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chuckakers

AAD use - let's hear it!

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A recent incident involving a highly skilled jumper who didn't use an AAD and died on a jump in which one may have saved him has prompted a spirited debate on the use of AAD's on that thread. I thought this might be a better place for this discussion.

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I read a lot of very interesting perspectives in that thread and would like to allow folks to go further into the topic without hashing it out on a thread that is supposed to be dedicated to a specific incident.

So do you use an AAD? Why? Do you believe they should be mandatory? Why or why not? Do you not use one? Why not?

The poll allows more than one vote since it's asking 2 unique and specific questions.

Please be respectful but honest. Let it rip!
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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AAD-saveable deaths are preventable. I think they should be mandatory, with exceptions for pro swoopers that go too damn fast... Kind of like the canopies and lines those swoopers jump that no one else gets to purchase. (I know that's not quite mandatory, BUT, those top level swoopers already need specialized landing areas with enough clear distance, and clear skies to swoop it up).

I also think more dealers should start rental programs to encourage AAD use for people who can spend some monthly $ but not over $1k up front. If set up appropriately, the dealer makes a bit of $ as well.

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If you don't know why you shouldn't have one, you should have one. If you know why you are better off without an AAD, by all means.

Mars and Vigil AADs cost ~$6 a month, so I don't buy the "it's expensive" argument within the context of skydiving. Pack one parachute a month for someone else and you're there.

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I've always had an AAD, and almost all of my jumps were made with one in (there may have been the odd borrowed gear jump after a cutaway kinda thing here and there), BUT, I do not want to see them being mandatory. There's enough reliance on them in some people's mind, I don't want to see that institutionalized.
Remster

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chuckakers

I'm sure this has been discussed before ...



Yes, ad nauseam, but as we see more and more fatalities that likely could have been prevented with an AAD I think it is worth revisiting.

Thanks for starting a new thread. Those of us who track the incidents reports are waiting to hear more details about incidents and these types of debates in that forums makes it hard to find the details.

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I own 2 AAD's in my 2 main rigs.
I don't have a problem jumping without.
I have had an AAD save. I was happy I had it in my rig that day and it was turned on. The week after that I was jumping without an AAD without any second thought.
I believe AAD's should be optional, and an educated choice.
I believe that wanting one but not being able to afford one is a poor choice. Pun intended.
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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both my rigs have one. I have jumped without while they were being serviced or on borrowed gear and was not overly concerned. I do not think they should be required for licensed skydivers.
You can't be drunk all day if you don't start early!

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I have one in my rig and one of my skydiving career goals is to never have it deploy my reserve for me. I've forgotten to activate it a couple of times and realized it on the plane, but wasn't terribly concerned about doing any one jump without it, especially solo. I've been much more careful about checking it a couple times as part of my gearing-up process now, though.

I also know a few people who don't use one, either because they don't trust them or they can't (or don't want to) afford it. It very much reminds me of the whole seat belt argument when they started making those mandatory.

I'll always have and use one, personally, but I'm not particularly inclined to tell some old coot with 10,000+ jumps that he has to install one if he doesn't want to. I think we're all aware of the risks we take.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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I have one in both of my rigs. I'm not a swooper so I am not worried about my speed under canopy causing problems. I also think it should be mandatory the same as seat belts...unless you are a swooper or have a technical reason it would be more dangerous with one. We all have reserves, right? Because something may and will eventually happen to our mains. I'm obviously not counting BASE folks who are not really in this discussion. Some things just make sense and save enough lives to warrant adoption by all...like seat belts...and AADs...and reserves...and inspections...and...
Just my humble opinion. Blue skies doods!!! Woo hoo!!!
Chad
Chad B Hall
Woo hoo!
My goal is to make every jump a fun and safe one. Blue skies!
Some of my videos...

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I have one; I only recently passed the "more jumps with than without" milestone (probably). I willingly jump without them, but when mi old one aged out, I bought a new one.

Seat belts and motorcycle helmets help to reduce injuries, generally helping all the people/co-insured who would be paying for more expensive medical care. If you needed an AAD and didn't have one, it's not likely to be a medical expense.

Nope, they're not a guarantee. Fine.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Remster

There's enough reliance on them in some people's mind



I have met a lot of skydivers (more than some, less than others), but never met one that took an ounce of additional risk because of an AAD in their rig.

