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flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:10 am

ptmac wrote:
I don't know if its mentioned somewhere in this thread, but Kobe held a private helicopter license. Good possibility he was in the left seat.

Source? This is the first I've heard. I searched on google for "kobe helicopter license" with date before 12/31/2019 and didn't find anything about this. I'm doubtful Kobe had the time to get a private helicopter license because he had no time for that, even in offseason or retirement. He woke up at 4am for his first workout of the day. All he did was workout/basketball and family.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:27 am

New updates: after the Island Express purchased the helicopter, they made some changes in 2016. The 2 aft-facing captains chairs were replaced by a divan (like a bench/couch?), increasing the passenger compartment capacity from 5 to 7. Then 1 more passenger could sit up front next to the pilot for a total of 8 passengers + 1 pilot.

Also in 2016, the CVR was removed.

In 2017 more electronic equipment was replaced and upgraded.

In March 2019 weather radar systems were removed.

Everything was filed with FAA and approved.

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/investiga ... 9/2303838/
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:44 am

That weather is not problem at KCMA, but might show that the ridges were obscured.
 
cschleic
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:00 am

flybucky wrote:
ptmac wrote:
I don't know if its mentioned somewhere in this thread, but Kobe held a private helicopter license. Good possibility he was in the left seat.

Source? This is the first I've heard. I searched on google for "kobe helicopter license" with date before 12/31/2019 and didn't find anything about this. I'm doubtful Kobe had the time to get a private helicopter license because he had no time for that, even in offseason or retirement. He woke up at 4am for his first workout of the day. All he did was workout/basketball and family.


He doesn't show up on the FAA database search. Furthermore, this was a twin-engine turbine aircraft, more complicated that just a private helicopter license.

Please provide a source.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:56 am

There have been a lot of questions about the fog ceiling level at the crash area. The METAR from Van Nuys or Camarillo is not helpful since weather in the mountains can be totally different than in the flat valleys.

A lot of the photos of the crash site were taken later, when the fog had lifted, so they gave the wrong impression. Below is the earliest photo I could find of the crash, which I think gives a more accurate of how low the fog was. The crash site is 1085 ft. The fog doesn't look much higher than that, maybe another 100 ft. I don't have a time stamp of the photo (provided by the LA County Sheriff), but it's possible the fog was even lower at the time of the crash.

They released the 911 audio today. And the 911 callers, many who are longtime locals, seem to corroborate the fog level.

“I just heard a helicopter go over me, approximately from Lost Hills Road on a south to easterly sweep. It went over my head, it’s thick in clouds, and then I heard a pop, and it immediately stopped… I can’t see it,” another caller who said he has lived in the area since 1963 said. “That part of the mountain is… in clouds.”

Scott Daehlin told PEOPLE, adding that the cloud deck “was much lower” than normal. “Probably the cloud base was about 300 feet. I think another local resident who lived here 17 years in these condos said he’d never seen the fog and low clouds this thick,” Daehlin, 61, said.

Matt Graham, another Calabasas resident told PEOPLE... It was just so foggy out. I’ve never seen anything like it. If anyone says that they actually saw it (the crash), they’re lying. Nobody could see anything because it was so foggy,” he said.


Image
 
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:08 am

flybucky wrote:
They released the 911 audio today. And the 911 callers, many who are longtime locals, seem to corroborate the fog level.

Youtube link to audio from five different 911 calls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa0rTPaDUxo
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flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:16 am

Actually, I found an even better video of the fog. It was taken by another pair of mountain bikers who were on the broken tail side of the trail (not the first pair of mountain bikers who took the closeup photo of the fuselage fire that was published on TMZ and NY Post).

The video is about 2/3 down in the article. It shows the LA County Fire helicopter lowering a man down to the trail. Based on this, I'd say the fog was around 1100-1150 ft MSL. https://www.bikemag.com/news/mountain-b ... ant-crash/

"The cloud cover seemed like it wasn’t more than 50 feet above us at the time. I’ve been in helicopters before—I’ve never seen a heli fly into a fog bank like that.

There was a 4-foot part of the tail laying right on the trail. The fuselage of the heli was on the other side of trail on fire. There were two other mountain bikers on the trail beyond the crash."
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:29 am

flybucky wrote:
Actually, I found an even better video of the fog. It was taken by another pair of mountain bikers who were on the broken tail side of the trail (not the first pair of mountain bikers who took the closeup photo of the fuselage fire that was published on TMZ and NY Post).

The video is about 2/3 down in the article. It shows the LA County Fire helicopter lowering a man down to the trail. Based on this, I'd say the fog was around 1100-1150 ft MSL. https://www.bikemag.com/news/mountain-b ... ant-crash/

"The cloud cover seemed like it wasn’t more than 50 feet above us at the time. I’ve been in helicopters before—I’ve never seen a heli fly into a fog bank like that.

There was a 4-foot part of the tail laying right on the trail. The fuselage of the heli was on the other side of trail on fire. There were two other mountain bikers on the trail beyond the crash."


