Conditions were not suitable for flying, according to Los Angeles police who grounded their own choppers. But Kobe Bryant's pilot wanted to fly anyway and requested to abandon IFR (instrument flight rules) in favor of flying under visual flight rules (VFR), and ascended, or climbed to more than 2,000 feet, in what appeared to be an attempt to put some space between helicopter and terrain, and then crashed. He needed to climb to see what's below him BUT INSTEAD OF REVERTING TO IFR, HE CONTINUED FLYING UNDER VFR and this is why he crashed.
In addition to this, Kobe's helicopter was NOT equipped with TAWS (Terrain Avoidance Warning System). For years the NTSB has been recommending it on large passenger helicopters, but the FAA has not yet ordered it to be mandatory. The chopper did also not have black boxes, a cockpit voice or flight data recorder that could have provided critical information about why the pilot crashed. Kobe's helicopter was built in 1991 and his pilot had over 8,200 flying hours as of July 2019.
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