Frederick Army Air Field - Following up on the loss of team member Captain (Retired) James Yost, the WW II Airborne Demonstration Team (ADT) has continued its investigation into the July 22 events that resulted in the death of valued team member James Yost.
“Jim was jumping a Model SF10A parachute that he owned and packed,” said Colonel (Retired) Raymond Steeley, commander of the ADT. “The ADT Rigger Team inspected Jim’s parachute, and determined that one of the two steering lines on Jim’s chute malfunctioned during the jump operation, causing a slow air descent malfunction for Jim during his jump.”
Team members on the ground who witnessed the event observed that there was a partial malfunction related to Capt. Yost’s parachute, and he was in the process of deploying his reserve chute when he went limp under canopy. The ADT collected the parachute and reserve and the ADT’s Rigger Team and the FAA inspectors inspected them both. “Our Rigger Team examined the chute and reserve, and found the reserve was in good working order, but had not been fully deployed prior to Jim’s landing.”
The medical examiner released its observations that Capt. Yost’s death was the result of blunt force trauma, but did not conduct a full autopsy. The ADT believes such a finding is inconsistent with the witness observations and the personnel that attended to Capt. Yost on the ground when he landed. “Given Jim’s experience, I have to believe that a physical issue came upon him that prevented him from fully deploying his reserve chute. This was also the conclusion of medically trained ADT members who came to Jim’s aid after he landed,” said Col. Steeley.
Capt. Yost completed his ADT training and joined the team in January 2014. Given his prior service with the U.S. Army Special Forces and his experience in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 505th Paratroop Infantry Regiment during the Vietnam War, Jim was considered a true asset to the team. Capt. Yost was an experienced parachutist, with 36 jumps while on active duty and approximately 10 jumps with the ADT.
“We will continue to work with the appropriate authorities with respect to this event, including the FAA and Jim’s family. Jim will be dearly missed by the ADT family. The team extends its condolences to his friends and family,” said Steeley.
The Team is planning to honor Capt. Yost during the wing pinning ceremony at Open Hangar Day which will be held this Saturday, July 26 in Frederick.