MarS m2 AAD - All You Need To Know

MarS m2 AAD - All You Need To Know

Brief History of the m2 AAD

MarS m2 AAD

The MarS m2 might be the newest AAD to enter the UK market, but that doesn't mean the device is actually 'New' to all markets. The m2 was a conceptual idea back in 1999 and the first iteration was the MPAAD (Mars Parachute Automatic Activation Device) which branched out into the MPAAD Pilot, designed specifically for the emergency parachutes used by pilots of aircraft and helicopters.

The m2 currently available has been sold since 2011 and was popular and rapid success in Eastern Europe. As the years progressed, it started making significant progress throughout the rest of mainland Europe and spread across the USA and rest of the world. This was, in part, to the major manufacturers including lastly Sun Path (April 2nd 2013) certifying that it could be installed into their containers.

MarS has also released the m2 Tactical, which caters to the military market and did so mid 2013 along with a firmware update for the m2.


General Properties of the m2 AAD

This AAD has a number of unique properties and characteristics which have helped it progress into mainstream usage.


Long maintenance free life.

A lifetime of 15 years (up to a maximum of 15,000 jumps) without ever needing to send the unit back for maintenance or ever replacing the battery.

water droplets indicating waterproof potential

Waterproof up to a depth of 2m.

Great for those planning on making entries into water, or those that are planning on swooping ponds and might make a mistake.

UK Copper Coins 

Ultra low operating cost.

A major selling point in Eastern Europe where the price of an AAD is proportionally higher to the living wages of the general public. Actually - it's significantly less than the running costs of a Vigil over the AADs lifetime and well under half the cost of the CYPRES annual running cost.


The ability to 'step up' the mode of the Expert or Student models to Speed or Expert respectively. To help explain this, we'll use the following example. Assume that an individual who is really good at swooping makes their living by filming tandems, coaching and instruction - not every one of those jumps will see the skydiver perform a jaw dropping high speed swoop wearing a massive weight belt.

In situations like this, the EXPERT mode AAD will function with a >35m\s or >78mph speed for regular use, but if the skydiver decides that today is too good to work and wants to concentrate on swooping, they can activate the X-Mode during the start sequence and push the EXPERT mode AAD into SPEED mode. This will give them a triggering speed of >45m/s or >100mph.

Gravity Index

If you've ever wondered if your AAD would fire during your turns on a really high performance landing - now you actually have a way to check. The gravity index will express as a percentage readout just how close you came on the last jump to actually triggering the AAD to fire. The 100% activation speed of the EXPERT m2 AAD is 45m/s (78Mph), if you only reached 60%, then you know similar turns are going to result in no unwanted deployment, but if you reach 99% - it's seriously worth considering using the X-Mode to avoid an unwanted deployment. 


 What does the m2 AAD look like?

Pictures of the M2 AAD Automatic Activation Device


MarS m2 AAD - EXPERT control unit
The EXPERT version control unit. Each unit will state what model it is and the unit of measurement it is calibrated for. Operating the unit is done via the pad of a finger and pressing on the yellow button.
m2 AAD automatic activation device cutter
The business end of the AAD, and pretty much a standard sized cutter unit although with a slightly different appearance.
An interesting development is the slightly more squared shape which the manufacturers claim helps reduce unwanted movement and rotation.
That seems to be a logical conclusion!
m2 AAD automatic activation device cutter dimensions
Dimensions of the cutter.



Operating the MarS m2 AAD

Turning it on - Normal Mode

 Turning on the AAD is pretty much a standard procedure regardless of which AAD you choose to use in your kit.

With the unit powered off, press and release the yellow control unit. When the first icon appears, immediately press and release the button again. Press and release when the icon appears for the second and third time.

The unit will have then entered the self calibration and self checking stages of its operation. If you see anything other than the normal two arrows pointing to a bar consult the manual. When you get the two arrows pointing to the solid black bar - you're good to go.

If you miss one of the button presses, you will find that the unit shuts off. The sequence must be started again from the beginning.

M2 AAD how to turn it on infographic

Turning it on - UP, DOWN & X-MODE.

Start the sequence to turn the unit on as normal, but do not press the control pad button for the 4th time. The unit will enter a sub menu which will allow you to enter UP and DOWN altitude modes (if you are landing at elevations above or below your take off height) and then X-MODE. Press the control unit when you see the third option in this sub menu. 

The m2 AAD will then go through the normal self calibration and checking stages, after which it will display that it is in X-MODE.

Turning it off.

With the unit on - repeat the same process as turning it on - if correctly entered, it will shut the unit off, otherwise it will remain active.




List of m2 AAD Icons \ Status Symbols & What They Mean

Below we have listed all the symbols that the m2 AAD can display and what they mean. If you encounter an error, the error numbers with their procedures and solutions are listed at the bottom. 

Normal Operation

The unit is in its normal operation, and currently below the altitude lock height (i.e. on the ground) The central bar will be removed when the AAD is taken above the altitude lock height when jumping.

The m2 Control Interface showing it is in X-MODE


The m2 AAD is in X-MODE. Check to ensure the user is aware of this as the settings are vastly different between NORMAL and X-MODEs.

The m2 Control Interface showing it is in UP Mode for landing at a higher elevation

UP Mode

The unit has been placed into UP mode. If the user is NOT landing at an elevation higher than take off then ensure that they are made aware of this and reset the unit back to normal mode. It is also worth checking to see what the level of correction is and ensure that the number matches the known elevation difference.

The m2 Control Interface showing it is in DOWN Mode for landing at a lower elevations


The unit has been placed into DOWN mode. If the user is NOT landing at an elevation lower than take off then ensure that they are made aware of this and reset the unit back to normal mode. It is also worth checking to see what the level of correction is and ensure that the number matches the known elevation difference.

