OtherGround Forums The reason Kobe's helicopter crashed, new details

24 days ago
9/13/06
Posts: 27387
turducken -
billyball2 - RIP

Parents and children dies in a helicopter accident.

The sooner the media and random internet posters stop providing updates the sooner the families can move on.

They're not moving on any time soon. Media coverage will end looooong before that ever happens

Yeah, the family doesn't want to mourn, or carry memories with them.  They just want to move on.  Let's allow them to just get moving on.  

24 days ago
12/29/09
Posts: 29373

moveon.org

24 days ago
7/1/15
Posts: 28317
ShoreBreaker -
The_Pundits_Ghost -

If they didn't know they were crashing, that's the best scenario under these circumstances. I couldn't imagine being a father with my child and having time to see that coming...

From the audio it sounds like a short struggle then thud, it was probably the fire that killed them after being knocked out but then again they could have died instantly at impact 

I've haven't found any audio where you hear the pilot, only audio from the flight controllers 

24 days ago
5/8/10
Posts: 4135

Why were they moving so fast if they couldn't see?

24 days ago
1/9/02
Posts: 50471
DMBpig -

Why were they moving so fast if they couldn't see?

pilot was forced to circle for 15 mins per the air traffic control audio because the skies over LA were so busy. that might have something to do with it. he may have been getting pressure from Kobe, who knows?

24 days ago
1/17/03
Posts: 16692
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Edited: 24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43545

The pilot almost certainly fucked up but people are making too much hay about the fact that the Sheriff's had 'grounded' their helicopters due to the weather. 
 

Special VFR is not all that special.  Pilots use it all the time in marginal weather conditions with no adverse issues. The Sheriff's Office has a different mission that is generally done at a lower altitude and thus, requires a little more safety margin than general or commercial aviation. 
 

Where the pilot probably fucked up is not realizing that he had actually lost sight of the ground and immediately transitioning to instrument flight. The S-76 is almost certainly rated for it as was the pilot. He most likely suffered spatial disorientation and inadvertently allowed the aircraft to begin an unrecoverable rate of descent. I think that the investigation will show that in the last seconds of the flight he made some corrective action (pulled the nose up, increased power, etc.) after passing through a height that allowed him to see the ground again, but didn't have the altitude to recover. 
 

And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue. 

24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 9130

Makes it even worse that it was due to negligence, not a problem with the chopper itself. 

24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43546
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Spatial disorientation. 

24 days ago
11/18/15
Posts: 5734

 

24 days ago
3/13/18
Posts: 5262
absolutesperry -

Makes it even worse that it was due to negligence, not a problem with the chopper itself. 

I don't think that's been established 

24 days ago
11/18/15
Posts: 5735
pfsjkd -

The pilot almost certainly fucked up but people are making too much hay about the fact that the Sheriff's had 'grounded' their helicopters due to the weather. 
 

Special VFR is not all that special.  Pilots use it all the time in marginal weather conditions with no adverse issues. The Sheriff's Office has a different mission that is generally done at a lower altitude and thus, requires a little more safety margin than general or commercial aviation. 
 

Where the pilot probably fucked up is not realizing that he had actually lost sight of the ground and immediately transitioning to instrument flight. The S-76 is almost certainly rated for it as was the pilot. He most likely suffered spatial disorientation and inadvertently allowed the aircraft to begin an unrecoverable rate of descent. I think that the investigation will show that in the last seconds of the flight he made some corrective action (pulled the nose up, increased power, etc.) after passing through a height that allowed him to see the ground again, but didn't have the altitude to recover. 
 

And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue. 

special vfr isnt all that special but he clearly was not flying in special vfr conditions.  

it isnt vfr of ifr killing people, it is always a vfr flight flying vmc into imc.  you're poking through the clouds looking for a hole and while you're barely catching a slice of ground you see nothing.  if you're behind the curve there is no time to recover, attitude indicators toppling, ball fighting it's way out of the turn and bank, airspeed rapidly increasing scary scary shit.

 

if I understand it correctly he cancelled his ifr clearance and went to special vfr so he could scudrun a bunch of people in.  If you made a checklist of how to get into a cfit accident you could reliably base that off what pic did here.

as far as the sheriff's I couldn't agree more.  different flight operations have different risk profiles and different operational restrictions, what might be allowed for the sheriff operation might legally be allowed by a contractor so it sounds bad that he flew when the sherrifs didnt but it doesn't really mean anything.  he could have chose to keepndlying ifr and if he was running out of fuel he could have declared an emergency and get cleared by ATC to do whatever he wants.

24 days ago
1/9/02
Posts: 50472
pfsjkd -

The pilot almost certainly fucked up but people are making too much hay about the fact that the Sheriff's had 'grounded' their helicopters due to the weather. 
 

Special VFR is not all that special.  Pilots use it all the time in marginal weather conditions with no adverse issues. The Sheriff's Office has a different mission that is generally done at a lower altitude and thus, requires a little more safety margin than general or commercial aviation. 
 

Where the pilot probably fucked up is not realizing that he had actually lost sight of the ground and immediately transitioning to instrument flight. The S-76 is almost certainly rated for it as was the pilot. He most likely suffered spatial disorientation and inadvertently allowed the aircraft to begin an unrecoverable rate of descent. I think that the investigation will show that in the last seconds of the flight he made some corrective action (pulled the nose up, increased power, etc.) after passing through a height that allowed him to see the ground again, but didn't have the altitude to recover. 
 

And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue. 

"And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue."

 

he doesn't need Kobe's permission but Kobe is his employer, there would be lots of ppl lined up to be a private heli pilot for Kobe. Kobe could certainly pressure the guy. well likely never know if he did or not but you can hear the pilot sound irrirtated when he talked to air traffic control about the wait.

Edited: 24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43549
gregbrady -
pfsjkd -

The pilot almost certainly fucked up but people are making too much hay about the fact that the Sheriff's had 'grounded' their helicopters due to the weather. 
 

Special VFR is not all that special.  Pilots use it all the time in marginal weather conditions with no adverse issues. The Sheriff's Office has a different mission that is generally done at a lower altitude and thus, requires a little more safety margin than general or commercial aviation. 
 

Where the pilot probably fucked up is not realizing that he had actually lost sight of the ground and immediately transitioning to instrument flight. The S-76 is almost certainly rated for it as was the pilot. He most likely suffered spatial disorientation and inadvertently allowed the aircraft to begin an unrecoverable rate of descent. I think that the investigation will show that in the last seconds of the flight he made some corrective action (pulled the nose up, increased power, etc.) after passing through a height that allowed him to see the ground again, but didn't have the altitude to recover. 
 

And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue. 

"And it's highly doubtful that he would have asked Kobe's permission to go back. If he felt it was too dangerous to continue, as the pilot in command he most likely would have made a unilateral decision to turn back. You don't poll the passengers on a safety issue."

 

he doesn't need Kobe's permission but Kobe is his employer, there would be lots of ppl lined up to be a private heli pilot for Kobe. Kobe could certainly pressure the guy. well likely never know if he did or not but you can hear the pilot sound irrirtated when he talked to air traffic control about the wait.

Letting someone pressure you into dying is the epitome of stupid. Maybe he felt pressured by Kobe, but it's more likely to me as a 28 year pilot that he pressured himself and didn't wanna admit that he had lost sight of the ground. 

Is it splitting hairs? maybe, since it doesn't matter if Kobe pressured him or it was self-induced. The outcome could have been the same. Just offering my opinion about what most likely happened. 

Edited: 24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43550

"but he clearly was not flying in special vfr conditions."

There is no visibility limit for SVFR for helicopters. That being said, pilots have to use good judgement about whether it's safe or not safe to go. 

24 days ago
11/15/04
Posts: 38447

Scudrun? Cfit?

24 days ago
12/15/11
Posts: 27901
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

ive flown in over a 100 helicopters, the only reason you would drop that fast is mechanical failure.

The main rotor losing power.

 

24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43551
LiveWire -

Scudrun? Cfit?

Scud running is when an aircraft tries to fly low around and/or under the clouds. It's a dangerous activity because it increases the chances of the aircraft hitting something (wires, terrain, etc.). 
 

CFIT = Controlled Flight Into Terrain. Happens when the pilot(s) get distracted and don't realize the aircraft is approaching rising terrain or descending into it.

24 days ago
12/15/11
Posts: 27902
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Main rotor failure is the only reason.

 

24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43552
thedogofdogs -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

ive flown in over a 100 helicopters, the only reason you would drop that fast is mechanical failure.

The main rotor losing power.

 

Or if the pilot was severely disoriented and let the aircraft get away from him. 

24 days ago
11/9/05
Posts: 30042
thedogofdogs -
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Main rotor failure is the only reason.

 

lol, no.

Like the guy who actually knows what he's talking about explained, most people in that industry believe spatial disorientation is to blame. It's physiological response that causes your instincts to lie.

24 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 43553
thedogofdogs -
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Main rotor failure is the only reason.

 

If it was 'main rotor failure' at the altitude where it started to descend, the debris would be scattered over a much wider area. The rotors would have come down away from the main wreckage. Nobody has said this is a possibility. 

24 days ago
11/18/15
Posts: 5736
pfsjkd -

"but he clearly was not flying in special vfr conditions."

There is no visibility limit for SVFR for helicopters. That being said, pilots have to use good judgement about whether it's safe or not safe to go. 

I am familiar with 91.157 from a fixed wing standpoint and I have a feeling that the lawyers will be arguing over the difference between fog and a cloud and use 91.157(b)(2) as their argument as that does apply to helicopters

24 days ago
11/18/15
Posts: 5737
thedogofdogs -
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Main rotor failure is the only reason.

 

how do you propose that would happen?  

24 days ago
12/15/11
Posts: 27903
itskrisdude -
thedogofdogs -
Erik Apple -
grenade whistle - 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.

Flightradar24 visual map and last air traffic control


About TAWS technology

None of that explains why they dropped 1500 or 2000 feet in a minute or less....

Main rotor failure is the only reason.

 

lol, no.

Like the guy who actually knows what he's talking about explained, most people in that industry believe spatial disorientation is to blame. It's physiological response that causes your instincts to lie.

I'll be proven right in the end, they dont drop like that, unless there is mechanical failure.