Monday, January 27, 2020

Sikorsky S-76B, N72EX: Fatal accident occurred January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, Los Angeles County, California

The embattled charter company that operated a helicopter that crashed in January, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others, has blamed two air traffic controllers for the accident.

In a cross-complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week, Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that “a series of erroneous acts and/or omissions” by the controllers resulted in the crash.

The controllers work for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern California TRACON, which handles flights in the region.

“Had [the controllers] not engaged in the numerous negligent acts and/or omissions stated herein, then the Pilot [Ara Zobayan] would not have been forced to respond to multiple [air traffic control] requests and commands during the most critical phase of the flight,” the cross-complaint said.

An FAA spokesman said Tuesday the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The Sikorsky S-76B slammed into a fog-shrouded hillside in Calabasas on January 26th enroute to a youth basketball game.

According to a transcript of Zobayan’s communication with air traffic controllers released by the National Transportation Safety Board in June, the pilot said at 9:44 a.m. he planned to climb above the layer of clouds west of Van Nuys.

“Uh, we climbing to 4,000,” Zobayan said.

“And then what are you gonna do when you get to altitude?” the controller asked.

There wasn’t any response.

Though Zobayan said the helicopter was climbing, the NTSB’s aircraft performance study said it was actually descending. The pilot “could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles” and been suffering from “spatial disorientation.”

The NTSB’s investigation of the crash is ongoing. The agency hasn’t released “probable cause determinations” or similar findings.

Four wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Island Express in connection with the crash, including by Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant. Her lead attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The cross-complaint by Island Express accuses one of the controllers of not properly terminating radar services, leading the pilot to believe “he was still being surveilled and being provided flight following” and that air traffic controllers “would have warned him of unsafe proximity to terrain.”

The filing singles out air traffic control communication with Zobayan during the final minutes of the flight.

“These errors were compounded by [one of the controllers] monopolizing the Pilot’s attention during the critical phase of the flight by making multiple radio calls, requiring transponder ident, and requesting the Pilot to state where he was and what his intentions were,” the cross-complaint said. “The combination of increased stress, workload, and distraction significantly impacted the Pilot’s ability to fly the aircraft.”

The cross-complaint speculates that Zobayan experienced “an illusion that is created when a pilot has been in a turn long enough for the fluid in the ear canal to move at the same speed as the canal … creating the illusion of turning or accelerating on an entirely different axis.”

“The disoriented pilot may maneuver the aircraft into a dangerous altitude to correct the aircraft’s perceived altitude,” the cross-complaint said.

Among other items, the filing seeks a declaration that the cross-defendants are “obligated to defend and indemnify” Island Express.

Attorneys for Zobayan’s estate, which is a defendant in Vanessa Bryant’s suit, previously blamed the helicopter’s passengers for the accident in a court filing.

“Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the estate’s answer to Bryant’s lawsuit said.

https://www.latimes.com


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N72EX

Location: Calabasas, CA
Accident Number: DCA20MA059
Date & Time: 01/26/2020, 0945 PST
Registration: N72EX
Aircraft: Sikorsky S76
Injuries: 9 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

On January 26, 2020, about 0945 PST, a Sikorsky S76B helicopter, N72EX, crashed into hilly terrain near Calabasas, California. A post impact fire ensued and resulted in a brush fire. The eight passengers and one pilot onboard were fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was operated by Island Express Helicopters. Weather at Van Nuys airport, about 14 miles northeast of the site was reported as 1,100 feet overcast with 2 ½ miles visibility. The flight was operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 under visual flight rules from John Wayne Airport (KSNA), Santa Ana, California, to Camarillo Airport (KCMA), Camarillo, California.

An Investigative Webpage is located at https://www.ntsb.gov

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Sikorsky
Registration: N72EX
Model/Series: S76 B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Island Express
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KVNY, 900 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1100 ft agl
Visibility:  2.5 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Santa Ana, CA (KSNA)
Destination: Camarillo, CA (KCMA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 8 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 9 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Witness photo of accident site and weather conditions. 
National Transportation Safety Board



Adam Huray and Carol Hogan, Investigators
National Transportation Safety Board

Carol Hogan, Investigator
National Transportation Safety Board

 
Jennifer Homendy, Board Member
Final Media Brief 
National Transportation Safety Board


B-Roll
National Transportation Safety Board


Jennifer Homendy, Board Member
Second Media Brief
National Transportation Safety Board

Bill English, Investigator in Charge 
Aaron Sauer and Josh Lindberg, Investigators 
National Transportation Safety Board

Adam Huray, Investigator
National Transportation Safety Board

Carol Hogan, Investigator
National Transportation Safety Board

Aaron Sauer and Josh Lindberg, Investigators 
National Transportation Safety Board






182 comments:

  1. First of all I'm not helo rated, but I am a 20K hour fixed wing pilot. In a fixed wing when you fly into unexpected IFR you do a 180. Takes a little room and some flying skills. In a helo seems like you could just stop; at least slow down, do a pedal turn and go back the way you came. Why apparently continue to fly around at 100+ KTS until you run into something. Granted it could be a mechanical problem, pilot incapacitation or something else. Just saying. Could also be that deadly condition known as "get-there-itis".

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    1. I have to agree with the above.

      I've read a couple of reports the ground speed just before impact was 161 knots (185 mph). Not sure if that's rumour or fact but if fact who flies at that speed in marginal VFR conditions.

      As for the get-there-itis... I'm wondering if that was self-induced on the pilots part as everything I've heard about Mr. Bryant was that he rarely spoke, just climbed in, buckled up, and sat quietly.

      Of course all of the above is only speculation on my part based on what I've heard and read. We'll probably never know the reality of what was going on inside that cabin.

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    2. I just don't get why he put his own academy 90 miles from home, creating the need for a helicopter to begin with.

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    3. According to what I have come to know you can't hover, or fly very slowly in a helicopter in IMC conditions it has to be flown like an airplane. This is due to the fact can't use visual reference to hover it or control it in IFR. Eyewitness's said they saw the helicopter fly over very slow not 100 knots ADS-B confirms that. The speculation is he was flying slow as he saw rising terrain squeezing him in the clouds. Maybe he looked at a map on navigation system distracted by socal ATC then looked back and saw ground rushing up at him pulls hard on the collective pitch pops up to 2000 at 1450 FPM in IMC he may have flared it like you said turned 180 with the tail rotor. Lost control over rolled and now it's barreling into the ground he can't see in the IMC to recover it. As you know once your in an unusual attitude in IMC without Visual reference difficult to recover in an airplane probably even more difficult in a helicopter. Some keep saying why not fly IFR flight plan I know the answer Kurt Deetz the pilot from 2014-2016 said the Island Express helicopter service is a Part 135 VFR only operation they do not fly IFR at all. This could be because of insurance reason who knows it's not an offered service.

