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airplanecrazy
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 8:09 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:31 pm

airplanecrazy wrote:
I zoomed in on the Google Earth plot near the end of the flight and I see the track going backward two times. Does anyone know where the GPS antenna is on that helicopter?


I see the going backward phenomena in other locations in the file. I now assume this is just a precision/accuracy limitation of the equipment/technology and is not relevant to the discussion.
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:17 pm

Dodak wrote:
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org ... 7978d8.jpg

Found this image from a fellow at a different forum created by putting the ads-b information on google maps(or earth) seems it could make sense that they lost the tail going over the hill and hit the other side on the side of the helicopter which I believe I read somewhere that it was a possibility...


The FAA have issued a NOTAM with an exclusion zone over the accident area. The position they have in the NOTAM is not the same as flight aware

NOTAM : 0/7296

FDC 0/7296 ZLA CA..AIRSPACE CALABASAS, CA..TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS WI AN AREA DEFINED AS 5 NM RADIUS OF
(VAN NUYS VOR/DME VNY228011.4) SFC-5000FT TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.137(A)(2) TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT. LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF, TELEPHONE 818-314-9537, IS IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATION. LOS ANGELES /ZLA/ ARTCC, TELEPHONE 661-265-8205, IS THE FAA COORDINATION FACILITY. 2001262215-2001311414

I have plotted the ADS-B data and the NOTAM waypoint in google maps

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estorilm
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:21 pm

Aesma wrote:
I remember a few years ago that a new generation of autopilot for helicopters was able to hover, any information on that ?

I also know some GA aircraft have now a button you can press that will put the aircraft straight and level, in case you're disoriented.

Of course you must first recognize you're in trouble.

I was also under the impression that auto-hover was a fairly basic system on most helos today, but perhaps just military / USCG / medevac?


MrBretz wrote:
Do helicopters have TCAS? The pilot got lost. They should have landed in Glendale and taken limos.

What does TCAS have to do with anything? EGPWS would be the system you're looking for here, considering it struck a hillside. Pilot wasn't lost - he was literally following a specific highway and knew exactly where he was when he likely could no longer avoid the cloud deck and attempted a high-speed 180 back down the highway. I'm not sure what kind of avionics he had, but something like synthetic vision or a topo-GPS would have absolutely aided in SA, especially since there was only one pilot.

They should have never taken off and taken limos lol (or simply taken the time/trouble to depart earlier and file IFR - pilot and helo were capable.)
 
JoseSalazar
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:26 pm

Bradlee102896 wrote:
ikramerica wrote:
Deanger wrote:
Respectfully, while get-there-itis fits a lot of the information - it doesn’t seem to mesh with what was the last piece of known pilot interaction - which according to the NTSB was that the pilot was climbing to clear the fog (I don’t have the exact wording in front of me)

In other words, and incredibly well-trained IFR rated commercial helicopter pilot - communicated the intention to get out of the situation through a climb. He initiated a climb. And then - inexplicably - he dove. Out of control

Climbing like he was - I don’t think he suddenly thought he saw the ground and dove back into zero visibility. And the dive appears to be a loss of control of the aircraft.

What causes that: 1) Spatial Disorientation. 2) Failure of equipment 3) Medical event disables the pilot. 4) collision with something at 2150 ft.

If he didn’t radio that he was climbing, The CFIT possibility would be greater in my opinion. But I guess I’m asking here - am I putting too much stock in the pilot’s last words?

Get-there-itis would be the reason for the trip to begin with, or the reason not to turn back earlier. Not to disappoint the Mamba.

You also have a very experienced pilot AND a very seasoned primary. If you commute in a heli as a pax for years, you start to think anything is doable. And he’s a very strong motivator...

But I agree, if the climb is accurate, I still wonder if the final cause is CFIT.

Stress leads to sudden heart failure or stroke and the pilot was an older male.

People want to rule out mechanical because it’s a twin, but a control Input failure wouldn’t care, or a tail rotor failure is recoverable but maybe not in that situation.


I’m starting to wonder if the pilot having a medical problem is what actually led the crash. Lets say he had a heart attack, that could explain the turn away from the freeway he was following and could explain the sudden climb followed by sudden drop to the ground, because he was incapacitated. Just my 2 cents.


Right before he crashed he said he was climbing to avoid a cloud deck. And your speculation is that he had a medical issue right as he was commencing the climb...as opposed to the obvious? Hmm.
 
dfwjim1
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:13 pm

Not sure if this has been addressed yet but were the passengers on the helicopter guests of Kobe Bryant?
 
MrBretz
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:23 pm

Here’s is a good summary of the crash, the equipment on the helicopter, the weather, the flight path, etc. It describes the flight path and how disorientation probably played a major role in the crash.

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... obe-bryant
 
jakubz
Posts: 152
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:31 pm

JoseSalazar wrote:
Bradlee102896 wrote:
ikramerica wrote:
Get-there-itis would be the reason for the trip to begin with, or the reason not to turn back earlier. Not to disappoint the Mamba.

