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An old video of a double AAD fire has been recirculating on social media, to a barrage of disparaging or ‘funny’ comments

Perhaps there is something more useful we can take from this…

Double AAD Fire

I recently saw a post with this classic video of skydivers forgetting to pull, their AADs save their lives.

What disturbed me the most was watching all these newer skydivers commenting and laughing how stupid they are. Many said these divers were “retarded”, which is not at all the case. Think about it, these guys were certified skydivers! The problem was they were complacent, too focused of the goals of their dive and not altitude aware. I thought the same thing when I first saw that video about 4 years ago. The reality is this can happen to ANY skydiver.

As you gain experience many jumpers may become a little more complacent. You focus on your dive, you want to become a better flyer, and at the same time the fear begins to fade.  When you’re new you might ask “how is it possible to lose altitude awareness?”. It’s easier than you think. You might get into tracking or freeflying, where altitude can start to become harder to check. Freeflying burns altitude much faster so you might not realise you’re going low. You might jump with formations where you’re focused on the group, or getting that dock.

Do what you can to stay altitude aware, always! Every licensed skydiver should always jump with an AAD and an audible altimeter in my opinion (for ‘normal’ skydiving). We need all the reminders we can get. Keep in mind on every dive, time is running out!

Never put a situation like this past yourself man, it CAN happen. To anybody. The people who are the most unsafe are the ones who think it could never happen to them.

The people who are the most unsafe are the ones who think it could never happen to them.

Here is what veteran World Record jumper Pete Knight had to say about the video…

It’s actually very easy to get into this situation, especially when you have a person who is new to jumping camera who is filming another low-time jumper (I don’t know the back story to this particular jump, so don’t know if that’s the case here). The camera person doesn’t want to look at their altimeter, because they are trying make a ‘professional’ video of their friend. Professional videographers don’t keep turning their head away to look at their alti, so he won’t either.

The friend is focussed on posing for the camera, and assumes that the (slightly) more experienced jumper with the camera is altitude aware. Added to that they may have exited at a lower altitude and their internal clocks are still telling them they have plenty of freefall time left. They are looking at each other, so don’t notice the planet sneaking up on them.”

Pete Knight

Remember to check your altitude even when you don’t feel you need to check. Get an audible altimeter for your helmet. Learn what the ground looks like at breakout and pull attitude so you don’t get to rely on it. Always check your AAD and don’t jump without one. Never have the thought that you can never do something that stupid. We’re human and we make mistakes. Knowing that you can make a mistake is the best way to prevent it from happening.

Image by Johannes Bergfors

AAD Firing Altitude

Did you notice how little time there is under canopy after an AAD opening at 750 feet?

It may be worth considering raising your activation altitude. Johannes Bergfors wrote an excellent article on the subject:

Why not Raise your AAD Activation Altitude?

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Meet: Greg Rosolowski

Greg is an amateur skydiver with 134 jumps. He works as product designer and founded Lithe Skateboards with his brother. He has designed skateboards for 15 years, has done research and development for the ski/snowboard industry for 5 years.

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