Just to clarify things, where we see the fire helicopter in the photo above and video in the article lowering the rescuer, that is well in excess of helicopter VFR conditions, you only need around 2600 ft/800 m of viability for helicopter VFR.
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ikramerica
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:46 am

flybucky wrote:
Chemist wrote:
I seem to recall that Camarillo Airport was VFR at the time of the accident - can somebody verify? If the cloud tops were say 2500 feet or something like that, I don't see why he could not have climbed over the tops and flown to CMA if it was say scattered or maybe broken there. The area between Calabassas and Newbury Park (path of the 101) is higher and more prone to clouds and fog. Camarillo Airport is under 100' elevation and I think I remember seeing that the weather there, while not great, was ok for flying. The question is whether he could have flown over the fog banks and had enough visibility to descend to land in CMA.

Below are the METARs for KCMA around the time of the crash (which was 9:45 am PST / 17:45 Z). They were all Marginal VMC. At 17:55 Z the ceiling was 1700 ft AGL, so about 1800 ft MSL at KCMA. At 18:55 Z, ceiling rose to 2600 ft AGL / 2700 ft MSL.

SP 26/01/2020 17:05
SPECI KCMA 261705Z 08007KT 4SM HZ OVC016 14/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 T01390106=

SA 26/01/2020 17:55
METAR KCMA 261755Z 03003KT 4SM HZ OVC017 15/11 A3019 RMK
AO2 SLP233 T01500106 10150 20117 53017=

SA 26/01/2020 18:55
METAR KCMA 261855Z 11005KT 5SM HZ OVC026 16/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 SLP227 T01610106=

KCMA is meaningless. It’s a different microclime than VNY or BUR.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
ikramerica
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:00 am

That 1st 911 dispatcher is typical of my experience around here. They don’t listen, they cut you off, they then ask questions they don’t need to ask, then when you try to answer the new questions, they tell you to start over because “you gave multiple locations.”

The guy’s like “no, I didn’t tell you multiple locations, you obviously don’t know the area but if you just tell the police, they know.”

When seconds count, LA 911 wastes valuable minutes.

“It’s near the middle school off Las Virgines” was PLENTY of information. She didn’t need cross streets. If she tells the Sheriff it’s by the middle school, the Sheriff knows where that is. Stop wasting time!

Not that in this case anyone would have survived, but in other cases, you never know.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Chemist
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:34 am

ikramerica wrote:
flybucky wrote:
Chemist wrote:
I seem to recall that Camarillo Airport was VFR at the time of the accident - can somebody verify? If the cloud tops were say 2500 feet or something like that, I don't see why he could not have climbed over the tops and flown to CMA if it was say scattered or maybe broken there. The area between Calabassas and Newbury Park (path of the 101) is higher and more prone to clouds and fog. Camarillo Airport is under 100' elevation and I think I remember seeing that the weather there, while not great, was ok for flying. The question is whether he could have flown over the fog banks and had enough visibility to descend to land in CMA.

Below are the METARs for KCMA around the time of the crash (which was 9:45 am PST / 17:45 Z). They were all Marginal VMC. At 17:55 Z the ceiling was 1700 ft AGL, so about 1800 ft MSL at KCMA. At 18:55 Z, ceiling rose to 2600 ft AGL / 2700 ft MSL.

SP 26/01/2020 17:05
SPECI KCMA 261705Z 08007KT 4SM HZ OVC016 14/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 T01390106=

SA 26/01/2020 17:55
METAR KCMA 261755Z 03003KT 4SM HZ OVC017 15/11 A3019 RMK
AO2 SLP233 T01500106 10150 20117 53017=

SA 26/01/2020 18:55
METAR KCMA 261855Z 11005KT 5SM HZ OVC026 16/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 SLP227 T01610106=

KCMA is meaningless. It’s a different microclime than VNY or BUR.


The point was that the tops over the mountains were pretty low, he could have climbed over the clouds before hitting the mountains and descended once at Camarillo, if the weather would permit a descent into CMA *at* CMA.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:44 am

Chemist wrote:
ikramerica wrote:
flybucky wrote:
Below are the METARs for KCMA around the time of the crash (which was 9:45 am PST / 17:45 Z). They were all Marginal VMC. At 17:55 Z the ceiling was 1700 ft AGL, so about 1800 ft MSL at KCMA. At 18:55 Z, ceiling rose to 2600 ft AGL / 2700 ft MSL.

SP 26/01/2020 17:05
SPECI KCMA 261705Z 08007KT 4SM HZ OVC016 14/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 T01390106=

SA 26/01/2020 17:55
METAR KCMA 261755Z 03003KT 4SM HZ OVC017 15/11 A3019 RMK
AO2 SLP233 T01500106 10150 20117 53017=

SA 26/01/2020 18:55
METAR KCMA 261855Z 11005KT 5SM HZ OVC026 16/11 A3017 RMK
AO2 SLP227 T01610106=

KCMA is meaningless. It’s a different microclime than VNY or BUR.


The point was that the tops over the mountains were pretty low, he could have climbed over the clouds before hitting the mountains and descended once at Camarillo, if the weather would permit a descent into CMA *at* CMA.


And that implies IFR current and equipped flying under an IFR OPS SPEC in 135. Yes, emergency authority might work, but if you’re not very current pulling up into the clouds is pretty risky.


GF
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:55 am

I live in the Puget Sound area, on the Hood Canal. Amazing micro climates happening, in particular in cloudy or foggy conditions. Often one of the valleys I look into are fully socked in, the next valley has blue skies and sunshine, all because a different orientation.

What surprises me here was that he didn't seem to have GPS and mapping. I would have stayed glued to the freeway except for a tight U-turn or land 5 min earlier.
 
