Aviation – Transportation Insurance: When Is The Report For Kobe Bryants Fatal Crash Expected?

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Aviation – Transportation Insurance:

The helicopter pilot who crashed and killed Kobe Bryant and eight others was almost out of blinding clouds when he reportedly plunged and crashed into a hillside in Southern California.

According to an investigation update released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board, Ara Zobayan had told air traffic control he was climbing to 4,000 feet and he was actually nearer to 2,300 feet.

The aircraft was only 100 feet from the tops of the cloud and in a matter of seconds would certainly have broken through into clear air. Air traffic controllers had told Zobayan that the tops of the cloud were at 731.5 meters 2,400 feet. Video footage later examined by the NTSB reveals surrounding clouds at that approximate height.

The NTSB update offered no assumption whatsoever about what caused the Jan. 26 crash in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, because the investigation is still ongoing and a final report is not due for about a year. Nevertheless, the report said there was no evidence of wreckage-based mechanical failure reviewed by the scene experts.

Detectives also assume that because a tree branch was cut at the site of the accident, the twin engines functioning and the rotors rotated at the time of impact. All four of the chopper’s propellers seemed to have similar damage, the update stated.

An unnamed witness told the NTSB the hillside in which the accident occurred was enveloped in mist when he heard the helicopter nearing. It sounded fine and he then had seen the blue-and-white aircraft materialize from the cloud moving forward and down. It began rolling to the left, and he caught a glimpse of the belly of the aircraft. Inside of 2 secs, it rammed onto the hillside just below him.

Veteran pilots have mentioned that within the dense atmosphere Zobayan becomes disoriented.

Mike Sagely, a helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area with 35 years of flying experience, said the pilot’s last maneuvers say he attempted to pop up above the clouds, and soared for maybe a minute before turning left.

Once pilots inadvertently enter fog and try to turn rather than still ascending, “probably in the neighborhood of 80 to 90 percent of the time, it’s catastrophic,” Sagely told the media.

“When he went into the clouds, he had a full-on emergency,” Sagely went on to say.

The helicopter descended at 4,000 feet per minute, and crashed over 180 mph into the hillside.

Aviation safety expert Kipp Lau said the pace of the aircraft’s descent showed “you’ve certainly lost control of the aircraft.” The crash occurred when Bryant and the other passengers flew from Orange County to Ventura County to attend a girls ‘ basketball tournament at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy. He has been coaching the team of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She died along with two teammates.

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