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    4. "Island Express helicopter service is a Part 135 VFR only operation they do not fly IFR at all. This could be because of insurance reason who knows it's not an offered service."

      They were not IFR because they were cheap. But yet they were operating a ten million dollar helicopter!

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    5. I agree with the top statement. Once you see and sense the weather will not be conducive for continuance of flight, a pilot must do an abrupt 180 degree turn.
      I will be very interested to see what the NTSB determines.

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  2. As a 20 year US Army helicopter pilot I recall one of the more delicate tasks we had was telling high ranking passengers when we couldn’t fly, usually due to weather. A lot of them would try and intimidate us into flying anyway. The desire to complete the mission can sometimes override rational thought, couple that with a bit of overconfidence in one’s abilities and you possibly attain results that land you in the Kathryn's Report.

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    1. My thoughts precisely. Even Marine I & II pilots refuse to fly when ceiling is low, regardless of pressure from dignitaries. No one wants to motorcade to Camp David, but better safe than sorry.

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    2. He should have filed an IFR flight plan and/or not launched into a marine layer. Lack of TAWS in this case seems to be incidental. I've seen plenty of friends crumple aircraft far more expensive and complex than this S-76B. All the equipment in the world may not compensate for poor decision making.

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    3. It was because Island Express the company which he chartered with was a Part 135 VFR only operation they are not allowed to fly IFR at all.

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    4. You too? Most senior officers understood; it was the few who didn't that are remembered.

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  3. Thing I don't understand is the pilot was instrument rated. Why not file an IFR flight plan and be done with it?

    Seems like the pilot might have had time to file a pop-up IFR flight plan while circling over Glendale.

    Thoughts and prayers for all those on-board and their families!

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    1. Understand they were headed to a basketball game at some school. IFR flight plan would have been appropriate if it terminated at an airport, but useless if the school wasn't close to the airport.

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    2. The photograph of the crash site shows that the pilot did not know where the helicopter was ... he had the elevation to fly near the ocean, not the ridges that were on course.

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    3. I am not a pilot though a frequent reader of KR. Juan Browne, who is an ATP who flies for a major Airline and a contributor to Youtube, "Blancoliro Channel thinks that the Helio Pilot may have been under pressure to meet a deadline and IFR flight plan would have required him to fly under some constraints that are not mandated under VFR. I question the WSJ article thooough I may have misunderstood the implications. He was told by the ATC that he had to maintain SVFR flight and maintain a certain altitude IIRC 2500 ft. I thought the PIC is the one who made that cal.

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    4. This question has been answered by Kurt Deetz who was the pilot in 2016 who flew Kobe around. There is an interview of Kurt Deetz on YouTube by inside edition where Kurt explains Island Express is a Part 135 VFR only operation they do not offer any IFR flights. Maybe insurance reasons I'm only speculating on the insurance I don't know the reason maybe it takes 2 pilots to fly IFR. It sounds like to me Island express is a small company they just don't have the resources to fly IFR not sure.

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    5. He may have been Instrument rated, but if he wasn't proficient there's no way he could have safely, or legally, filed IFR. It's the first skill you lose if not used regulary.

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  4. "Mr. Deetz said, the only people in the air would have been professionals like Mr. Zobayan".....there is something wrong with that statement. IFR is not I follow roads and then hit terrain.

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    1. With a 500 to 600 foot long debris field this sounds like ‘controlled flight into terrain’, at speed. When flying IFR you are doing what the Controller tells you to do. The Controller always knows where you are relative to the ground. When flying VFR you can see the ground. This was no man’s land.

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  5. Flying at 1,400 feet will get you killed in the Santa Monica Mountains. The pilot should have known this. He failed himself and all eight passengers.

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    1. Let the investigation play out before jumping to conclusions. "Mr. Zobayan was an experienced pilot deeply familiar with the Los Angeles area" and he was flying a well-equipped rotorcraft with IFR capabilities, including TAWS and three-axis autopilot. Certainly he pushed the envelope but to assign blame this early in the investigation is irresponsible. One can always request an IFR clearance in the air and I assume Mr. Zobayan would have done that if the weather deteriorated below marginal VFR.

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    2. The descent rate was approx. 2,000 fpm in a left bank according to the last NTSB press conference. There were numerous eye witness accounts within visible range of the crash site that stated that they could hear the helicopter above them but could not see it or, as one said, could not see the effects of the rotor downwash in the clouds. Special VFR doesn't say 1 mile and in the clouds. It says clear of the clouds. I agree with the first comment.

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    3. The NTSB states that the Sikorsky S-76 was not equipped with a TAWS however Wikipedia article on the Sikorsky S-76 states under Avionics that a Honeywell Ground Proximity Warning System is included. Skybray does not make a distinct between these comparable systems so what gives!

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    4. N72EX was equipped with a Radar Altimeter, which shows aircraft's height above the ground to the nearest 50 feet. A pointer can be set to any height AGL such that a light will illuminate when passing through that level. Perhaps also a buzzer might sound.

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  6. Even professionals are human and humans make mistakes.

    Such a sad loss of lives.

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    1. Mistake describes the human element. Reckless might describe the degree of the mistake.

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  7. A common phrase used by some is:
    "If you can't do it, we will find someone who can"
    Any pilot or company who fails with transporting VIPs to meet schedule will eventually be told this once and lose that work. In all future work, they will silently tell it to themselves, from the memory of that first dismissal.

    Repetitive high dollar transport of high profile customers to meet daily schedules requires that the provider be ready to load a second pilot when starting flights on poor weather days and thus be able to seamlessly go IFR without excessive single pilot workload. It is not the same get-there-itis as a private pilot who could have spent a night in a hotel. It is business survival, for pilots and companies alike.

    Two pilots costs more, but tell your VIPs what the benefits are and maybe things will change.

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    1. That company was not licensed to fly IFR by the FAA, even if the pilot was IFR certified.