You also have a very experienced pilot AND a very seasoned primary. If you commute in a heli as a pax for years, you start to think anything is doable. And he’s a very strong motivator...

But I agree, if the climb is accurate, I still wonder if the final cause is CFIT.

Stress leads to sudden heart failure or stroke and the pilot was an older male.

People want to rule out mechanical because it’s a twin, but a control Input failure wouldn’t care, or a tail rotor failure is recoverable but maybe not in that situation.


I’m starting to wonder if the pilot having a medical problem is what actually led the crash. Lets say he had a heart attack, that could explain the turn away from the freeway he was following and could explain the sudden climb followed by sudden drop to the ground, because he was incapacitated. Just my 2 cents.


Right before he crashed he said he was climbing to avoid a cloud deck. And your speculation is that he had a medical issue right as he was commencing the climb...as opposed to the obvious? Hmm.


Ok, I'll bite. What is the obvious cause? At least tell us which one you are going with.

Back to Bradlee102896's comment. I was also thinking that a medical issue could have incapacitated the pilot.He was 50 years old, so I would have to imagine a heart attack is not out of the question.

That is my speculation. Lets see what the NTSB says.
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:42 pm

estorilm wrote:
I was also under the impression that auto-hover was a fairly basic system on most helos today, but perhaps just military / USCG / medevac?


At the time the accident helicopter was sold by the State of Illinois it was equipped with a Honeywell SPZ-7000 Dual Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DDAFCS), which was specifically designed for helicopters to provide full four-axis (longitudinal, lateral, vertical, and yaw) flight control. The autopilot does have a hover mode.

This is a photo of the cockpit of the accident helicopter that was posted online as part of the tender documents ( https://ibid.illinois.gov/item.php?id=123331#gallery ), I have marked up on the centre console where the autopilot control is. Also attached a diagram from the autopilot pilots manual.

Interestingly the tender documents both in the equipment list and in the maintenance records states that at the time it was sold it did have a CVR. It also has TCAS 1 and a radio altimeter. With the SPZ-7000 autopilot the aircraft was capable of single pilot IFR, however I think for commercial operations two pilots are still required. As I understand it the helicopter was sold and and then rented which would make this a commercial operation.

AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT LIST 761LL
BENDIX/KING CAS 66A TACAS I SYSTEM
BAKER ELECTRONICS AUDIO SELECTOR - M1035-A212-EUU3
KGS SPC-75B STATIC INVERTERS
UNIVERSAL UNS-1K FMS
SPERRY C-14A DIRECTIONAL GYRO
COLLINS ALT-50 RADAR ALTIMETER
COLLINS TDR-90 TRANSPONDER
COLLINS CTL-92 TRANSPONDER CONTROL
COLLINS VHF-22B COMM TRANSCEIVER
COLLINS VHF CONTROL CTL-22
COLLINS VIR-32 NAV RECEIVER
COLLINS NAV CONTROL CTL-32
COLLINS DME-42 TRANCEIVERS
COLLINS DME-42A INDICATORS
COLLINS ADF-60
COLLINS ADF CONTROL CTL-62
HONEYWELL SPZ-7000 AUTOPILOT SYSTEM
COLLINS 339H-4A RADIO ALTIMETER INDICATOR
IDC-570 SERIES ALTITUDE ALERTER
HONEYWELL AIR DATA AZ-649 DDAFCS
HONEYWELL EDZ-705 EFIS
HONEYWELL FZ-700 DIGITAL FLIGHT CONTROL COMPUTER
SFENA ATTITUDE INDICATOR WITH JET PS-835 BATTERY
HONEYWELL PRIMUS-870 WEATHER RADAR
HONEYWELL DC-811 RADAR CONTROL PANEL
HONEYWELL DIRECTIONAL GYRO C14A
FAIRCHILD A100S CVR
DAVTRON DIGITAL CLOCKS
KEYSTONE DOOR PIN KIT STC SR01113NY-D
COCKPIT HEATED FOOT PADS
DUAL 22AMP BATTERIES
ARTEX-100-HM ELT
SYNERGETICS RETRACTABLE STEPS
KEITH / PARKER HANNIFIN FREON AIR CONDITIONER UNIT
BAKER ELECTRO/HONEYWELL M4000B. S/N9008001
HONEYWELL MFD model WI-870
IVSI, MODEL 1VA 81A. P/N066-50001-2704


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AirFiero
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:46 pm

Why didn’t the guy just ask for a pop-up IFR clearance??
 
IADCA
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:53 pm

AirFiero wrote:
Why didn’t the guy just ask for a pop-up IFR clearance??


If the post above yours is correct, the helicopter isn't certified for single-pilot IFR in a commercial operation.
Last edited by IADCA on Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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william
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:53 pm

MrBretz wrote:
Here’s is a good summary of the crash, the equipment on the helicopter, the weather, the flight path, etc. It describes the flight path and how disorientation probably played a major role in the crash.

