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Argus AAD responds to service bulletins

Aviacom SA, the makers of the Argus AAD have issued a response to service bulletins that have mandated the removal of the unit from several harness/container systems in the past few days:

“We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience that the Argus removal service bulletins may cause you. We were not consulted or advised on this decision. We are still trying to investigate the cause of a recent report from a U.S. drop zone.
The Argus is the most advanced, flexible and most compact AAD ever manufactured. We are proud to have saved 24 lives to this date. This is our life’s work and we completely believe in the technology and performance of the Argus AAD.
Just this week, a few manufacturers came out together to mandate the removal of the Argus AAD from their container immediately due to their personal conclusions on recent reports. These companies include Rigging Innovations, Mirage, Parachute Systems, UPT and Sunpath.

We believe that the decision to remove the Argus from service was taken well before the PIA Symposium. It was just waiting for the ‘right’ timing to zoom in for the kill. We sincerely believe this is a witch hunt.
At this time Skydive San Marcos still refuses to release the affected unit. Therefore, we can not investigate this incident and we cannot defend us. We asked the FAA to help us in this matter and that process begins on Monday, March 28, 2011.

Aviacom has provided the PIA with all the cutter-testing results. But they have refused to accept our testing results.
There is not one valid reason the ground the Argus at this time, but there are three million (3,000,000.00 USD) reasons of an instant replacement market that has been created on behalf of PIA members. And we are not a member.

This is about politics and not about safety.
Removing the Argus from service is not going to improve safety. This ban effectively shuts down this company. We suggest that you contact the harness/containers manufacturers to review their decision. It’s the only solution on a short notice.

We look forward to resolving this issue with hard facts asap. More information will follow as the investigation continues.

Kind regards,

Karel Goorts
Aviacom SA

P.S.: We just received a report that Argus # 1 207011 102269 had its 3rd Life-Save in a Telesis from Rigging Innovations earlier this year.”

You can also check out YouTube videos showing cutter loop tests and live tests performed in France, 2010:
Argus Loop Test 1
Argus Loop Test 2
Argus Loop Test 3
Argus Live Tests, France 2010

This is getting to be the most interesting service bulletin I have seen issued, and noticeably absent from the list of harness/container manufacturers are Velocity Sports Equipment (Infinity), Jump Shack/Parachute Labs (Racer) and Strong Enterprises (Quasar) – as well as several European manufacturers. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

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14 Comments

  • I find it interesting that Mirage keeps getting mentioned in these stories, but they have *not* formally put out a product bulletin yet. Doesn’t end up mattering, as my home DZ has told me that my Argus has to come out of my Mirage if I want to jump it. If it doesn’t come out, I can’t jump that rig at that DZ.

  • That is pretty shitty that the DZ that had the incident has not sent the unit to Aviacom. Does seem like a bit of a gang up on them. Was the Vigil ever un-approved when it was having those mis-fire issues?

  • Beth, I don’t know anything for sure, but it may be possible that the DZ (San Marcos) is not at liberty to release the unit or discuss the matter at present time, hence the silence.
    We are definitely keeping our ears perked and will share any updates we hear of.

  • Help me understand how a Manufacturer can request the removal of an AAD from their rig. Does using a “Manufacturer non-sanctioned” AAD break the TSO?

    Who issues the removal bulletin/ Is this the FAA being influenced by the rig manufacturers?

  • Joe skydiver raises some very valid questions. This all sounded very fishy to me from the start. If this turns out to be some political stunt, I am selling my Jav and will boycott all the asshole manufacturers/DZs that jumped on the bandwagon.

    Rooting for Argus all the way (and I don’t even jump with an AAD)!!!

  • The DZ may not be sending the AAD in for a couple reasons:
    1. It may be required by (or even in the possession of) local law enforcement for forensics / investigation reasons.
    2. It’s not theirs in the first place – belongs to the jumper – unless it was on one of their rigs.
    3. Manufacturers can’t be trusted either. After an accident, I sent a piece of equipment to the manufacturer for them to have a look. They immediately destroyed the evidence. On another incident, a friend of mine was landing a tandem straight in and the CYPRES activated ~300′ above the ground. Airtec said it must have been something he was doing wrong.

    IMHO, the AAD/cutter needs to go to the FAA/DOT/NTSB or similar or some other independent third party for analysis.

  • This would be almost comical, if it weren’t so sad. The infighting and potshots here will continue to hurt skydiving’s reputation as a whole. Hopefully we’ll get some clear answers soon, and won’t delve into the name calling BS we seem to be headed towards already.

  • Good answer, titaniumlegs. You are probably right on the money with all three of those reasons. And I totally agree that the unit should go to an unbiased third party with NO VESTED INTEREST. Sounds to me like this DZ may be trying to insure just that. I guess we will find out. In the meantime, any skydiver that has not done the research online to find out exactly what’s going on should shut up until they do. Speculation can only hurt this Manufacturer’s and/or this DZ’s reputation even more. Let’s know our facts first people. I have researched it. there is LOTS of info out there from all sides. Check it out and decide for yourself.

  • Titaniumlegs you are right on the money. I didn’t want the unit sent to Argus unless there was an independent observer present while the data was downloaded. San Marcos is in possesion of my AAD as per my request and also is an un-biased observer as well. On 2/21/2011 my Reserve deployed while the packer was inserting the D-bag into my mirage, 5 hours after I had jumped it. He thought he had accidently pulled my handle but in reality the argus had fired but didn’t cut all the way thru the closing loop. We don’t know when it fired cause I never heard it or felt it fire. Won’t know till its downloaded. It was manufacture after the 2007 date andhad also been double checked by my rigger to verify it was up to date at my insistance. Both the dropzone manager and I were standing within 10 feet when the reserve deployed. If I had needed it I would have been “D.R.T.” Dead right there. I had dropped the rig on the packing mat, even face planted during landing, so 2 shocks to the container and It still took it 5 or 6 hours and the main being repacked to finish cutting thru the closing loop. Manager told me to buy a lottery ticket cause I was one lucky S.O.B.
    Hope this answers ya’lls questions

  • I use argus and it worked for me. I think it is political and we need to see previous incidents to take a call on this.

  • Ok, let’s go thru this: what if two or three cypres would misfire under certain circumstances- do ya think all manufaturers would have the cypres removed???
    So, it must be about politics. by the way, all AAD’s went thru some shit before- so don’t panic.
    BUT is it the answer of the company to shut their website down and cry about it? I couldn’t contact them after my rig was grounded. Neither one of their service stations. In the beginning of the season that really blows!

What do you think?

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