Kobe Bryant chopper crash

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MUSKEG
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by MUSKEG »

I’m wondering with the rate of decent and the fact he missed clearing the top of the hill by 20-30 feet If he might have seen a hole to go through and missed the pull out due to high rate of decent. 🤷‍♂️
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karmutzen
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by karmutzen »

There were little hills (undulating terrain) all around the bottom, he hit 20’ below the top of one in a near vertical dive, left bank, doing over 200 mph. The tops of the valley peaks were about 2200’. That whole 20’ below comment from the NTSB is deceiving. He had made it up high enough to be out of CFIT danger. The dive wasn’t controlled. 60-90 knots is a good speed to follow a freeway at 300-500’, normal cruise is 130-135. Vne is 155.

BTW, his VFR limits in G airspace below 1200’ (US, remember) is 1/2 mile and clear of cloud. Same as Canada with an ops spec. Foggy smoggy LA that kind of flying is routine, you follow freeways. There are those pesky IFR airports where you need SVFR to transit their zone when the viz drops below 3 miles. It was 2 and a half at Van Nuys. Camarillo was good VFR.

You can call it .. running disparagingly but perfectly legal and safe for most professional helicopter pilots. And efficient.
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boeingboy
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by boeingboy »

don't get me wrong - I said SVFR has it's place... Like hazy skies over the I-5 in downtown LA.

But he wasn't over downtown LA. His route took him though the mountains (or hills or whatever you want to label them) That were socked in with cloud. He veered away from the freeway and climbed into the cloud (apparently). According to witnesses - they could hear him but didn't see him until he broke out of the cloud - out of control. Did the cloud go right down to the freeway in his path and he tried to find another way around? To me - that is .. running, and it's that kind of thing that is dangerous.

The company was not authorized to fly IFR - so was the machine maintained IFR legal? Even if it was - it was poor decision making to continue even if trying to transition to IFR.

Again, I'm just theorizing based on very little facts - there are too many questions right now and not enough answers.
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cncpc
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by cncpc »

Heliian wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:48 am
No current 76 time, I also don't know what kind of autopilot they had in that bmodel, that can make a difference too.
boeingboy wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:10 pm
unless you're suddenly trying to avoid something.
That is one scenario we discussed yesterday. However I think the rapid rise/fall is all loss of control, they may have hit something first.
waterdog wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:20 pm
Unless there were multiple instrument failures, I don't see why they wouldn't have gone ifr at that point.
Mmmmmm, interesting. Which makes me think when the pilot was denied initial clearance through the class c control zone when he requested a special vfr transition and then was put in a hold for 15 minutes, you would think that's when they would get the pop-up IFR clearance.

K
He didn't want IFR because he wouldn't have been able to land at the sports facility.

They were holding outside of the zone for other traffic, including a missed approach and transitioned just fine.

He cut across van nuys to pick up the highway, this was straight up scudrunning and the pilot made a terrible choice to continue.

I'd like to see the pilot record, that may shed some more light on the pilots ifr experience.
I think there is a PIREP near to there around that time which has tops at 2000 feet, sunny and 30 miles vis on top. There is no reason, absent mechanical, for him to have an urgency to get on the ground somewhere he wasn't going. He was legal VFR on top, although probably illegal getting on top, and 300 feet above the deck.

All this turning and rapid descent is not inconsistent with a tail rotor problem.

It is odd that in the one wider area video I've seen, there is a straight debris trail from impact to the major cabin and tunnel bit, with paper scattered but not burned. But the vertical fin is not on that path. It appears to be abeam the crater, not in front of it. And a fair bit off the wreckage trail.

This is the cockpit when it was operated by the State of Illinois. It would be informative to know what was still there on that day, and what had been added, and what was US.
olde fcockpit.jpg
olde fcockpit.jpg (125.71 KiB) Viewed 1932 times
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Heliian
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Heliian »

cncpc wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:31 pm
Heliian wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:48 am
No current 76 time, I also don't know what kind of autopilot they had in that bmodel, that can make a difference too.
boeingboy wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:10 pm
unless you're suddenly trying to avoid something.
That is one scenario we discussed yesterday. However I think the rapid rise/fall is all loss of control, they may have hit something first.
waterdog wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:20 pm


Mmmmmm, interesting. Which makes me think when the pilot was denied initial clearance through the class c control zone when he requested a special vfr transition and then was put in a hold for 15 minutes, you would think that's when they would get the pop-up IFR clearance.

