Photo above by Moe Troyer.
While making a 450-degree turn for landing under a Performance Designs Velocity 79 main canopy, this jumper exceeded 78 mph below 750 feet AGL, which caused his Airtec Expert CYPRES 2 automatic activation device to deploy the reserve. Fortunately, the reserve deployed cleanly and remained stable, and the jumper had a rough landing but was unhurt. This jumper had flown the same wing for 13 years and had routinely performed the same turn for landing for more than 10 years without incident. However, on this jump, it appears he met the AAD’s activation threshold, and it functioned as designed.
Jumpers who perform induced-speed landings should review their AADs’ activation parameters to ensure that they stay well below threshold. Inadvertent reserve deployments at low altitudes have caused severe injuries and even death. Those who are nearing their AAD’s activation speeds during landing should switch to an AAD made particularly for that application. For example, the activation threshold on an Airtec CYPRES Speed model is 102 mph below 750 feet, which would have been high enough to prevent this incident from occurring.