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outdoort

Best AAD 2021

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Posted (edited)

Hey everyone. I'm about to buy a aad for my rig and I'm kinda stuck on making a decision on which of the major 3 brands...

A lot of th threads ive read so far are outdated, and are not really valid any longer since most of the comments that made since at the time are no longer fact.   For example. Post 2017 Cypress no longer requires maintenacne and lasts 15.5 years.

Prices are different too. I'm pretty sure Cypress used to be 1500 or so from the threads I read from years ago.   A new cypress is 1200.

A vigil is 1200 too and is airworthy for a total of 20 years, but required a battery change at a min of 10 years.  So possibly 1 or even two battery changes in a vigils lifetime.

Mars m2 is even more proven now.  Threads of the past may have not given them enough clout/acknowledgement that people could give them today... I think so at least. I haven't been able to find anything negative about the company or their aad's online within the last few years.

Mars m2 is also the cheapest at 1000 dollars and lasts 15.5 years.

 

From what Ive been reading, over the last few years seems like people may have drifted away from cypress and into the Vigil brand more than any other direction. But this may have been a movement because, the leader (cypress) had a lifespan pre 2017 a lot less than 20 years, and required maintenance schedule of something like every 4 years I think....

15 and 20 years is a long time guys. Technology may change and we may have even better and more accurate/reliable aads on the market then.  Or I may just be out of the sport by then and not care.

So initial price point and the fact I want the best of the best AAD is more of my concern at this moment. They all seem to sorta have the same features and settings. So I'm kinda thinking  Mars m2 and save $200, or go for the proven name in AAD's, and buy a Cypress?  The video of the cypress cutting metal wire and how they have a ton of photos on their website of the manufacturing process etc. is sorta selling me on the cypress right now.  They claim the single edge/angle cutter is better than the round cutter that I believe both vigil and mars use.   

 

Whats everyones opinion at this point... Does the choice really matter in this stage of the game, where all three manufacturers have years of proven reliable use?

 

Also kinda skeptical that the batteries in the cypress and the mars will really last 15.5 years. And if they dont... Will the manufacture stand by the product if you have no clue what you did with the receipt years prior?

 

Thanks.

Edited by outdoort

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(edited)

Small detail, but a cypress is a tree. A CYPRES (Cybernetic Parachute Release System) is the Godfather of modern AAD's. 

Also CYPRES warranty is "lifetime" provided you send your unit in for 5/10 year revision (during which the battery is changed). If I had a new CYPRES, I would send it in for the recommended revisions.

I might be slightly biased because I had my life saved by a CYPRES (check my profile picture), but :

Things I prefer with the Cypres : fire/non fire parameters, cutter blade, customer service, changeable filter, loops and discs and temp pins and related rigger goodies

Things I dislike with the Cypres : the purple stickers fade away quickly

Things I prefer with the Vigil : the thickness of the cutter cable, the colours (blue and orange is awesome), the aluminium case in which the device comes, the orange pull up cord

Things I dislike with both : too many possibilities to get stuff wrong with the offset /mode/alt changes etc.... I preferred the simplicity of an original Cypres. Change the offset, if offset is too important switch off, if not comfy with an AAD OFF, don't jump. Simple as that. And even that, some people managed to screw up.

I have 0 experience with the MaRS so I can't judge.

Cost should not be a decisive factor when purchasing an AAD.

Edited to add Also for the video of the cutter going through wire, it is pretty easy (in my opinion ) to cut "hard/tense" material. So I asked them to show the same with a Cypres loop without tension, as soft stuff is sometimes harder to cut, and it worked like a charm. Eventhough you can clearly see the difference between a loop cut with or without tension

 

 

Edited by piisfish
adding detail
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1 hour ago, piisfish said:

Cost should not be a decisive factor when purchasing an AAD.

Why not? They all do the same thing and they are all reliable. I can not think of anything other than price that distinguishes one from the other.

