3 3
df8m1

New AAD made in USA

Recommended Posts

I am giving way to the pressures to mirror my military free fall AAD and make a sport version. Testing could begin as soon as this summer.

This unit, like it's military counterpart, will be intelligent, and will not fire in the aircraft regardless of descent rate and altitude, or to say it another way, it will not arm until after exit from the aircraft.

It will utilize the "black box" data recording platform, but without the WiFi. Data would be stored on a micro SD card.

Each AAD will have its own log book, (just like a reserve does). This log book will be a record of test results and services performed on the unit throughout its life, which is to be determined..

A four year check will be required to maintain airworthiness, but on the flip side you won't have to sent it out of the country for service.

The unit will display barometric calibration changes so you can be confident that it is recalibrating it self just like you recalibrate your altimeter before you get on the plane.

Just a hint, no 15 year battery life claims... This unit will be doing a lot of work which requires power...

There will be other features to be announced in time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
df8m1

I am giving way to the pressures to mirror my military free fall AAD and make a sport version. ...



Good for you David! You can expect my help and support, or at least as much as I know how to give.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In case you didn't know these are the same guys that build the release for our suborbital rocket. There equipment has flown to over 300,000 ft. survives the cold of space, the heat of reentry and is entrusted with $1,000,000+ payloads on every flight.

I've heard about some of the things they are doing on their military unit and if they include the same technology in the civilian version it will leave all of it's competitors behind in the dust. I'm not dissing the existing units. They are as good as they can possibly be with the technology they are using. But they are fundamentally out dated. We're looking at a quantum leap forward. Their unit will be the first of a totally new generation of AAD's which over come all of the processing and firing issues that we have seen up till now. This next generation will be as far beyond the Cypress and Vigil as they were beyond the FXC 1200.

I know these guys and I hope they do well but what I hope even more is that this will push all the manufacturers to the next level. These devises are too important and the technology they are based upon has been stagnant for too long.

And I'm not just blowing smoke here. Their shit really is that good.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RiggerLee



I've heard about some of the things they are doing on their military unit and if they include the same technology in the civilian version it will leave all of it's competitors behind in the dust.



But equally there has to be a cost / benefit cutoff. Already an AAD is often seen as a 'nice to have' bit of kit because of its price point. If cutting edge technology for only minor benefits drives the price up you may see it being difficult to get a large uptake.

Take the data logging for example - is that really necessary? Or is it a function with only limited benefit to the user but will increase the cost? Personally, if I had the option not to have that functionality and decrease the cost I'd probably go for that...


I like my AADs simple. Simple to set up. Simple to use. Simple when they function...
My requirements are probably very different from the military ones.


I'll be really interested to see what David and his team come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And there are several... misconceptions in your statements. That's not really surprising because frankly these things are not really well understood.

Cost. This is going to be a bit of a rant. Russel, he's the guy that builds the flight computer for what is basically a medium range ballistic missile, was looking at an open cypress where they had the guts on display at the last PIA. He estimated that the electronics added up to... I forget the number he gave but it was under $25. Cypresses cost $1200 because they are cypresses. Their's testing and liability but the unit has little to do with the cost. And the cost of all of this has dropped since the conception of the cypress. Ever heard of a Raspberry Pi? It's a fully functional computer sold for $35. There is no significant increase in cost. In fact a unit like they are proposing with all the added functionality would undoubtedly cost less to produce then a cypress built in 1990. It's an open secret that the price fixed in the military contract is a good bit lower then the civilian cypress. Now if I was them I'd still price the civilian unit at or above the cost of a cypress. It's just that much better of a unit.

The Vigil already has a data logger built into it. It's actually very nice. You should look at getting one of the down load units. It's very interesting. This is not exactly difficult technology any more.

Your AAD is not simple. Your understanding of it is incomplete. It's not simple to set up. It's not simple to use. And it's not simple when it functions. I'm guessing that you weren't in the PIA technical meeting. Or that you weren't at the public seminar on the limitations of the Vigil high speed AAD. Which was very good by the way. It was an extremely open lecture on how the vigil fires and it's limitations under certain circumstances and the reduction in safety margin in the high speed Vigil. It's a really impressive unit and very well designed but they are fundamentally up against a wall in their technology. Those guys are awesome by the way. I think they are the most open, transparent, honest people I have ever delt with.

The truth is that your AAD doesn't work as well as you think. In fact it's actually really struggling. You should be looking a better unit. You should be demanding more. One that will be there for you when you need it. Because the more I learn about these units and the better I understand the failure modes The less impressed I am. There are situations where they can fail you. Skydiving is advancing. We need a new unit. It's time to build some thing better.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
About Vigil:
Quote

Those guys are awesome by the way. I think they are the most open, transparent, honest people I have ever delt with.