K
He didn't want IFR because he wouldn't have been able to land at the sports facility.

They were holding outside of the zone for other traffic, including a missed approach and transitioned just fine.

He cut across van nuys to pick up the highway, this was straight up scudrunning and the pilot made a terrible choice to continue.

I'd like to see the pilot record, that may shed some more light on the pilots ifr experience.
I think there is a PIREP near to there around that time which has tops at 2000 feet, sunny and 30 miles vis on top. There is no reason, absent mechanical, for him to have an urgency to get on the ground somewhere he wasn't going. He was legal VFR on top, although probably illegal getting on top, and 300 feet above the deck.

All this turning and rapid descent is not inconsistent with a tail rotor problem.

It is odd that in the one wider area video I've seen, there is a straight debris trail from impact to the major cabin and tunnel bit, with paper scattered but not burned. But the vertical fin is not on that path. It appears to be abeam the crater, not in front of it. And a fair bit off the wreckage trail.

This is the cockpit when it was operated by the State of Illinois. It would be informative to know what was still there on that day, and what had been added, and what was US.

olde fcockpit.jpg
Now that we know that the aircraft and company and presumably the pilot did not have any current IFR certification or training, it solidifies the hypothesis that the pilot went vfr into imc and lost control, as happens with most vfr into imc situations. The aircraft was speeding and under power when it impacted the hillside and from all accounts intact. Wreckage positioning and contents scattered around would be normal for such a high energy impact.

If your company does only VFR work then you are only going to maintain the equipment necessary for VFR flight. The IFR equipment may even have been removed.
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pelmet
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by pelmet »

Heliian wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:55 am
The aircraft was speeding and under power when it impacted the hillside and from all accounts intact. Wreckage positioning and contents scattered around would be normal for such a high energy impact.
Thanks.....is it easy for a helicopter like this to just slow down and crawl ahead at a fairly low speed when the vis is poor?
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Schooner69A
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Schooner69A »

Pelmet:

Yes. I would have been flying 40 - 60 knots which allows for a quick stop and/or turnaround in the event of unsavoury conditions ahead...
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pelmet
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by pelmet »

Schooner69A wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:21 am
Pelmet:

Yes. I would have been flying 40 - 60 knots which allows for a quick stop and/or turnaround in the event of unsavoury conditions ahead...
Seems like a logical thing to do when flying in marginal weather, especially with hills around.
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Heliian
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Heliian »

karmutzen wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:57 pm
but he had an iPad with Foreflight.
Completely useless, probably had a negative effect of making him overconfident in crap weather. Many ipad drivers here have said they'd use it as an alternate att/hsi in IMC, looks like that theory is trash.
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cncpc
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by cncpc »

I called a friend about where the vertical fin is positioned in the wreckage map. Told that most likely the main rotor chopped it off, but not clear that happened at impact or in flight. As that machine rotates counter clockwise, and if was chopped off, you'd expect to be above the wreckage, but...?

The NTSB woman says that all the parts were found at the site. As they were in this S55 tail rotor incident video, in which the TR is clearly attached and stopped at impact. The fact that all the parts were found at the site doesn't mean they were working.

At least one example of a problem with TR leading to an accident.

http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/s-7 ... lade-loss/

And the S55 video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kXUZQYFu18
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Schooner69A
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Schooner69A »

Heliian commented: "Completely useless, probably had a negative effect of making him overconfident in crap weather. Many ipad drivers here have said they'd use it as an alternate att/hsi in IMC, looks like that theory is trash."


I have an iPad c/w Foreflight. The Foreflight AI/HSI function is an backup, alternate means only. Not as good as your onboard stuff (assuming you have something like an EFIS etc in your instrument panel. I have a Dynon Skyview installed)

The synthetic vision with Skyview is a thing of beauty - makes wandering around the mountains here in the interior of BC a snap.
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altiplano
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by altiplano »

Are any pilots really flying their I-pads? That's crazy..
cncpc wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:23 pm
I called a friend about where the vertical fin is positioned in the wreckage map. Told that most likely the main rotor chopped it off, but not clear that happened at impact or in flight. As that machine rotates counter clockwise, and if was chopped off, you'd expect to be above the wreckage, but...?