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SuperGee
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:31 am

For those who may be interested, here is an interview with Kobe that took place a year earlier. The first part of the interview occurred aboard the same helicopter, on a similar flight this time from his home to the Staples center and at approx the same time of day. The interview is in regards to Kobe's life and career but since it provides a brief insight into his use of the helicopter for a similar type flight, I found it interesting. A short excerpt is below:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics ... visionist/

>>Bryant’s helicopter was scheduled to leave at 8:30 a.m., Orange County to Los Angeles, a route he has taken many times. Years ago, he determined it wasn’t just more convenient to fly from his home 50 miles south of Staples Center for practices and games with the Los Angeles Lakers. It was irresponsible not to, given what hours in gridlock can do to the mind and body of a 6-foot-6 guard.

More than trimming his commute to 15 minutes, the helicopter wound up becoming part of Bryant’s legend, much like his self-assigned nickname, “The Black Mamba.” But eventually, the novelty of merely flying to work faded, so he needed to make the story better. He began calling the four-seat Sikorsky S-76 the “Mamba Chopper,” which to him just sounds right<<
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:04 am

flybucky wrote:
ptmac wrote:
I don't know if its mentioned somewhere in this thread, but Kobe held a private helicopter license. Good possibility he was in the left seat.

Source? This is the first I've heard. I searched on google for "kobe helicopter license" with date before 12/31/2019 and didn't find anything about this. I'm doubtful Kobe had the time to get a private helicopter license because he had no time for that, even in offseason or retirement. He woke up at 4am for his first workout of the day. All he did was workout/basketball and family.


I was told he had a private license from an industry friend. When I saw your post here, I called him back and asked where he got that info. He said it was in some posts after the accident. He thought at PPrune. I have followed up by googling a whole lot of things along that line, but while there are lots of responses to the query, they all have to do with the pilot's license and what the company was licensed for.

I know that in first day or two, it was taken as truth that it was Kobe's helicopter, and in line with that, that he was a pilot. It didn't seem unusual when I first heard it, but certainly your questioning where he got the time is quite valid.

I think there is an FAA site where you can check airmen's licenses. I will try that.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:30 am

cschleic wrote:
flybucky wrote:
ptmac wrote:
I don't know if its mentioned somewhere in this thread, but Kobe held a private helicopter license. Good possibility he was in the left seat.

Source? This is the first I've heard. I searched on google for "kobe helicopter license" with date before 12/31/2019 and didn't find anything about this. I'm doubtful Kobe had the time to get a private helicopter license because he had no time for that, even in offseason or retirement. He woke up at 4am for his first workout of the day. All he did was workout/basketball and family.


He doesn't show up on the FAA database search. Furthermore, this was a twin-engine turbine aircraft, more complicated that just a private helicopter license.

Please provide a source.

I answered that just above, and you saved me looking in the database.

I didn't say that he was somehow flying the aircraft, but if he was a pilot, he was most likely sitting up in the left seat with the operator's pilot. Some may connect that with encouraging the pilot to "...get there". My personal view was this machine had encountered merging layers and had deliberately turned left and descended to return to good VFR and possibly land. In that scenario, it may be that there was vertical viz down to the ground, perhaps supplemented by a map display, and something went wrong at some point where it turned away from the roads and landing sites into higher terrain.

The NTSB preliminary findings are a few days away.
 
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hOMSaR
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:39 pm

flybucky wrote:
ptmac wrote:
Somewhere is a file with 2 data points per second, and it shows a controlled flight until the last second.

Are you referring to the FR24 Granular Data? IMO, it does not show controlled flight at the end (see graph). Over -4000 fpm descent, overspeed 161 kts (max speed of S-76B is 155 kts).

How long it was until impact not known, but it was near to the wreckage site.

There was a Ring video that indicates the time of impact was 9:45:40 AM PST, about 7 seconds after the last ADS-B from FR24.


I’ve seen the ring video mentioned a few times, but a couple of questions that I don’t know if they’ve been specifically answered:

1) Are the timestamps in the video calibrated to the same clock/precision as the timestamps in ADS-B? Even if it’s internet-synced, I can’t tell you how many supposedly synced electronics I have that are off by a few seconds or so.

2) How far away was the video from the crash site (i.e. how long would it take sound to travel before it got to the microphone on the door)?
I was raised by a cup of coffee.
 
RightRudder
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:02 pm

RightRudder wrote:
spacecadet wrote:
RightRudder wrote:
I had to look this one up but, the requirements for providing instrument instruction are in 14 CFR 61.195(c). Although it is in their best interest, TTBOMK, there is NO requirement for a CFII to be instrument current when providing instrument training.


A CFII absolutely has to be instrument current when providing instrument training. This doesn't need to be spelled out in the requirements for instrument instruction. To fly in either actual or simulated instrument conditions, the pilot in command needs to be instrument current. Here is the relevant FAR: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.57

(c) Instrument experience. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a person may act as pilot in command under IFR or weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR only if:

(1) Use of an airplane, powered-lift, helicopter, or airship for maintaining instrument experience. Within the 6 calendar months preceding the month of the flight, that person performed and logged at least the following tasks and iterations in an airplane, powered-lift, helicopter, or airship, as appropriate, for the instrument rating privileges to be maintained in actual weather conditions, or under simulated conditions using a view-limiting device that involves having performed the following -

(i) Six instrument approaches.

