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Discussion Starter #1
Died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas.

RIP.
 

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Crappy way to go out.

Were any of his family on board with him?
.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Didnt say. 5 onboard though.
 

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I never cared about basketball, but he was one of those few that jump off the sports page and into the front section of the paper. RIP.
 

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I never cared about basketball, but he was one of those few that jump off the sports page and into the front section of the paper. RIP.
Me either. Kobe was special in many ways. He grew up in Italy for one. His father played basketball there. He also joined the NBA straight out of high school. He did that at a time when it was not a common thing to happen.

The helicopter he was in, was his own private helicopter. A Sikorsky S-76B. Also heard there was a fire aboard before the crash. Another parent and their child was also aboard.


NTSB is sending a "Go Team" to investigate the accident.
 

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I have seen many thoughts about the reasons for this accident on many boards. I was aircrew for almost 15 years with an aero medical transport team.

As a crew member I attended daily flight briefings (2 if I was on a 24 hour shift). I attended survival training and also would drill with the pilots in the emergency checklists since I would ride in the left seat on unloaded legs of a run. A few thoughts based on my experience.

1. Some of the voice communications with this ship has started to filter out. There was no indication of mechanical issue with the helicopter. This would have been unlikely in a twin engine jet turbine helo. Both engines failing is a very very unlikey event.They also can easily fly on one engine. The emergency manual describes a single engine out emergency as "land as soon as practical" (vs "as soon as possible" or "immediately"...the last one is very bad ) which gives the pilot the ability to continue to an airport.

2. "Special" visual flight rules ("S"VFR) sound inherently dangerous to me. VFR means just that. Once you have accidentally entered IFR conditions you are in trouble. Our program was very strict in this regard and if the pilot entered IFR conditions there was a whole bunch of trouble coming his way. We were just starting IFR operations when I left. IFR flight plans must be planned ahead of departure.

3. When entering fog or very limited visibility spatial disorientation can happen almost immediately. Even seasoned pilots can become disoriented very quickly. In this instance the instruments are all that matters.Even a few seconds of searching out of the cockpit for landmarks can put the ship in an unrecoverable situation. You absolutely cant tell where you are by looking outside. Your "gut feeling" wont tell you. Gravity wont help you. Pilots may ignore the instruments because the pilot is himself disoriented leading to poor decisions at a critical moment.

4. The pilot was attempting to gain altitude according to the ATC records that have come out (unverified I'm sure) but plausible sounding. The pilot had also requested flight following (tracking on radar) but this was not possible due to the low altitude of the ship. This in an area with dense fog and mountains is an extremely dangerous situation.

5. Helicopters are amazing machines and are no more dangerous than fixed wing aircraft. That being said they are more likely to get into danger (in my opinion) due to their lower operating altitudes and the type of aviation they are used for as well as other limitations to their flight abilities. They fly lower than airplanes ,often operate in uncontrolled airspace and are frequently used in sightseeing , short commuter trips (like this one) and search and rescue. Airplanes , specifically commercial airplanes operate IFR almost exclusively , they fly in controlled airspace and are usually far away from obstacles and the ground.

Unfortunately we are all human and can make bad decisions. Bad decisions in aviation often lead to fatal results. Operating helicopters or civilian aircraft in poor visibility (think this incident, Stevie Ray Vaughn ,JFK Jr.) should never be done without an IFR flight plan. When the local police agencies are grounding their ships its a good idea to follow their lead. I have been out of the game for almost 10 years now but lessons that were drilled exhaustively into our training are easily remebered.

It is better to be on the ground and wishing you were in the air than to be in the air and wishing you were on the ground.
 

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I bet the pilot didn't want to fly but was pressured into it. And I bet that it comes out in later investigation in much the same way engineers said the Space Shuttle Challenger should not take off but they did anyway.
 

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Looks like they started to climb pretty fast and at some point that turned into plummet.
Why they didn't fly above the fog, I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What Shawn said. As a forward air controller in the military I have seen where pilots get in over their head. Weather is an immense front to overcome. It often changes at the moment. I/we have been trained to call out barometric pressure and conditions EVERY time we speak to a pilot. Some pilots continue based on their own experience Some chose to say faq it and continue. From what i have read, weather and bravado are to blame. No way a twin engine helo goes down because of a motor failure. Sad for sure but, we have to wait for final cause. The FAA are no joke.
 

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What is the max cruising altitude for this chopper?
Fog tends to come up the canyons from the ocean, over there.
 

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I wonder why they did not fly high then. Would they have to go IFR in that case?
The guy in post 13 is saying they were going very slow, but other reports say they hit ground at 170+ MPH.
Helos typically don't fly that high even when capable. Cruising altitude is generally only about 4,000 feet (from wikipedia FWIW) . When I flew we rarely went above 2,500.