This is another false argument that pops up - that people who have AADs take more risks than those that do not. Simple fact is last I checked getting knocked out and landing unconscious into the side of a barn still hurt like hell. It's a pretty strong motivator to NOT ever want to have your AAD go off.

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This is like asking if you are Liberal or Conservative. Do you believe you know what's best for everyone and through some emotional need to help you want to force people to do what you believe is right, or do you believe in the freedom for everyone to decide for themselves. It's as simple as that.

I'm a do whatever you feel is right kinda guy. But then I'm old enough to realize that my beliefs, no matter how certain I am, doesn't mean I know everything. That's a reality that takes decades to grow into and this sport is far more populated with those too young to appreciate freedom of choice, so I suspect mandatory is coming.

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I've used an AAD since I started skydiving, and have them in both of my rigs now. I can count on the fingers of one hand the jumps I've made without one (servicing, planned water jump). I'd jump without one but have a strong preference not to. Like everyone else I'd like to think I only need it in the event I become incapacitated and can't pull for myself, but I'm also not egotistical enough to believe that I might not someday, some way fuck up so very badly that I need an AAD to do what I don't. I'd prefer to have the opportunity for my friends to beat me up and berate me (and for me to beat myself up as well), than for them to wonder over my dead body why the hell I didn't get a parachute over my head.

I'm generally in the camp of once you have your license you should be able to decide what you want or don't want. I could potentially get behind a requirement to have an AAD up to a certain experience level, such as once you have a D license, you get to decide. Of course, that wouldn't have made a bit of difference in Tom's case as he was well into the range of jumps / years in sport / license to meet any sort of experience requirement that one could potentially devise.

An "AAD till you have a D" would potentially help the "you don't know what you don't know" crowd*, and give people (theoretically) enough time in sport to be able to form and defend a cogent argument for or against using an AAD. On the whole, people with less than a D license probably shouldn't be on the types of canopies they can fly so fast that they'll spook an AAD (of course we all know a DGIT or 12 who's way in over their head, and if we're going to talk about regulating anything, it still seems like canopy rules would have a bigger impact in terms of preventing deaths and serious injuries than would an AAD requirement). Most (of course there are exceptions) people with less than 500 jumps are also not in the "two pr more rigs" crowd yet, so most of the people who'd be required to get one would also be people who'd only need to buy one for a single rig.

Flip side is these are also the folks who (at least at first) are spending a ton of money to get themselves up and ready to skydive (student costs, costs for additional license requirements such as canopy courses and water training, building up their gear collection, etc.). As someone noted upthread, more creative options for financing / purchasing AADs might go a long way to increasing their adoption amongst the cash-strapped, especially since the market for super-cheap AADs with a couple years of life left is quite tight and often the only available ones are new or nearly-new that have a big up-front cash outlay that can be tough to swallow.

*Edit to add a little more commentary from my own experience & observations. As you're growing in the sport, you're generally itching to do the bigger / faster / cooler jumps. It's really hard when you've got a hundred or two hundred jumps to really know which of those have the highest potential to turn into zoo dives. It's more likely that you'll find the zoo dives fun than scary. It's only with the wisdom of time and perspective that most people tend to start to look at zoo dives as shit shows and start to be more thoughtful about what jumps they will or won't get on. That's definitely been my own personal experience, and I've observed that same progression in others. Requiring AADs up to a certain point like a D license helps to protect those people who are feeling their way into more complex skydives without quite fully understanding the shit show potential thereof.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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billindenver

This is like asking if you are Liberal or Conservative. Do you believe you know what's best for everyone and through some emotional need to help you want to force people to do what you believe is right, or do you believe in the freedom for everyone to decide for themselves. It's as simple as that.

I'm a do whatever you feel is right kinda guy. But then I'm old enough to realize that my beliefs, no matter how certain I am, doesn't mean I know everything. That's a reality that takes decades to grow into and this sport is far more populated with those too young to appreciate freedom of choice, so I suspect mandatory is coming.



Maybe you didn't see the debate raging over here - http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=4730639#4730639

My point in conducting the poll is to have folks tell us their position on the issue and defend it the way positions are being defended in the linked thread. Which brings me to my point - you posted on a thread asking if you use an AAD and why, yet you posted nothing on the issue.

