Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:19 pm

First, as long as the ATCOs were working within the scope of their employment, I can’t see how they personally get sued. The FAA might get sued for negligence, but that’s a stretch. The crew didn’t declare “mayday” or an emergency; from the controller’s perspective, just another VFR “target” that was below radar coverage. Happens all the time. And, if the pilot’s communications or situation seems dire, the controller has the authority to put the flight in an “emergency” status to give him and facility the necessary tools to assist the pilot—give it traffic priority, move other traffic off the frequency, etc.
 
Western727
Posts: 1794
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:38 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:33 pm

GA pilot here. I agree with the above arguments that this action is akin to a money grab attempt in light of getting sued by the families involved. It seems clear that the pilot screwed up by staying low in low-visibility conditions which were known to the pilot both before and during the flight. We pilots all know that radar is spotty at low altitudes.
Jack @ AUS
 
MrBretz
Posts: 559
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:13 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:42 pm

On the surface, the suit seems bogus. I note in the article that Island Express claimed they were indemnified because of the ATCs actions. They are hoping for a settlement which keeps them in business. I can’t blame them for trying. Did they go out of business?

Edit: just saw Galaxyfliers comment and I concur.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:02 pm

MrBretz wrote:
On the surface, the suit seems bogus. I note in the article that Island Express claimed they were indemnified because of the ATCs actions. They are hoping for a settlement which keeps them in business. I can’t blame them for trying. Did they go out of business?

Edit: just saw Galaxyfliers comment and I concur.

If those controllers games get out they are going to be in a world of hurt in LA even if they are innocent
 
bigb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:20 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
bigb wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:


From the article: "Short story ... the helicopter company says the tower operators caused the pilot stress and distraction which ultimately caused the crash."

That's going to be a tough one to prove given that pilots are presumed to be highly trained and the tower ATCers would have no way of knowing the mental state of the pilot at any given point. Trying to communicate with the pilot can be argued to be the ATCers job. However, if the change in shifts happened to be at a time when protocol would dictate for the original ATCer to keep online if the distress by the pilot has been since proven to be known to him, then I can see a case against the training of the ATCer, perhaps.


That argument will not hold any water. This is just a case of the company trying to get some kind of compensation to cover their expenses of their insurance premiums which had to pay out to the families in involved. This pilot isn't in distressed as he didn't declare either......


True that pilot didn't declare distress or whatever the jargon, but the pilot did request radar assistance I believe due to the low fog and the ATCer denied due to low altitude. What can be argued is that I would think that kind of situation screams distress without spoken word and at least requires follow-through until copter is safe, not to change shifts midstream. I can see how a lawyer can argue that and then argue that the shift change was somehow botched. Agree with you on trying to cover expenses, but in order to do so they need effective argument, unless suits and settlements are usually expected and standard.


Asking for flight following/radar assistant does not scream distress. In the court of law, this will be shot down quick as the pilot didn’t declare an emergency or PAN/MAYDAY. Radar coverage couldn’t be provided since the helicopter altitude was too low...

This is just a money grab to save their pockets that not going to hold up.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:47 pm

Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?
 
bigb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:02 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?


A pilot understands that if they are VFR and requesting radar assistance /Flight following knows that those services are to only provide traffic advisories and only rendered when ATC can pick you on their Radar (can’t happen if you are below their radar cover I.e. too low of Altitude) otherwise how can ATC help someone they can’t see? And two, Can be denied if ATC workload is too high. Sure the Pilot announces his Altitude, however this pilot has to maintain situational awareness about his operation and taken terrain and weather into consideration for pre-flight planning. IMO, he should have just filed IFR before leaving... Then this wouldn’t be an issue.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:02 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?

What are you talking about he was VFR. Altitude is his responsibility. If he could no longmaintain VFR he should request IFR and atc would climb hiim. It’s common for VFR planes to fly low following roads during reduced weather. Yah
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:20 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?


Radar assistance to VFR traffic very explicitly does not include terrain clearance. Terrain clearance is an IFR requirement of ATC. The assumption being the VFR pilot can see the terrain. Look at the obverse—ATC starts issuing vectors assuming the pilot can see the terrain, but the pilot cannot or loses sight and crashes into the unseen terrain.. Then, the controller is clearly OUTSIDE of his job description. Controllers are not pilots normally and not the PIC.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:21 pm

bigb wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?


A pilot understands that if they are VFR and requesting radar assistance /Flight following knows that those services are to only provide traffic advisories and only rendered when ATC can pick you on their Radar (can’t happen if you are below their radar cover I.e. too low of Altitude) otherwise how can ATC help someone they can’t see? And two, Can be denied if ATC workload is too high. Sure the Pilot announces his Altitude, however this pilot has to maintain situational awareness about his operation and taken terrain and weather into consideration for pre-flight planning. IMO, he should have just filed IFR before leaving... Then this wouldn’t be an issue.


