USPA Helps Further Dialogue between Aviacom and Container Manufacturers


Shortly after several rig manufacturers withdrew approval for Aviacom’s Argus AAD to be installed in their rigs, I heard from many skydivers and DZOs who were frustrated with a lack of information and uncertainty about any resolution. Many asked that USPA “do something.” Even though USPA is a member association, not a trade association or regulatory body, I felt compelled to see if there was some way we could help.

With help from USPA staff, I arranged for a conference call with each of the rig manufacturers to hear first-hand of their concerns and whether there was hope for a resolution. We learned that the individual manufacturers finally reacted to a growing concern over the ability of the Argus to cleanly sever the reserve closing loop after an activation of the AAD in at least three previous incidents. We were also able to get the manufacturers to discuss the type of testing protocol that they wanted to see performed by Aviacom to resolve those concerns. We learned that useful dialogue had broken down between the parties.

Once we had the list of state concerns, I contacted Karel Goorts of Aviacom, and made arrangements for another conference call involving Karel, USPA staff and me. Karel expressed an eagerness to resolve the issue and described testing that he was willing to perform with involvement by the rig manufacturers. He also expressed a willingness to reestablish and enhance communication with the manufacturers while trying to resolve the issues.

Finally, USPA shared the information between Karel and the rig manufacturers and urged both sides to remember that our members (and their customers!) deserve their efforts to try to work toward a solution. Since then, one manufacturer has reapproved the Argus for their rigs. The two sides still have much ground to cover, but at least there is now some open communication that will hopefully lead to progress. I hope for those of you who own an Argus that the solution comes quickly.


4 Responses to “USPA Helps Further Dialogue between Aviacom and Container Manufacturers”

  1. Eugene Seevers Says:

    Not a USPA issue at all.

  2. Abraham Lasschuijt D-4011 Says:

    What is the situation now? Was there a result after the talks? In the Netherlands you are forced to remove your Argus AAD completely, from whatever rig you have…

  3. Gary Ostrander Says:

    Now that Aviacom has discontinued the further production of the AAD, what is the most likely action that container manufactures will take on the device? Will we be forced to remove it again since there is no parent organization or what?

    I am in the military and we currently utilize the Cypress for our operations. I do believe that there is more than one manufacture that can produce a good product to work correctly. I have read through the report produced on the mishap, and it seems odd to me that a “piece of lead shot” from a packing weight was lodged in the cutter and prevented it from “operating correctly”. Clearly this is not the device or the manufactures fault. Place the same object in a Cypress or Vigil and see if they have the same result.

    I am clearly disappointed in the overall annomocity of the parachuting community. I look forward to hearing some great feedback and the ultimate results of Aviacom not remaining in business.

  4. p.o.d.z.o Says:

    I feel that the industry let itself down here.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with the 5th grade response that all involved had to this issue. Aviacom did a terrible job of customer relations which is probably what led up to this farce. The container manufacturers completely failed to support their decision to anyone other than their own satisfaction.

    I’m personally $25K out on this deal and if it had been for a good reason presented with reasonable evidence. I would have to shrug my shoulders and accept that it was crappy luck. I do not however believe luck had anything to do with it. I feel it was an organized effort to get rid of Aviacom which arguably may have been valid given their response to customer issues both before and after the ban. What was not valid was an apparent complete disregard for the impact this was to have on the end user. They will argue that the is not the case but my personal experience and their pathetic presentation of so called evidence to support this action, I feel support my opinion.

    I personally had an extensive conversation with one of the chief riggers of a well known container manufacturer. The conversation started with an emphatic “WE made this decision based on evidence”. Ok I thought. He’s going to have something useful to say that will at least make me feel there was a valid reason for all of this…. The conversation ended with “well, it wasn’t just my decision to make” after I had taken him to task on all of the so called pieces of evidence. Apparently it was enough to have seen the cutter from the “San Marcos” rig as the owner of that rig refused to release the whole rig for inspection. Kind of like a crime scene investigator being content to see the body once it’s been clean up and stuck in the morgue.

    Aviacom may have let itself and it’s customers down badly, but that does not leave the rest of the industry blame free.

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