Do you jump with an AAD? Why or why not?
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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NWFlyer

As someone noted upthread, more creative options for financing / purchasing AADs might go a long way to increasing their adoption amongst the cash-strapped, especially since the market for super-cheap AADs with a couple years of life left is quite tight and often the only available ones are new or nearly-new that have a big up-front cash outlay that can be tough to swallow.



https://www.facebook.com/224048377783971/photos/a.361398300715644.1073741828.224048377783971/361397997382341/?type=1

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I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if they were made mandatory. Most people have them anyway. The overseas federations that mandate them seem to get along fine without people being butt-hurt over the issue.

Every activation I've seen or personally know the person that it happened to were either loss of altitude awareness or low pulls...not the mythical "I got knocked out in freefall" stuff (though youtube will attest that this can happen and people are alive today because of the little computer). I'm not so good that I cant fuck up...that is what mine is for. AAD / RSL / Skyhook etc can help tilt the odds in your favor in marginal situations. Yeah, you shouldn't be there in the first place but shit happens. Maybe that makes me "not a real skydiver" in the eyes of some...whatever.

That being said, I think that some of it might be generational. I started late enough in life and recent enough that the idea simply doesn't seem terribly controversial to me. I'd rather someone suffer the minor inconvenience than argue over who gets the gear after a bounce.

I'm clearly in the minority on this, though.

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You don't specify at which level of licence it might or might not be mandatory. Perhaps optional after 500 / 1000 / whatever number jumps.

Since I personally know a handful of people who lost altitude awareness and would now be dead without an AAD fire, I'm inclined to say make them mandatory for low level jump numbers and for infrequent / non-current jumpers.

I've always used one but as a relatively new jumper, I've not really had a choice up until now. Obviously they're mandatory for students and if they're fitted to a rig they must be switched on and every rig I've ever jumped has had one fitted.

Personally I wouldn't jump without one, I have had too many bumps and knocks in formation skydiving and have witnessed many more on exits and zoo jumps to take the risk that one day one of those 'bumps' might be more serious and end up with me dazed or unconscious in freefall.
A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

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I've seen three (3) 'no pulls' because they people said they knew they had an AAD. They fucking gave up because they had that crutch. It appears that an AAD is a placebo to replace hands-on knowledge of being able to perform BSRs.

People automatically think the AAD will operate as advertised. Maybe so but maybe not. I've also seen jumpers with AADs that laugh and say, "Duh, I don't think I turned on my AAD." at the end of a day of jumping. That tells me they don't know if it's working properly to begin with... or whether it erroneously powered off. It also means they never checked it once after an 8 jump day.

AADs should not be a mandatory requirement.

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cruelpops

I've seen three (3) 'no pulls' because they people said they knew they had an AAD.



I'd say those people lacked proper training, proper ongoing training, or both. Where I come from there isn't a single jumper - student or licensed - that believes they should ever rely on their AAD over their own actions. That is trained into their brains from the first time they put rigs on their backs.

Out of curiosity, did those 3 jumpers train at or jump at the same DZ?
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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hillson

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if they were made mandatory. Most people have them anyway. The overseas federations that mandate them seem to get along fine without people being butt-hurt over the issue.

Every activation I've seen or personally know the person that it happened to were either loss of altitude awareness or low pulls...not the mythical "I got knocked out in freefall" stuff (though youtube will attest that this can happen and people are alive today because of the little computer). I'm not so good that I cant fuck up...that is what mine is for. AAD / RSL / Skyhook etc can help tilt the odds in your favor in marginal situations. Yeah, you shouldn't be there in the first place but shit happens. Maybe that makes me "not a real skydiver" in the eyes of some...whatever.

That being said, I think that some of it might be generational. I started late enough in life and recent enough that the idea simply doesn't seem terribly controversial to me. I'd rather someone suffer the minor inconvenience than argue over who gets the gear after a bounce.

I'm clearly in the minority on this, though.



Inasmuch as there's butt-hurt, I recall it was very similar back when they made seatbelts mandatory in the USA. Even now you still occasionally hear some ridiculously situational case where you'd have been better off not wearing one. I could make a harsh, Darwinistic argument for letting those guys not wear them, but a fatality accident usually closes roads down for hours.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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I have one, it's not even in my rig currently (long story) and even when it is in my rig it isn't on much, depends on what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with.

Oh and we don't need more regulation telling us what we should and shouldn't do, that's one of the major problems in our country is everyone thinks they have business in everyone else's life instead of dealing with their own shit and leaving other people alone. Want to jump with an AAD? Good, use one. Don't want to? Good, don't use one. But stay out of other people's decisions that don't effects your life.