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  8. I once was traveling with friends to a long weekend in Montreal. I was to pick my friends up in Connecticut, but there was a severe line of thunderstorms between us and Montreal. I remember the pressure I felt when I don't them we weren't getting out that evening. They said they had concert tickets, etc. and didn't want to miss it. My response was, "I don't want to die, and I don't want to kill you".

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  9. ARA ZOBAYAN
    CFI/FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR - INSTRUMENT HELICOPTER (2020-08-31)
    CFI/FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR - ROTORCRAFT-HELICOPTER (2020-08-31)
    GI/GROUND INSTRUCTOR - INSTRUMENT
    PILOT/COMMERCIAL - INSTRUMENT HELICOPTER
    PILOT/COMMERCIAL - ROTORCRAFT-HELICOPTER
    PILOT/PRIVATE - INSTRUMENT HELICOPTER
    PILOT/PRIVATE - ROTORCRAFT-HELICOPTER

    One would think this pilot would have executed better judgement. After all, isn't that what aviation is all about?

    This did not have to happen, but the aviation community will say we will all learn from this. Simple lesson = When the Wx is that bad folks, stay on the ground.

    ATP/CFI Air Carrier 30+k hrs.

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  10. Can anyone explain the unprecedented hero worship that this guy engendered? There are gushing tributes to his greatness all over the internet. Sometimes 8-10 articles on him in the same news source. What did he do? Do know that he commuted every day by helicopter. Did he feed the hungry? Did he house the homeless? Did he educate the underprivileged? If so, these articles don't mention these things. I just cannot figure out why some guy who got rich playing a sport, then lived the high life, is now being given the mourning of Abraham Lincoln, one of whose accomplishments was freeing an entire race from slavery, or Mother Teresa, who sacrificed her life to serve the poor.

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    1. Bryant never did do right by his rape victim.

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    2. I can’t either. There sure is a lot of PC BS being stated by these pro athletes. For what?

      This is what I remember:

      In the summer of 2003, the sheriff's office of Eagle, Colorado, arrested Bryant in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee. Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County in advance of undergoing knee surgery nearby. The accuser stated that Bryant raped her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have the procedure. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser but denied her sexual assault allegation.

      The accusation tarnished Bryant's reputation, and the public's perception of him plummeted; his endorsement contracts with McDonald's and Nutella were terminated. Sales for Bryant's replica jersey fell significantly. However, in September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser decided not to testify at the trial. Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to her for the incident, including his public mea culpa.

      Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual.

      OK, so you cheated on your wife. SHAME ON YOU BIG BOY!!

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    3. A highly competitive nature coupled with the fascination of someone heroically vaunting the rules to win in the end can be a deadly combination. What makes an engrossing thriller story does not necessarily become what makes a prudent action.

      I am suspicious about the backstory in this story. Just saying.

      I do remember JFK Jr. as well and with the same feelings. "Rules do not apply equally to me."

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    4. Why is the fact that eight other people died in this crash presented as nothing more than an afterthought? The NBA halts games to pay homage. The Grammys participants gave eulogies. Every news account, whether CNN, ESPN, Fox News or the MSNBC act as if Bryant was the only victim of any consequence. "Kobe Bryant, Eight Others Killed" AvWeb headline.
      Interesting world we live in these days.

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    5. "The United States has become a place where entertainers and professional athletes are mistaken for people of importance."
      Robert Anson Heinlein (American science-fiction author)

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    6. I guess he wasn't perfect like the rest of you guys ... I'm not perfect either so I'm not going to throw the first stone. YMMV

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    7. They were just people. No one cares. If Bryant had not been onboard, do you think you would have heard about a general aviation crash that killed eight people? At least there are some people like yourself to try and remind us that ALL lives are valuable. Thank you.

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    8. Non-VIP crashes are still news, just not for very long if no VIPs. The evening news covered the Corona Bonanza crash and that was four people. No names, just the event. Here is CBS (see 6:38 mark):

      https://archive.org/details/KPIX_20200123_023000_CBS_Evening_News_With_Norah_ODonnell

      This is full info:
      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2020/01/beechcraft-b36tc-bonanza-n36tt-fatal.html

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    9. " If Bryant had not been onboard, do you think you would have heard about a general aviation crash that killed eight people?"

      Yes, genius. We have many DOZENS of those stories here on KR. And most are not even NEAR eight people we never heard of either. Just put a sock in it. If you don't have anything positive to say, shut up. Thank you.

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    10. Yeah, also got irritated over the fact, the other PAX on board were regarded as essentially irrelevant....Inadvertant IMC is a serious emergency and this pilot I think, should have done a Vx climb to an LSALT, a Vx (max angle) climb is an interesting concept in a chopper, as it is essentially vertical dependant on OGE performance, however usually flown at a low forward speed, if IFR. Or, used one of the great features of a chopper...land in the closest clear area! Or he thought he knew where he was....hence 160 Kts CFIT!? Yes, charter pilots are often put under severe pressure to fly by PAX or management. As an Air Force pilot, this happened to me on occasion, but management, to their credit, would generally support our decision not to fly.

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    11. Prior to departure, I wonder if Bryant questioned the pilot about destination weather? Or, did he just assume that the pilot would take care not to endanger them?

      I personally would be concerned about the weather enroute and at destination when flying on a private helicopter. I would also have insisted on two instrument-rated pilots on a flight into weather or at night.

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    12. who was his rape victim? He was neither tried nor convicted. And as far as a hero's worship goes, look at the hero worship JFK had and he was the biggest POS womanizer ever to walk the earth.

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    13. You mean like a megalomaniac rapist choking a 19 year old girl as he inserts himself into her still developing body?

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    14. Rape is ok if an athlete does it??? Please stop elevating people who throw balls thru a hoop to God status. Trained seals can do that.

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    15. The pilot obviously flew into the mountainside. Whether it was a direct flight or not isn't really material as the cloud cover (or ground fog) obscured the terrain.

      The normal "human" reaction when you see terrain at the last minute is to pull up, hard.

      That could induce a stall, eliminating lift and cause a sudden increase in vertical speed until his altitude was 0 AGL.

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    16. No captain runs his ship aground intentionally. This was an accident and great people will killed. There is no reason to slander the dead - have a little respect for the dead.

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    17. Have some respect for the dead. There is nothing to gain by trash talking the deceased people. No captain runs his ship aground intentionally. This was an accident and great people will killed. There is no reason to slander the dead - have a little respect for the dead.

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    18. The bottom line is that helicopter should not have been in the air with such dense fog.