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... obe-bryant


Good summation, thanks. Explains the rapid descent, over compensated when he should have relied on his instruments and not the seat of the pants feel. Easier said then done of course.
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:03 pm

I am just jumping in now, but this is what I have gathered from the ADS-B, the witness interviews, and the ATC audio.

1) Pilot was flying LAX to Orange County around 1100' above sea level.
2) Clouds started to close in on him
3) Pilot called ATC to say that he needed to ascend above the cloud deck just a minute or two before the crash
4) It sounds like the pilot gained altitude over a parking lot where the witness with the TWA hat (nice hat) was standing
5) The pilot went from 1100' to around 2100' according to ADS-B in the final 2 minutes.
6) The copter essentially fell out of the air at 2100' picking up speed until it hit.
7) The elevation of the ground at the time of the last ADS-B was 850' and the crash site was at 1150'.
8) If the ADS-B is correct then pilot lost control during the steep ascent/stalled OR there was a mechanical failure brought on by the stress of the ascent.
9) The pilot appeared to be VERY experienced, so I lean toward a mechanical failure, but it could be just pilot error.
10) The S-76 routinely has two pilots, but I see no mention of a second pilot.
 
JoseSalazar
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:15 pm

jakubz wrote:
JoseSalazar wrote:
Bradlee102896 wrote:

I’m starting to wonder if the pilot having a medical problem is what actually led the crash. Lets say he had a heart attack, that could explain the turn away from the freeway he was following and could explain the sudden climb followed by sudden drop to the ground, because he was incapacitated. Just my 2 cents.


Right before he crashed he said he was climbing to avoid a cloud deck. And your speculation is that he had a medical issue right as he was commencing the climb...as opposed to the obvious? Hmm.


Ok, I'll bite. What is the obvious cause? At least tell us which one you are going with.

Back to Bradlee102896's comment. I was also thinking that a medical issue could have incapacitated the pilot.He was 50 years old, so I would have to imagine a heart attack is not out of the question.

That is my speculation. Lets see what the NTSB says.


Given that he climbed to an altitude above the local reported ceilings, and that his last transmission was that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer, and the fact that he was scud running and transiting airspace SVFR, and that everyone in the area (as well as the pictures of the crash scene which show it) reported fog, mountain obscuration, and low clouds....I’m gonna go ahead and put my money on inadvertent IMC, with either subsequent spatial D, or an attempt to descend back below the clouds not realizing he was over rising terrain.

Obviously weather (cig/vis) was bad in the area. That makes it quite an obvious choice. Speculating about medical and/or mechanical seems to be reaching and ignoring the obvious. All aspects should certainly be investigated of course, but generally speaking if there is something this obvious, I just don’t see why people keep pointing to things that are statistically way less likely culprits, especially for a medical/mechanical to happen right as he tells ATC he is climbing to avoid a cloud layer in an area with reduced ceilings and visibility.
 
AirFiero
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:21 pm

IADCA wrote:
AirFiero wrote:
Why didn’t the guy just ask for a pop-up IFR clearance??


If the post above yours is correct, the helicopter isn't certified for single-pilot IFR in a commercial operation.


Yes, I read that. It was posted after I posted.

Wouldn’t he be able to file in an emergency situation? Like they say, confess and ask for help? Better than being dead.
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:33 pm

AirFiero wrote:
Yes, I read that. It was posted after I posted.

Wouldn’t he be able to file in an emergency situation? Like they say, confess and ask for help? Better than being dead.


A lot of things may seem better with hindsight, like driving, or missing a basketball game. I don’t think the operator had Part 135 IFR approval either.
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ColdWhiskey
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:51 pm

My helo knowledge is very limited, but I do know that a ‘retreating blade stall’ can occur after an abrupt pull up or sudden steep turn, especially when operating at high gross weight and high speed. The result of such, is loss of lift and a rolling motion to the left.

Could the pilot have suddenly realized his terrain situation, and initiated an abrupt pull up, and inadvertently stalled? This could account for the left turn and sudden altitude loss.
 
hivue
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:53 pm

enilria wrote:
I am just jumping in now, but this is what I have gathered from the ADS-B, the witness interviews, and the ATC audio.

1) Pilot was flying LAX to Orange County around 1100' above sea level.
2) Clouds started to close in on him
3) Pilot called ATC to say that he needed to ascend above the cloud deck just a minute or two before the crash
4) It sounds like the pilot gained altitude over a parking lot where the witness with the TWA hat (nice hat) was standing
5) The pilot went from 1100' to around 2100' according to ADS-B in the final 2 minutes.
6) The copter essentially fell out of the air at 2100' picking up speed until it hit.
7) The elevation of the ground at the time of the last ADS-B was 850' and the crash site was at 1150'.
8) If the ADS-B is correct then pilot lost control during the steep ascent/stalled OR there was a mechanical failure brought on by the stress of the ascent.
9) The pilot appeared to be VERY experienced, so I lean toward a mechanical failure, but it could be just pilot error.
10) The S-76 routinely has two pilots, but I see no mention of a second pilot.


