Vigil CuatroAADs. Who needs ’em? Well, everyone who skydives, that’s who. If you fail to open your main parachute for any reason, your AAD will open your reserve at a predetermined altitude. The purpose of this article is not to explain how they work, I’ll cover that later. For now, a I’ll offer a few opinions on buying an AAD, and then share some other excellent resources on the Web from which you can learn so much more.

Your AAD may be difficult to purchase used. They’re typically around $1,200 new, and they basically depreciate over the life of the unit. A Vigil that has an expected lifespan of 20 years, and is 5 years old? That should cost about 75% of the cost of a new Vigil. You can hedge one way or the other based on whether the AAD needs service soon, but other than that, it’s pretty basic and straight forward. Why are they hard to find used? Because a used one will always be less than $1,200… and if you’re going to the expense of putting a new rig together, this is one place where, if you CAN find a used unit, you can save some money.

Put another way, $1,200 divided by 20 is $60. A Vigil costs about $60 a year to own, and if you’re lucky enough to find one with four years of life left on it, you can safely value it at $240.

Because this is a place where you know exactly how long the AAD is airworthy when you buy it, used units don’t last on the open marketplace for very long.

I was lucky enough to get a used Vigil putting together my first rig. It was 8 years old, which is 40% of expected life span. That put the value around $720, with the knowledge that it should go back to Vigil for its ten year service and a battery replacement in a couple of years.

As of this writing, new AADs are a little hard to find, but not impossible. The main brands are MARS, Cypres, and Vigil. Personally, I prefer the Vigil. it costs about the same as a Cypres and has an expected life of 20 years, and its maintenance cycle is a little longer. Cypres seems to be the more popular AAD.

Learn More about AADs

Cypres used price estimator (by the company who makes ’em).

USPA Ask a Rigger: What do I need to know about buying and jumping with an AAD?

Check out Tony Bourke’s excellent video on AADs by watching this video. Yeah, it’s a half hour. Also, it’s full of information. I could have just plagiarized his video and this post would have been so much better, but isn’t it easier just to watch it? Maybe subscribe to his channel while you’re at it.


1 thought on “Buying an AAD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.