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    19. Like all the other rich goons, they just pay off their problems and then the "victim" drops the case because now they have the payoff money.

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  11. Tells you a lot about our present day society, doesn't it? Pretty sad. What a bunch of crap!

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  12. this is my guess: when the pilot followed 101 at an altitude under 1500 ft (contrary to what he reported to the ATC) the area was ascending. During ascend the pilot flew directly into the layer of the clouds with decreasing speed. To avoid flying in instrumental weather conditions (in an attempt to fly thru the layer of clouds and to avoid stall) the pilot pushed full throttle. This is the moment when the helicopter rotated to the left and out of control (within seconds).

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    1. This guy was a numb skull. Even LAPD wouldn't fly their Helos because of the fog. They had no business flying.

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    2. They had plenty of business flying, however IMO they should have filed IFR and flown above MSA. LAPD has a different mission... there is no sense in LAPD flying in fog because they need to maintain VFR to see the ground during any search & rescue or airborne operations. So using LAPD as an argument against Bryant's helicopter flying is a poor argument.

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    3. Not really. He was flying VFR, so should have had the same limitations as the police. And Police are flying to save peoples lives and prevent crime, not merely to get someone to a basketball game. The fact that LAPD and LAFD were not flying is a very good indication that nobody should have been flying VFR at that time.

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    4. My point - he shouldn't have been flying VFR.

      And I stand by my original comment - LAPD and Bryant have two entirely different missions. Just because the weather was not conducive for LAPDs mission does not mean Bryant couldn't have flown safely. That is what a IFR flight plan is for.

      Thank you.

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  13. Why not get out over the ocean, say 5 miles, and fly VFR all the way up the coast and stay out of the very busy airport traffic areas??

    Or, file IFR, get in the system and get there in one piece.

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    1. Sea route sounds good, just need to add the emergency floatie system option, a raft, pfd's and vest strobes for night. There would be some night flying sooner or later, which has its challenges, no moon surface/horizon, etc. Floaties won't always keep you upright, don't want to drown your VIP after successful autorotation.

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    2. Living within the area that morning, I can tell you that visibility and ceilings seemed to become more marginal the closer you were to the damp and cooler sea air (coastline).

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    3. I tell you why. The fog is a marine layer. This means it comes from the ocean. Which means that there is fog over the ocean, probably all the way out to Catalina which is some 25 miles out. Next, you talk about avoiding "the very busy airport traffic areas"; except that BUR and VNY are just a tad less busy than LAX. Which also happens to have its Class B extend from the surface up to 10,000' and out over the ocean for about 10 miles. The helicopter route along the coast is below 150' and LAX does not allow SVFR.

      The flight was legal and common up until the end when the terrain started rising up and there was no more space between ground and ceiling.

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  14. The whole problem is that they were hoping to land at the basketball facility ... not an airport ... and that's why they needed to fly VFR. What they should've done is recognized the morning was unsuitable VFR and flown IFR instead.

    That conversation goes: "Ya know, we're gonna have to fly IFR. That means we're gonna have to land at Burbank Airport -- airport closest to Thousand Oaks -- and drive from there. Someone needs to get on the phone and have a car waiting for us at Burbank Airport. We'll be at Burbank at 9:25. Have the car's engine running."

    They have that conversation and you've never heard about this accident.

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    1. Not exactly. They said they were going to Camarillo only 10 miles from the Sports Academy. Burbank is 35 miles. Was Camarillo VFR at the time? If not, they have a tower and plenty of IFR approaches.

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  15. You're exactly right. I thought Burbank might be the closest airport. But Camarillo only 10 miles away and with an IFR approach -- perfect.

    So the conversation goes: "We'll be landing at Camarillo Airport at 9:35 - 9:40. Have the car meet us there and take us to Sports Academy."

    They have that conversation and this accident never happens. And only a 10 mile drive. Piece of cake.

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  16. I used to live a few miles west of the crash site and can attest that the 101 freeway corridor is a very popular east-west route for VFR helo traffic when there is a marine layer. That pass on the 101 between Calabasas and Agoura Hills (about 1,000' MSL with nearby terrain to about 1,500' MSL) is an issue but not a serious one if the conditions are VFR, a big question for this flight. They were high enough to easily avoid the terrain when they suddenly started down, the bigger question.

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  17. First time poster, long time KR reader, retired Naval Aviator and Naval Aviation Safety School graduate.

    Mechanical Failure Theory: Mishap Pilot increases power to punch up through marine layer to get VFR on top. As helicopter enters the marine layer, completely IMC, a mechanical failure/loss of lift occurs necessitating an immediate auto-rotation to emergency landing resulting in disaster due to prevailing weather conditions.

    R.I.P. to the deceased, each and every one a precious life lost. Much grace to their families, friends and fans as they deal with unbearable loss.

    ~A6Av8or

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    1. Agreed, not likely, but needs to be ruled out through investigation.

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    2. Ruling out my own theory based on NTSB Update:

      https://ntsb.gov/investigations/Documents/DCA20MA059-Investigative-Update.pdf

      ~A6

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    3. I suspect a catastrophic failure of the tail rotor, or its linkage, as has been reported by NTSB in other S-76 accidents (Texas, Nigeria, Indonesia). Wild gyrations in heading in the last five seconds of flight, as revealed in the granular ADS-B data, as well as eyewitness account of the aircraft rolling to the left before ground impact, lead me to this conclusion.

      TM, ATP 12K hours, 1000+ helicopter hours

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    4. I think he got vertigo right about as he thought he would break through the clouds, he was climbing steeply possibly pulling some G

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  18. None of the nine people needed to risk their lives for a basketball game or practice session. Flying in the conditions that existed Sunday was a mistake, a huge mistake that the pilot took unnecessarily. Following freeways by a pilot with that many hours and that many qualifications/licenses is downright insane. Why not file IFR and then cancel if VFR weather happens? So many bad decisions.

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    1. But there are some super obvious root causes, right? Some of us, not all, have some parameters about flying or boating. Some people make fun of my parameters, but hey it is my life and I get to make the rules. Even with a IFR rating, I won't fly small aircraft (say a Cessna 172S type) in high winds, low ceiling or at night. Or take out the boat, even though it is fully loaded with radar, out of King Harbor if there is a marine layer out there.

      Delete
  19. I don't see the need to point a finger towards Mr. Bryant. He was not the PIC and there is nothing to suggest he ever put pressure on any pilot to make this or any flight in marginal conditions. By all accounts, he was a professional in his field and understood the need for professionalism in the operation of an aircraft.

    Regarding the many comments about flying the route IFR instead of VFR, the company that owned the aircraft (and used it under 135), was not an IFR company. Since it was a VFR program all they could fly is VFR. They could not have flown that route IFR regardless of weather conditions or desire.

    There must be many non or poor aviators on this site based on some of the lame-brained, prior comments above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. VFR into IMC...exactly what your flight instructor warned you about....

      Delete
    2. That would explain a lot if the operator indeed did not have an IFR 135 certificate.

      Delete
    3. "In a situation where a helicopter pilot inadvertently flies into challenging weather, he says they can declare an emergency requiring that they fly by instruments, and the nearest air traffic controller will vector the aircraft in for a landing."

      Delete
  20. Perfectly acceptable when you're flying on your own private plane, and nobody else but your immediate family is present.

    Other than that, no.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A question nobody has asked: some mountain bikers that were within 200 feet of the crash saw it "falling" out of the clouds and impacting the terrain. They have photos published of the fire and said a door from it landed within 10-15 from them with a lot of debris being thrown around. Add to this the fact that the radar return data shows a vertical descent rate of about -4000 FPM, and one has to wonder what happened. The bikers did say they said it sounded unusual for a chopper. The question is was that a mechanical failure or a spatial disorentiation getting the helicopter out of control? The pilot being IFR rated and many hours in the S76 seems the latter the less likely. But only the NTSB will tell us for reasonable certainty in their conclusion report a year or more from now. I will say this accident investigation will be bumped up in priority to find a cause not because of the celeb factor, but because of the S76 factor and it being popular with corporate and offshore oil drilling companies. A lot of VIPs fly in them and if there is an unknown mechanical threat like from a maintenance repair, the FAA needs to know about it immediately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Following VFR in the clouds is pilot error.

      Delete
    2. The question is why did he scud run at 1400 ft with 8 people on board.

      Delete
    3. VIP had a schedule to meet. Inside the pilots head, a memory from early in every pilots career was reminding him of a simple fact in competitive business flying:
      "If you can't do it, we will find someone who can"

      Delete
  22. A youtube video from a guy who sounds like he knows what he's talking about with a link to an "earwitness" account.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df6OPxxbSyc

    ReplyDelete
  23. NTSB Briefing from Tuesday afternoon; the 316 time tag makes it play where the descent rate is discussed (5:16):

    https://youtu.be/Iv_i7VIS7UU?t=316:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leave off the colon after the 316 to make it work right.

      2000 feet/minute descent rate works out to 23 miles per hour down but does not include forward velocity. In combination, high energy.

      Delete
  24. Video from the time when ATC had them doing a holding circle before heading on up:

    https://youtu.be/QFbxzgnbM2U

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Sense of mission" is the ultimate cause of this accident. This is the emotional climate in which an urgent perceived need clouds risk perception. I am guessing the pilot was prodded by the client to make haste and skip the IFR flight plan. This, when they should probably have not been flying at all. Sometimes, the weather says "no" and you have to accept that answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did not know helos in SoCal followed the highways!

      Delete
    2. Most helicopter pilots, even if they are instrument rated, will not file an IFR flight plan for various reasons. But even if he wasn't on an IFR flight plan, he still should have been aware of surrounding terrain and still should have been able to fly solely with reference to his instruments. It appears he got disoriented, lost his situational awareness and the flight ended abruptly and tragically.

      Delete
  26. Is there any circumstance in which there might not be a lawsuit?

    I don’t see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you make a lot of people a lot of money. That's the pressure.

      Delete
  27. SVFR is a viable option in a helicopter. If the wx is to low it can become dangerous. Always have to alternates, land or a 180. My critera was 250-300 ft. agl depending where I was, 1/2 to 3/4 mile viz and 40 kts with the aternate available at all times. If I lost anyone of the 3 criteria I used the alternate. Spent a few nights at rest areas nad farmer's fields but I'm alive. 15000 Hr. ATP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. N72EX was outside Class-C airspace, so SVFR was not applicable. Class-G airspace requires visibility of 1 statute mile and remaining clear of the clouds.

      Delete
  28. As someone said before your always buried on a sunny day, wait and survive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If, as some suggest, this accident was a result of loss of control due to spatial disorientation from an inadvertent IMC encounter, HTAWS would have been of little use unless the pilot was able to regain control, which he was not.

      Delete
  29. I believe, as many of you have stated, that this is a case of VFR flight into IMC conditions and loss of spatial orientation.
    Same thing happened to a Survival Flight (SF14) Bell 407 near Columbus Ohio January of last year due to a improper flight hand off. It's a very interesting read if you have the time. Some hair raising testimonials from current and former employee's. A testament to the pressure pilots sometimes face by their employers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly like the Survival flight tragedy here near CBus
      Worsening IMC conditions
      Climbing 180 turn to head back the way they came
      Tight descending turn into terrain
      Classic Death Spiral ... RIP

      Delete
  30. Link to report;

    https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitlist.cfm?docketID=63015&CFID=3022903&CFTOKEN=70eb7b1c00894263-932BA7FC-E8F3-E7B8-F3A00FCD8070BFD7

    ReplyDelete
  31. That's 1400 feet above sea level. I promise you from personal flight experience he was way closer to the ground than that. Possibly between hilltops. Flying in the terrain around LA with poor visibility is treacherous business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pilot was in communication with air traffic control and the recordings are available online. He flew the 5N to get through Burbank’s airspace. Then they took 118 to get around Van Nuys airport and then picked up the 101 towards Camarillo. The pilot certainly didn’t give himself many options by flying into mountainous terrain with deteriorating weather conditions.

      Delete
  32. All note the following NTSB statement - Kobe's flight WAS operated under pt.135 . . and . . the pt.135 operator of this helicopter was NOT authorized for IFR operations. https://youtu.be/Iv_i7VIS7UU?t=316:

    ReplyDelete
  33. NTSB's posting of the Tuesday briefing is here (best link):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwk6NaQSuPA

    ReplyDelete
  34. NTSB says in questions at end of brief (see 20:46):

    "It was trying to climb out of the cloud layer at the time"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwk6NaQSuPA

    ReplyDelete
  35. the rise of 800 ft with low speed has led the helicopter drifting (roll) to the left, unnoticed by the pilot. The helicopter then subsequently stalled. This is called "dissymetry of lift".

