Air Force determines human error caused parachutist death in Perris

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PERRIS (CNS) – Air Force officials announced this morning that human error caused the death of a non-commissioned officer during a military freefall training parachute jump in Perris.
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.
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.
Aircraft and weather were determined not to be factors in the mishap and there was no equipment malfunction, the board said.
Erickson was a master parachutist with 346 total jumps, and had a distinguished service record which included two combat deployments, according to the Air Force.
The Ojai native was 29.