I'm not sure the "fell out of the sky" part is correct.

The pilot also had to negotiate Burbank airspace, which I gather involved a hold. I think that the visibility was deteriorating at the time, and the hold, even if short, would not have helped.

How did he get past Burbank? Transition? Go around it? Fly under a shelf?
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Aesma
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:59 pm

Thanks zeke, good info.
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:59 pm

NTSB footage of the aircraft impact https://youtu.be/GvjzFWbJJxo
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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SuperGee
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:05 pm

Apparently they weren't the only helicopter flying in the same area at the same time that day. I had just assumed that since the police helicopters weren't flying, there had been no other helicopters but the accident helicopter flying at the time:

https://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-br ... ons-2020-1

>>About 10 minutes into the flight, Burbank air-traffic control ordered the helicopter to hold because another helicopter was landing nearby. The pilot said he would circle over Glendale and await instruction.<<
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:28 pm

hivue wrote:
enilria wrote:
I am just jumping in now, but this is what I have gathered from the ADS-B, the witness interviews, and the ATC audio.

1) Pilot was flying LAX to Orange County around 1100' above sea level.
2) Clouds started to close in on him
3) Pilot called ATC to say that he needed to ascend above the cloud deck just a minute or two before the crash
4) It sounds like the pilot gained altitude over a parking lot where the witness with the TWA hat (nice hat) was standing
5) The pilot went from 1100' to around 2100' according to ADS-B in the final 2 minutes.
6) The copter essentially fell out of the air at 2100' picking up speed until it hit.
7) The elevation of the ground at the time of the last ADS-B was 850' and the crash site was at 1150'.
8) If the ADS-B is correct then pilot lost control during the steep ascent/stalled OR there was a mechanical failure brought on by the stress of the ascent.
9) The pilot appeared to be VERY experienced, so I lean toward a mechanical failure, but it could be just pilot error.
10) The S-76 routinely has two pilots, but I see no mention of a second pilot.


I'm not sure the "fell out of the sky" part is correct.

The pilot also had to negotiate Burbank airspace, which I gather involved a hold. I think that the visibility was deteriorating at the time, and the hold, even if short, would not have helped.

How did he get past Burbank? Transition? Go around it? Fly under a shelf?

The ADS-B shows the copter plummeted picking up speed. It went from 109mph at 2100' to 161 mph at 1350' in the space of 22 seconds. 178mph is redline for the S-76.
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:42 pm

RightRudder wrote:
https://s318.photobucket.com/user/Silvio_45/media/calabasas_zpsa93bzipk.jpg.html
I thought it was rougher terrain around the crash site. The contour indexed lines are at 420' maximum. It looks like the pilot climbed the last seconds to go above ceiling. They were at or around 1,350 feet when it came down. The VNY tower called a 30.01" reading (high pressure). It is possible the altimeter was not set and caused a deviation from SNA sea level. That would have a indicated altitude less than than actual altitude above sea level.

1. The contour lines are meters not feet. 420 m = 1378 ft.

2. That image is of the wrong location. The crash was in the hills above Las Virgenes Road. The NTSB said the crash was at 1085 ft altitude.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:52 pm

enilria wrote:
The ADS-B shows the copter plummeted picking up speed. It went from 109mph at 2100' to 161 mph at 1350' in the space of 22 seconds. 178mph is redline for the S-76.


Good point about the max speed of the S-76B. It's looking less and less like CFIT.

Correction though: the ADS-B speed is Ground Speed in KNOTS. So it's actually went from 109 kts to 161 kts (125 mph to 185 mph).
The max cruising speed for S-76B is correct, 155 kts (178 mph). So it exceeded the max cruising speed 5s before it crashed.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:08 pm

hivue wrote:
How did he get past Burbank? Transition? Go around it? Fly under a shelf?

It was easy to get past Burbank because the elevation of Burbank is only 600 ft. He was flying about 850 ft over Burbank. The ceiling was 1100 ft.

The problem was when he started heading on 101 into the mountains, when the ground elevation was around 1000 ft.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 pm

dfwjim1 wrote:
Not sure if this has been addressed yet but were the passengers on the helicopter guests of Kobe Bryant?

Yes, the full list of passengers has been published. I won't list the names here out of respect and privacy, but here's the descriptions of the 9 people aboard:

Pilot
Kobe, daughter
Teammate, father, mother
Teammate, mother
Assistant coach

They were all going to a girls basketball tournament hosted by Kobe's Mamba Academy, so you can presume they were all guests of Kobe.
 
IADCA
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:26 pm

flybucky wrote:
hivue wrote:
How did he get past Burbank? Transition? Go around it? Fly under a shelf?

It was easy to get past Burbank because the elevation of Burbank is only 600 ft. He was flying about 850 ft over Burbank. The ceiling was 1100 ft.

The problem was when he started heading on 101 into the mountains, when the ground elevation was around 1000 ft.


