df8m1

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    Napoleon Skydiving Center
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    29633
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    uspa
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    1550
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    12
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    Formation Skydiving
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  1. I have made an effort not to bring up any manufacturer by name. Those who are hard core, die hard supporters for one manufacturer tend to stand out from the statements or arguments they make, and nothing I or anyone else for that matter, will ever say anything that will change that. (Not that there is anything wrong with lobbying for one manufacturer or another as long as there is not direct evidence of the AAD they are supporting is deadly for lack of a better term). That being said... you nailed it lol..
  2. Respectfully, the conditions that you described regarding "mimicking a main deployment" is based on a very narrow section of what is really going on, and is not what a deployment looks like data wise. I get asked this question all the time and I have not been able to figure out a way to answer it to any satisfaction without providing direction to the other manufactures, who as you pointed out, are struggling with that capability. This is why my power consumption is higher then a "standard AAD" or altimeter. As Sundevil777 pointed out, I am measuring more aspects then the standard AADs or altimeters currently do. Sundevil777 and I have chatted about when I was at his DZ testing a while ago. Like I said before, "if it was easy, everyone would be doing it". I get challenged all the time about this aspect. The standard response I get is "I will never trust it unless I can see the code to judge for myself", and I reply, "I am sorry to hear that. Good thing there are three other AADs you can chose from" . The algorithms that determine if the jumper is in the plane or has exited, the canopy and wingsuit detection, main deployment detection, good canopy detection, and cutaway detection are very complex and rely on a lot of data. The actual firing command is pretty basic, as one would imagine, as it is still just speed and altitude, it is the situationall justification conformation and authorization to fire that is so demanding processing wise. It has been stated in this thread several time “that it is more important that it does not fire when it should not, then fire when it should”. My programmer has made the firing software stand-alone so I can be ported to another hardware platform that has the necessary instrumentation and processing horsepower. Hypothetically, one of the current AAD manufacturers could buy it from us, but the current AAD hardware platforms are not capable of running it, so they would have to build a new hardware platform, or buy ours. We have even joked about making it run in an I-Phone lol. It is not fair to the current AADs or Altimeters to compare how well they handle the very challenging task of identifying the flight mode progressions that skydivers go through to this AAD because they really are very different devices, which use different approaches.
  3. Thank you for your encouraging comments! I too am excited about this AAD lol. The manufacture shelf life speck is 10 years for reference.
  4. Yes they do lol. Jumpers and brand loyalty go hand in hand :) And I will admit I got a little "ruffled" by that one lol. That kind of challenge is actually good for me though, as it gives me a chance to practice addressing the concerns, (in this instance doubts) regarding the technical aspects of this AAD from a technical and marketing position which is something that I will have to be able to do on the spot and without hesitation. I am a lot better at building things then selling them lol. Keep the challenges coming!!
  5. I was not sure if I would catch hell for specking it that way, but then again, that is how it will work in reality, and you can't make everyone happy . The only "hard replacement" speck I will require (regardless of how many jumps are on the batteries) is time related because of what an AAD does, and I just do not like old batteries lol. I look at it like changing the oil in a car, only is a rigger changing batteries during a repack. It is cheep insurance in my opinion, and I do not believe that marketing should influence the engineering aspects of a device like an AAD that has a very specific job to do. There will be a low battery warning before they get to the point where the capacity level will trigger a fault and auto shutdown when the AAD is turned on. It is powered by three ER18505M cells in parallel and each cell's capacity is checked while under a 150mA load during the start up self test. The lowest battery will set the fault requiring them all to be changed. Only one cell (any of the three) is required to run the AAD and fire the cutter, there are three strictly for capacity packaging, and I like that there is some redundancy. If we were to run this AAD like a “Standard AAD” does the battery life would be comparable to the AADs currently on the market. However I feel that the resistance to firing in an airplane regardless of the aircraft’s altitude and descent rate is important. This AAD is also a black box flight data recorder that will record enough data to create 3D model of the jumper’s mass from 10 seconds before exit to landing. I realize that most people do not think that the risk of an AAD firing in a plane is a problem, and I bet the ability to recover enough data to be able to tell what happened up there during an incident investigation is of even less value to the average jumper, but I happen to think those things are important. A thought just occurred to me. If the cell phone companies only manufactured the first flip phones that only call and text, then I bet after 25 years of refinement of that (now basic) functionality I bet the batteries would last for years too lol. What most people don’t realize is that the smart phone designers have been able to maintain the same size case because they were able to make the electronics smaller so there is more room for a larger capacity battery lol. I will admit I was expecting some blow back, but not this much