(ii) Holding procedures and tasks.

(iii) Intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigational electronic systems.


A CFII providing instruction is pilot in command by definition, since he has final authority as to the safe operation of the flight.

The only time a CFII would not need to be instrument current in IFR conditions would be as a passenger for some other instrument rated pilot where he's not PIC.

Anyway I don't see what this has to do with this accident, but I felt like it needed to be corrected quoting the source.


The DOT does not allow the FAA to use the acronym FAR. For example, the FAA would refer to specific regulations by the term "14 CFR part XX".
"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana".
 
airplanecrazy
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:38 pm

hOMSaR wrote:

1) Are the timestamps in the video calibrated to the same clock/precision as the timestamps in ADS-B?


ADS-B data messages are not timestamped by the sender (which was a huge surprise to me). The timestamps you see are timestamped by each receiver, so the accuracy and precision of the timestamp is dependent on each receiver. Here are what I believe to be two identical ADS-B entries from FlightRadar24 granular data for the flight, but I suspect they were collected by two different receivers

Time hex callsign latitude longitude no_position altitude squawk speed track vspeed

2020-01-26 17:45:19Z.850 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.13983 -118.70374 P 2100 1200 121 173 -1216
2020-01-26 17:45:20Z.840 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.13983 -118.70374 P 2100 1200 121 173 -1216

The time difference in these messages is nearly a second.
 
airplanecrazy
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:26 pm

flybucky wrote:
There have been a lot of questions about the fog ceiling level at the crash area. The METAR from Van Nuys or Camarillo is not helpful since weather in the mountains can be totally different than in the flat valleys.


I found a video from a Nest webcam aimed pretty much toward the crash site and showing the cloud level at the time the helicopter went over (you can hear the copter in the audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL9XxwOUBMU). I then got into about the same location in google earth and put a pin on the mountain at 270M. The crash was at about 330M. The top images are clearer if you download and then look at them.

Image

Here is my 270m pin compared to the crash site:
Image
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:59 pm

hOMSaR wrote:

2) How far away was the video from the crash site (i.e. how long would it take sound to travel before it got to the microphone on the door)?


If you are talking about the video at Oak Glen, the distance is just over 2600 feet. So 2.2 seconds. If the time on that doorbell cam is accurate, the impact sounds began at 9:45: 37.9 or 4.2 seconds after the last ADS hit, accounting for the time for the sound to travel back to Oak Glen. Not saying it is accurate, but calculating from that gives a groundspeed of 190 knots and a vertical speed of -3850 fps. Compared to the last record on the .csv file, the groundspeed has increased by 29 knots, but the vertical speed has decreased by 1000 fps. That seems counter-intuitive in the context of a loss of control, but...

There is some data in that last couple of seconds that is very questionable. For example...

2020-01-26 17:45:24Z.110 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.1375 -118.70257 P 1950 1200 124 167 -1664
2020-01-26 17:45:25Z.014 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.13704 -118.70213 P 1900 1200 139 141 -3456
The bottom row is .9 seconds after the top. In that time, it loses 50 feet, the GS goes up 15 knots, and the vertical speed increases 2218 fps.
 
hivue
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:29 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
What surprises me here was that he didn't seem to have GPS and mapping. I would have stayed glued to the freeway except for a tight U-turn or land 5 min earlier.


I'm not a helicopter pilot or involved in any way with helicopter operations, but it seems to me that a lot of people are having trouble appreciating how vital it is for a helicopter pilot to have visual on terrain, especially operating at low altitudes (which is a whole lot of the time for helicopters) in varying terrain elevation. GPS mapping would not have helped the pilot stay "glued" to anything. He would need to see the terrain to do that.
"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:35 am

hivue wrote:
JayinKitsap wrote:
What surprises me here was that he didn't seem to have GPS and mapping. I would have stayed glued to the freeway except for a tight U-turn or land 5 min earlier.


I'm not a helicopter pilot or involved in any way with helicopter operations, but it seems to me that a lot of people are having trouble appreciating how vital it is for a helicopter pilot to have visual on terrain, especially operating at low altitudes (which is a whole lot of the time for helicopters) in varying terrain elevation. GPS mapping would not have helped the pilot stay "glued" to anything. He would need to see the terrain to do that.


Flying in VFR means having Visual of the terrain at least to the minimums. That is the law, and the law is based on that from experience in the aviation community. Not being able to see rising terrain, power lines, other aircraft and drones is flat dangerous. I've learned from this thread and other sources that the spatial disorientation is such a big deal in helicopters.

In this case it seems most plausible that the pilot found deteriorating conditions as he followed the valley, should have turned back or landed at least 5 min before he did. However, someone trained in IFR, even if not current, should have been able to retreat. My point was that staying over the freeway with the use of GPS mapping would at least identified the passes, reducing some risk as a tight U turn or location to land was noted. Also, a freeway has good markings to be able to judge the actual visibility.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:23 am

That may have been what he was doing. Surely they had at least a map display. Either the last bit was in IFR, certainly after he began the climb along the highway, or he was always VFR, or at least in sight of the ground. If he was IFR in the climb to 2150, he must have had a map display because he follows it perfectly until the turn. Common sense would say that he was on the autopilot all the way, in Heading mode, and just tweaking the bug and doing that in the turn.

