Human error caused the death of a non-commissioned officer during a military freefall training parachute jump in Perris in September, the Air Force announced Saturday, April 4.
Staff Sgt. Adam K. Erickson, a specialist assigned to the 412th Operations Support Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, sustained fatal injuries during a training jump as a member of the Test Parachutist Program at Skydive Perris on Sept. 10, 2019, according to a statement from the Air Force Materiel Command Accident Investigation Board.
Erickson, 29, was a native of Ojai.
The board determined Erickson, who was conducting his second jump of the day from a civilian aircraft, “over controlled his parachute system, which induced a stall and collapsed his canopy at an altitude too low to recover.”
Two factors, “inadequate real-time assessment” and “fixation” were identified by the board as substantial contributors to the deadly accident.
Investigators determined Erickson “recognized he was at a higher altitude than planned for his desired landing point and elected to use braking to increase his rate of descent without sufficient altitude to recover to a fully inflated canopy.”
The investigation also revealed Erickson “was focused on landing at the desired point, to the exclusion of recognizing he was too low to use a full break input.”
The board noted Erickson was using the wrong parachute configuration for the jump.
Erickson was a master parachutist with 346 total jumps, and he had a distinguished service record which included two combat deployments, according to the Air Force.