Higher altitudes usually encounter more clouds/weather as well as fixed wing traffic. Not sure if IFR is needed if there is no weather or visibility restrictions. If above a certain altitude in many instances you are in controlled airspace (which varies in range based on altitude and proximity to an airport) You have to have a flight plan or be directed by ATC. One of our pilots explained controlled airspace as like an upside down cake with the largest "cake" at the highest altitude to control high altitude traffic far away from the airport. The cakes decreased in size the lower/closer you got to the airport.

Say controlled airspace 50 miles away at 25,000 feet but only 5 miles away at 1500 feet. They are designated a "class" of controlled airspace IIRC which is based on altitude/range and I can't remeber it better than that. Within a certain range of the airfield all airspace is controlled. Uncontrolled airspace is scary sometimes. I remember having a small single engine plan pass by use over Indianapolis at about 1200 feet. I could see what color his shirt was in the cockpit. He had to be within 50 yards of our ship.

These guys don't file flight plans and don't talk to ATC as it is not legally required if they are not in controlled airspace.
 

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I have two opinions on this.

-for helicopters, I've read Chickenhawk, and watched Sully. When shit goes bad in a plane, it glides to a probable death, but possible miracle. When shit goes bad in a helicopter, the only outcome is a Wylie Coyote-esque plummet. So fuck helicopters. I'd prefer a brisk walk.

-As for Kobe, I'll keep that to myself. I don't want to get on the bad side of the mods. I know what happened to that watermelon guy...
 

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I spent my last 8 years of active duty flying as crew member on a KC-10A. I went to alot of training on CRM and safety. I've endured hours upon hours of CRM drills in the SIM cockpit. I have nearly 5000 hours of flying time.

I also earned an Aeronautical Science degree, with an Aviation Safety minor. I've spent hours upon hours researching and presenting back ground facts of aircraft accidents. Studied NTSB accident reports on crashes going all the way back to some of the first commercial aircraft accidents...all in pursuit of my degree. I'm a fixed wing guy but I can read and also, read between the lines.

The most recent article I read on this particular accident states the helicopter did not have a GPWS installed. That's ground proximity warning system. It is required on all fixed wing commercial aircraft capable of transporting more than 6 passengers. The NTSB recommended the FAA also require it for helicopters but it would seem, the FAA only mandated it for air ambulance aircraft.

The NTSB will likely find that was a contributing factor. The fog and lack of visibility will also be a contributing factor. The pilot had 19 years of experience flying commercial helicopters. Experience will not likely be a considered a factor.

The pilot was flying"S-VFR " as stated in an earlier post and requested "flight following" ATC guidance due to the weather and visibility. Tower controllers told the pilot he was too low for "flight following" navigation assistance.

From the same article, it stated that the helicopter was at 2300 feet but descended rapidly and to the left to avoid a cloud bank when it struck the terrain. In other words, controlled flight into terrain was the result of the contributing factors mentioned above. And that's likely what the NTSB accident report will state.
 

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I have two opinions on this.

-for helicopters, I've read Chickenhawk, and watched Sully. When shit goes bad in a plane, it glides to a probable death, but possible miracle. When shit goes bad in a helicopter, the only outcome is a Wylie Coyote-esque plummet. So fuck helicopters. I'd prefer a brisk walk.
I'm, not a helicopter guy. I know there are a number of them on this forum so please, I mean no disrespect. I kind of agree with you on the helicopter thing. Sure, I've flown on them. Been evac'd on one too. But when the wings rotating above your head begin to stop providing lift......

Read the story of AirTransat flight 236 and you'll see a perfect example of how far a commercial airliner can glide when the engines stop.....out over the Atlantic and miles from land.
 

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I have two opinions on this.

-for helicopters, I've read Chickenhawk, and watched Sully. When shit goes bad in a plane, it glides to a probable death, but possible miracle. When shit goes bad in a helicopter, the only outcome is a Wylie Coyote-esque plummet. So fuck helicopters. I'd prefer a brisk walk.

-As for Kobe, I'll keep that to myself. I don't want to get on the bad side of the mods. I know what happened to that watermelon guy...
Helicopters can most certainly glide without engine power. Its called auto-rotation. The helicopter is put into a descent and the wind over the rotor (hence rotary wing aircraft) provides lift and keeps the rotors spinning. Altitude and airspeed are required and you get exactly one chance at doing it right. When close to the ground pitch is added to the blades and the kinetic energy in the rotor disk keeps it spinning for long enough to slow a descent until the energy in the rotors is exhausted.

The auto gyro aircraft uses this principle. a passive rotor system with an engine for forward propulsion. Some things can only be accomplished by helicopters. Sure they defy the laws of physics but for search and rescue and military operations they are invaluable.

That being said I would never take a helicopter tour or use one as a fancy taxi. I flew with pilots that I had known for years and with aircraft that were maintained at the highest level. That provides a measure of reassurance.
 
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