One way that could go wrong would be if there was an undetected autopilot disconnect. Something as simple as trying to raise SOCAL and hitting the wrong button on the cyclic. And wondering why, at 2150 feet, SOCAL wasn't answering.
 
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:47 pm

hOMSaR wrote:
1) Are the timestamps in the video calibrated to the same clock/precision as the timestamps in ADS-B? Even if it’s internet-synced, I can’t tell you how many supposedly synced electronics I have that are off by a few seconds or so.

2) How far away was the video from the crash site (i.e. how long would it take sound to travel before it got to the microphone on the door)?

These are great questions. I have no idea how accurate the timestamp is on the ring video. What I did was assume that the Ring video time was correct. Then used the trajectory and final descent rate (about -4000 fpm) from the ADS-B data to see if the Ring video time corroborated, which it did.

Great point about the sound delay, I did not consider that. I should go back and recalculate some numbers.
 
flybucky
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:47 pm

airplanecrazy wrote:
Here are what I believe to be two identical ADS-B entries from FlightRadar24 granular data for the flight, but I suspect they were collected by two different receivers

Time hex callsign latitude longitude no_position altitude squawk speed track vspeed

2020-01-26 17:45:19Z.850 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.13983 -118.70374 P 2100 1200 121 173 -1216
2020-01-26 17:45:20Z.840 0xa9a1ad N72EX 34.13983 -118.70374 P 2100 1200 121 173 -1216

The time difference in these messages is nearly a second.

Wow, great find. I can't believe the receiver timestamps can differ by 1 second. I wonder what can cause that much delay, simply the machine time on the receiver is off?

I still can't believe ADS-B transmitter doesn't send a timestamp. Also, FR24 granular data should include the column that shows the receiver ID. That would greatly help identify erratic data points.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:21 pm

But it’s not designed for what you’re trying to do with it.
 
WIederling
Posts: 9300
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:33 pm

flybucky wrote:
The time difference in these messages is nearly a second.

Wow, great find. I can't believe the receiver timestamps can differ by 1 second. I wonder what can cause that much delay, simply the machine time on the receiver is off?[/quote]

Depends on the OS it is running on and the general setup, load, message density and when in the reception chain the time stamp is added. I've seen software that acts erratic in time stamping ( mostly due to buffer handling, preemptive OS core activities ).

Are there more doublette data sets available?
Murphy is an optimist
 
ptmac
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:48 pm

The solution to this is primarily in the physical evidence found at the accident site.
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:35 am

hivue wrote:
I'm not a helicopter pilot or involved in any way with helicopter operations, but it seems to me that a lot of people are having trouble appreciating how vital it is for a helicopter pilot to have visual on terrain, especially operating at low altitudes (which is a whole lot of the time for helicopters) in varying terrain elevation. GPS mapping would not have helped the pilot stay "glued" to anything. He would need to see the terrain to do that.


Helicopters differ from fixed wing in they can slow down to driving speed. Even if the forward visibility is at vfr minimums (1/2 sm) you still have good vertical visibility to the terrain.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
flybucky
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:37 am

Here's some interesting info on the LA County Fire helicopter that was first on scene. A fire aviation reporter just happened to be at the Barton Heliport in Pacoima, CA that morning to learn about their helicopter program, when they were dispatched. He got some photos and videos of the heli taking off. https://fireaviation.com/2020/01/28/fir ... ter-crash/

It was the LA County Fire's #12 helicopter, a Bell 412. https://flightaware.com/resources/registration/N120LA

My question is how the County Fire heli was able to safely take off and arrive on scene, when the LAPD and LA Sheriff's helicopters were grounded? Were they flying IFR? Or are they just more skilled pilots since they have to deal with smoke and poor visibility often?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:13 am

The weather at that LACFD was pretty good, you can clouds are fairly high and visibility good. Remember, launching is different that flying thru the weather at high speed-easier to stay below it. In any case, not IFR as that requires a climb above the terrain. IFR enroute requires 1,000’ terrain clearance 5nm either side of the route except on an approach or departure route. That facility doesn’t operate IFR.
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:46 am

flybucky wrote:
My question is how the County Fire heli was able to safely take off and arrive on scene, when the LAPD and LA Sheriff's helicopters were grounded? Were they flying IFR? Or are they just more skilled pilots since they have to deal with smoke and poor visibility often?


Every operator has the right to increase their operating minimum above what the FAA specify.

What I saw of the crash site in videos and photos, it met FAA helicopter VFR.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
airplanecrazy
Posts: 79
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:36 am

WIederling wrote:
Are there more doublette data sets available?


If you mean are there more doublets in the FR24 granular data, I believe I have found 5 in the last minute.

