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The essence

  • When you start your jumping day, you have to switch your AAD on. Do this yourself.
  • At the end of the day you have to switch it off.
  • If you are in any doubt whether you switched your AAD on, switch it off and switch it on again.
Vigil AAD
Vigil AAD

The long version

If you turn on your Vigil2 it remains on for 14 hours. If you start your day at 08:00, your Vigil2 stays on until 22:00. It will not turn off if your Vigil thinks it is in an aircraft, if it is in flight mode. Then it remains in flight mode until it detects a deployment. It makes sense that it does not turn itself off in the air, doesn't it? And as the AAD cannot know how long the flight takes, it remains on. Even when this takes several days…

The Vigil2 goes in flight mode if the altitude changes. This happens if you go up in an aircraft or a hot air balloon. But also if you drive home and this drives takes you up (or down) from the elevation of your dropzone. Then it remains in flight mode and does not turn off until it detects a deployment. So if you drive home without turning off your AAD, this remains in the same session of elevation as where it was turned on. So if you jumped in Spa (Belgium, at an elevation of 1,400ft) and drive home to Antwerp (elevation 60ft) it will go in flight mode and remain in Spa elevation…

If you go the next week to Moorsele (elevation 30ft) your Vigil2 will still be on (display reads “0” as usual). If you jump there your Vigil2 will activate at 800ft AGL + (1400ft - 30ft) = 2170 ft and there is a good chance you end up below two canopies – as has happened to quite a few jumpers. This happens only with Vigil2 with serial number lower than 27,000 that did not have a software update yet. This update is for free and takes a working week to do. After this update the Vigil2 turns itself off after 14 hours regardless whether it is in flight mode or not.

How can you avoid this?

  1. RTFM: the manual of your Vigil2 advises you to turn it off at the end of your skydiving day. And turn your Vigil2 on yourself at the begin of your jump day. If in doubt, turn it off and on again.
  2. Get the software upgrade. After the update you also need to turn on your Vigil2 on at the start of the day and turn off your Vigil2 at the end of the day. If in doubt, turn it off and on again.
Two canopies out&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Performance Designs</a>
Two canopies out — by Performance Designs

To illustrate this…

A first hand account from Johan Van Eeckhout:

So there I was under a Velocity 90 and a PDR 113 at 1,400 feet!

Over a month ago I went to jump in Spa. After 2 jumps, we took the car and drove home.

ERROR 1: I didn’t switch my Vigil off before driving home. So, the device was in flight mode for more than 1 month… When arriving at the Flanders Boogie for a gear check, the staff were doing their jobs. While they started my gear check, they suggested to finish my paperwork at the manifest while they do the gear check in the meanwhile. (Of course these actions were at slightly different locations). When coming back my two sets of gear were checked. I looked at the AADs and they were turned on.

'Great!!!! The staff turned them on for me' = ERROR 2

ERROR 3: I never checked with the staff if they turned on the AAD

So, after the jump, when I pulled and when my main canopy was open and I was closing my slider, I felt a pop, looked behind me and saw my reserve inflating. So there I was under a Velocity 90 and a PDR 113 at 1400ft! Everything worked out fine for me after a stressy couple of minutes landing in a cornfield…

I want to let all of you know: you are responsible for your gear, nobody else. So, turn your AAD on and off yourself. Have safe skydives.

Johan Van Eeckhout