  6. Thank you for your comments and concerns regarding the marketability of this AAD. First, this is NOT, by any means, a "standard" AAD, of which the details have pretty well been explained and discussed in this thread. Second, this AAD is designed to use commercially available batteries which are inexpensive and actually can be changed by a rigger "in the field" during a repack, eliminating the need to send it in for service just to have the batteries changed. For the majority of traditional skydivers, the "Standard AADs with 10+ year old batteries" will serve them well. This AAD is not intended to compete with that demographic, however it does offer the traditional jumper some performance features (which have been discussed in detail in this thread) that the "Standard AADs" do not . This AAD is, however, being developed with Wingsuit pilots, High Performance Canopy Pilots, or those that do both types of piloting on the same jump, who do not want to compromise the effectiveness of having an AAD because the "Standard AAD" technology is maxed out, and sacrifices effectiveness/coverage during one phase of a jump in order to try and perform at the extremes that Wingsuit pilots and HP Canopy Pilots can routinely operate in and the “Standard AAD” technology was just not designed to handle. There are many threads that discuss the potential risks associated with Wingsuite Pilots putting their AADs in Student mode in order to crutch their AAD to work predictably should they have a problem while they are wingsuiting. Yes there is a “Wingsuit AAD” that is available… and it has an audible alarm that tells you if it has worked properly or not.. The owner’s manual states that it is possible for it to be tricked and switch from “Wingsuit Mode” into “Expert Mode” while the jumper is still in the aircraft; one of the reasons the audible is there is to alert the jumper that their “Wingsuit AAD” is not a “Wingsuit AAD” anymore should that happen. (Note: I only commented on the currently available Wingsuit AAD in order to compare it to the one my team has been developing. I am not aware of any instances where the currently available Wingsuit AAD has not performed as advertised or noted in its owner’s manual.) There are also discussions about the effectiveness of the “Swoop Mode” AADs because the activation speeds are raised to a point in an effort to avoid firing during a HP landing, that they are almost rendered useless in very possible scenarios where an AAD could make a difference. Now forget about swooping the pond after a wingsuit jump lol. This AAD is designed to identify the flight mode of the jumper and adjust the firing requirements automatically, in real time, and without the need for a “Wingsuit Mode” or a “Swoop Mode” as has been discussed in detail previously. Additionally it offers a feature to help counter the unidentified cause of the delayed reserve deployments which has resulted in several fatalities where the jumpers impacted at reserve line stretch after an AAD fire, as well a feature to help prevent a 2-out situation, both of which have been discussed in detail. I could go on but it all has been discussed in previous posts and I have been pleased by the discussions and overall encouragement that I have received thus far. This advanced performance however, does not come without a cost. The amount of data that this AAD is collecting, processing, evaluating, reacting to, and recording is unprecedented for an AAD to date. That additional work requires additional power; just like as cell phone technology has advanced, so has the need to increase cell phone battery capacity because of the increased power demands. Personally the last thing I want to be thinking, should I find myself in the situation where my life is reliant on an AAD is, “Boy.. I sure am glad my battery is only 13 years old” lol.. That is my personal perspective, batteries are cheep. To your point, yes, there is a segment of jumpers who feel the standard AADs cover their type of skydiving and like the idea of a 13+ year old battery, and that is fine, nothing wrong with that. Equally, there are segments of jumpers who feel they currently do not have a good option for an AAD, and this AAD is being designed for them. However, should they additionally feel that having to have their rigger replace their AAD batteries every 2 years because of the power demands of the increased performance and coverage capability is worse than their current AAD performance /coverage options, then there are three AADs currently to choose from. :) I welcome opposing viewpoints,
  7. I had a moment and some good news (well I think it is good news anyway lol) so I thought I would post an update. As previously mentioned, I have been tweaking the electronic design to try and reduce the power consumption of the Sport model. The good news is preliminary testing indicates that the hardware changes to the Sport model will reduce peak power consumption by over 70% compared to the Military model. That "should" double the number of jumps on a set of batteries to get us in the 1000 jump range. Actual field testing will have the final say, but I am very pleased with the results of the changes. The bad news is the new “lower power” components are super expensive!!!! Noting is free I guess lol. Really looking forward to testing this year!