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(edited)
1 hour ago, gowlerk said:

Why not? They all do the same thing and they are all reliable. I can not think of anything other than price that distinguishes one from the other.

for me the deciding factors would be fire/no fire parameters , after that practicality. 

provided I am happy with all parameters above, I would probably go for the cheaper one. But as the cheapest is not commonly available where I am, I keep it out of the equation. That leaves me with 2 options. I will go with the brand I prefer, despite the fact that it is more expensive and has a shorter life (which is still longer than many jumper's skydiving careers)

edit to add : but this is my personal choice, which I try to explain as neutrally as possible. Your preferences may vary.

Edited by piisfish

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(edited)

i have jumped without an aad for years and the deciding factor for me was the cost.  i got a mars m2 for $950, made in feb 21, installed feb 21.  if it's an aad, and on the market in the us, it works.  i still don't like them, and prefer not to have one, but would like to jump at other dzs this year, covid willing, and most of them require one.  still trying to process that one, but whatever.

Edited by sfzombie13
comma

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Piisfish

What parameters are you talking about specifically?

I'm pretty sure Mars m2 and the cypres both have the same expert settings of 78 mph. Not sure about fire altitude, but you can change any of these aad's fire altitude in increments of like 20'.

 

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There we go.....another brand war.

For me there's one AAD brand. CYPRES!!! It's very simple. Get the number of units made, divide it by the number of Service Bulletins. That number should give you an idea of how likely is that the "maintenance free" will turn into "I can't jump in the middle of the season" maintenance. By the way, my CYPRES just came back from voluntarily maintenance.

Just as a side note: Can anyone show me a 20 years old Vigil or 15 years old M2? The expected lifetime, doesn't always match the real lifetime.

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9 hours ago, outdoort said:

Piisfish

What parameters are you talking about specifically?

I'm pretty sure Mars m2 and the cypres both have the same expert settings of 78 mph. Not sure about fire altitude, but you can change any of these aad's fire altitude in increments of like 20'.

 

As previously mentioned, I know nothing about the MaRS. I am not the happiest with the fire/no fire decisions of the Vigil. But to each his own.

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Ooh, brand wars!

I'm going to skip the "I like the cables on unit x" arguments.  Also, lifetimes are long enough on all units to not matter.

 

Here's the way I see it.

 

Cypress:

Pros:

* Has been around the longest

* No recalls or bulletins I'm aware of, which is solid

Cons:

* More expensive, although difference is less than it was previously

* Black box - not transparent about how the unit actually works. No transparency or investigation ever about why fatality happened after cypress fire.

Vigil:

Pros:

* Cost

* Transparency - accidents investigated, algorithm published.

Cons:

* Had recalls on cutters for some units.

Mars:

Pros:

Cost

Cons:

It's new. Not much history.

I have a Vigil. When I bought it the cost difference was greater and you had to send cypress in every four years for service. I've come to appreciate the transparency and predictability. I feel more comfortable understanding the limitations of the device than being told "trust us, it'll work. It worked, even in the times it didn't" with no further explanation.

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Cypres has had bulletins and recalls too. Yet Vigil had quite a few more bulletins and issues. But bulletins have been pretty much non existent for quite a few years.

Cypres still seems to have the best firing logic and algorithms, based on the little info that's out there. Vigil's were a little simplistic based on info that came out during some of the incidents. Both companies have been arrogant about their capabilities, although both provide great user service. 

But in any case, both have performed very well in recent years in practice.

I personally still trust Cypres a little more, but none of the big 3 brands now are frowned on.

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The environmental testing (vibration and temperature extremes) the cypres withstands at service time tells me which company really knows about electronics.  In my previous life I did electronics packaging design engineering for Boeing. The value of the very thorough testing is easy to under-appreciate. 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, sundevil777 said:

The environmental testing (vibration and temperature extremes) the cypres withstands at service time tells me which company really knows about electronics.  In my previous life I did electronics packaging design engineering for Boeing. The value of the very thorough testing is easy to under-appreciate. 

Yes, they learned so much that it’s no longer required!