I also found something else in looking through the FR24 data. I think what happens is that each receiver has a state for each ICAO, and the receiver updates that state any time it receives a message for that ICAO. If the received message was a position update, the receiver bundles up the current state (including a locally generated timestamp) and sends it to FR24 central. If the receiver is barely receiving the signal, though. then it is possible it will miss an update for things like track, speed, or vertical speed. In this case, when it it receives a position update it will send a vector with stale (old) data for these other values. Here is an example:

Time latitude longitude altitude squawk speed track vspeed
2020-01-26 17:45:28Z.178 34.13568 -118.70007 1725 1200 141 139 -3584
2020-01-26 17:45:28Z.744 34.1355 -118.69961 1700 1200 153 120 -4224
2020-01-26 17:45:31Z.304 34.13498 -118.69746 1475 1200 159 101 -4544
2020-01-26 17:45:31Z.398 34.13503 -118.6978 1525 1200 158 106 -4416
2020-01-26 17:45:32Z.622 34.13498 -118.69624 1350 1200 141 139 -3584
2020-01-26 17:45:33Z.326 34.13493 -118.69657 1400 1200 159 101 -4544

The first record, and second to last record, have the same speed, track, and vspeed. Those values for the second to last record do not fit the trend. I believe those values in the second to last record are just stale copies of the values found in the first record.

For this level of analysis it would be great to have the flightradar24 receiver ID in each row. Better yet, it would be great to have each broadcast message with a timestamp and let us put it back together.
Last edited by airplanecrazy on Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
airplanecrazy
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 8:09 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:38 am

flybucky wrote:
hOMSaR wrote:
Great point about the sound delay, I did not consider that. I should go back and recalculate some numbers.


If you do recalculate, please post your recalculated value when you are done... I would like to include it in the next iteration of my crash reconstruction. Thanks.
 
WIederling
Posts: 9300
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:34 am

airplanecrazy wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Are there more doublette data sets available?


If you mean are there more doublets in the FR24 granular data, I believe I have found 5 in the last minute.

I also found something else in looking through the FR24 data. I think what happens is that each receiver has a state for each ICAO, and the receiver updates that state any time it receives a message for that ICAO. If the received message was a position update, the receiver bundles up the current state (including a locally generated timestamp) and sends it to FR24 central. If the receiver is barely receiving the signal, though. then it is possible it will miss an update for things like track, speed, or vertical speed. In this case, when it it receives a position update it will send a vector with stale (old) data for these other values. Here is an example:

Time latitude longitude altitude squawk speed track vspeed
2020-01-26 17:45:28Z.178 34.13568 -118.70007 1725 1200 141 139 -3584
2020-01-26 17:45:28Z.744 34.1355 -118.69961 1700 1200 153 120 -4224
2020-01-26 17:45:31Z.304 34.13498 -118.69746 1475 1200 159 101 -4544
2020-01-26 17:45:31Z.398 34.13503 -118.6978 1525 1200 158 106 -4416
2020-01-26 17:45:32Z.622 34.13498 -118.69624 1350 1200 141 139 -3584
2020-01-26 17:45:33Z.326 34.13493 -118.69657 1400 1200 159 101 -4544

The first record, and second to last record, have the same speed, track, and vspeed. Those values for the second to last record do not fit the trend. I believe those values in the second to last record are just stale copies of the values found in the first record.

For this level of analysis it would be great to have the flightradar24 receiver ID in each row. Better yet, it would be great to have each broadcast message with a timestamp and let us put it back together.


never looked to closely at ADS-*
so it is just like AIS : lots of short pakets with <sender ID>, < various single data items >
repeat is dependent on speed of change. ( i.e. static data is sent widely spaced, position data at high repeat rates) ?
Murphy is an optimist
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15097
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:59 am

WIederling wrote:
never looked to closely at ADS-*
so it is just like AIS : lots of short pakets with <sender ID>, < various single data items >
repeat is dependent on speed of change. ( i.e. static data is sent widely spaced, position data at high repeat rates) ?


FR24 does not pretend to be an ATC quality ADS receiver. If you had the raw data ADS packets it maybe possible to sync them to UTC if they were UTC synced at the source and the GPS had high position certainty. While ADS packets do not not include the actual time, they do include two flags which can be used to sync them with UTC.

The 1-bit field (bit 21) indicates whether or not the time of applicability of the message is synchronized with UTC time. T=0 denotes that the time is not synchronized to UTC. T=1 denotes that the time of applicability is synchronized to UTC time.

When T=1, the time of validity in the airborne position message format is encoded in the 1-bit F field which, in addition to compact position report format type, indicates the 0.2-second time tick for UTC time of position validity. The F bit shall alternate between 0 and 1 for successive 0.2-second time ticks, beginning with F=0 when the time of applicability is an exact evennumbered UTC second.

It will also only transmit this if the GPS is providing high accuracy position.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:24 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The weather at that LACFD was pretty good, you can clouds are fairly high and visibility good. Remember, launching is different that flying thru the weather at high speed-easier to stay below it.

zeke wrote:
Every operator has the right to increase their operating minimum above what the FAA specify. What I saw of the crash site in videos and photos, it met FAA helicopter VFR.

Thanks for the replies. I guess what I'm getting at is that the pilot was criticized for flying because the LAPD/Sheriff helicopters were grounded due to weather. The LACFD was able to fly to the crash site under the same conditions under VFR.

So was the pilot right or wrong to fly that day? Or was he just flying too fast for the conditions?
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:42 am

I added a fog layer on top of airplanecrazy's reconstruction kml. It's a simple plane set at 1135 ft MSL (346m), which is 50 ft above the 1085 ft crash site. The mountain bikers said the fog was 50 ft above them. And another local said the fog was 300 ft above them (the neighborhood is around 800 ft).

The path above the "white fog" plane was probably in the fog. Presumably, the pilot started climbing after Crummer Canyon Rd because of the fog. A major caveat is that the fog level was probably highly variable depending on the location. But at the crash site, it is probably accurate based on photos, videos, and witnesses. What this shows is that the helicopter was probably in the fog after it started climbing and deviating from Hwy 101.

Image

Image
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6008
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:28 pm

flybucky wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The weather at that LACFD was pretty good, you can clouds are fairly high and visibility good. Remember, launching is different that flying thru the weather at high speed-easier to stay below it.

zeke wrote:
Every operator has the right to increase their operating minimum above what the FAA specify. What I saw of the crash site in videos and photos, it met FAA helicopter VFR.

Thanks for the replies. I guess what I'm getting at is that the pilot was criticized for flying because the LAPD/Sheriff helicopters were grounded due to weather. The LACFD was able to fly to the crash site under the same conditions under VFR.

So was the pilot right or wrong to fly that day? Or was he just flying too fast for the conditions?


The criticisms based on LA Sheriff’s rules were not appropriate, but it’s a reference point from a local professional operation. What the Sheriff thinks is based on their mission, risk acceptance, pilot training. The flight was mostly in acceptable limits until starting up 101. Going too fast and not correctly assessing the weather in the hills was the problem. I’d bet he was feeling late due the the delays at BUR for the SVFR clearance. He didn’t want to let Bryant and was trying to make up time. Casey Jones did the same thing 100+ years in a train. Little new in the world.
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:27 pm

here's the KML for the fog layer: https://pastebin.com/7Q153wfx
 
Western727
Posts: 1773
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:38 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:11 pm

Prelim report says there was no engine failure: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nat ... 650919002/
Jack @ AUS
 
hivue
Posts: 2076
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:26 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:37 pm

"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8952
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:14 pm

zeke wrote:
Helicopters differ from fixed wing in they can slow down to driving speed. Even if the forward visibility is at vfr minimums (1/2 sm) you still have good vertical visibility to the terrain.


Hovering out of ground effect is not the best situation to be in with a heavily-loaded helicopter, but the fact is that one can do that in an S76 no problem. And way out of the deadman's curve if at altitude. So forget about driving speed, he could slow to walking speed.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8952
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:26 pm

So reading the NTSB report, at least to this guy, suggests he was losing touch with the ground and uncomfortable because of the hilly terrain. Saying he was going to 4000 feet means he wanted to get above the cloud layer (then at 2400 feet). Climbing through the cloud layer, single pilot in a high-workload situation, although instrument trained and rated in helicopters, he got spacially-disoriented, entered a rapidly-descending turn, and impacted the ground. The blades, including the tail rotor, were intact and rotating in powered flight until impact, so it's gonna be spacial disorientation.

I think all the other amateur investigation, although really-interesting, doesn't do much more than confirm what the NTSB is now saying about the facts. He didn't hit the hill because he strayed from I Follow Roads. It doesn't matter that he didn't have terrain avoidance, etc. He went into a Death Spiral while trying to climb above the cloud layer.

Saying "screw this" and climbing above the clouds and into radar territory for flight following was probably the safest move, if he hadn't become disoriented in the clouds. Sounds like although he was instrument-rated he didn't have a lot of experience in the soup on a revenue flight, because his employer's ops specs didn't allow it. Seems like if he had made it another 100-200 feet higher (to 2500 feet) and therefore full-visibility he would have been fine. Another sad "if only"...

My analysis anyway.

PS There are some other remote possibilities we probably won't know about. To the extent that this particular aircraft had some measure of autopilot (some do some don't), he could have thought he set it to climb on a particular heading to 4000 feet, relaxed from the controls and focused on telling the passengers what was going on without monitoring things, the autopilot disengages and he doesn't realize, in the soup, that it has done so until it's too late. Or if no autopilot, he takes his focus off the instruments to tell the pax what he is doing, or looks at a map, or plans a return to home or whatever, and doesn't feel the thing turning left and starting to descend. As you all know, you don't feel anything but acceleration without visual cues, and you don't feel the entry to a death spiral. Flying instruments in a helicopter with no autopilot, you have to be watching the whole time, because you're flying stick, collective, and pedals the whole time. He gets to 2300 feet. The cloud layer appears to end at 2400 feet, but he never gets there. So sad.
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
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Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:18 pm

The NTSB Investigative Update has a lot of new info, facts, and new photos/diagrams. Note: the NTSB is calling it an Investigative Update and not a Preliminary Report (what's the difference? Isn't a Preliminary Report facts-only as well?)

Some interesting facts from the Investigative Update:

Examination of the main and tail rotor assemblies found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact. Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure.

At 0945, the pilot of N72EX again contacted SCT and advised he was climbing above cloud layers and requested advisory services. The second controller was not aware of the aircraft, as services had previously been terminated, so asked the pilot to identify the flight. The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet. There were no further transmissions.

The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute (fpm), ground speed reached 160 knots. The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.

An ALERTWildfire camera image (figure 4) taken at 0944 PST looking southeast toward the city of Van Nuys, as publicized on the National Weather Service (NWS) Los Angeles Twitter account, depicted the top of the cloud layer to the east of the accident site. The NWS analyzed the top of the cloud layer to be about 2,400 feet above mean sea level

Figure 5a was taken by a witness on the mountain bike trail about 0950. The witness stated that the area was surrounded by mist. He said he began to hear the sound of a helicopter, which he described as appropriate for a helicopter flying while in a powered condition. He perceived the sound getting louder and saw a blue and white helicopter emerge from the clouds passing from left to right directly to his left. He judged it to be moving fast, travelling on a forward and descending trajectory. It started to roll to the left such that he caught a glimpse of its belly. He observed it for 1 to 2 seconds, before it impacted terrain about 50 feet below his position.

