The Black Diamond Pilot 11 JetForce is Black Diamond's sidecountry, heli and cat-oriented airbag pack. The pack is big enough to carry gear, a layer, food, and an extra pair of gloves, but not much else. It is one of our testers' favorite packs for "rideability" or how well it moved with the wearer on the down. What makes the Pilot even more appealing is its hassle free refills while traveling to cat and heli ski/snowboard operations. Unlike all other airbag packs, which used a cylinder of compressed gas that must be refilled after used or emptied before flying, the JetForce uses a battery powered fan to inflate its airbag, eliminating travel and refill hassles.
The downside, at $1050, it is one of the most expensive pack in its size range, as well as the heaviest. This pack is certainly not the most versatile pack, as its small size makes it move and ride with the wearer fantastically, but limits its uses and volume while touring. It's perfect for mechanized skiing and boarding, but a poor choice for touring. It does have a wonderful sidecountry and short touring capabilities, though this limits its overall versatility. The Backcountry Access Float 22 took home the notable award for heli, cat, and sidecountry skiing, as it performs nicely on the way down, and includes more pack friendly features that our testers liked more (we could ski slack-country with just a tad more gear and it could go on shorter less gear intensive day tours far better). That said, we still think the Pilot is a sweet mechanized ski pack for those who want easier air travel and don't care about longer tours.