    ReplyDelete
  36. Island Express Holding Corp = cheap asses. Good way to go out of business, penny pinchers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somewhere between the pilot and the key passenger, someone must have said: "No problem, we've got this."

      After all, with a state-of-the-art flying machine, and the spirit of invulnerability along for the ride, what could possibly go wrong.

      Delete
    2. Regarding cheap-ass and penny pincher: It’s a shame that Bryant did not invest in the best air safety measure, a co-pilot.

      Delete
    3. Sometimes the best safety measure is to know when not to fly. It’s a tough call for a private pilot who may feel pressure to get where he is going, and it’s tough for a professional pilot who wants to make his client happy. But it’s crucial to be able to make that call, and stick to it.

      Delete
    4. I think Bryant could afford his own new $13 million S76 with the latest avionics, rather than flying around in a Part 135 Charter company (1991) model I read Island Express bought for about $500K. Penny wise pound foolish? Was the pilot even using the technology he had....like the autopilot?

      How about the "old school" 5 C's? Climb, communicate, confess, comply and conserve?

      There is bad pilot judgement all over this one, including the decision to take-off.

      Delete
    5. "How about the "old school" 5 C's? Climb, communicate, confess, comply and conserve?"

      Exactly right. They always had the option of climbing out of the problem. Yes there would've been some amount of Hell to pay ... the flight was Part 135, supposed to be VFR, not supposed to be IFR, etc. etc.

      Delete
  37. Mention of TAWS at 25 to 40 thousand for the approved hard wired version. I flew with a guy in a cub knock-off that had a pretty good talking version on a hand held GPS ... Think it was a garmin... No surprise there ... Sure it was fairly cheap.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Two door bell cameras caught some crash audio in posts here:

    https://twitter.com/BillFOXLA

    ReplyDelete
  39. What completely puzzles me is why the pilot chose to fly at such a fast ground speed during critical aspects of this challenging flight. If you're lost, flying in marginal conditions, why on earth are you flying over 160kts?? Prudence would suggest moving forward at a much lower ground speed as you "feel your way across the terrain". This is the automotive equivalent of overdriving your headlights...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TAWS or SVT is EXTREMELY optional. Pilots have been flying without them for tens of decades. The pilot was unprepared to fly into instrument conditions, period. The person that makes the final decision, the pilot, is considered PIC and he or she decides whether or not they're able to complete the flight with the tools at their disposal.

      When I climb into the cockpit my go/no-go decision is based on my familiarity with the aircraft and its systems. Nobody else can be blamed.

      Delete
  40. Helicopters don't do "graveyard spins" nor do they descend as fast as this one due to mechanical error without some sort of radio call from the pilot. I have no idea what happened but it's entirely possible the pilot took off to appease his passengers, he was too low to get on instruments without radar assistance and being a single-pilot he became spatially disoriented and experienced vertigo, and there being no 2nd pilot to take the controls he continued flight in an altered state until the ground appeared. The accident investigators are smart folks however, they'll figure it out but by then not many people will be interested enough to listen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure seems like he was completely lost. The real tragedy is that they had no business taking off into that kind of fog. It appears to be negligence, pure and simple.

      Delete
    2. A "radio call" would be third priority after flying the aircraft and navigating. His workload was too high to call anyone. Plus in this case, no one on the ground could help.

      Delete
  41. The media is stating that the pilot was only about 30' away from missing the hill. But that doesn't explain why the last radar return data shows a 2,000 feet per minute descent rate (along with the 168kt airspeed). Some interesting takes from two helo pilots in this Forbes article from this morning:

    “You can spend all this money and maybe get three flights a year that you do IFR,” says Deetz, 54, who has flown helicopters in the L.A. area for 30 years.

    “I don’t think he had any actual [experience] inside the clouds,” says Deetz, who notes that it can be unnerving for pilots limited to operating under visual flight rules, or VFR. “You spend your whole career thinking, ‘I shouldn’t do this.’ ”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremybogaisky/2020/01/29/pilot-in-kobe-bryant-helicopter-crash-wasnt-allowed-to-fly-by-instruments/#1030cf2126ea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pilot thought he was flying IFR!...
      "I Fly the Roads",
      except it means "Instrument Flight Rules".

      * He had 1,200 hours in Type,...how much actual IFR?
      * Was he even Instrument Rated?
      * Didn't take long for Capt. Vertigo to take control!

      Delete
    2. The "media" as usual is painting falsehoods.
      First of all they hit at 1085 elevation 30 feet below a mountain bike trail on a 1450 ft. hill.
      Secondly they were in a left descending turn dropping 5000 ft/min at 160 knots airspeed .. it didn't matter if it was Nebraska farmland ... they were going to impact terra firma at high velocity and even higher G loads.
      No false media drama .. only tragedy
      RIP to all ...

      Delete
  42. He is a horrible person. He is responsible for the death of eight people because he was stupid and reckless enough to take a helicopter to his daughter’s basketball practice. Well, and he’s also a rapist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is what I do know-
      The helicopter climbed at 16 miles an hour for 30 seconds.

      The helicopter then fell at 22 miles an hour for one full minute. It moved in a semi-circle, 180 degrees away from its destination.

      The question should be - is the copter likely to stall while climbing at 16 miles an hour? If there was mechanical failure such as loss of power, could the copter have maintained a clean turn into the hillside?

      Delete
    2. No captain runs his ship aground intentionally. This was an accident and great people will killed. There is no reason to slander the dead - have a little respect for the dead.

      Delete
    3. You say he was a rapist but do not know. None of us do. Pretending to know what we do not, especially when it involves the reputation of another person, is irresponsible.

      Delete
    4. Rest in Piece (RIP) crap.

      Delete
    5. Not "piece". Rest In Peace. Spelling please, Gaffster!

      Delete
    6. I think gaffster knew EXACTLY the way he wanted to spell it.

      Delete
  43. I met the pilot at an FBO in Burbank a year ago when we were both waiting for passengers. He showed me around the helicopter, I thought that it was very well equipped but I never considered that the operation was VFR only; as I understand it hand flying IFR in a helicopter is tough and if you aren’t current I could see how it could easily lead to this sort of accident. I just can’t fathom a VFR only 135 operation but maybe in the helicopter world it is normal.

