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Report from Kobe Bryant chopper crash investigation.


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An NTSB report released on Wednesday also revealed the pilot of the helicopter that crashed in thick fog, killing Bryant and eight other passengers, reported the aircraft was ascending when it actually was heading for the ground.

 

About 45 minutes before takeoff, pilot Ara Zobayan had texted a group of people overseeing the flight that the weather was looking “OK”. He radioed to air-traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4000 feet (1,220 meters) to get above clouds on January 26, when in fact the chopper was plunging toward a hillside where it crashed northwest of Los Angeles, killing all nine people aboard.

 

The report by the NTSB said Zobayan may have “misperceived” the angles at which he was descending and banking, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility.

 

“Calculated apparent angles at this time show that the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles,” one report stated.

 

“During the final descent the pilot, responding to (air traffic control), stated that they were ‘climbing to four thousand.’”

 

John Cox, an aviation safety consultant, said the helicopter’s erratic flight path - the aircraft slowed, climbed, then banked to one side while sinking rapidly - are telltale signs of a pilot becoming disoriented in conditions that make it hard to see terrain or the horizon.

 

“He is not the first person to experience it,” Cox said. “It’s a significant cause of accidents.”

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Yes, remember the crash that killed the hugely experienced (and repected) Gary Ticehurst and 2 ABC journos back in 2011. The ATSB determined that disorientation was the principal cause there too.

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We will never know but I'll bet some pressure was on the pilot to get there!

 

Quite possible, but from what I've read Gary Ticehurst was a man with a big personality - hard to imagine him doing anything because of what someone else said. But yes, that's pure speculation, I never met the guy.

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Apart from the mis-pronunciation of ADS-B (adsbee) this is quite an instructive reconstruction. If the time stamping is fairly accurate I am unsure how a pilot who was aware he’d just gone from 2000 fpm climb to a +2000 fpm decent can still be communicating calmly with ATC.

 

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