The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the Oct. 31 crash in Southern California, also said the pilot, Peter Siebold, was unaware that his co-pilot had unlocked the craft's moveable tail section, which appears to have set off a chain of events that led to ship's destruction.
His co-pilot, Mike Alsbury, was killed in the crash.
The safety agency's latest findings come after its investigators interviewed Siebold on Friday. Siebold, 43, was released from a hospital days after suffering a shoulder injury in the crash.
"He stated that he was extracted from the vehicle as a result of the break-up sequence and unbuckled from his seat at some point before the parachute deployed automatically," the NTSB said in a statement.
An NTSB spokesman said in an email that Siebold unbuckled himself during his fall.