Agreed, ultimately and respectfully this was pilot error/ negligence and don't see any lawsuit against ATCer holding traction, unless any ATCer shift change is proven to be at a time when any distress was known and the second ATC was not properly made aware of the situation so not to cause any undue stress to pilot, which I think is basis of lawsuit.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:30 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?


Radar assistance to VFR traffic very explicitly does not include terrain clearance. Terrain clearance is an IFR requirement of ATC. The assumption being the VFR pilot can see the terrain. Look at the obverse—ATC starts issuing vectors assuming the pilot can see the terrain, but the pilot cannot or loses sight and crashes into the unseen terrain.. Then, the controller is clearly OUTSIDE of his job description. Controllers are not pilots normally and not the PIC.


Point taken.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:38 pm

32andBelow wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?

What are you talking about he was VFR. Altitude is his responsibility. If he could no longmaintain VFR he should request IFR and atc would climb hiim. It’s common for VFR planes to fly low following roads during reduced weather. Yah


I hear you. My argument is based on premise that an ACTer shift change proves negligent if proven the ACTer knew of or sensed any distress and still ended his shift.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:54 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
Interesting. But what about the mere fact of the requesting of radar help at such a low altitude? Would not the pilot announce altitude or altitude somehow made known to ATCer at time of request, including topography hazard, whereby ATCer would have known through experience, or via training, for the allowance of the possibility of impending disaster beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore not shift change ?

What are you talking about he was VFR. Altitude is his responsibility. If he could no longmaintain VFR he should request IFR and atc would climb hiim. It’s common for VFR planes to fly low following roads during reduced weather. Yah


I hear you. My argument is based on premise that an ACTer shift change proves negligent if proven the ACTer knew of or sensed any distress and still ended his shift.

An atc would never get a break during An emergency. And you have to understand there like a shift change. The reliever controller monitors the position until they have the picture and then controller being relieved stays for a minute or more to make sure the next guy has it all. It’s not like okay 300pm Seeya!
 
SocalApproach
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:08 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:39 am

32andBelow wrote:
What are you talking about he was VFR. Altitude is his responsibility. If he could no longmaintain VFR he should request IFR and atc would climb hiim. It’s common for VFR planes to fly low following roads during reduced weather. Yah


:checkmark: Not only was he VFR...he was SVFR. Its been a few months but I recall the ATC recording with the controller to come off as "skeptical" the pilot was able to maintain clear of clouds. And obviously if he is attempting to fly under SVFR that means remaining clear of clouds will put him at an altitude too low for radar to reliably track the aircraft so there was nothing ATC could have done here nor their responsibility. Not a good look for Island Express Helicopters. I understand why they are doing it but It almost comes off that this company doesn't even understand SVFR rules. Everything to this point shows he was scud running and they should have never taken off without an IFR clearance if at all since the pilot and/or aircraft was not current/rated for instrument meteorological conditions
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:07 am

It’s not whether radar could “reliably track” him; it’s that ATC has no authority to provide terrain clearance below the minimum IFR altitude for the plane’s location. If he was IFR current and equipped, decided to climb; ATC would state, “maintain VFR and climb to xxxx’. An approach radar can often track secondary targets below the minimum IFR altitude, but the controller has no detailed picture of terrain.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:12 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
It’s not whether radar could “reliably track” him; it’s that ATC has no authority to provide terrain clearance below the minimum IFR altitude for the plane’s location. If he was IFR current and equipped, decided to climb; ATC would state, “maintain VFR and climb to xxxx’. An approach radar can often track secondary targets below the minimum IFR altitude, but the controller has no detailed picture of terrain.

Can you maintain terrain and obstruction avoidance through XXX

Yes

Cleared to XXX via ROUTE climb and maintain XXX
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:20 am

True, no argument, just pointing out ATC can’t provide terrain clearance below the MIA. What if the answer to your first question is NO? ATC can’t help or Pilot lies. Scudrinners Anonymous here.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:20 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
True, no argument, just pointing out ATC can’t provide terrain clearance below the MIA. What if the answer to your first question is NO? ATC can’t help or Pilot lies. Scudrinners Anonymous here.

Suggest you return from the clear weather you came from. Assuming you have remained clear of clouds thus far. Although I’d think a helicopter could always maintain terrain avoidance. Cant they just go straight up?
 
airplanecrazy
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 8:09 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:33 am

I published a crash reconstruction a couple of months ago with the full ATC audio I obtained from the FAA for the last minutes of flight (see link viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1439861&start=737#p22223107 ). I am not a pilot or controller, but I have a hard time finding any controller responsibility. The NTSB published their interviews with the controllers, and here is a portion of the interview with the controller (CO) that really struck me;

Group: Hindsight being 20/20, when you look back is there anything you would have done
differently, or anything you think could have been done differently?
CO: I think the circumstances were beyond control of anyone in this building

The full transcript is in the docket.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:03 am

32andBelow wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
True, no argument, just pointing out ATC can’t provide terrain clearance below the MIA. What if the answer to your first question is NO? ATC can’t help or Pilot lies. Scudrinners Anonymous here.