After the sale to Island Express in 2015, the helicopter was converted to an 8-passenger seat configuration with two pilot stations up front and eight passengers in the rear, separated by a bulkhead with sliding acrylic windows. Passenger seating was 2 four- occupant divans, one facing forward, the other rearward.

The pilot logged about 1,250 total hours in the S76 helicopter. His most recent flight review, including proficiency training in inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC) and unusual attitude recovery, was conducted in a helicopter with EUROSAFETY International on May 8, 2019. The pilot received satisfactory grades for these maneuvers.
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:00 am

My comments based on the NTSB Investigative Update:

First, why did the NTSB specifically call it an Investigative Update and not a Preliminary Report (they actually had to correct their original tweet)? Isn't a Preliminary Report facts-only (no conclusions) as well? Does that mean there will be another more thorough Preliminary Report? Or just the Final Report a year later?

The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet. There were no further transmissions.

This new info that the pilot told ATC that he was climbing to 4000 ft decreases the theory that the pilot was intentionally descending to get below the clouds again.

The NWS analyzed the top of the cloud layer to be about 2,400 feet above mean sea level

Oh man, this is heartbreaking. He made it to 2300 ft, only 100 more ft and he would have made it through the clouds!

After the sale to Island Express in 2015, the helicopter was converted to an 8-passenger seat configuration with two pilot stations up front and eight passengers in the rear, separated by a bulkhead with sliding acrylic windows. Passenger seating was 2 four- occupant divans, one facing forward, the other rearward.

So probably all 8 passengers were in the passenger compartment. They didn't need to put a passenger next to the pilot, as previously speculated.

The pilot logged about 1,250 total hours in the S76 helicopter. His most recent flight review, including proficiency training in inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC) and unusual attitude recovery, was conducted in a helicopter with EUROSAFETY International on May 8, 2019. The pilot received satisfactory grades for these maneuvers.

He was trained for Inadvertent entry into IMC, but I guess if you don't practice it regularly, you can still be rusty.

Figure 5a was taken by a witness on the mountain bike trail about 0950. The witness stated that the area was surrounded by mist. He said he began to hear the sound of a helicopter, which he described as appropriate for a helicopter flying while in a powered condition. He perceived the sound getting louder and saw a blue and white helicopter emerge from the clouds passing from left to right directly to his left. He judged it to be moving fast, travelling on a forward and descending trajectory. It started to roll to the left such that he caught a glimpse of its belly. He observed it for 1 to 2 seconds, before it impacted terrain about 50 feet below his position.

If he was on a trail 50 ft above the impact, then he was around the blue pin in the image below. That's only 250 ft away! That position also makes sense that the heli was traveling "left to right directly to his left". The left roll also corroborates theories that the attitude was out of control.

Image
 
flybucky
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:29 am

The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.

Not surprisingly, the NTSB had later ADS-B data than FR24 granular data.

Comparing the plots of FR24 vs NTSB, it looks like NTSB had 4 additional ADS-B data points after FR24's last data point.

Image

Image
 
ptmac
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:44 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:08 am

wjcandee wrote:

PS There are some other remote possibilities we probably won't know about. To the extent that this particular aircraft had some measure of autopilot (some do some don't), he could have thought he set it to climb on a particular heading to 4000 feet, relaxed from the controls and focused on telling the passengers what was going on without monitoring things, the autopilot disengages and he doesn't realize, in the soup, that it has done so until it's too late. Or if no autopilot, he takes his focus off the instruments to tell the pax what he is doing, or looks at a map, or plans a return to home or whatever, and doesn't feel the thing turning left and starting to descend. As you all know, you don't feel anything but acceleration without visual cues, and you don't feel the entry to a death spiral. Flying instruments in a helicopter with no autopilot, you have to be watching the whole time, because you're flying stick, collective, and pedals the whole time. He gets to 2300 feet. The cloud layer appears to end at 2400 feet, but he never gets there. So sad.


Whenever possible, I like to be specific about "some measure". This is what the machine had...

"The helicopter was equipped with a four-axis automatic flight control system, electronic flight instrument system, radio altimeter, and ADS-B
transponder. It was also equipped with a flight management system (FMS)."


That's a pretty good measure.

It is far more likely than not that he undertook the climb in full knowledge of what every system could do, and where he was from his displays and instruments. As quite a few knowledeable rotary pilots have said, "Why didn't he hit button and do the programmed climb straight ahead". He very likely did. He likely saw breaks to the blue on reaching 2300 feet. The scenario that this went south when the autopilot disengaged is a credible one. I'm not helicopter IFR, but I have a good bit of fixed wing IFR and autopilot/FD experience, and that is sometimes what they do when something disengages the AP. Especially if it is out of trim. If that happened, then his monitoring was not adequate.

It is an assumption that he was hard IFR in the climb. But he saw something ahead that made him call that he needed higher, and he figured 4000. He would have been VFR on top, which would have been legal.

Very good report by the NTSB.

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