Yeah, and I doubt it's a coincidence that he suddenly got into trouble right after going over the pass onto the ocean side of the mountains. From my experience in the same coastal range (albeit further north), there's often a huge difference in fog level and density, with the ocean side being much worse.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:27 pm

MrBretz wrote:
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-28/the-last-flight-of-kobe-bryant

Thank you, there was some new info from that article. Interviewed pilots said that IFR is a headache in LA because you get routed all over the place, so that may explain why they did VFR. And a blurb about how spatial orientation can lead to inadvertent dive after trying to level off after a climb.

Kurt Deetz, a former pilot for Island Express, told The Times he flew Bryant from 2014 to 2016, almost always in the same chopper — N72EX, “Two Echo X-ray.” When Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016, he flew out of downtown Los Angeles in the same helicopter, wrapped in a gray-and-black paint scheme with his Mamba emblem on the side, Deetz said. Deetz said that after he left the company, Zaboyan became Bryant’s go-to pilot. The company said he was “our chief pilot” and had been with it for 10 years, logging more than 8,000 flight hours.

Audio recordings indicate Zobayan opted not to rely on his instruments. Deetz and other pilots interviewed for this article say that such a decision is not uncommon even on cloudy days, as long as they can see and track major roads on the ground. “Using instruments, you’re at the mercy of controllers and as busy as Los Angeles airspace is, you’re likely to get routed all over the place,” said Brian Beker, a longtime fixed-wing pilot who flew out of Santa Monica for years. “In L.A., it’s a notorious headache.”

He could have anticipated the risky weather ahead and landed at Burbank. But pilots can be reluctant to call off a flight, Deetz said, especially with a VIP client. He said he’s done it — called his passenger an Uber or, in Bryant’s case, his private driver — but it’s not easy. “Psychologically, that’s the hardest part,” Deetz said. “Biting the bullet and saying, ‘The weather’s crap, I have to turn back.’ It’s hard to accept the fact you can’t get the job done.”

Deetz said the aircraft was outfitted with such a device [GPWS]. It would squawk “Terrain! Terrain! Terrain!” in a high-pitched voice if the craft came close to the ground or an obstacle. He said the alert was triggered so often by high-rise buildings that pilots sometimes shut off the audio.

As the helicopter rapidly rose into the clouds in a “zoom climb,” Lawrence said, the pilot could have become spatially disoriented as he peered from the helicopter to get his bearings, a condition involving the inner ear that can result in the inability to tell up from down. In some instances, pilots trying to level their aircraft have wound up “punching the nose over” and sending it plummeting into the ground. “Spatial disorientation can happen really, really quick,” said Lawrence, a seasoned accident investigator, noting that pilots are trained to react by relying on their instrument readings.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:30 pm

AirFiero wrote:
Why didn’t the guy just ask for a pop-up IFR clearance??

IADCA wrote:
If the post above yours is correct, the helicopter isn't certified for single-pilot IFR in a commercial operation.

Pardon the noob question, what is "pop-up IFR clearance" and why would he need to ask for that?
 
uhntissbaby111
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:38 pm

flybucky wrote:
AirFiero wrote:
Why didn’t the guy just ask for a pop-up IFR clearance??

IADCA wrote:
If the post above yours is correct, the helicopter isn't certified for single-pilot IFR in a commercial operation.

Pardon the noob question, what is "pop-up IFR clearance" and why would he need to ask for that?


Normally when flying IFR, you file a flight plan on the ground and then ask for your IFR clearance prior to departure. A "pop up" IFR clearance is asking for an IFR clearance while already in the air. It is commonly used when flying VFR and encountering IFR conditions. You call up ATC and request an IFR clearance to wherever you are going
 
airplanecrazy
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:09 pm

All, I have reason to believe that the FlightRadar granular altitude data I have been using is unadjusted (the helicopter takes off from under the airport). I found another site that states that the appropriate correction is +225' (https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation-audio-clips/26-jan-kobe-bryant-fatal-helicopter-crash/msg73351/#msg73351). When I make this change my flight track now matches that in that liveatc post, but I am not 100% sure that it is the appropriate correction. Here are the adjusted KML and updated images.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Ai5ul4veNOgHhYllSYGlasMMWfyUDg?e=4SgxHy

Image

Going over the mountain pass (with much more clearance than shown in my previous rendering):
Image
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:24 pm

flybucky wrote:
enilria wrote:
The ADS-B shows the copter plummeted picking up speed. It went from 109mph at 2100' to 161 mph at 1350' in the space of 22 seconds. 178mph is redline for the S-76.


Good point about the max speed of the S-76B. It's looking less and less like CFIT.

Correction though: the ADS-B speed is Ground Speed in KNOTS. So it's actually went from 109 kts to 161 kts (125 mph to 185 mph).
The max cruising speed for S-76B is correct, 155 kts (178 mph). So it exceeded the max cruising speed 5s before it crashed.

Sorry, yes I mis-noted that. Thanks for catching that. So, a stall or mechanical?
 
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Revelation
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:28 pm

airplanecrazy wrote:
All, I have reason to believe that the FlightRadar granular altitude data I have been using is unadjusted (the helicopter takes off from under the airport). I found another site that states that the appropriate correction is +225' (https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation-audio-clips/26-jan-kobe-bryant-fatal-helicopter-crash/msg73351/#msg73351). When I make this change my flight track now matches that in that liveatc post, but I am not 100% sure that it is the appropriate correction.

No worries about any need to make corrections, we're all trying to figure out some complicated stuff without a lot of hard core information to go on.

Your new images make the ending look like a plunge, no?

Consider it along with a FR24 shot of data from the ending:

Image

Red line is ground speed increasing, green line is vertical speed going very negative (i.e. transition from moderate climb to strong descent).

The LA Times article linked earlier describes the end of the flight as:

What happened next was mysterious: The Sikorsky S-76B suddenly veered off course and descended rapidly. The twin-engine aircraft dropped 325 feet in 14 seconds, reaching 176 miles per hour before losing contact and hitting the hillside above Las Virgenes Road, killing all nine people on board.

Hard to describe this as "controlled flight into terrain", no?
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MrBretz
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:46 pm

It mystifies me.: he was following the 101, then he turns south on Las Virgenes, then he makes another 90 degree left turn and hits the hills. He must have not been able to see the 101? Maybe he was trying to descend to find a parking lot to land in and couldn't find it and just got totally lost? We'll never know.
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:56 pm

Revelation wrote:
airplanecrazy wrote:
All, I have reason to believe that the FlightRadar granular altitude data I have been using is unadjusted (the helicopter takes off from under the airport). I found another site that states that the appropriate correction is +225' (https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation-audio-clips/26-jan-kobe-bryant-fatal-helicopter-crash/msg73351/#msg73351). When I make this change my flight track now matches that in that liveatc post, but I am not 100% sure that it is the appropriate correction.

No worries about any need to make corrections, we're all trying to figure out some complicated stuff without a lot of hard core information to go on.

Your new images make the ending look like a plunge, no?

Consider it along with a FR24 shot of data from the ending:

Image

Red line is ground speed increasing, green line is vertical speed going very negative (i.e. transition from moderate climb to strong descent).

The LA Times article linked earlier describes the end of the flight as:

What happened next was mysterious: The Sikorsky S-76B suddenly veered off course and descended rapidly. The twin-engine aircraft dropped 325 feet in 14 seconds, reaching 176 miles per hour before losing contact and hitting the hillside above Las Virgenes Road, killing all nine people on board.

Hard to describe this as "controlled flight into terrain", no?

That is exactly my take. If the ASD-B is correct (and there really is no other data with no black box, unless radar turns up) he was climbing through the cloud deck (which he said he was doing in an ATC call moments before the crash) and lost control of the craft (stall?) or had a mechanical failure under stress from the climb. With the pilot's experience level I'm having a hard time believing he lost control. I guess he could have hit a drone???
 
btfarrwm
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:02 pm

hivue wrote:
enilria wrote:

How did he get past Burbank? Transition? Go around it? Fly under a shelf?


He was given instructions by ATC to follow I-5 and then the 101 SVFR around Burbank and then he was handed off to Van Nuys and then to SoCal ATC.
 
btfarrwm
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:06 pm

enilria wrote:
That is exactly my take. If the ASD-B is correct (and there really is no other data with no black box, unless radar turns up) he was climbing through the cloud deck (which he said he was doing in an ATC call moments before the crash) and lost control of the craft (stall?) or had a mechanical failure under stress from the climb. With the pilot's experience level I'm having a hard time believing he lost control. I guess he could have hit a drone???


I agree with the stall. Very steep descent with little increase in ground speed (at least initially). How do stall-recovery procedures differ in a helicopter vs. a fixed-wing aircraft?
 
rfields5421
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:15 pm

Police helicopters were not flying because they are not IFR capable. The pilots are likely IFR certified, but the birds are not. There was no problem getting other agency helicopters in the air for search, rescue, fire and as we have seen TV News. Also the crash site is outside the jurisdiction of LA PD, but is LA Sheriff's Dept jurisdiction. Barely. Ventura County is where the destination of the flight was, and the Academy is located.

Timing. it is about 90 miles travel distance from the likely staging area for the flight at SNA to the Mamba Academy. Leaving at 9:06 it is too late to plan to arrive at the Academy at 11 to prepare for a 12 noon game. Just assuming game start time, or tournament start time. Could very well be wrong about that. Expecting to average over 40 mph even on a low traffic Sunday morning is overly optimistic. Bryant and the other families would know that..

I've seen more than one source that the flight plan destination was the Camarillo Airport. The crash site is about 12 driving miles from the academy, the airport is another 12 driving miles farther west. I suspect - and pure guess work - that the plan was to land in a clear area next to a parking lot across the street from the Academy. Disembark the pax, and move the bird on to Camarillo. The flying low down US-101 would support that in my opinion. While a pilot could file IFR into the small Camarillo airport, he could not fly IFR into a parking lot.

Also CMA has alternative minimums for the approaches. As I understand the listing the RNAV approaches are unavailable without local weather. Which I have no idea as to whether or not it was available. There is an ASOS frequency in the airport information, but also the ASOS for OXR is recommended. The VOR approach requires 1100-2 visibility for Catagory A & B, 1100-3 for Category C. The VFR chart shows the MSA in the area is 3,500 ft.

There are several airways and approaches to other airports in that area. The airspace is very crowded. I've not seen any information which shows what other traffic might have been in the area. The flight was planned to be UNDER the LA Class B area wedding cake control area. The pilot could not just climb into the airspace without permission. Well, he could, but he might hear the sound a B-737 makes when it runs into a helicopter.

I have driven that section of US-101 a few times, and the 118 to the north. The roads are in the bottom of a canyon. True it is not like driving Zion Canyon, but the relatively steep hills are all around. They bulldozed a road to the crash site. First heavy rain and it will be destroyed by mud slides. There are a lot of antennas, cell towers and such on many of those hills, or hill sides. Vehicle GPS can become blocked from receiving enough signal for accurate location in places in those hills. I'm assuming low flying aircraft could have the same problem. One of my initial impressions in driving in that area and observing many VFR low level aircraft is that it would be a horrible place to be flying if my aircraft developed a problem of any type..
Not all who wander are lost.
 
Leeloo
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:47 pm

Experienced pilot in combination with overspeeding and the other variables here makes it a non-CFIT in my view. Would put my 2 cents on pilot medical condition. Stroke or heart attack. If there was a technical issue i just have a feeling it would plunge more down like a rock rather than the "smooth" track we see from the adsb data.
 
highflier92660
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:50 pm

Former Island Express helicopter pilot Kurt Deetz, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight (admittedly not the best aviation authority), said the company operated as a VFR-only single-pilot FAR Part 135 operation. If so, the pilot may not have been IFR current, though rated. Accident pilot Ara Zobayan was his chief pilot during his two years at the company. In the Los Angeles area, Island Express helicopters along with Helinet were the only two companies flying the twin-turbine Sikorsky S-76 for charter.
 
TimG100
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:08 pm

I'm surprised that a lot of folks would be surprised that an experienced IFR pilot could become spatially disoriented in this scenario. A pilot can have tons of hours flying IFR in the "system" and have zero experience suddenly transitioning to IMC and executing a rapid climb after what may have been a truly terrifying image of terrain ahead, GPWS going off, passengers potentially in panic, etc. In other words, what may have been the ultimate stress situation. We'd all like to think we'd calmly and instantaneously transition to our "scan", but the fact that his heading changed so much during the climb suggests to me that he may have just lost the picture. That's why scud running is always a bad idea regardless of IFR experience, and (in my opinion) SVFR is not a valid solution unless you're a cropduster flying over flat farmland you've flown a hundred times (and especially not when carrying passengers for hire through mountainous terrain.)
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:18 pm

NTSB will be having another media briefing at 4:00 pm PST today (Tue Jan 28). It was live streamed on abc7.com yesterday, so hopefully it will be again today.
https://twitter.com/NTSB_Newsroom/statu ... 9050267648

NTSB also posted photos and videos of the crash site.

Mon Jan 27 Media Briefing video.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:22 pm

IMHO...Whatever scenario that looks as if this cannot be CFIT may be incorrect when considering its the pilot's erroneous perception that made him think he was in control, but ran out of airspace (ceiling too low over terrain). So that only from the perspective of the ground can CFIT be deemed perhaps totally incredulous. But within the clouds with a claustraphobic feel may have produced some quick irrational moves to escape it, including high speed velocity downward where land can provide the much needed perspective regaining the control of the mind. Pilot asked for help, was too low for that help. He knew his limitation. He went high hoping to get out of the scenario himself and he must have sensed the tone in the ATC voice that he shouldn't be flying.(I did, first impression). He was in control as much as he could have been given his interpretation of his surroundings and circumstances. CFIT may still be a good characterization.
 
hivue
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:32 pm

btfarrwm wrote:
enilria wrote:
That is exactly my take. If the ASD-B is correct (and there really is no other data with no black box, unless radar turns up) he was climbing through the cloud deck (which he said he was doing in an ATC call moments before the crash) and lost control of the craft (stall?) or had a mechanical failure under stress from the climb. With the pilot's experience level I'm having a hard time believing he lost control. I guess he could have hit a drone???


I agree with the stall. Very steep descent with little increase in ground speed (at least initially). How do stall-recovery procedures differ in a helicopter vs. a fixed-wing aircraft?