The NTSB woman says that all the parts were found at the site. As they were in this S55 tail rotor incident video, in which the TR is clearly attached and stopped at impact. The fact that all the parts were found at the site doesn't mean they were working.

At least one example of a problem with TR leading to an accident.

http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/s-7 ... lade-loss/

And the S55 video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kXUZQYFu18
Absolutely cncpc.

Focus has been on pilot induced accident in bad weather. But not much talk of mechanical issues... hydraulic failure? servo malfunction? gearbox? TR?
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cncpc
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by cncpc »

altiplano wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:04 pm
Are any pilots really flying their I-pads? That's crazy..
cncpc wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:23 pm
I called a friend about where the vertical fin is positioned in the wreckage map. Told that most likely the main rotor chopped it off, but not clear that happened at impact or in flight. As that machine rotates counter clockwise, and if was chopped off, you'd expect to be above the wreckage, but...?

The NTSB woman says that all the parts were found at the site. As they were in this S55 tail rotor incident video, in which the TR is clearly attached and stopped at impact. The fact that all the parts were found at the site doesn't mean they were working.

At least one example of a problem with TR leading to an accident.

http://aerossurance.com/helicopters/s-7 ... lade-loss/

And the S55 video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kXUZQYFu18
Absolutely cncpc.

Focus has been on pilot induced accident in bad weather. But not much talk of mechanical issues... hydraulic failure? servo malfunction? gearbox? TR?
That's sort of my point, and that we are affecting a man's reputation on a whole lot of presumptions about what happened. As I've been in a spot at least once where I was sure we were done, and managed to pull out of it. Literally. We'd have been scattered all over a mountain south of Prince George and people would have asked what the hell happened to us, and without knowing, people would have said he was an experienced pilot, he'd just been cleared for the approach, and "pilot error".

The guy I called is ex Canadian investigator. Hundreds of investigation. I brought up the odd location of the fin/tail rotor pylon and he said that, yes, he had noticed that too. I've said what he said at the top of my post, but it stood out to me that what he saw was not deterministic of when and why the rotor chopped the fin off.

There is an NTSB drone video where the drone comes down to frame that aft fuselage section. Sure, it looks like the back bit was chopped off, and I don't dispute that it was. But if anyone takes the time you can stop the frame and you'll see the shaft back to the chop is still perfectly in its mounts right back to where it seems the "chop" was. It's right at the part of the shaft at the U-joint where the shaft turns upward. If you go back up the horizontal part, it goes into the gearbox or whatever thing transfers power to the TR. Above the metal, and intact, is a portion that has a brown staining. It may seem logical to say that is from the post crash fire, but it is possibly more consistent with being heated prior to the fire. It is at the aftmost part of the destruction, but not destroyed itself. Obviously heat was at the edge of where the metal ends, and those areas do not display that type of staining, or any staining.

When it just doesn't make sense a guy with this skill and experience would suddenly turn and dive into the ground when he could at least just gone on to Camarillo and shot the approach. There is no connection with the purpose of the flight and that spot. But, some seizure in the power train, slowing rotor speed, chip lights coming on, no choice but to put the lever down and maybe even head for what ground he could see below him.

There is a wonderful Irish expression that reflects how we see ourselves together. If you've ever been in a crowded Irish pub, you'll get the meaning. It is "Sure, he( or she) is one of ourselves, now, isn't he". This man was one of ourselves, we owe it to ourselves to remember that and to give him the same courtesy we would hope to get if we were ever in the same place.
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altiplano
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by altiplano »

Well said.
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Heliian
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Heliian »

We all have our theories, I'm leaning towards the most obvious cause. Sure, some catastrophic failure of some critical component could have happened just as he was entering the hills after fog ducking around in marginal weather but VFR into IMC is my bet.

There is nothing left of that helicopter, the blades and rotor head are scattered everywhere, speed was high and the rotors were turning, they could even have over/under sped the rotor before impact.

Just from the publicly available images there is no way to tell the exact direction, speed or attitude. The NTSB will figure it out.

The high profile nature of the crash is undoubtedly hurting the helicopter industry, we need to understand the cause to prevent it from happening again and to restore faith in traveling by air.
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by ogopogo »

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karmutzen
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by karmutzen »

You don’t fly with an iPad? You’re crazy. iPad shows you where you are on a map presentation. Far more useful than those VOR/DME/ADF that I haven’t used since 1987.

