The National Transportation Safety Board has released their findings in the crash that killed KOBE BRYANT, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven others on board.
They say the pilot Ara Zobayan violated “visual flight rules” by flying into thick clouds, without instruments . . . and likely became so disoriented that he could not tell up from down.
Zobayan reportedly thought he was ASCENDING to break through the clouds, however, he was actually banking to the left and descending.
The pilot was experienced . . . but the company that owned the helicopter was ONLY certified to fly under visual flight rules, and since it isn’t cleared to fly using instruments alone, it isn’t permitted to fly under limited visibility.
There were 184 aircraft crashes between 2010 and 2019 involving this kind of “spatial disorientation” . . . including 20 fatal helicopter crashes.
It’s possible that the crash could inspire changes.
The NTSB already recommends “Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems” . . . devices that signal when aircraft are in danger of crashing.
But the FAA doesn’t require them on helicopters, and the helicopter that Kobe was flying in wasn’t equipped with them.
The pilot should’ve known that flying into bad weather was a risky idea . . . and officials suggest it’s such a bad decision that he may not have had any experience flying through heavy clouds at all.
The investigators say Zobayan may have also felt “continuation bias,” an unconscious tendency among pilots to stick with the original plan despite changing conditions . . . especially if they’re close to their destination.
The morning of the crash, heavy fog and low clouds were reported in parts of the L.A. area. And helicopters throughout the city were grounded, including those that are operated by law enforcement and touring companies.