The Boeing B75N1 pilot reported that he briefed the planned jump with the parachutists before departure during a festival in Tampa, Florida, and that the parachutists were supposed to jump after reaching 2,800 feet mean sea level (msl).
About 30 minutes before the jump, the right-wing parachutist requested to depart from the right wing rather than the front seat; the pilot and left-wing parachutist agreed.
The preflight brief did not address whether the parachutists would drift over the crowd at the airfield or not.
During takeoff, the two parachutists were standing on the lower wing to the left and right of the cockpit and gripping the handhold on the upper wing surface. They were not wearing safety harnesses.
The pilot reported that when the airplane was climbing through about 1,000 feet msl, the right-wing parachutist departed the airplane in a “stable and controlled jump posture” but before the planned jump altitude of 2,800 feet.
The pilot entered a left turn, gained visual contact with the parachutist, and saw the parachute canopy open before the parachutist hit the ground and died. The pilot returned to the airpark without further incident.
Forensic toxicology samples taken from the parachutist were negative for drugs, alcohol, and carbon monoxide. It could not be determined why the right wing parachutist departed the airplane before the planned jump altitude or why he delayed opening his parachute canopy, which resulted in his subsequent impact with trees and terrain.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the parachutist’s low altitude departure from the right wing before the planned altitude and his delayed opening of his parachute canopy, which resulted in impact with a tree and then the ground before the parachute fully opened.
NTSB Identification: ERA14LA011
This October 2013 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.