    There are a bunch of pictures taken by the mountain bikers on the internet, the ones that were taken of the inferno show very low visibility in the area, maybe a half mile or so. In the later pictures, taken after the inferno died down, visibility seems to have improved to several miles. Too bad they didn’t delay departure for an hour or two.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I occasionally fly a helicopter in the boonies of Vermont at night. Ground lights are pretty sparse. I can tell you I am very happy to have HTAWS in this situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprised with the hundreds of millions Bryant had, that he didn't own the helicopter he was flying in, and have the pilot as a full-time employee. This company will be facing significant legal activity.

      Delete
  45. Who knew that there were so many NTSB and crash examiner experts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Airplanes and helicopters keep crashing for the same old reasons, not much new under the sun.

      Delete
    2. Fog has no cloud deck below and visibility is usually well less than one mile. SVFR is 1 mile visibility and clear of clouds. And there is know way the FAA would let two planes fly formation in IFR nor would a military approach controller allow that over a base.

      SVFR is really designed to allow you to continue to a destination after a non precision approach in the event there are low intermittent clouds. Usually in a circling to land configuration at the opposite of the approach end or another runway. Mostly at uncontrolled (non-towered) airports below 700' AGL.

      Unless you are very aware of the area and terrain I would not advise it as an approach sequence.

      Delete
    3. I have used SVFR in HHR airport during smoke and haze situations with my fixed wing Cessna.

      Delete
  46. I have flown fixed wing 135 and 121 for most of my life and VFR operation was always very restricted. When I first started to read about this crash I could not fathom why the pilot would not just file IFR from SNA to CMA, it was a trip any green 1200 hour 135 pilot in a KA or CJ could have easily handled. But a VFR only 135 passenger carrying operation? If that is true then that seems to be a very dangerous animal indeed and this outcome seems somehow predictable and the fatal trip was probably legal up until the very end. Most 135 operations strive to operate legally and safely and I have no doubt that Island falls into this category. Personally I am beginning to see this as a regulatory issue, perhaps the days of VFR only 135 operations is coming to and end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I concur. Why would a Part 135 Helicopter Charter company flying a ten million dollar aircraft not be required to be IFR Certified is beyond me? And, if he is flying over Hwy 101, why was he so far south of the freeway? The pilot was a helicopter CFII that violated FAR’s and common sense.

      The FAA has been under a lot of scrutiny lately over the Boeing Max fiasco. This will be another chapter that makes them look like fools.

      Delete
    2. In 2015, Island Express purchased this 1991 model S-76B from State of IL for $ 516 K.

      Delete
    3. The compliance costs for an IFR rated company are quite high, so if IFR is not used often, the cost of compliance is not justified.

      Delete
  47. The crash was about one mile from a Sheriff's helicopter pad. One possible explanation is that the pilot was attempting an emergency landing there, but misjudged his position due to fog. Unless the investigation discovers a mechanical failure, the truth will never be known.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He also passed a fire station helipad just North of US 101 near that exit.

      Delete
    2. He was caught before flying in IMC was only talked to by the FAA it only happened because he was flying though class B airspace so they had a recording of his flight. I would call that a pattern of flying this time it bit him with rising ground he attempted a fast pull up probably ended up with SD and over banked once out of control no way to recover it with instruments.

      Delete
    3. I think you are right on the money.

      Delete
  48. It doesn't change my opinion of Sikorsky at all. They have a stellar injury/fatality record.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAA accident data lists the top 10 causes for fatal GA accidents 2001-2016... #2 - CFIT (controlled flight into terrain). #7 - Unintended flight into IMC conditions, or what pilots call VFR into IMC. Over 72% of all 'VFR into IMC' accidents are fatal.

      Delete
  49. Lawyers are circling in choppers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, any loss of life is tragic. HOWEVER, I wish people and the media would give this much attention when a police officer, military member or firefighter is killed. Instead we hear about a basketball player 24/7! Everyone needs to put things into perspective. A basketball player ... Really?

      Not a doctor or an inventor or somebody who served this country. A basketball player.

      Delete
    2. well, the only deep pockets here are Mrs. Bryant's [pockets. The lawyers will not go after those.

      They will look at the manufacturers records for sure, but doubt they will find anything and they will not go after the estate because he was a passenger.

      They do have until January 25, 2021 to serve papers ....

      Delete
    3. Yes, attorneys can file against the one who hired the helicopter if he did not execute due diligence in researching the safety, etc. of the company, aircraft, and pilot.

      Delete
  50. We're still talking about a basketball player. I'll ask my sister-in-law how she feels every day she lays my niece to sleep. Telling her how her daddy was a hero. I never saw my brother, a real American Hero "Marine", on tv because his helicopter went down. The craziest part....he never raped anyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your personal tribulations are irrelevant to this story. Further, Kobe was neither tried nor convicted of rape. And, if you were not with your brother every second of his life you cannot be sure that 'he never raped anyone.' Stick to commenting about the crash and not ancillary BS.

      Delete
  51. No captain runs his ship aground intentionally. This was an accident and great people will killed. There is no reason to slander the dead - have a little respect for the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Having seen pictures of the interior of this helicopter, I wonder how they fit 9 passengers in there.
    -M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They carry 13 passengers- they are big and were designed for use for carrying crews to and from oil rig platforms

      Delete
    2. Yes, but the pictures that are circulating of the old interior have a divan in the rear for 3 passengers and 2 club seats facing backwards. The ntsb report states that it was converted to 2 divans, one forward facing and one rearward facing able to seat 4 each with the ninth passenger seated next to the pilot in the front. Still from the pictures that are online of the new interior it made it seem like it was still 2 three passenger divans instead of 4 passenger divans.
      -M

      Delete
  53. The examiners report was damning in the Bryant case. Bruised jaw, rectal bleeding, blood on his shirt, extreme vaginal lacerations, that's violent, painful RAPE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^^ Amen! You said it brother or sister.^^

      Quite frankly I am sick by people's need to idolize ball players and hollywood elitists. Giving a day tribute in the news is sufficient and no one individual is more important than the next. This idolization and getting feelings hurt because other's don't share your same sick need to idolize a high paying ball player that wasn't exactly leading some saintful life as the media would purport is disgusting.

      Delete
    2. There were 8 other souls on this plane that lost there lives along with Kobe. I guess it is natural for the news media to gravitate towards the more famous VIP. This tragedy will remain a public one for as long as the media can milk it for all its worth.

