The Expert CYPRES is the most commonly used model as it meets the demands of a wide range of jumpers. Either just off of student status or with skydives into the thousands, the Expert unit is probably the choice for you. The Expert CYPRES activates the cutter when it detects a descent rate higher than 78mph (35mps) at an approximate default altitude of 750 ft (225m) above ground level (AGL).
The Tandem CYPRES was specifically designed to be used on Tandem style skydives, thus the higher activation altitude to allow for the larger canopies being used. The descent rate for the activation is the same as with the Expert CYPRES (78mph / 35mps) but the default activation altitude is approximately 1900 ft (580m) AGL.
The Student CYPRES has unique activation parameters that better accommodate the safety needs of a student during the initial learning progression. If the descent rate is approximately the same rate as freefall, the unit will activate at approximately 750 ft (default setting, same as the Expert), but if the descent rate is lower than freefall speed and still above 29mph (e.g. with partially opened canopy), the unit will activate at approximately 1000 ft (300m) AGL (default setting). Unlike the Expert and Tandem models, it is recommended that the Student unit be turned off in the event that the jump is aborted as the vertical descent rate of the aircraft is still fast enough to activate the unit.
The Speed CYPRES has the highest activation speed than any of the other models; 102mph (46mps) at a default altitude of 750 ft (225m) AGL. Unlike the other models, the Speed CYPRES ceases operation below 330 ft (100m) AGL. The Speed CYPRES is designed specifically to allow for extreme canopy piloting. The high actviation speed plus the feature that ceases operation below 330 ft are tailored for this discipline. The Speed CYPRES is designed to activate reliably in all "regular" freefall situations (without special equipment or pilot chute) when no canopy or drogue is out. For some activities the Speed CYPRES may not be suitable!!
Already the Expert CYPRES may not activate during a wingsuit jump because the vertical speed can be too low; there is even less of a chance that the Speed CYPRES will activate. The Speed CYPRES will activate under an open main if the vertical speed is pushed at or above 102mph (46mps), near or below the activation altitude. In case you exceed this vertical speed, then the Speed CYPRES should be switched off. Although the original 78mph (35mps) speed needed to activate the Expert CYPRES had not been achieved under a fully inflated canopy for decades, today there are an increasing number of canopy pilots that can reach these speeds on every jump. The number of fatalities involving fully open parachutes show that these actions enhance the risk of skydiving dramatically. Please take all of this into consideration before making your choice.
The changeable MODE CYPRES can be configured in the field to have the same activation parameters as any existing civilian model of CYPRES 2 (Expert, Student, Tandem or Speed). This feature can be accomplished by a set series of control unit button pushes until the appropriate model can be selected. After this is done, the current model version is visually recognizable on the control unit display when the unit is on.
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