From Larry Dighera@21:1/5 to All on Mon Feb 3 10:48:36 2020
    If Kobe's helo pilot, ARA GEORGE ZOBAYAN, suddenly descended at a rate
    of >2000 feet per minute into terrain, loss of spatial awareness sure
    seems plausible to me, despite his being an instrument flight and
    ground instructor.

    One of the most difficult things for a pilot in command to learn is
    how to find the courage to tell his passengers that it is not safe to
    complete the flight. He faces confession that the situation exceeds
    abilities, probable ridicule from disappointed passengers who likely
    face financial repercussions of his decision, and possible unfavorable
    review by his employer if it is a commercial; revenue producing
    flight. He needs to emphasize his prudence and professional concern
    for the SAFETY of the flight, and expect those inconvenienced
    passengers to praise his decision. It takes time to develop this

    ------------------------------------------------------------------- https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/january/27/weather-likely-a-factor-in-bryant-crash

    January 27, 2020
    By Jim Moore

    Editor's note: This story was updated on January 30 and 31 to include
    new information.

    Investigators probing the January 26 helicopter crash that killed
    basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others
    said there is no evidence that terrain awareness technology was
    available to the pilot as he attempted to negotiate rising terrain in
    poor visibility.

    The NTSB dispatched a team to Los Angeles and the FAA established a
    temporary flight restriction over the scene within hours of the fatal
    accident that triggered mourning far beyond the world of professional basketball players and fans. Images of the burning wreckage of the
    Sikorsky S–76B operated under Part 135 by Island Express Holding and
    scattered on a hillside were broadcast live on cable news outlets that
    devoted days of programming to the loss of one of the National
    Basketball Association’s greatest players of all time. Bryant retired
    four years ago as one of the league’s top scorers, and was expected to
    be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, his first year of
    eligibility. He was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter and others
    from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to Bryant’s basketball
    academy in Thousand Oaks, California, according to multiple media

    Jennifer Homendy, a member of the NTSB who participated in the
    on-scene investigation and briefed the media in a series of press
    conferences culminating with a final briefing on January 28, said the helicopter descended rapidly into terrain and struck the side of a
    hill 1,085 feet above sea level.

    Visibility was limited by clouds and fog at the time of the ill-fated
    flight, and the pilot may have lost sight of the highways and other
    visual references he was attempting to follow to his destination.

    “We know that the helicopter was at 2,300 feet when it lost
    communications with air traffic control,” Homendy said. “The descent
    rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 feet a minute, so we know that
    this was a high-energy impact crash, and the helicopter was in a
    descending left bank.”

    Investigators used a drone to document the crash scene, and fly the
    final path of the accident flight documented by ADS-B data. NTSB photo
    via YouTube.

    Homendy said investigators had concluded the recovery of the wreckage
    having found all critical parts of the helicopter in the impact area,
    so they believe the helicopter was intact when it hit the ground.
    Investigators confirmed the helicopter was not equipped with terrain
    awareness and warning system capability. Homendy noted that the board
    had recommended mandating such equipment for commercial helicopters
    following previous accidents, but the FAA had not implemented that recommendation. The absence of a cockpit voice recorder and flight
    data recorder, also recommended by the NTSB following previous
    accidents, was also noted.

    Aviation International News analyzed publicly available radar data and
    recorded air traffic control audio to develop a detailed chronology of
    the ill-fated flight https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/general-aviation/2020-01-26/helo-crash-kills-basketball-legend-kobe-bryant-eight-others
    . Low ceilings and fog prevailed at the time of the accident, 9:47
    a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The flight appeared to have wound its way
    through rising terrain in limited visibility. The final moments of
    recorded radar and ADS-B data indicate rapid changes in speed and
    altitude before the helicopter impacted terrain. There was no distress

    Chuck Street, executive director of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter
    Operators Association (of which Island Express is a member) praised
    the company’s overall commitment to safety, as well as pilot Ara
    Zobayan, who was among the nine people killed in the accident, in an
    interview with the Los Angeles Times.

    “He took what he did seriously,” Street said. “The words that come up
    in my mind when I think of him: professional and cheerful.”

    Various media outlets https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kobe-bryant-helicopter-crash-lapd-grounded-their-helicopters-why-was-bryants-chopper-allowed-to-fly/
    noted that poor visibility conditions were widespread at the time of
    the accident, grounding police helicopter operations in Los Angeles
    County and elsewhere, including Fresno County. The New York Times
    chartered a helicopter to retrace the path of the ill-fated flight and
    glean additional insight on the pilot's struggle with deteriorating
    visibility. https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000006946632/kobe-bryant-helicopter.html

    The helicopter impacted terrain about 1,000 feet above sea level. The
    decent rate was more than 2,000 feet per minute. NTSB photo via

    Homendy said Zobayan had logged 8,200 hours by the time he applied for
    his most recent second class medical certificate in July 2019, and
    that included 1,250 hours in the S–76. While Zobayan was known to have
    owned an iPad with ForeFlight, investigators were still unsure whether
    the device found in the wreckage was his.

    AOPA Air Safety Institute Executive Director Richard McSpadden fielded
    several calls from reporters following the crash, and took pains to
    point out that helicopters log about 3 million flight hours a year in
    the United States, and that tragedies like the loss of Bryant, his
    pilot, and fellow passengers can create a false perception about the
    risks involved in aviation. The Los Angeles Times, after its own
    analysis of safety data, noted that the Sikorsky S–76 has an enviable
    safety record overall, with just 0.2 fatal crashes per 100,000 flight
    hours from 2006 to 2016.

    McSpadden said that it is always premature to draw conclusions about
    any accident, particularly including the safety implications, until
    the details of the investigation are known. “I’ve been reinforcing
    that message on several interviews this morning,” McSpadden said.

    Likewise, the Helicopter Association International and Sikorsky, a
    Lockheed Martin company, expressed similar sentiments in the immediate aftermath.

    Investigators had concluded their work at the crash site by January
    28, turning the scene over to local authorities. NTSB photo via

    “Helicopter Association International expresses our deepest sympathies
    to the families, friends, and coworkers of those lost in today’s
    crash. HAI’s official policy is to refrain from commenting on any
    accident until authorities complete their investigation,” the
    association said in a statement.

    Sikorsky also issued a statement:

    “We extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by today’s
    Sikorsky S–76B accident in Calabasas, California. We have been in
    contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and
    support to the investigative authorities and our customer. Safety is
    our top priority; if there are any actionable findings from the
    investigation, we will inform our S–76 customers.” -----------------------------

    NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy's Final Media Brief on the Calabasas, CA helicopter crash
    Jan 28, 2020

    NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy's Second Media Brief on the Calabasas, CA helicopter crash
    Jan 27, 2020

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