      Things get glossed over for what many would feel as though it was a "indiscretion" by Kobe when he was 24. Because of Kobe's wealth he was able to make it go away with money. Unfortunately a lot of individuals still have that mindset. I think the public sentiment is changing and that if a crime is committed then justice should prevail and money and prestige is not a get out jail free card anymore!

      Delete
    3. Zero to do with the crash want to talk about Mr Bryant's personal actions years ago post on Twitter. This forum is about aviation accidents and the only value in the discussion is to learn from mistakes of others so pilots avoid the same mistakes.

      Delete
    4. No other opinions except to pertaining to flight operations are ALLOWED here?

      Delete
  54. NTSB Update with annotated photos and most recent info:

    https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Documents/DCA20MA059-Investigative-Update.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  55. Godspeed to all. There but for the grace of goodness go all of us who fly. 100% avoidable and 100% within our abilities to do, too, should we follow a similar chain of mistakes. Mistakes we all know but make anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I wish they would quit calling these CRASH's, "Accidents"! They are NOT Accidents! They are horrendous CRASH's!
    Neither are they Mishaps!
    Even a minor "fender-bender" between 2 cars at an intersection, is NOT an Accident! Someone screwed up! 2 cars cannot occupy the same space!
    An Aircraft that impacts terrain, whether it kills 1 or Hundreds, is NOT an
    Accident!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There, there, grab your meds and drink some Kool-aid and lay back in the easy boy and flick open a dictionary and look up the definition of an accident...

      Delete
  57. Updated info 16 June in docket:
    https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitlist.cfm?docketID=63911&CFID=394601

    Aircraft Performance Study conclusion shows pilot thought he was still climbing but was actually disoriented and descending (see page 13 of report linked below):

    https://dms.ntsb.gov/public/63500-63999/63911/636381.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  58. Was reading through some of the extensive docket the NTSB released a few days ago... one safety note struck me:

    JUST LAND THE DAMN HELICOPTER!

    ..."one of the advantages of vertical flight is the ability to stop and land on any suitable terrain if the conditions ahead become impossible to continue"...

    Seems most heli pilots forget this basic advantage they have over us in the fixed wing category. All Ara had to do while seeing the ground underneath him leaving the Burbank area and feeling the conditions weren't goo ahead was to pick a spot and land.
    Sure the cops might show up and Kobe might have been pissed but everyone would be alive, and frankly if he explained his decision making he would have been A-OK.
    The problem is most heli pilots fear the repercussions for their career, their reputation and the fact the whole of LA is not helicopter friendly when considering simply stopping and waiting in any good shopping mall parking lot for example for the weather to clear.
    But in reality considering death to be the other alternative and if properly explained the issue wouldn't result in anything but a pat in the back for good decision making.
    Sad that wasn't ever considered in the training or procedures.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I was very concerned that Kobe might have been raping the passengers and/or pilot when the "choppa" went down. It would be very difficult to stabilize his wife's finger with that many rings (1 mis-deed = 1 ring) which could have lead to this terrible accident.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Not too sure how many who posted here are "professional Helicopter Pilots or trained by the military. I was trained by the best - the US Army. I have flown in the same area as the ill-fated S-76 from 1987 to 1992 . . . I know the weather well. And, it is possible to fly an IFR Flight Plan without going Airport-to-Airport. I flew the AS355 F1/F2 and BH222 for a Corporate Operation based out of LAX, 1987 to 1992. I hold an ATPL (Instrument) for both multi-engine airplane and rotorcraft helicopter, from December 1982 and October 1983 respectively. I held a Certificated Instrument Instructor for both single and multi-engine airplane and rotorcraft-helicopter from 1981 and 1987, respectively. I was an Instrument Examiner for multi-engine Corporate helicopters, based out of LAX. I have over 5,000 hours Actual Weather flying. A lot of what I have read on here, folks seem to not have a clue.

    If the Pilot-in-Command of the S-76, was Instrument Rated, just completed an Instrument Check, in May of 2019, including unusual attitude recovery, one must wonder how he could let it get away from him. Even a rusty Instrument Pilot knows how to use an Attitude Indicator, Airspeed Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator, Altimeter, and Turn & Bank Indicator (basic six pack of instruments), to at least keep shiny side up, regardless how rough he is on the controls. The first thing an Instrument Rated Pilot would/should do, if stupid enough to become inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions would be to get on the instruments. Regardless he/she has lost outside visual cues, the basic six pack of Instruments will replace those outside visual cues. IF a Pilot experiences Spatial Disorientation or Vertigo, he/she must force himself/herself to "believe the instruments" and disregard what his inner ear is urging. This is just basic stuff. Yet, momentarily look down or get distracted and turn your head, as one enters inadvertent IMC and you would get vertigo immediately. In about 20 seconds to 178 seconds, the Pilot will lose control if he/she does not get on Instruments to control the aircraft. So, what happened to this Pilot? Were the basic six pack of instruments installed and working? The NTSB has not yet arrived at a cause. Until they do, we can only guess, but should leave it to the experts to come up with an answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not a pilot just a fan of aviation. A 200k youtube channel content creator who has most recently flown for American Airlines waiting to get his medical re-certified by the FAA after successful cancer treatment invited a friend of his who currently flies Air Ambulance Helicopters in the Los Angeles area. He said that unless you practice instrument flight procedures on a regular basis that during that 7 months after the instrument check his ability to fly under those conditions would had been degraded. Not my words.

      Delete
  61. Law suit naming the FAA has been submitted by the charter company. Deep pockets- I do hope the FAA fights this one until the end.

    ReplyDelete
  62. The epic insanity the civil system has reached as a financial instrument to extract money from "mines" where it is easiest to get i.e govt agencies or insurance companies simply passing the buck to YOU and ME i.e taxpayers or consumers, is mindboggling.

    Basically the power of money extraction by taxes or premium concentrates wealth into inflexion points where the vultures use the opaque rules of civil procedure as power to skim that money.

    Nothing to do with justice or some kind of benefit for society but greed and predation.

    ReplyDelete
  63. That aircraft was equipped with extremely capable dual sherry autopilots. The pilot failed to use installed equipment to his advantage. Heading hold, alt hold, climb to altitude command, and hands off navigation ability. The pilot management ability was insufficient to trust the instruments. And he was instrument rated but not current. He made a poor decision and killed everyone on board. I know as I’m a heli-rated with 11,000 hrs in heavy twins and at the end of my career, was a flight safety S-76 training instructor.

    ReplyDelete