Russian Women Discussion

RWD Discussion Groups => Odds and Ends => Topic started by: calmissile on January 26, 2020, 05:26:21 PM

Title: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 26, 2020, 05:26:21 PM
Today's news is filled with the news of the fatal helicopter crash that killed 9 people including legend basketball star Kobe Bryant.

While I am not a basketball fan, I am a helicopter pilot and former owner of a helicopter (and fixed wing airplane).  I follow aircraft accidents of all types partly due to my engineering career as well as studying pilot responses to emergencies.

It will be very interesting to see what the NTSB and FAA determine to be the cause of this accident.  I reviewed the granular ATS-B data of the flight and find the last 15 seconds of the flight data to be confusing and contradicts what you would expect to see.  The helicopter did not simply fly into the mountain as speculated on TV.  The TV pundits are all implying that there was heavy fog and that was the reason for flying into the hillside.

There is data that conflicts with this theory.  When flying into limited visibility (especially in a helicopter) you don't fly full speed ahead.  Although you don't want to hover out of ground effect (within 20 feet of the ground), nevertheless, you can easily carefully move forward at any speed above translation lift (about 15 -20 MPH).  The data shows that the last several minutes of the flight were at an airspeed of about 150 Knots (170 MPH).  It is unlikely that a pilot with severe visibility issues would fly at this airspeed (cruise speed).

The data is very clear that for the last approx 14 seconds, the helicopter was either in autorotation or stalled.  Since rotor RPM is not part of the data it cannot be determined what the status of rotor RPM was.  In any case, the helicopter had a sink rate of 1200 FPM to 4800 FPM.  In an ordinary autorotation, the pilot would reduce the forward speed to something like 50 MPH and keep the rotor rpm in the green zone with the forward airspeed.  It is a mystery to me why the aircraft would continue at about 170 MPH and have a sink rate of nearly 5000 FPM.

The two things that come to my mind are pilot heart attack or a catastrophic mechanical failure.  The data does not support a normal autorotation or anything else I can think of.  Hopefully, the NTSB will come up with an explanation which will enlighten some of us pilots.

Here is an excerpt of the last 14 seconds of the flight....

Time         Airspeed(KTS)     Course(Deg)     Vertical Velocity (FPM)
1745:17    114                    190                  0
1745:19    121                    173                  -1216
1745:22    127                    163                  -2048
1745:22    124                    167                  -1664
1745:24    124                    167                  -1664
1745:25    139                    141                  -3456
1745:26    144                    136                  -3712
1745:28    141                    141                  -3584
1745:28    153                    153                  -4224
1745:29    125                    165                  -1856   (bad data?)
1745:31    159                    101                  -4544
1745:31    158                    106                  -4416
1745:32    141                    139                  -3584
1745:33    159                    101                  -4544
1745:33    161                    91                    -4864

Notes:  Airspeed is calculated from the GPS data which is part of the ADS-B system on the aircraft
Course is also derived from the GPS data on the aircraft.
The altitude and vertical velocity is derived from the onboard encoding altimeter and can be considered accurate and in real time.

Here is a link that explains the basics of autorotation....
http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/42969/why-is-vertical-autorotation-in-a-helicopter-not-recommended

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: jone on January 26, 2020, 06:06:13 PM
Eyewitnesses claim that they heard an aircraft in distress prior to it hitting the ground.   Once it hit the ground, there was a short interval of time before the aircraft burst into flames.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 27, 2020, 10:00:13 AM
Tragic and very sad. Prayers to Mrs. Bryant and the rest of the family! Knowing how Kobe was with all his kids, I can't begin to imagine what went through his being during the last seconds knowing he had the kids with them...

@KobeBryant #824GOAT-RIP
Title: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: 2tallbill on January 27, 2020, 10:33:34 AM
BBC mocked for airing LeBron James footage in segment about Kobe Bryantís death
http://nypost.com/2020/01/26/bbc-mocked-for-airing-lebron-james-footage-in-segment-about-kobe-bryants-death/



BBC apologizes for airing LeBron James footage in Kobe Bryant report
http://thehill.com/homenews/media/480056-bbc-apologizes-for-airing-lebron-james-footage-in-kobe-bryant-report
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 27, 2020, 11:35:24 AM
BBC mocked for airing LeBron James footage in segment about Kobe Bryantís death
http://nypost.com/2020/01/26/bbc-mocked-for-airing-lebron-james-footage-in-segment-about-kobe-bryants-death/



BBC apologizes for airing LeBron James footage in Kobe Bryant report
http://thehill.com/homenews/media/480056-bbc-apologizes-for-airing-lebron-james-footage-in-kobe-bryant-report

Pathetic.

I wanted to drive out to the crash site yesterday, but decided against it. Pictures of the city and areas of Calabasas shown on TV further illustrated proof that there's no 'dry forest because of global warming in this area'.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 27, 2020, 11:51:58 AM
Ö.While I am not a basketball fan, I am a helicopter pilot and former owner of a helicopter (and fixed wing airplane).  I follow aircraft accidents of all types partly due to my engineering career as well as studying pilot responses to emergencies.....

Here's the audio exchange with ATC and the pilot of the helicopter. The exchanges are taking place while they show you the radar location of the helicopter.

Then it just disappeared off the radar screen as the audio fell silent.


http://youtu.be/B0pQfgi9ZqU

Cal...tell me if this is right, methinks as the pilot is following the 101 westbound (heading to Newbury Park, the site of Mamba Academy, hovering at 1400', it hit the side of the mountain it never saw due to the foggy condition (?). The 101, close to the Las Virgenes/Los Hills area, actually curves against the side of these hills.

