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.