The m2 AAD Control Interface showing it encountered an error


The device makes a number of checks during the initialisation of the device. Common errors include changes in air pressure during initialisation, or pressures that are outside of the units range. Other errors include self checking of the components, including battery and the cutter. For a comprehensive list of the errors see the table at the end of this icon list.

The m2 Control Interface showing it is now DISABLED and must be returned to the manufacturer


If you see this icon you must immediatley stop using the device and return it to the manufacturer.
If this alert pops up, the unit will disable operations and subsequent attempts to power it on or off the unit will do nothing.

The m2 Control Interface showing it is performing a self check

Calibration & Self Test

This is actually a flashing symbol that you should see when powering the unit on. It indicates that the unit is performing a self check and calibration. This process takes around 3 seconds.

The symbol seen during the initialisation stages of the m2 AAD

Button Press (Type 1)

A button icon seen when pressing the control pad to turn the unit on.

A button icon seen on the m2 AAD when the user is entering the AAD settings and memory

Button Press (Type 2)

A button (inverted) seen when the unit is already on and the user is accessing a sub menu feature of the AAD.

m2 status symbol indicating the opening altitude of the last jump

Opening Altitude

The opening altitude of the last jump.

The status symbol for the m2 AAD showing the total number of jumps the unit has been used for.

Jump Counter

The total number of jumps that the unit has been used for - includes the descents in the aircraft once above the altitude lock height.

A status symbol used by the m2 to show the altitude correction in meters of feet

Landing Location Correction

Landing altitude difference. The menu option to enter the read out (read only - no change possible in this mode) that shows the numeric value of how high or low the adjustment to landing altitude is.

m2 AAD automatic activation device battery life status indicator


Battery Life remaining as a percentage. A new battery will flash "b" the first time it is installed at the factory and then change to 99%

m2 AAD status symbol on control unit for finding out the devices serial number

Serial Number

Device Serial Number

m2 AAD status symbol on control unit for showing the current configuration and firmware

Device Type & Firmware

The menu option to trigger the device to report the device type it is calibrated at and to display the firmware version it is using.

m2 AAD status symbol alerting the user as to when the AAD was manufactured

Manufacture Date

The menu option to access the four digit year and two digit month the unit was put into service.

The symbol for the m2 AAD gravity index seen on the control unit of the AAD


The option to show the gravity index which tells the user how close (as a percentage) the device came to firing on the last jump.

m2 AAD Control window symbol for PRESSURE


The current air pressure in hPa.


Accessing m2 AAD internal memory.

There are a great number of settings and features you can access from the internal memory systems, however they are 'read-only' and you are unable to change any of the internal parameters or settings.

In any of the units switched on modes (Normal, Up, Down or X-Mode) press the control pad once, when the icon appears click it once more. The unit will then cycle through the options for the internal memory before returning to the same mode it was in before it was accessed.

The menus cycle through in this order;

m2 Opening Altitude

Depending on the unit of measurement the device is set to use, you will see the opening altitude (the altitude the unit detected you were no longer in freefall) shown as either 4 or 5 digits.

For units calibrated in feet; The number of digits shown will be as sequence of five digits. For units calibrated in meters; The number of digits shown will be a sequence of four digits.

The opening altitude will not be displayed if the falling speed is not exceeded during a jump, this can include hop 'n' pop style jumps as well as static line jumps.

m2 Total Jumps

The total number of jumps made during the devices operational lifetime will be shown as series of five digits. The unit will increment each time an ascent is made and the altitude lock has been released (Expert version altitude lock released at 1,475ft) This will include any jumps where you ascend to altitude and then return in the plane. Instructors that dispatch static line students and do not exit will still see the counter increment.

m2 Landing Location Correction

If the unit has been set to use either UP or DOWN modes for landing at different elevations, then this will be shown here as a series of three or four digits (three digits for units in meters, four digits for units calibrated in feet)

If the unit has been set to NORMAL operation, then this will read zero.

m2 Battery Life

Battery life is expressed as a percentage (%) in two digits.

A unit showing 1% battery may still be used that day as it carries enough reserve charge to be used all day. If the unit shows a flashing "b" when switching on the battery has 0% and must not be used!

m2 Serial Number

The device serial number is expressed as a six digit number. We recommend that you take note of the serial number and keep it stored somewhere easily retrievable in case your equipment is ever lost or stolen.

m2 Device Configuration & Firmware

The device configuration is expressed as a six alpha-numeric sequence. The first number represents which type of AAD the device is calibrated to operate as;

1 = EXPERT, 2 = STUDENT, 3 = TANDEM and 4 = SPEED.

The second character will indicate if the device is set for calibration in meters or feet.

A = meters, F = feet

The final sequence of four digits relates to the firmware version of the device.

m2 Date of Manufacture

The date of manufacture is expressed as a six digit number in the format YYYYMM. The first four digits represent the year, followed by the month. The day of the month is not shown.


As a three digit number with a decimal point after the first two (eg 88.8%) the Gravity Index will show the user for the last jump only - How close they were to triggering the device. If the device has been powered off, the gravity index will read zero.

m2 Atmospheric Pressure

The atmospheric pressure (hPa) is shown as a five digit string with a decimal point before the last digit. A reading of 09876 would be 987.6 hPa. hPa (Hectopascal) is a commonly used unit of pressure measurement.






Internal Integration Error:



Calibration Error to Ground Zero:

Switch off unit. Switch unit back on. 


Cutter Error: m2 Detected Cuter was damaged, has been fired, has a fault or incorrectly installed.

Check Cutter, replace with new cutter unit.


Battery Low: Battery voltage too low.

Turn off and on again. Return unit to manufacturer if battery alert appears repeatedly.


Pressure Sensor: Out of Range

Turn the Unit off and On Again