This blog post is for my skydiver friends
As a certified parachute rigger, I often get asked this question: “Which Automatic Activation Device should I buy? Cypres or Vigil?”
Arguably, these two are the only real choices in today’s market.
While both units have had some growing pains in their initial releases. I am condident that both units are reliable and will function as designed.
Without getting into the merits of the software running on each unit, here’s my opinion: Get a Vigil / Vigil2.
And here are the reasons why:
The Vigil is a little heavier than a Cypres, which could potentially be seen as a disadvantage, but from a Rigger’s perspective, the Vigil is built way tougher and stronger (see images on the right). It has a metal case (not plastic) and the wires (Control head and Cutter) are thick and reinforced, yet flexible, with reinforced metal connectors. Most people never see the inside of a reserve tray and the business end of an AAD, but if you did, you’d see right away that the Vigil is built stronger and tougher. What does that mean to you? It means that the likelihood of your ADD breaking or being broken by your rigger is much less. I’ve personally witnessed other riggers break the thin wires on both Argus and Cypres AADs while repacking them. What a pain.
The Vigil has 3 Modes in 1: PRO – STUDENT – TANDEM
Most people only ever own gear personal gear, and only ever set their AAD to “Pro” (The equivalent of the Expert Cypres), so this isn’t a big feature to them, but think of resale – if and when you want to sell your gear, would you rather have the potential of your AAD being installed in a student rig or a tandem rig as well? Why Yes I do! Bigger market means better chance of selling it at a good price. For the record resale value on both units has always been really good.
The Vigil has a built-in logbook with total number of jumps, overall free fall time, last free fall time, max speed of the last free fall, number of saves, atmospheric pressure, temperature… It’s quite handy for all kinds of reasons, and especially for figuring out exactly how many jumps a set of gear has.
A Vigil is designed for 20 years life expectancy vs. 12.5 years on a Cypres. Yes, your gear will last that long.
This is the big one. Check this out. Let’s figure out the Lifetime Cost and Per Year Cost of a Vigil vs. a Cypres.
A Vigil will last 20 years and need new batteries every 5 years or so. Using Paragear’s current price of $1,395, and 3 batteries (one each on years 5/10/15 at $60 each, I get a total cost of $1,575.
A Cypres will last 12.5 years and need mandatory maintenance (you have to send it off) every 4 years. Using Paragear’s current price of $1,425, and mandatory maintenance (including shipping from/to Canada) at years 4 and 8 at $300 each, I get a total cost of $2,025.
Here’s where the difference is felt the most. Divide the Total Cost of the unit over it’s useful life.
Vigil: $1,575 / 20 years = $78.75 /year
Cypres: $2,025 / 12.5 years = $162.00/year
That’s $83.25 per year more expensive for a Cypres – or more than double the price!
Get a Vigil, and don’t worry about it!
Lastly, whether you buy a Vigil or a Cypres, Read the F@#king Manual! Do it! Right now! Here are the links:
The units have very different operating conditions, and as a user of each unit, you should know the details of those condition. Educate yourself.
— Alain Bard has been an active skydiver since 2003. Alain holds the following CPSA ratings: D CoP, ,Skydiving Coach Level 2, Jumpmaster (JM), Ground Control Instructor (GCI), Skydive School Instructor (SSI), Skydive School Examiner (SSE), Exhibition Jump Rating (EJR), Parchute Rigger (RA). He is also a Skydiving Tandem Instructor. Alain is a certified Hot Air Balloon Pilot (Transport Canada)
Alain is a certified Paramotor Pilot (Transport Canada) Alain is a certified Paraglider Pilot (HPAC)