I have been getting a lot of questions such as "what makes this AAD any different?" and "Can a jumper change the activation altitude?"..
I am finding that I am too close to this thing to keep it simple when I try to answer those questions lol, so I thought I would post some graphics from one of the PIA seminars I put on in Dallas.
Question: Can a jumper adjust the activation altitude? Answer: No.. This AAD actually adjusts the activation altitude, within a window, based on the jumpers descent rate. At a descent rate of 170ft/sec or slower, the activation altitude is 998 ft AGL. Descent rates above 170ft/sec but bellow 250ft/sec will result in an activation altitude between 1200 ft AGL and 998 ft AGL. Speeds above 250 ft/sec will activate at 1200 ft AGL. The goal being to have an open reserve over head by 500ft AGL regardless of the jumpers descent rate through reserve deployment.
The current AADs use a fixed activation altitude regardless of the jumpers descent rate which puts all the variable tolerance (how far a jumper will travel during the reserve opening sequence) on the bottom end (between the fixed activation altitude and the ground). In contrast to that, by automatically increasing the activation altitude as the jumper's descent rate increases, I are attempting to put the variable tolerance on the upper end and provide a reasonable cushion between jumper and the ground by the time the reserve is open and over head.
There is an exception to that where the AAD will delay activation, and that is if a main deployment was detected prior to reaching the activation altitude. This delay is based on the jumper's real time descent rate and a reserve canopy over head altitude of 300ft AGL. This delay allows any usable time for either the main to open (if the jumper pitched low and the canopy sniveled) preventing a 2-out, or allow the jumper to use any valuable time to try and deal with a main malfunction and clear the air above the reserve prior to automatic activation in an attempt to prevent a duel entanglement malfunction.
This ability eliminates the need for the jumper to manually adjust the activation altitude. I would like to note that the jumper will be able to adjust the DZ elevation for a remote DZ which is one way some jumpers are raising the activation altitudes on their AADs now, but it should be noted that doing this also raises the altitude where the AAD will no longer fire, usually around 300ft ish AGL.
Question: "What makes this AAD any different?". One thing is that this AAD is able to identify where it is during a flight. The Situational Awareness graphic shows the flight mode changes that this AAD actually identifies every jump. This ability allows this AAD to resist firing in an aircraft regardless of the altitude and descent rate. It also allows for the detection of a main deployment, if it has malfunctioned or has opened and is flying, and if so, locks out the ability to fire regardless of the jumper's descent rate while under canopy (preventing a two out due to a high performance landing).
It can also detect a cutaway, and if a reserve deployment is not detected in 4 seconds, it will determine an activation altitude based on the jumper's real time descent rate and a 300ft reserve over head altitude, and if a reserve deployment is not detected by that altitude, the AAD will activate. This allows for a delayed reserve activation provided the altitude is available, as there are times when a delay between a cutaway and reserve activation is beneficial, and I do not want to take that "pilot in command" decision making power away from the jumper. I am however comfortable in saying "times up"..lol.
The Dynamic Activation graphic below shows the difference in activation altitudes based on speed and if a main deployment has been detected or not.