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Here are the APF rules on the matter

7.1.6 AAD and RSL Requirements Safety
(a) All freefall descents made by a parachutist who hold up to and including a Certificate Class C must be
made with equipment fitted with an operational AAD.
(b) All freefall descents made by parachutists who hold a Certificate Class D must be made with equipment
fitted with either:
(i) A functional RSL; or
(ii) An operational AAD.
(c) The DZSO may authorise in writing an exception to this regulation for specified descents.

I have one in most of my rigs, I have recently acquired a new CRW rig without one and Im really leaning to installing one, for that very odd occasion it may come in useful

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Oh - I have so many comments on this :-)

People who relied on the AAD - go to the Cypres website and read their save stories. You will be TERRIFIED at just how many people sat there and waited for it to fire.. And those are just the ones who told the story in public!!!

Cost - I have numerous rigs. I would love an AAD in each of them (except my CRW rig). But for people who say it only costs $5 a month - I will give you $30 a month happily if you send me 6 Cypreses. Yes, if you itemize it out over the lifespan its cheap, but for many young jumpers around here, they don't have that kind of cash. We have one jumper who got a main for $300, a reserve for $80, and a free (older) rig, with a free reserve repack, all because everyone really liked him and wanted him to skydive, yet he couldn't afford multiple thousands of dollars for gear. He has an older, fully functional, well-flying gear for cheap. Its not freefly-friendly but it works fine for belly. I know a lot of jumpers who don't have credit cards or a lot of cash but they love the sport. I don't think we should limit the sport to well-off people. These poorer people are some of my favorites. I'd love to see these guys get AADs. I know multiple people for whom the cost of an AAD is more than they spent on the entire rig. A lot of these people are the ones who pack all weekend, or clean the bathrooms just to afford a skydive or two. They want it more than most people, and I would hate to see them shut down because of an AAD requirement. Most of these guys WANT AADs and will save pennies or suck up to their parents to get them when they can. But its not as easy as just swiping a credit card for a lot of people. (I swear I feel like I am trying to tell a millionaire Republican congressman that the poor people on Welfare aren't spending money on cruises).

That said I have 12ish rigs - probably spent less on the last 8 of them combined than many people do on a new rig. They're not the fanciest things, but they are fully functional and I use them all regularly (well more so if it would ever stop raining in Texas.) If someone gave me AADs for them all, I'd thank them and put them in it in a heartbeat. But I have 10,000 jumps and 20ish cutaways over the years - so I'm comfortable without them.

For the person that says they have never met anyone who relied on their AAD - I am one of those people. I only knew it after I sold it.

Many moons ago, I was a young jumper who wanted an AAD so bought a Cypres for my first rig. Used it for several years, then quit freefall almost completely and started just doing CRW. Won't use it for CRW - too much risk in an accidental fire - so sold it. Started back to freefall again a year or two later (really cold winter - no one would do CRW with me) and realized that I was suddenly saying no to skydives that I would have happily gone on before. And I realized that in the back of my head I was thinking, well I have an AAD. And I was amazed at how much more selective what skydives I would do with versus without an AAD..

If I was to go do a 100 way RW (or freefly if I could!) I would certainly get an AAD. No questions. The risks there are out of my control. But at my local dz, I generally know who's who and I just re-organize or don't go on sketchy loads. Because its fully in my mind that I don't have an AAD.

And the really scary part - is there are a lot of new fancy dancy all the bells and whistles rigs out there, that are packed so frigging tight that reserve is not coming out quickly. I've refused to pack some of them. Watched a 200 lb guy who had a PD 113 in a Wings which said a max of a 106 reserve, put it on and launch it at reserve repack time (I did not pack it!) The pilot chute launched but didn't even reach his waist. He didn't think it was a problem ;-( It was scary. But he had an AAD!

I've seen other rigs with numerous flaps, secondary risers, and really secure main flaps where I could pick up and carry the entire rig by the freebag bridle and nothing was coming out until I got the riser covers open. Its scary. And those were all "proper fit" rigs. Its the design of the container to keep the bag in. If you're unconscious and upside down, I wouldn't place any bets on it.

And my last question - for at least the last 20 years - banning swooping/small canopies would save a LOT more lives than mandating AADS. But I have never met a mandatory AAD person who also wanted to ban swooping. Why? It would save a hell of a lot of lives..

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