Suggest you return from the clear weather you came from. Assuming you have remained clear of clouds thus far. Although I’d think a helicopter could always maintain terrain avoidance. Cant they just go straight up?


Fly A-10s in northern NY during winters, you get a lot of practice at one, lost wingman procedures and two, getting “on top” fast when you get squeezed between earth and cloud. One grand day, four times plus a combo of low level lost wingman and four planes all trying to get on top. One of us managed to climb into the only tall cu. we’re all getting joined when out of the side of the towering cu pops Jimmy. He couldn’t understand how we were visual around 6,000’ and he was still in it at 9,000’ and climbing. Also, some formative years scud running in the NY area, flying checks.

Helicopters don’t fly IFR in a hover, too unstable, .IFR helos have a minimum IFR airspeed.
 
klkla
Posts: 851
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:51 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:08 am

32andBelow wrote:
If those controllers games get out they are going to be in a world of hurt in LA even if they are innocent


When your buzz wears off maybe you can make a post that makes sense.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:20 am

klkla wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
If those controllers games get out they are going to be in a world of hurt in LA even if they are innocent


When your buzz wears off maybe you can make a post that makes sense.

I had 1 wrong letter. Sue me.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6458
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:36 am

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

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:49 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
True, no argument, just pointing out ATC can’t provide terrain clearance below the MIA. What if the answer to your first question is NO? ATC can’t help or Pilot lies. Scudrinners Anonymous here.


In his statement to the NTSB the controller (CO) said:

Group: You have seen the media reports I am sure and have some awareness of the weather in
terms of what has been reported. Can you think of any reason why the pilot would have
said he was climbing to 4,000 feet?
CO: Purely speculation, but if he was familiar with the area, 4,000 feet is the approach altitude
we would issue arrivals into CMA due to the MVA.

MVA is Minimum Vectoring Altitude
 
Chemist
Posts: 769
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:35 am

Seems like a load of BS for a pilot that followed the classic VMC into IMC deathtrap.
 
32andBelow
Posts: 5031
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:36 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Which letter?

I meant to say controller names
 
airplanecrazy
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 8:09 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:15 pm

Here is a link to the complain against the controllers: https://www.reddit.com/r/ATC/comments/i ... ss_review/
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 2230
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:10 am

Revelation wrote:
Island Helicopters is suing the air traffic controllers:

https://www.tmz.com/2020/08/25/vanessa- ... ter-crash/

Not sure what they hope to gain by suing individual ATCers.


Yeah, I don't get this either. Perhaps because they can't sue the government (ATC)? Will be interesting to watch.

I can't recall a lawsuit against only named employees, without naming the company first. You sue the company because they have the money (and insurance). As my college pre-law prof said: "As college students, you'll never get sued. What would they take? Your bed?" Haha, but also very true. You go after the deep pockets.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
smokeybandit
Posts: 1408
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:24 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:44 pm

America is the most litigious country in the world, so no surprise.
 
ncwvisfx
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:05 am

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:19 am

I am confused as to why anyone would discount retreating blade stall (RBS) so fanatically as the argument the accident did not not match the criteria is completely invalid.

From the first correlation of information when it was confirmed by NTSB that mechanical failure was being discounted.

Facts. The weather is a factor not only due to visibility. Fog cloud moisture and temperature all impact air density. The pilot was attempting to climb at the time of the incident beginning. If air density is substantially impaired by moisture and the pilot flies at speed x climbing through Less dense air due to moisture and has a lack of visibility begins to roll due to RBS, what is a minor issue of incorrect due to disorientation becomes quickly a severe issue as the helicopter rolled beyond recovery and descend rapidly into the terrain.

I am fairly confident this is going to be the NTSB conclusion unless some extreme unknown facts are discovered
 
11C
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:25 pm

Re: Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash

Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:16 pm

ncwvisfx wrote:
I am confused as to why anyone would discount retreating blade stall (RBS) so fanatically as the argument the accident did not not match the criteria is completely invalid.

From the first correlation of information when it was confirmed by NTSB that mechanical failure was being discounted.

Facts. The weather is a factor not only due to visibility. Fog cloud moisture and temperature all impact air density. The pilot was attempting to climb at the time of the incident beginning. If air density is substantially impaired by moisture and the pilot flies at speed x climbing through Less dense air due to moisture and has a lack of visibility begins to roll due to RBS, what is a minor issue of incorrect due to disorientation becomes quickly a severe issue as the helicopter rolled beyond recovery and descend rapidly into the terrain.

I am fairly confident this is going to be the NTSB conclusion unless some extreme unknown facts are discovered

If flying in humidity could so easily lead to RBS, there wouldn’t be many Army pilots alive. I think this is just another time that someone flew into imc without a clearance. In my brief time flying charter it was part of the culture.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos