The operator of the downed helicopter that Kobe Bryant and 8 others died in is suspending operations for an undisclosed amount of time
A helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed on Jan. 26, killing everybody on board. Island Express, the company that operated the helicopter, suspended operations on Jan. 30 and 31, an employee told Business Insider. It may suspend operations for several days. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Island Express — the company that operated the helicopter that crashed on January 26, killing all nine on board including basketball icon Kobe Bryant — is suspending operations for at least two days. CNN first reported on the suspension. An employee confirmed to Business Insider that Island Express is not operating helicopters on January 30 and 31. Flights are scheduled for February 1, but they may be canceled. "We are going day by day," the employee said. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were with seven others in the basketball star's private helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B. That model with a strong safety record and a reputation for serving as a reliable VIP and corporate transport. Bryant's use of the helicopter to avoid traffic between Orange County and Los Angeles was well known, with Bryant offering the helicopter to help teammates get to doctors appointments. The helicopter was given special permission to fly in foggy weather. It had "special visual flight rules" clearance, which allows a flight to continue in worse weather conditions without relying solely on instrument-based navigation. Under normal visual flight rules, or VFR, visibility is adequate for a pilot to stay oriented and navigate by visual cues, often used in conjunction with instruments. SVFR clearance can be requested when a pilot is not rated to fly solely by instrument — conditions known as instrument flight rules, or IFR — in an aircraft they're piloting, particularly if conditions deteriorate during a flight that was previously under VFR. Under SVFR, a pilot typically remains in close contact with air-traffic controllers. The New York Times reported on Monday that the investigation is likely to center on whether it was the correct decision to let the helicopter continue on its journey. Los Angeles Police Department officials told The Times that even police helicopters generally didn't fly in the conditions seen on Sunday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the 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: What it takes to be a first-class flight attendant for Emirates
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Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death lawsuit in Los AngelesNBA star was killed along with eight others...Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death lawsuit in Los AngelesNBA star was killed along with eight others in January crashKobe Bryant’s widow is suing the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed the former Los Angeles Lakers star and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, last month.The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant in Los Angeles on Monday said the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions and should have aborted the flight. Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash. Continue reading...
The rotors of Kobe Bryant's helicopter were still spinning the moment it crashed, further suggesting a disoriented pilot was to blame
The engine of Kobe Bryant's helicopter did not fail when it crashed on January 26, killing...The engine of Kobe Bryant's helicopter did not fail when it crashed on January 26, killing 9 people, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said. An updated NTSB report Friday eliminated engine failure as a theory for why the crash happened. This leaves it more likely that the crash was down to the pilot becoming confused in heavy fog. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others was found to have no engine failure, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Friday. The aircraft, a Sikorsky S-76B, crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, at 9:45 a.m. on January 26. "Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure," the report said. Experts told the Associated Press (AP) that the latest update "reinforces the notion the pilot became disoriented and crashed while trying to get to clear skies." According to the AP summary of the report, investigators concluded the rotors were still turning right before impact. They reached that conclusion by analyzing a tree which was cut by the spinning rotors at the time of impact, all four of which showed similar damage. The report also said that Pilot Ara Zobayan, who was given "unusual clearance to fly in foggy conditions." In the final seconds of the flight, the helicopter climbed rapidly, to within 100 feet of the tops of the clouds. However, the helicopter then veered left and hit the hillside. Business Insider previously reported that the helicopter was not certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in poor visibility conditions. A witness told investigators the landscape was surrounded by mist when he saw the helicopter crash. He described hearing the helicopter get louder and louder before he saw it emerge from the clouds and crash. USA Today reported that at one point investigators thought engine failure could be the cause of the crash, given how fast it descended. However, the NTSB report appears to have put that theory to rest. When it crashed, the helicopter was travelling at more than 180 mph. Investigators said most of the "significant components" of wreckage were found not far from the crash site. Bryant, Gianna, and the other passengers were headed to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy. The other passengers were Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester,Payton Chester, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, and Alyssa Altobelli also died in the crash. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam
Kobe Bryant's helicopter lacked a crucial crash warning system — but even that may not have saved him
A helicopter carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant wasn't equipped with a warning system that would tell...A helicopter carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant wasn't equipped with a warning system that would tell the pilot if he was flying too close to land. But even if the chopper had it, that may not have prevented its fatal crash, experts told The Associated Press. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Sikorsky S-76A helicopter that was carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant wasn't equipped with a crash warning system that is meant to tell a pilot if they are flying too low and could hit something. But federal regulators are unsure whether the device, known as a Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), would have helped the pilot make it through the foggy weather on the day of the crash, The Associated Press (AP) reported. While using a TAWS is not required for commercial helicopters, it has long been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and is compulsory for medical helicopters. The device sets off alarms in the cockpit if the pilot is flying to close to a building or hillside. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other passengers, including the pilot, were killed when the Sikorsky S-76A crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. TAWS critics say it is prone to distracting false alarms Although the TAWS equipment can warn pilots avoid crash situations, the Federal Aviation Administration has acknowledged that it comes with the pitfall of occasional off false alarms that can be distracting, according to the AP report. "Another warning system screaming at you isn't going to help," Brian Alexander, a helicopter pilot and aviation lawyer, told the AP. "You don't want to inundate the pilot." Mike Sagely, a former military pilot based in LA, told the AP he does use the system, but the frequency of the warnings could desensitize pilots from taking them seriously. "People, they get complacent with it because they hear it all the time," Sagely told AP. "They get so used to hearing it that when they do hear it, and they might even be in a dangerous profile, they may not react to it." However, former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz told AP that the "nuisance" is worth the safety. "From a safety perspective, you want all the safety enhancements that are available," he said. "The trade-off is worth it." Too early to know if TAWS was relevant Bill English of the NTSB's Major Investigations Division told AP that it is still not clear whether the TAWS — or the lack thereof — contributed to the crash. The NTSB said it could release a preliminary report as soon as this weekend. But it could take as long as 18 months to produce a definitive cause for the crash as investigations continue, The Washington Post reported. Its pilot, Ara Zobayan, was trying to fly the helicopter out of the fog when it suddenly banked left, setting off a quick and steep descent from 1,200 feet, the AP reported. The downed chopper hit a shrouded hillside near Calabasas, killing everyone on board and scattering debris over several hundred feet. Investigators said the chopper missed clearing the hilltop by only 20 to 30 feet. "This is a pretty steep descent at high speed," NTSB member Jennifer Homendy told AP. "We know that this was a high-energy impact crash." Zobayan was given special clearance to continue to fly in poor weather, though it is unclear why. Pilot Kurt Deetz, who used to fly with Bryant until 2017, told the AP he doesn't believe Bryant pressured Zobayan to fly in the fog — one reason a pilot could press on despite higher-than-usual risk. "There was never any pressure Kobe put on any pilot to get somewhere — never, never," he said. Read more: Investigators have recovered all 9 bodies from the Calabasas site where Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed Investigators say the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant missed clearing a hilltop by 20 to 30 feet Kobe Bryant was famous for using his Sikorsky S-76 private helicopter, a type that has a strong safety record The helicopter that carried Kobe Bryant and 8 others before crashing on a hillside did not have a black box on board, investigators say 'My alarm bells went off': One witness offers his account of Kobe Bryant's helicopter crash SEE ALSO: 'He was LA's god basically': Heartbroken fans gathered at the Staples Center to share what Kobe Bryant meant to Los Angeles Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's why in-flight WiFi is so slow and expensive