  8. Good questions! First I would like to clarify that in order for the AAD to "disarm" it needs to see a good canopy over head. How I determines that I can not say as there are "others" reading this too lol.. So until it sees that you have a good main canopy, it remains "armed". However, if you have a malfunction this AAD will calculate at what altitude it will need to fire at for a reserve canopy over head by 300 ft AGL, (as apposed to the primary reserve over head altitude of 500 ft AGL). This delay allows the jumper to use any available time to deal with the malfunction and clear the air above the reserve before reserve deployment. Regardless of whether the jumper has been able to clear the malfunction or not, it will fire if the jumper is still in danger at the point where the calculated altitude is reached. This delay is an attempt to allow a higher activation altitude while reducing the chances of a two out. Back to the cutaway: Where the Cutaway awareness and the 4 seconds comes into play is after you have a good main, you experience a problem during the canopy flight, such as a mid air collision, or something that you did not notice during your canopy check. An AAD is not intended to activate the reserve on behalf of a perfectly capable jumper or a properly equipped rig, meaning that it is not an RSL, nor is it meant to "pull" for a jumper that is perfectly capable of doing so. Based on your scenarios and concerns with them, the best back up device would be an RSL. (Something else for everyone reading as some are new jumpers... Review your emergency procedures, and you decision and action altitudes. It is "not recommended" that one cuts away bellow 1000ft. RSLs, and MARDS might have people thinking that recommendation does not apply to them and that is not so.) However, there are times when a jumper may not want the reserve deploying immediately, and therefor do not use an RSL, those considerations are some of the reasons for the 4 second delay. There are some that believe that an AAD should act for the jumper and not allow the jumper the option of delaying for what ever reason. Personally, I do not like the idea that a device will subvert my intention. I believe that an AAD is there to act on behalf of a jumper who can not, for what ever reason, take action in time, and up until "the point of no return" is reached, believe that the jumper should be the "pilot in command". When I started jumping AADs were not trusted, now new jumpers believe that their AAD will save them regardless of the situation they put themselves in. I am not sure how to change that mindset. Very good questions! Apposing viewpoints welcome:)
  9. Exactly. One of my requirements when I started to work on this AAD is that it would "resist" firing in an aircraft regardless of the aircraft's altitude and speed, or firing speed setting. Other requirements were that it would be able to identify Wingsuit flight, RW/VRW flight, and canopy flight on it's own, in real time, and be confident enough in it to not need an audible. I think that raising the firing speed for a HP canopy only reduces it's effectiveness when it counts (when there is not a canopy over head). I prefer being able to identify when a good canopy is over head and disarm; except for when a cutaway has been detected, at which point it will rearm, and if a reserve deployment is not detected in 4 seconds, if the conditions confirm the jumper is in danger and within the firing altitudes, it will fire. Right now my Wingsuit firing speed is 27mph (for reference), and you will be able to swoop the pond without fear of a two out or compromising your protection at any point during the jump.
  10. That is an interesting request... The problem with a "wild west" approach to AAD activation altitudes and speeds is it increases the chances of an in aircraft fire if the "custom setting" is outside of the pilots knowledge when descending with jumpers, and possibly doing so in stressful conditions. AAD manufacturer's are concerned about liability as it is, now factor in the jumper's ability to mess with the activation speeds and altitudes as a matter of "normal operation". However, I can see there being some extreme situations where being able to alter the activation settings would increase the effectiveness of the AAD in a unique situation. If you have a unique application, perhaps one of the three current AAD manufacturers will sponsor you and make you a custom settable AAD?
  11. As I am tightening up / fine tuning the settings for the Sport AAD, I keep having the same thought go though my head and I am interested to know what others think about it. Would it be better if there was a standard AAD X Ft AGL "Arming" threshold, a standard "Expert" firing speed, a Standard "Disarming" altitude, etc.. ? Now I know perfectly well that each AAD manufacturer chose their settings for some reason, if not only to be different, but in regards to jumper training it just muddies the water. I recall several discussions at the picknick table at the end of the day about what the arming altitude is for X AAD, and the disagreements that quickly popped up lol.. Yes, it is a matter of "reading the manual", but wouldn't it be nice if at least the arming and activation altitudes were standardized?