I'll second that.

However, most people would welcome another AAD choice, and particularly if it came at a lower price and offered greater intelligence.
Or, at the same price, but didn't cost a lot to maintain, and could be field-maintained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

We need a new unit. It's time to build some thing better.



Having dabbled with microcontrollers and doing simple circuits, I'm aware of the types of sensors consumers can get for relatively cheap. GPS, barometers, accelerometers, etc.

Can you generally talk about what type of step forward this new type of AAD would take either in terms of components or perhaps software + processing power that improves the performance and reduces the failure modes?

I'm assuming a big step forward in this space would require a paradigm shift in technology beyond the legacy AADs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
df8m1

I am giving way to the pressures to mirror my military free fall AAD and make a sport version. Testing could begin as soon as this summer.

This unit, like it's military counterpart, will be intelligent, and will not fire in the aircraft regardless of descent rate and altitude, or to say it another way, it will not arm until after exit from the aircraft.

It will utilize the "black box" data recording platform, but without the WiFi. Data would be stored on a micro SD card.

Each AAD will have its own log book, (just like a reserve does). This log book will be a record of test results and services performed on the unit throughout its life, which is to be determined..

A four year check will be required to maintain airworthiness, but on the flip side you won't have to sent it out of the country for service.

The unit will display barometric calibration changes so you can be confident that it is recalibrating it self just like you recalibrate your altimeter before you get on the plane.

Just a hint, no 15 year battery life claims... This unit will be doing a lot of work which requires power...

There will be other features to be announced in time.



Great news and good luck. I completely agree having followed your previous posts. Modern signal processing with an appropriate processor and sensors has got to be an enormous leap forward in performance and safety.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm. They were pretty open about it at PIA but if they are going to go forward with it as a civilian unit they may want to keep some of it more under wraps at least until their release date. I just don't think it's my place to say. I don't want to steal their fire. We'll have to let them make their own announcements.

I see this as becoming a new step forward in technology. Right now they are ahead. Once it comes out Cypress and Vigil will both have to re work their products to keep up with it. It will be a race and market share will be determined by the standings at the finish line. I see this as a good thing for all of us so I'm not inclined to interfere with natural selection.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I just don't think it's my place to say. I don't want to steal their fire. We'll have to let them make their own announcements.



That's cool just idle curiosity. I would imagine you could do a lot with the engineering experience it sounds like this team has backing it. It will be cool to see how it develops, I'll def keep an eye out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lets see if I can fill in some gaps that I have created...

RiggerLee



I've heard about some of the things they are doing on their military unit and if they include the same technology in the civilian version it will leave all of it's competitors behind in the dust.



yoink


But equally there has to be a cost / benefit cutoff. Already an AAD is often seen as a 'nice to have' bit of kit because of its price point. If cutting edge technology for only minor benefits drives the price up you may see it being difficult to get a large uptake.



The purchase price for this unit would be equal to the Cypres, even with all the additional internal sensors and such. What goes on under the cover will be very different however, with the processor looking at 10 channels of data at a sample rate of about 4 times faster that the Cypress or Vigil, not sure what the Mars sample rate is.

The cost of service is TBD. I see that as a double edged sword in that, like with your reserve that has to be repacked by a rigger, and most of us have to pay to have that done, the manufacturers of the rig don't cover that. And, at the same time, seeing the units ever 4 years allows us to catch problems and address then before they become a problem, and that I think is something that benefits us, so why should the customer have to pay for our quality control program?

The units will be put through a rigorous validation process every time they are sent in, and that will take some labor and ware and tare on the equipment, which could be argued as the cost of doing business, and with any cost, it would be passed on to the consumer. Lets just call this TBD :)

yoink


Take the data logging for example - is that really necessary? Or is it a function with only limited benefit to the user but will increase the cost? Personally, if I had the option not to have that functionality and decrease the cost I'd probably go for that...



The black box is not for "data logging" as traditionally understood. The jumper will not have access to the SD card as it will be packed in the reserve container. This unit will use the data recorder to provide it self with the senses needed to determine the conditions it is in, which we call "Situational Awareness". With it being situationaly aware, it can make decisions based on the conditions it is sensing.

One example of situational awareness is having to land in the plane. Every AAD on the market will fire if the pilot descends to fast (provided exceeded the arming altitude). Because my AAD is/will be, aware that it is still in the plane, or more correctly stated, it knows it has not exited the plane, it will not fire when it detects the high descent rate at the magic altitude.

