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SAVE Lives and SAVE Money with a CYPRES SAVE Story

Screenshot from Cypres activation video from a CYPRES Save story

More activations

Airtec, manufacturers of the CYPRES AAD, have noticed an increase in the number of AAD activations. This trend is demonstrated by the fact they are selling more and more cutters, the part that needs to be replaced after a CYPRES activation. It seems bizarre that, when the sport is now safer than it has ever been – in terms of equipment, knowledge and training methods – more jumpers are having AAD fires.


Good equipment is no substitute for good training. And even both together do not make you immortal. Airtec’s original idea was to make skydiving safer, not to increase the willingness of skydivers to take risks. That is why they are watching this trend with concern and want to counteract it.

A second trend is that Airtec is receiving fewer Save Stories – reports submitted by jumpers who’ve had a CYPRES fire, usually followed by an interview, in which they share the situation, their thought processes, lessons learned and anything else relevant. The ‘Save Stories’ are published on the Cypres website (here), and have become an important part of Airtec’s care, playing their part in keeping awareness alive. It is also a benefit for the rescued to see that their experiences are valuable to other skydivers. Airtec has therefore decided to give something back in order to get more Save reports again…

CYPRES cutter
Photo by Axis

Free Cutters

Therefore, in the hope of encouraging skydivers to share the circumstances led to their AAD activation, Airtec is changing policy when it comes to replacement cutters.

From 2 May 2024, every skydiver that has a CYPRES save and gives Airtec an interview, can receive a replacement cutter for free, for publishing their story. The cutters normally cost upwards of 220 USD/EUR, so this is a little incentive to report the saves.

We would like to motivate skydivers to share their personal experience


What defines a CYPRES Save?

A CYPRES save is defined as when the reserve loop is cut by the CYPRES cutter, because the skydiver did not take any action or could not carry out emergency procedures. There may be cases where things are not that clear – for example, if the jumper pulled the reserve handle at the same time the CYPRES fired – but Airtec would like to receive those stories too.

Save Examples

Below are summaries of three Cypres Save stories, more are on their website here

Marine Descols

Ultra-experienced skydiver and wingsuit instructor Marine Descols was running a WS coaching jump when one of her students collided with her, knocking her out He had had a bad exit and was trying to catch. Up from underneath Marine didn’t’t see him because he was out of visual range, she was flying on her back.

Marine was still unconscious when she landed in a tree. That’s where she woke up–hanging like a Christmas ornament, with no idea what she was going there. It took her an hour to recover enough of her memory to piece together a story. The other jumper was unharmed, and Marine escaped with a black eye and strained, sore muscles. 

Fortunately, Marine had reset her CYPRES firing altitude upwards, because they were flying over mountains. Her CYPRES activated at the adjusted setting of 450 m (about 1,500 feet). She was happy her enormous ATC wingsuit didn’t interfere with her deployment processes.

“It could have been so much worse with the wingsuit.  I had no line twists, no spinning.”

Marine Descols

Read the full interview here:

Benoit Hebert

Police officer, Benoit Hebert, couldn’t get his pilot chute out of the pocket. He tried 3 times and then gave up, thinking it was too late to open his main, as the CYPRES would open the reserve and he did not want a main/reserve entanglement. For no particular reason he did not initiate any EPs.

“I don’t know why, but I turned into the wind and waited for the impact… I then heard a “mechanical” noise in my back – then “BOOOOM”, the reserve opened.. Hooray!!”

Benoit Hebert

This is a classic example of a jumper freezing up at a critical moment – often due to the ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline rush of a malfunction. It is easy to criticise Benoit’s actions in hindsight but no-one knows what they will do in this situation unless it actually happens. We all hope we’d be cool under pressure but who knows?!

Ben jumped again 40 minutes later, fair play!  He is vice president of the French National Police Parachute Association and has used his experience to improve safety within the Police Para Club, by changing systems and raising awareness.

Read the full interview here:

Reinout de Clercq

Back in 2015 Reinout De Clercq and Simon Hoorens were jumping together on a Sunday morning over Belgium and were still carving head-down at activation altitude. Reinout’s CYPRES fired first and Simon’s unit a second later. Both jumpers walked away without serious injury.  

Nothing in their previous behaviour pointed to this happening – yet it happened. Both jumpers confessed to being too reliant on their audibles. Possibly they did not hear them because of the wind noise in their high speed carve. Both skydivers jump with 2 audibles now, and Reinout has set them higher.

“When you first start skydiving you hear stories about other people – that they must have done something terribly wrong, and you believe that nothing can happen to you. This helped me to understand that even when you follow all the safety procedures something can go wrong. The longer you skydive the better you understand that it is dangerous and something can happen at any time.”

Reinout de Clercq

Read the full interview here:


Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories. Our sport has only become as safe as it is today by the community openly sharing information when things go wrong. Riggers, manufacturers, dropzones, instructors, pilots and sport skydivers are all an essential part of this process. It is vital we continue this process, to save lives.

If you have had a CYPRES fire, please do not be ashamed or embarrassed to share your story. Every one of us has lost altitude awareness at some time, and we have all made mistakes that could have resulted in injury or worse. You are blessed to be alive. Help someone else to stay alive. Let’s remember that an AAD activation is not a guarantee of survival; it opens the reserve container, the canopy must still deploy. Just a small hesitation in the deployment could be and has been fatal. So, preventing another jumper’s AAD activation could reasonably save them injury or even their life.

Many prominent jumpers have reported their errors of judgment in safety matters. I shared my stupidity in landing a malfunction, Dan BC confessed to making a jump he knew was a bad idea and Kate Cooper-Jensen shared her undone chest strap story. There is no shame in making a mistake. To me, there is shame in not sharing information that could help the community.  How can we possibly be in a situation where we the sport is the safest ever, and we have more AAD fires than ever?  We need to find out what’s going on – and for that we need information.

As Carmen Hubner said in her article, ‘If I ever use my AAD’:

Learn from the mistakes of others, you cannot live long enough to make them all yourself

Please Report Your Save

Here is the link to report a CYPRES Save: Submit Your Save Story

It doesn’t have to be a recent event. Please consider sharing even if you’ve already bought your new cutter!  

The process of sharing the details and information from reports – both locally and ultimately with everybody – contributes to the onward progress of the technology we employ to help keep people safe while skydiving.

No story, no free cutter!
Photo by Axis
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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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