Edited by gowlerk

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YAY brand war :D

Full disclosure, I have a Mars M2 pro (non switchable mode like the M2 multi)
As long as you're able to get the settings right for your type of jumping, I would jump all 3 without hesitation. If wingsuit is involved, I would gravitate toward a unit that allow for that mode which at this time is Cypres 

Mars has been around since 1999 therefore not so new anymore. My guess as why the Mars is cheaper is because it's made in Czech Republic where the cost of living is cheaper and they don't use the Euro

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On 3/11/2021 at 3:56 PM, piisfish said:

As previously mentioned, I know nothing about the MaRS. I am not the happiest with the fire/no fire decisions of the Vigil. But to each his own.

Okay... The question was what do you like or not like about the fire/no fire parameters of any of the models. I would really like to know as I haven't heard any details on that, and if you do have any of this information, this would be the thread to share it in.

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(edited)
On 3/12/2021 at 8:48 AM, pchapman said:

Cypres has had bulletins and recalls too. Yet Vigil had quite a few more bulletins and issues. But bulletins have been pretty much non existent for quite a few years.

Cypres still seems to have the best firing logic and algorithms, based on the little info that's out there. Vigil's were a little simplistic based on info that came out during some of the incidents. Both companies have been arrogant about their capabilities, although both provide great user service. 

But in any case, both have performed very well in recent years in practice.

I personally still trust Cypres a little more, but none of the big 3 brands now are frowned on.

I guess Cypres did have bulletins, but seems like three over 30 years.  Looks like the last one was right around the time I started to skydive (and I've been around for a few of the Vigil ones, hence my mis-perception).

 

I was never able to find anything about that "best" firing logic.  I'm a bit skeptical about calling it "best".  Clearly it works well - as attributed by all the saves.  But dealing with cleaning data on a daily basis professionally and understanding how the many techniques used can and do backfire (and have with Cypres - only need to remember their claim that it couldn't fire mid-swoop), i'm a bit uneasy.  Not that it's a bad product, but given a simpler more predictable and easy to understand option, I'm inclined towards it.

 

Vigil's logic is simple - five readings beyond firing range.  Yes, it's primitive.  But it's also predictable.  If I put on a wingsuit - I can foresee how the unit will function differently due to it.  A friend who is on a low WL canopy wants to use student mode because she's a wingsuitter?  You can measure how close/far to firing she is with a fairly high degree of certainty. 

 

Opinions will vary, but, personally, I don't view that as a weakness.

Edited by lyosha

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When I bought my second parachute (1999) I only knew about cypress, as a substitute for Astra and Fxc-12000, which promised to be the best option available. Its useful life was 12 years, every 4 years it had to be sent to the US to update software and there was a device for tandem, another for students and another for expert paratroopers.
As a static line instructor, in 2004 I needed to enable equipment for students, and I learned of the existence of Vigil, which offered 20 years of useful life, did not require software update, the device could be configured as student, tandem or pro, he could fall into the water without being hurt.
The surprising thing was to learn that shortly after the Vigil was launched on the market, Cypress created the Cypress-2, offering those same functionalities to paratroopers, so I decided to invest the dollars in a brand that does care about its customers. From that moment we have used Vigil in all the teams of the "Parachute School" (https://www.escueladeparacaidistas.com/) and we are currently a dealer through Fly Sport (https://flysport.cl/).
Vigil invests in its customers, for example it receives previous units and exchanges them for updated equipment for very reasonable prices.
So far our testimony regarding the best DAA. Greetings and good jumps !!!.

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As a newbie this thread is extremely helpful, thanks to the OP and everyone who has responded!! I also appreciated this little "round up" from Chutingstar;

https://www.chutingstar.com/blog/aads-which-one-to-buy/

Somewhat surprised that no AADs are made in the USA though... So, they ALL work and here's my priority list as I spent 13 years in Europe in the Air Force;

MarS M2 - Best Beer! If you've never had Budvar on tap, you haven't lived!

CYPRES - Close runner up, Kutscher Alt is a stand out...

Vigil - The Frite (french fry) stands were more of a stand out then the beer!

Tim

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5 hours ago, tstar said:

Somewhat surprised that no AADs are made in the USA though...

I'm pretty sure this is because of the small market combined with the large potential for getting caught up in the US tort system. Apple could probably whip up an app to take care of it via Bluetooth through your wrist watch in a couple weeks.

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