Are you referring to vortex ring state? At -5000 fpm at the end I think they were way past that issue. Settling with power (but blades are not stalled for this)? Maybe an extreme case of that? I'm no helicopter or aviation professional, so speculation.
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flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:53 pm

SuperGee wrote:
Here is a photo of the fog at Lookout Point on Stunt Road, Calabasas at 9:22 AM, about 23 minutes or so before the crash. It looks to be fairly close to the crash site. The links show the Google maps location of Stunt road and Flightaware path of the flight:

https://twitter.com/ChristianDMejia/sta ... 2973858816

Thanks for that link. I was able to find the exact location on Google Streetview. You can tell by the informational "kiosks". It's at the very end of Stunt Rd called Topanga Lookout Trailhead / Lois Ewen Overlook.

I looked up the elevation at that spot 34.0812,-118.6458 is 2300 ft. I'm not sure if that is too helpful though, because it just means it was foggy at 2300 ft. But what we really need to know is where the ceiling starts (it was 1100 ft at Van Nuys)
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:14 pm

hivue wrote:
btfarrwm wrote:
enilria wrote:
That is exactly my take. If the ASD-B is correct (and there really is no other data with no black box, unless radar turns up) he was climbing through the cloud deck (which he said he was doing in an ATC call moments before the crash) and lost control of the craft (stall?) or had a mechanical failure under stress from the climb. With the pilot's experience level I'm having a hard time believing he lost control. I guess he could have hit a drone???


I agree with the stall. Very steep descent with little increase in ground speed (at least initially). How do stall-recovery procedures differ in a helicopter vs. a fixed-wing aircraft?


Are you referring to vortex ring state? At -5000 fpm at the end I think they were way past that issue. Settling with power (but blades are not stalled for this)? Maybe an extreme case of that? I'm no helicopter or aviation professional, so speculation.
btfarrwm wrote:
enilria wrote:
That is exactly my take. If the ASD-B is correct (and there really is no other data with no black box, unless radar turns up) he was climbing through the cloud deck (which he said he was doing in an ATC call moments before the crash) and lost control of the craft (stall?) or had a mechanical failure under stress from the climb. With the pilot's experience level I'm having a hard time believing he lost control. I guess he could have hit a drone???


I agree with the stall. Very steep descent with little increase in ground speed (at least initially). How do stall-recovery procedures differ in a helicopter vs. a fixed-wing aircraft?

Helicopters can stall
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all ... ter-stalls
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:18 pm

The facts are pretty simple, ceilings in the area were around 1100’, VNY was just that and 2-1/2 mike visibility. We all know terrain will likely lower ceilings and viz. Impact was at about the 1100’ level, so no surprises there. if this weren’t a celebrity manifest, it wouldn’t get but a few notes.

The flight was flown at 120-130 knots most of way indicating the pilot was confident up to the end. Everything in aviation history says inadvertent entry into IMC with subsequent loss of control resulting in collision with the terrain. Unless, of course, the physical evidence turns up a tail risk like sudden incapacitation or mechanical failure prior to impact. Very low probability event.

Scud running accidents always start out with good intentions—weather’s good here and at the destination, I’ve seen low ceilings and biz before, nothing I can’t handle. The Pilot here probably flew hundreds or thousands of trips around LA, much of those in similar weather. Reading weather in these situations is an art, more like reading tea leaves than black and white situation. Then, the loudspeaker start closing in, the ground comes and goes and it’s time to “fess up. He likely wasn’t confident of climbing into the clouds and flying IFR, even if he could pull off a pop-up clearance. The operation was a single-pilot VFR operation. the controller asks, “can you maintain visual until xxxx altitude?” Oops, I have to admit I can’t or do I just climb to avoid the ground. It’s a tricky situation. Once, in cloud, it was game over, too late to get a clearance and unsalvagable.
 
F9Animal
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:26 pm

It just blows my mind how many celebrities and families have gone down in aviation accidents. If I recall, a PC-12 with an entire family went down in South Dakota because of weather. Buddy Holly, weather. I mean, the list goes on and on.

I am leaning to weather in this one. The really sad part of this.... By the time videos were being taken of the crash, the fog appeared to be burning off. Wouldn't it have been wise to wait an hour, or delay for an hour?
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dragon6172
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:42 pm

enilria wrote:

Neither of the scenarios given in that article (retreating blade stall or low rotor rpm) would apply to this accident. At best you could argue dual engine failure and not entering an auto rotation early enough resulting in a low rotor state, but I think that is a slim chance, and slim is on the way to the door.

I think the simplest solution is the answer. Spatial disorientation upon entering IMC conditions, either on purpose or inadvertently, after scud running up a fog filled valley.

Experienced pilots are not immune to spatial-D. Who knows how much IFR time a pilot flying for a VFR only operation has recently. Who knows if the autopilot, required for IFR single pilot helicopter ops, was operational or on an MEL.
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reality
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:07 am

Live right now, NTSB briefing: https://www.foxla.com/live (just started--a bit late) 4:07 PM Pacific Standard Time
 
avi8tir
Posts: 401
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:44 am

NTSB confirms no CVR. Per post above, it did when it was sold from the state of Illinois. Why would you ever remove that? Whether it's used or not is another story.
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