I’d be surprised if the aircraft and on-board equipment was any factor at all in this accident. The S76B has a redundant autopilot system, double redundant AHRS (with the standby), power to spare with two oversized PT6 engines. Push one button and you’re climbing 750 fpm wings level, from there you can set anything you want.

What to learn from this? Don’t hero worship. Bryant was retired, no longer a sports entertainment factor. Sounds like the pilot got a little too invested in somebody else’s life. Rich people need to learn to hire pilots that can say no, instead of ones that always say yes.

Yes, I fly a B.
BE38B4FB-972A-467B-A82F-5901311A913C.jpeg
BE38B4FB-972A-467B-A82F-5901311A913C.jpeg (126.86 KiB) Viewed 1331 times
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cncpc
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by cncpc »

karmutzen wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:10 pm
You don’t fly with an iPad? You’re crazy. iPad shows you where you are on a map presentation. Far more useful than those VOR/DME/ADF that I haven’t used since 1987.

I’d be surprised if the aircraft and on-board equipment was any factor at all in this accident. The S76B has a redundant autopilot system, double redundant AHRS (with the standby), power to spare with two oversized PT6 engines. Push one button and you’re climbing 750 fpm wings level, from there you can set anything you want.

What to learn from this? Don’t hero worship. Bryant was retired, no longer a sports entertainment factor. Sounds like the pilot got a little too invested in somebody else’s life. Rich people need to learn to hire pilots that can say no, instead of ones that always say yes.

Yes, I fly a B.

BE38B4FB-972A-467B-A82F-5901311A913C.jpeg
Ok, so he pushes the button. Explains how he got from the highway to possibly above the top of the fog deck. Then what happens?

Beautiful photo. Great gear.
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Schooner69A
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Schooner69A »

If you've got the time, an excellent discussion... (You'll probably have to drag the scroll thingy back to the start...)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ymcG-Y ... ploademail
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Heliian
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Heliian »

karmutzen wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:10 pm
You don’t fly with an iPad? You’re crazy. iPad shows you where you are on a map presentation. Far more useful than those VOR/DME/ADF that I haven’t used since 1987.

I’d be surprised if the aircraft and on-board equipment was any factor at all in this accident. The S76B has a redundant autopilot system, double redundant AHRS (with the standby), power to spare with two oversized PT6 engines. Push one button and you’re climbing 750 fpm wings level, from there you can set anything you want.

What to learn from this? Don’t hero worship. Bryant was retired, no longer a sports entertainment factor. Sounds like the pilot got a little too invested in somebody else’s life. Rich people need to learn to hire pilots that can say no, instead of ones that always say yes.

Yes, I fly a B.
Your b model sounds like it's equipped for ifr, this one was no longer a functioning ifr platform, the company wasn't certified for ifr and the pilot wasn't current.
Schooner69A wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:49 pm
If you've got the time, an excellent discussion... (You'll probably have to drag the scroll thingy back to the start...)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ymcG-Y ... ploademail
Gross.
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MUSKEG
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by MUSKEG »

We know the company was VFR only. Where does it say the Helo no longer had a functioning IFR platform and that the pilot was unable to fly IFR ?
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by rookiepilot »

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dcVK7uYJzO8

Re-enactment with ATC feed:
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Heliian
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Heliian »

MUSKEG wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:44 am
We know the company was VFR only. Where does it say the Helo no longer had a functioning IFR platform and that the pilot was unable to fly IFR ?
From my experience, VFR operators won't waste a single penny on anything they don't need. This includes equipment and training.

I'm not even sure if they had to run with an MEL, they could just be running with bare legal minimum for VFR flight.
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atc_is_god
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by atc_is_god »

This whole thing would have been avoided if he hadn't been trying to fly visually while in IMC. Any pilot knows that trying to transition back and forth from visual to instruments at low level is asking for disaster. As demonstrated here.
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Schooner69A
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Re: Kobe Bryant chopper crash

Post by Schooner69A »

"This whole thing would have been avoided if he hadn't been trying to fly visually while in IMC"

Except for the period just before the accident, he was flying IAW VFR regulations. Maybe I should have first asked: what is your definition of IMC?
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