The helicopter that crashed and killed Kobe Bryant and 8 others was reportedly not certified to fly in poor visibility
The helicopter which crashed with Kobe Bryant and eight others on board didn't have clearance to fly in poor visibility, according to The New York Times. Island Express Helicopters, which owned the Sikorsky S-76B aircraft, was only certified to fly under visual flight rules. This means a pilot must be able to see the ground, and can't rely solely on instruments. Audio posted on YouTube suggests that the pilot got special clearance, known as special visual flight rules, to fly through the fog in which he ultimately crashed. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The helicopter flying Kobe Bryant and eight others when it fatally crashed on Sunday was not certified to fly in poor visibility conditions, according to a new report. Three sources familiar with the helicopter company's operations told The New York Times that Island Express Helicopters was limited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to working under visual flight rules. Visual flight rules means that a pilot can only fly in conditions where they can see the ground, and are barred from flying solely by using their instruments, which is the norm for foggy or night conditions. According to The Times, the pilot himself, Ara Zobayan, did have instrument certification. But even though he had that ability, he was bound by the company's certification not to rely on it. Audio posted on YouTube by the channel VASAviation suggests that Zobayan was given an unusual clearance, known as special visual flight rules, to fly in foggy conditions in the minutes before the crash. Business Insider could not immediately reach Island Express Helicopters for comment on Thursday. On Monday, Island Express Helicopters released a statement about the accident:
"One of our helicopters, N72EX, Sikorsky S76, was involved in an accident on Sunday, January 26th in the Calabasas area of LA County. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our top priority is providing assistance to the families of the passengers and the pilot. We hope that you will respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time. "The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was our chief pilot. Ara has been with the company for over 10 years and has over 8,000 flight hours. "We are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the cause of the accident and we are grateful to the first responders and local authorities for their response to this unimaginable accident."
The company announced Thursday that it would suspend all regular and charter services. "The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers," the company said. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the helicopter crash. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Jennifer Homendy said on Tuesday that the aircraft did not have a warning system that could have alerted the pilot of the hills below him. She said that the pilot had been ascending to avoid a cloud layer just before the helicopter crashed. "Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn," Homendy said. The helicopter missed clearing a hill by 20 to 30 feet, she said. Its descent rate was 2,000 feet per minute, which she referred to as a "high-energy-impact crash."SEE ALSO: Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot was given special clearance to fly in foggy weather minutes before the deadly crash Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco
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Coroner: all nine on board sustained immediate fatal injuriesBryant crashed in thick fog north of Los...Coroner: all nine on board sustained immediate fatal injuriesBryant crashed in thick fog north of Los Angeles in JanuaryThe pilot flying NBA legend Kobe Bryant and seven others, including his daughter, to a youth basketball tournament did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, and all nine sustained immediately fatal injuries when their helicopter crashed into a hillside outside Los Angeles in January, according to autopsy reports released late on Friday.The reports by the Los Angeles county coroner’s office provide a clinical but unvarnished look at the brutality of the crash. Continue reading...
The helicopter that carried Kobe Bryant and 8 others before crashing on a hillside did not have a black box on board, investigators say
The helicopter that crashed while carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday did not have...The helicopter that crashed while carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday did not have a black box, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Monday afternoon. The recording device was not required for the aircraft. NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said the helicopter circled for 12 minutes while awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers. Then, the helicopter climbed to around 2,300 feet to avoid a cloud layer and shortly after started a descening left turn. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Homendy called crash scene "pretty devastating" and said that survival would have been unlikely. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The helicopter that crashed while carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday did not have a black box, and the recording device was not required for the aircraft, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Monday afternoon. No one survived the crash in Calabasas, California, roughly 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The local coroner was still gathering the remains of the victims on Monday. On Monday, the NTSB held a briefing and gave updated information about its investigation. Officials with the agency said that drones were mapping out the area of the wreckage. The FBI is assisting with evidence collection, the transportation officials said. The NTSB said the disposition of the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter at the time of the crash was not yet clear. Pieces of the helicopter were scattered around the hillside near the main impact point. The debris field spans as wide as about 600 feet. NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy called crash scene "pretty devastating" and said that survival would have been unlikely. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The NTSB is still investigating if weather played a role and called on members of the public to send in photos of the weather in the area in order to assess flying conditions on the day of the crash. "Initial information shows the helicopter was flying under visual flight rules from John Wayne Airport to just southeast of Burbank Airport," Homendy said about the helicopter's flight path. Homendy said that the helicopter circled for 12 minutes while awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers. Then, the helicopter climbed to around 2,300 feet to avoid a cloud layer and shortly after started a descening left turn. The last radar contact with the helicopter was around 9:45 a.m., consistent to the accident's location. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the department is protecting the area surrounding the crash to prevent trespassers from accessing the site. Bryan was a fixture on the Los Angeles Lakers for the entirity of his 20-year career. He was the third all-time scorer in the NBA and won five NBA championships. Read more: KOBE BRYANT: How the Black Mamba makes and spends his millions Kobe Bryant says there are WNBA stars who 'could most certainly keep up' in the NBA The 25 highest-paid NBA players of all time SEE ALSO: Kobe Bryant was famous for using his Sikorsky S-76 private helicopter, a type that has a strong safety record Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Tesla's Model 3 received top crash-test safety ratings