  12. Good questions; and ones that I have been asking myself for a while now lol. Because the sport AAD hardware and software will piggyback on the military free fall AAD it’s evolvement time period should be accelerated and I want to be jumping Beta sport AADs this spring. Now I know I have said that in the past, however the opportunities to apply our technology to the military applications swooped in and we pushed the sport AAD to the side. Now that both military AADs are at a point where we are tidying up things, the sport AAD is front and center. I made the decision some time ago to self fund instead of taking on additional investors or outside money because I wanted to be able to take the time I feel/felt is/was necessary to achieve the level of performance and quality that I want before I would trust it on the backs of other jumpers and I put my name behind it. I decided that it makes the most sense to get all three AADs to a demonstration level to prove they can do what I say they can, and see what opportunities, if any, can be identified that would be beneficial to my team and investors, which is where my looking at different business models comes into play. How we sell them may very well be dependent on a strategic partnership yet to be identified; for example, Bill Booth has Vigil America, SSK has Airtec, and Alti-2 jumped on Mars. Is there someone else that wants to get in on the next generation of advanced AADs and snatch us up? Time will tell, but for now I am focused on getting an airworthy sport AAD in the air. The right partner / backer could greatly accelerate the path to market for the sport AAD once it is ready. The exciting part is we are a few months away from getting in the air. I know that doesn’t answer your questions, and I don’t mean to make excuses. If you are asking about a release date because you are looking for a new AAD, my advice is, if you want an AAD to not wait for mine to come out and get one of the three currently available, which you can sell once mine is available : ) Although this AAD will work fine for “Traditional” skydiving disciplines, the target markets will be Wingsuiters and High Performance Canopy Pilots as it will operate in all phases of those jumps without compromising performance at any point between the plane and the ground, and will not need/use any peripheral devices, such as an audible. Keep an eye on this thread as you never know what tomorrow may bring!
  13. I am always surprised how fast time goes by when one is having fun lol.. I didn’t mean to go this long without an update, so I will bring everyone up to speed. My team and I have been focused on the military AADs (Static Line and Manned Free Fall) fine tuning the hardware and firing algorithms, and I am pleased with how each AAD is turning out. I am trying to be mindful of the workload, as I do not want to burn my team out, so the evolvement has been slower but steady. Now that my confidence in the military AADs is high, I will be turning my attention to the Sport AAD hardware and firing algorithms. It was my initial intention that the military and sport hardware would be the same, but the features that the military is asking for require hardware and software that is not of value to the sport market, and in an effort to keep the cost of the sport AAD down and reduce power consumption, dedicated sport AAD hardware is needed. Fortunately, the changes are mostly elimination of components, such as the BLE, and changing out the 32MB Micro SD-card with smaller but less power hunger onboard memory, so the revision design effort will not be bad. It just takes time to make the changes and have them reviewed, update based on the results of the review, resubmit for design review, yada yada.. Very important process, but can take some time. I also have been making some changes to little things from a “fit and finish/feel/perception” perspective. So far the changes have increased quality feel and performance while reducing the cost. Details are important to me and I am glad we are taking our time to get it right. After taking with many jumpers of varying backgrounds, it is very apparent that the skydiving industry is not ready to embrace some of the things that I wanted to carry over from the automotive industry, mainly the remote monitoring of the AAD self test results. Infrastructure challenges aside, jumpers are just not ready for that, so I am shelving that feature for the sport AAD. One positive side to doing that is I can eliminate the BLE circuitry and code; however there will still be a Micro USB connector in the interface. As if all that is not enough, I am also looking at different business models in an effort to identify which ones make the most business sense as we come closer to going to market. There are a lot of moving parts and the right strategic partner can increase the success dramatically. I keep telling myself “if this was easy everyone would be doing it” lol..
  14. 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.
  15. I jumped an Alpha all last summer and there will be some Military Betas in the air this summer. I pivoted our focus from the Sport AAD to the Military one as the U.S. Military is looking for a replacement for the Cypres-2 and Vigil AADs. (The Sport and Military AADs are different in regards to hardware and software). I would recommend that you go ahead an get an AAD, and when this one is ready, you will always be able to sell the one you got as a stopgap. I am excited about live testing the Military AAD this summer.. If the U.S Military does not give us the nod then we will pivot back to the Sport version. I am very pleased with how both AADs are evolving as we improve / refine the algorithms, and address issues that could arise from potential scenarios; of which there are an incredible amount lol.. The algorithms are performing at a level that I never thought possible when we started these projects.. It is like watching a child grow up lol.. I will try to keep everyone updated this summer.