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KOBE BRYANT'S HELICOPTER

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Shocked to see not a word on the fatal crash of Kobe Bryant's S76.

Check out this story on USATODAY.com: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/26/helicopter-crash-california-kills-5/4581709002/

Of course, the accident sparked the usual gossip on how "unsafe" it is to fly helicopters. It is interesting to note that this twin-engine ship appears to have been flown straight into the ground at a high rate of speed, probably developing full power. Also interesting to note that the weather conditions were extremely foggy.

 

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Barring any mechanical failures the pilot kept flying after conditions deteriorated and bypassed two safe airfields before flying it into the ground. There is nothing unsafe about the helicopter, doing that in a plane will kill you just as easily. In my opinion the pilot should have landed and either sent the passengers on their way in a car or filed IFR and continued mission afterwards at a safe altitude in IMC. 

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20 hours ago, Thedude said:

Barring any mechanical failures the pilot kept flying after conditions deteriorated and bypassed two safe airfields before flying it into the ground. There is nothing unsafe about the helicopter, doing that in a plane will kill you just as easily. In my opinion the pilot should have landed and either sent the passengers on their way in a car or filed IFR and continued mission afterwards at a safe altitude in IMC. 

I'd like to know how you know this?  "...the pilot kept flying after conditions deteriorated and bypassed two safe airfields before flying it into the ground."

Do I believe that weather was a possible factor?  I knew too many good pilots who fatally pushed weather to discard the possibility.  But I don't know enough to fault this pilots judgement, this accident has all the signs of a fatal IIMC CFIT.   Pushing weather will kill you, dead, amen, in an IFR aircraft with an IFR capable and current pilot.  If this was a weather accident as it appears, this would be a perfect example of that.

I spent a significant part of my career working with minimums of 300' ceilings and 2 mile vis for cross-country, off shore, and 300/1 on the beach or in the field.  The routine single engine minimums at that time were 500/3 offshore cross-country.  It can be done, and in aircraft significantly less capable than the accident aircraft and by pilots with significantly less experience than this pilot had.

 

I have read other forum's posters say that a weather precautionary landing invites regulator attention.  In 48 years of flying, uncounted weather precautionary landings and numerous recoveries of other pilots aircraft after weather landings- I never, ever heard of regulator investigation.  Even an RON in the aircraft is better than waking up in a hospital.

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1 hour ago, Wally said:

I'd like to know how you know this?  "...the pilot kept flying after conditions deteriorated and bypassed two safe airfields before flying it into the ground."

Do I believe that weather was a possible factor?  I knew too many good pilots who fatally pushed weather to discard the possibility.  But I don't know enough to fault this pilots judgement, this accident has all the signs of a fatal IIMC CFIT.   Pushing weather will kill you, dead, amen, in an IFR aircraft with an IFR capable and current pilot.  If this was a weather accident as it appears, this would be a perfect example of that.

I spent a significant part of my career working with minimums of 300' ceilings and 2 mile vis for cross-country, off shore, and 300/1 on the beach or in the field.  The routine single engine minimums at that time were 500/3 offshore cross-country.  It can be done, and in aircraft significantly less capable than the accident aircraft and by pilots with significantly less experience than this pilot had.

 

I have read other forum's posters say that a weather precautionary landing invites regulator attention.  In 48 years of flying, uncounted weather precautionary landings and numerous recoveries of other pilots aircraft after weather landings- I never, ever heard of regulator investigation.  Even an RON in the aircraft is better than waking up in a hospital.

I don't know all the facts, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet based on conditions at the time, radar track and ATC recordings. The conditions weren't terrible but they weren't favorable either. The pilot flew SVFR through two controlled fields airspace in order to continue flight shortly before the crash. 

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This is more specific for plank pilots but the concepts are same.  The highlighted last sentence should be the pilots   only factor to decide continue flight.

 from: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/september/pilot/scud-running

 

To discourage scud running, the aviation division of Transport Canada once asked pilots to contemplate these questions:

  • How much airspeed is lost when a pilot rapidly rolls into and holds a 45-degree banked turn?
  • How much room is needed to make a 180-degree turn?
  • How much additional space is required if turning from the upwind side of a valley to the downwind side?
  • How far away can a pilot see a wire?
  • How much distance is flown from the time a pilot first sees a wire strung across his flight path until he can react and begin a climb?
  • How prepared is a pilot to cope with a fuel tank running dry or having an engine fail at very low altitude?
  • Can your windshield withstand hitting a two-pound bird?
  • Do you still feel like flying at low altitude in limited visibility?

Other questions might include:

  • Does a scud-running pilot always know his position?
  • Does he know the location and height of all nearby obstructions?
  • If conditions worsen, is he prepared to declare an emergency and climb into the overcast?
  • If unable to fly on instruments, is the pilot prepared to make an emergency, off-airport landing?
  • If a scud-running pilot has passengers on board, what right does he have to expose them to such hazard?

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On 1/28/2020 at 1:56 PM, RotorWeed said:

Anyone have the operating limitations for the S-76b? I think I read once the 76 needs 2 pilots for IFR operations.  

That S-76B was operated single-pilot VFR, Part 135 charter, limit 9 PAX seats. That wasn’t an IFR operation. That’s also why neither Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or Flight Data Recorder (FDR or Black Box) are required (135.151 or 135.152).

 

Edited by iChris

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NTSB Updates on Kobe Bryant Accident

A ground camera captured an image of the helicopter entering the clouds.

Radar/ADS-B data indicate the aircraft was climbing southwesterly along a course aligned with Highway 101 just east of the Las Virgenes exit, between Las Virgenes and Lost Hills Road. The helicopter reached an altitude of 2,300 feet msl, approximately 1,500 feet above the highway, but below the surrounding terrain when it began a left turn. Eight seconds later, the aircraft began descending as the left turn continued. The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute while the ground speed reached 160 knots. The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.

A still photo obtained from a security camera located in a road maintenance yard adjacent to Mureau Road and Highway 101 showed the helicopter proceeding westward along the highway and disappearing into the clouds. Mureau runs just to the north of Highway 101. The Board as yet does not know why the pilot entered the clouds. 

NWS photo looking east from a hill near the crash indicates the tops of the clouds near the site were about 2,400 msl.

Full text: NTSB Updates on Kobe Bryant Accident By Rob Mark

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by iChris

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Does anyone have any information on the S-76b? Type of rotor system? Is it approved for low G flight? 

Why not gurgle it up? 4 blades, fully articulated, copes with pretty much anything, low g, high g, high tea, I have flown it in 76-kt headwinds and it behaved itself perfectly, though the groundspeed was a bit slow, only 64kt. 

Approved for SPIFR with dual digital everything, 4-axis autopilot that will capture an ILS, fly you down the slope, decelerate to 70kt and level off at 50' agl waiting for you to take over and land it.

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