When most of us aren't satisfied with something like an avalanche airbag pack, we whine and moan and keep using things we're only moderately stoked on. When Black Diamond's unhappy with what's on the market, it skips the whining, puts some heads together, and does something about it. That, in a nutshell, is the origin story of the Pilot 11 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Backpack, which came about because Black Diamond wasn't sold on the canister-powered, one-time use airbags that dominate the market.
Contrary to the standard model, the JetForce operates on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, giving you at least four deployments per charge, which affords you the opportunity to practice, as well as the chance to deploy your airbag more than once during a day or trip (Imagine being caught in a slide and wondering whether you should pull the trigger now or save it for later. Yeah.) Once you fire it up, the Pilot's rugged 200L Cordura airbag inflates in four seconds to keep you on the surface, and deflates after three minutes to create a potential air pocket in case you're still buried.
At the end of the day, an airbag is only as good as the backpack that carries it, so Black Diamond made sure the Pilot 11 was a killer pack even without taking the airbag into account. At 11L, it's the smallest in the JetForce lineup, perfect for cat and heli skiing, short laps, and resort-accessed backcountry. The easily accessed front panel opens wide to hold water, snacks, and a puffy, while the special avy tool pocket holds your shovel, probe, and other gear easily and comfortably. Black Diamond's ReActive suspension and SwingArm shoulder straps provide a fully adjustable and ergonomic fit, while the padded hip belt includes a stash pocket and the body sports a retractable diagonal ski carry, HiLo helmet holder, and attachment points for a single ice axe, so you'll be ready to go even if you never have to deploy the airbag,