled because the breaks dont work, I would get a hire car and it fixed or replaced for free.
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My last couple posts were snotty, sorry about that.

There's a layer of distinction that I want to drive home regarding some of the problems AADs have had. The way I see it, there are four things the device can do (these are, of course, not mutually exclusive)

- Perform as desired (what you want)
- Perform as specified (what they're selling you)
- Perform as designed (what they're offering)
- Not perform as designed (??? - who knows)

I think everybody is on the same page regarding what should be done by companies in situations where the device doesn't perform as designed like cutter failures and faulty pressure sensors. The units need to be recalled and the components need to be dealt with.

The instances where the Cypres fired during a swoop is what happens when a device performs as specified, but not as desired. The back and forth Airtec went through in skydiving magazine was them defending the specifications they choose. "We don't think you can fly your canopy fast enough to set it off while swooping." They have since been proven wrong, but the "rules of the game" were right there for everybody to see the whole time. They've also introduced a new unit with different specifications for those that desire different performance.

The instances where Vigils have fired in airplanes, car trunks, or (one that I witnessed first hand) just sitting on the ground in the packing area is what happens when a device performs as designed but neither as specified nor desired. When AAD says, "The Vigil performed exactly as designed" they are completely missing a fundamental engineering concept: no one cares how highly you regard your broken design. It's time for them to either fix their design or change the spec to better reflect what they're offering.

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one positive test only proves that it CAN work, it doesn't prove that it WILL work, so his test only shows what was already known, that a backpad mounted cypres can save the day w/o a hangup. One positive test is no cause for celebration. One negative test prices that it does _not_ work every time, and is certainly cause for concern.

now, in the case of the russian mirages i heard tell that the rigs were packed with loops so long that it's a wonder they looked airworthy, but that was 3rd party at best.

Landing without injury is not necessarily evidence that you didn't fuck up... it just means you got away with it this time

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