Should skysurfers use an AAD?
A few weeks ago there was a discussion in the uk.rec.skydiving newsgroup on the topic, "Why Skysurfers are choosing not to wear AADs?" The cause for this was an article in the "SkyDive" magazine [http://www.skydivemag.com/articles/aug99/bang.htm] which says: "Skysurfers may make an informed and considered choice not to wear an ADD for board jumps."
One guy asked: "Not being a skysurfer myself (yet), can anyone suggest what these reasons might be? Why would skysufers NOT want their cypres to fire at 750ft?"
One replied: "I think it's because if it fires - especially accidentally at higher altitude - and you're upside down or possibly unstable, and the canopy deploys between your legs, you could have a bit of a problem if it's a square."
Another one wrote: "Someone once told me a few years ago that it was to do with areas of high and low pressure caused by the 'unusual' bodyshapes (compared to face-to-earth flying). A high pressure area will cause an alti to state you're higher than you are so presumably a low pressure area would cause an AAD to think you're lower than you are. Is this correct or was I misinformed."
It seems as if there is still a great deal of insecurity among skydivers about whether or not a skysurfer should use an AAD. Curious and insecure ourselves, we sent an email to Airtec in Germany--developers and producers of the Cypres--and within 24 hours we got the answer. (Thanks alot Kai!)
Here is the english translation of Airtec's statement:
The question if the Cypres can get confused by fast spinnings can definitely be answered with "NO". Helmut Cloth has especially paid great attention to this point while developing the Cypres. And, so far, well over a million jumps with the Cypres have proven this fact. During these jumps no axis at which a skydiver can spin was left out. Airtec has supported the SSI Pro Tour for many years, and there has never been reported an accidental firing of the Cypres.
Further I do not see any reason why a skysurfer should not open his reserve below 1000 ft. He is still in freefall and in 4 seconds he will go in--if not now, then when? There is no time to cut away the board, stabalize and pull the handles. To be sure, this situation is not comfortable at all but since you missed the better options before....!
In my opinion it is more likely that a loose loop or bridle or a partially dislodged reserve pin are the more realistic threads for a skysurfer. All the best!