The data that is stored will be useful for post accident analysis, and will provide us with a record of its operation between service intervals.

AADs are meant for a specific purpose.. I have data recorders if anyone wants to "collect data".

yoink


I like my AADs simple. Simple to set up. Simple to use. Simple when they function...
My requirements are probably very different from the military ones.



The military wants them to be simple too lol... Your requirements are different than the military, that is why there will not be any WiFi to download the data. There also won't be a self destruct feature...

yoink


I'll be really interested to see what David and his team come up with.



Personally, I am very reluctant to do anything non Government, but I am confident enough in this unit that I have let several people of whom I greatly respect convince me that the liability can be mitigated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
df8m1


There also won't be a self destruct feature...




That's great! AAD equipped rigs are already difficult enough to get as carry-on on passenger flights... :ph34r:


Thanks for the reply and for clearing up my questions. Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3mpire

Quote

We need a new unit. It's time to build some thing better.



Having dabbled with microcontrollers and doing simple circuits, I'm aware of the types of sensors consumers can get for relatively cheap. GPS, barometers, accelerometers, etc.

Can you generally talk about what type of step forward this new type of AAD would take either in terms of components or perhaps software + processing power that improves the performance and reduces the failure modes?

I'm assuming a big step forward in this space would require a paradigm shift in technology beyond the legacy AADs.



When we started working on Cargo AADs back in 05 someone told me that we are taking a mechanical problem and making it a software problem. I have always seen the current processor driven AADs as electronic clones of their mechanical predecessors. Our approach is to utilize the power that the processors have and let it do some work that is virtually impossible to do strictly mechanically.

There is a cost to using processing power, and that is battery size and life. The less an AAD does, the smaller the battery can be, and longer the battery will last. Just think how long you cell phone battery lasts depending on how you use it... No way you will get 15 years on one charge lol

Like Lee said above, I do have to be careful about how much I divulge and when. There are several traditional AAD failure modes that this approach, along with some different philosophies about operation, allows us to address.

How we do that is a trade secret.. But... I will try to be as open as I can, so don't be afraid to ask anything...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's nice to see another competitor in the market. Being US built will appeal to Americans and no doubt be a factor in possible military sales.

I do believe you are overestimating the need or desire in the sport skydive world for the instrumentation and software gains you are touting. Although they would be an improvement they would not represent a new generation of product development, but rather an incremental advancement.

Most skydivers these days are just consumers, not connoisseurs of these products. They buy them to do one job only, and the current products are doing that job well for most people. I understand that the current operating parameters of the available products are not perfect in all circumstances, but I don't hear many people calling out for improvements in this area. What I do see is people buying M2s and Vigils because of the reduced maintenance hassles. And some of those are already starting to question the Vigil 2 plus need to be returned for a battery at ten years.

The other thing that I hear calls for is more flexible software like the Vigil has. Both multimode and adjustable firing altitude.

The thing most jumpers are calling for is not better AADs, but systems that have fewer failures to deploy reserves in time to do their ultimate job of saving lives. I'm assuming that you already have an effective, dependable cutter, other than that this need is beyond your control. The most intriguing thing discussed here about AAD technology lately has been from John Sherman with talk about a pin puller. But it's hard to see that going anywhere soon.

In short, you need to keep the needs of the consumer in mind if you want to succeed in that market. I'm sure you already know the potential for this in the military market.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He's hedging which is understandable. But there is nothing incremental about this. It's more like scraping the old design and starting from scratch. This is a fundamentally different concept with a completely different decision tree.

I do think he'll need to pair it down a bit in terms of power consumption and I'm not sure if he needs quite so high of a sample rate. But I think there is a mid ground there. It's more about the fundamental concept which is a departure from the current designs and what that allows you to do.

Lee
Lee
lee@velocitysportswear.com
www.velocitysportswear.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gowlerk

It's nice to see another competitor in the market. Being US built will appeal to Americans and no doubt be a factor in possible military sales.

I do believe you are overestimating the need or desire in the sport skydive world for the instrumentation and software gains you are touting. Although they would be an improvement they would not represent a new generation of product development, but rather an incremental advancement.

Most skydivers these days are just consumers, not connoisseurs of these products. They buy them to do one job only, and the current products are doing that job well for most people. I understand that the current operating parameters of the available products are not perfect in all circumstances, but I don't hear many people calling out for improvements in this area. What I do see is people buying M2s and Vigils because of the reduced maintenance hassles. And some of those are already starting to question the Vigil 2 plus need to be returned for a battery at ten years.

The other thing that I hear calls for is more flexible software like the Vigil has. Both multimode and adjustable firing altitude.

The thing most jumpers are calling for is not better AADs, but systems that have fewer failures to deploy reserves in time to do their ultimate job of saving lives. I'm assuming that you already have an effective, dependable cutter, other than that this need is beyond your control. The most intriguing thing discussed here about AAD technology lately has been from John Sherman with talk about a pin puller. But it's hard to see that going anywhere soon.

In short, you need to keep the needs of the consumer in mind if you want to succeed in that market. I'm sure you already know the potential for this in the military market.



In time I will provide more information on the differences with this AAD over others. Marketing is a tricky thing if you keep sex out of it lol...

The instrumentation is not accessible to the jumper, it is used by the processor to determine what is should, or more importantly, shouldn't do.

I am sure it would be an easier sell to the average person if I did not say anything about what is inside or what it does. That would reduce the "what do I need that for" response, and as long as it looked cool, that would help them over come the price lol.. but seriously I am a believer that people should buy what they feel most comfortable with. For some people that comfort comes from a lower price, and others it is what it offers. Unfortunately that gap is very difficult to bridge.

Take me personally.. An AAD that can fire on a plane under any circumstances is not desirable to me, as are AADs that can get confused and lock up (as they should if they are confused, my point is they should not get confused in the first place). If I were looking to buy an AAD, I would look for a unit that would not fire in a plane or get confused, and I would be curious as to how it was able to do that.

When I design a product, I try to build something that I would want to buy, and although that increases the over all quality of the item, it does tend to narrow down the customer base. My goal is not to dominate the market, but rather to produce the best product that I can given the technology currently available. Striving for the highest confidence level has its cost. For example requiring a 4 year check, a standard set by the currant dominant manufacturer, sparks much debate, however, reliability is one of the most critical aspects for an AAD IMOP and I feel that insuring that the device is preforming as it should every now and then, is a critical piece to the complex puzzle that reliability is.

Some people strictly look for the cheapest option, and there is nothing wrong with that. Very often a lower priced item is priced that way purely for competitive reasons, and does not reflect a lower level of quality, the manufacturer has decided to make a little less per unit in favor of selling more units. I am not of that thinking in case anyone was wondering lol..

I feel this new unit will offer a good value for the price, not everyone will agree, that is something that the car companies struggle with all the time.

In time I will provide additional information that will help this unit to distinguish itself from the current AADs. You mentioned an adjustable firing altitude; I have a different philosophy on "firing Altitudes", yes it will be adjustable, but with a twist ;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd be mostly interested in someone producing a product at least as good as those on the market for a substantially lower price. I don't have a problem with current AADs but I don't own one anymore. I thought about buying one but there are so many other things I would rather spend my money on right now in this sport. I will get there eventually but then I will have to buy 3 and that gets expensive.
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
df8m1


If I were looking to buy an AAD, I would look for a unit that would not fire in a plane or get confused, and I would be curious as to how it was able to do that.



It's an interesting exercise that people should try... What are your priorities for an AAD?

Personally, my first one is that is must not fire when it shouldn't. Second is having no unsafe failure modes.
Third is firing when it should...

those are mine. What are yours?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
df8m1

................ AADs that can get confused and lock up (as they should if they are confused, my point is they should not get confused in the first place).



This question is to anyone:

Does any one have first hand knowledge of "When is the last time an AAD got confused and locked up"?
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At what point did they lock up? In an airplane like what I assume the op meant?

Or do you mean because there was an electronic component that did not cycle during the boot up or after boot up?

I was actually referring to one "getting confused" like the pressurizing test in the C-130.

Can you tell us more?
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They locked up on the ground and the control unit meant they were unresponsive. Could not turn off/on. So it was fairly obvious there was a problem. As to what triggered the problem I don't know but the manufacturer sent a new control unit with latest version of the firmware and they were field replaced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RiggerLee

Their unit will be the first of a totally new generation of AAD's which over come all of the processing and firing issues that we have seen up till now.



This scares the shit out of me. The reason I don't use a Cypres and instead use a Vigil is because of Cypres's "trust us, our black box knows best" attitude that's certifiably gotten people killed already. At least with a Vigil I know exactly what the behavior is, and adjust settings as I see fit.

The thing is it doesn't take a whole new AAD to do a really simple job - measure barometric pressure and fire when it detects enough speed at low enough altitude. So why do I need to know that my AAD just recalibrated? Are you solving a problem that doesn't exist?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK yeah I've heard of that. Both Cypres and Vigil have had those problems but usually fix them very quickly.

Those are electronic component problems which usually manifest themselves during boot up.

My question is about the unit being "confused" as to what it was sensing and then just froze up. I believe that is what df8m1 meant in his post.
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
3 3