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 27, 2020, 12:07:39 PM

Then it just disappeared off the radar screen as the audio fell silent.


http://youtu.be/B0pQfgi9ZqU


Before crashing the flight path looked erratic. There is a belief radio contact was lost due to low altitude so pilot couldn't respond with distress call.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 27, 2020, 12:32:17 PM
At the very beginning of the video, before the audio came on, it showed you the helicopter was on a holding pattern for at least 15 minutes in the Burbank/Glendale areas - likely because of the fog bank along 101.

It was then advised to follow the 5 (freeway) to clear the Burbank airport flight paths, then  go along westbound 118 to also clear Van Nuys airport. Then you can hear the pilot asked to head southwest upon clearing VN, heading towards Woodland Hills/West Hills onward to Calabasas. Presumably hovering over the 101, then a short while later - nothing.

1400' was too low for radar to pick them up because of the hilly topography in the area. Not sure why, under VFR conditions, did they not tell him to maintain 2500 since there's no airport flight paths around 1000 Oaks/Agoura Hills...(cities next to Calabasas)..
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 27, 2020, 12:56:24 PM
It would take me an hour or so to reconstruct the flight and integrate the ATC audio and ADS-B data.  Unfortunately, I am tied up today with a different ADS-B Performance Report for one of our customers.  I did listen to all of the ATC audio however and need to caution those forming conclusions about it.

The ATC audio indicating the helicopter is too low for VFR Flight Following (Radar Contact) is not in reference to the helicopters risk of collision with the ground.  It is indicating that the helicopter is below the FAA radar vertical coverage.  It would be mistake to conclude that the tower was warning of the pilot that he was too low due to collision risks.

Furhermore there were several exchanges between ATC and the pilot whereby the pilot indicated that he was in VFR conditions.  For the layman this means he was not in the clouds or restricted visibility.

The idea that the pilot simply flew into the mountain in a cloud bank, does not make sense to me.  Listening to the pilots exchange with ATC, it appears to me that he sounds like a professional pilot and I detect nothing in the conversations that would lead me to think otherwise.

A couple of things that do not make sense to me are..
1.  A professional pilot is not going to go charging into a fog bank at 170 MPH when unlike a fixed wing, he has the option of slowing to 20-30 MPH.
2.  The flight profile of sinking at up to nearly 5000 FPM for about 20 seconds is beyond my understanding even in an autorotation.  Typically, autorotations I performed during flight training and subsequent practice do not exceed 2000 FPM and are always at a forward airspeed of less than 40 MPH.  The helicopter was going about 170 MPH during this descent.

One thought I have that I have not had time to investigate, is the possible collision with power lines.  I could not easily find an overlay that showed the flight path vs. power line locations.  If someone has the time, you might see if there is a map indicating power lines, radio towers, and other obstructions that are matched up with the flight path.  At least that could be eliminated.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: msmob on January 27, 2020, 01:48:37 PM
Pathetic.

What is 'pathetic' ?  I've not met any Brit who'd ever heard of Kobe Bryant, yet ...


Sure ..some BBC stringer boobed ...  but then we've had US  newsreaders tell their viewers that London, Birmingham and other UK cities had 'no go' areas - where the Police feared to enter ..... 


I wanted to drive out to the crash site yesterday, but decided against it. Pictures of the city and areas of Calabasas shown on TV further illustrated proof that there's no 'dry forest because of global warming in this area'.

Now THAT was an  example of being puerile ...
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 27, 2020, 02:03:52 PM
Quote from: CalMissile
A couple of things that do not make sense to me are..

1.  A professional pilot is not going to go charging into a fog bank at 170 MPH when unlike a fixed wing, he has the option of slowing to 20-30 MPH.
2.  The flight profile of sinking at up to nearly 5000 FPM for about 20 seconds is beyond my understanding even in an autorotation.  Typically, autorotations I performed during flight training and subsequent practice do not exceed 2000 FPM and are always at a forward airspeed of less than 40 MPH.  The helicopter was going about 170 MPH during this descent.

One thought I have that I have not had time to investigate, is the possible collision with power lines.  I could not easily find an overlay that showed the flight path vs. power line locations.  If someone has the time, you might see if there is a map indicating power lines, radio towers, and other obstructions that are matched up with the flight path.  At least that could be eliminated.

If my memory serves me correct, there's transmission lines that ran along south of the 118. Then it veered off southward to a power distribution center in the city of Northridge. The chopper was too high when it crossed this alignment and cleared Northridge.

I don't see anything, nor remember if there's a power transmission gridline along the 101. This map doesn't show any.
http://ww2.energy.ca.gov/maps/infrastructure/3P_Enlg.pdf (http://ww2.energy.ca.gov/maps/infrastructure/3P_Enlg.pdf)

As for the question why the speed, methinks they're late for the tournament because they were held up in Burbank.
http://mambasportsacademy.com/programs/detail-january-25-26/ (http://mambasportsacademy.com/programs/detail-january-25-26/)

I was following a tweet that showed there apparently was an IFR that noted 'mountain obscuration due to poor weather' that apparently was 'valid' until 1:00 PM yesterday. Here's that tweet (http://twitter.com/ChrisJacksonSC/status/1221531744374906881/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1221531744374906881&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2020%2F01%2F27%2F800100632%2Fwhat-we-know-the-helicopter-crash-that-killed-kobe-bryant-and-8-others)
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: jone on January 27, 2020, 02:30:29 PM
Hey,

If the top star of Manchester United were killed in a plane crash, I'm sure all of England would be atwitter.   And there would be no reason that those in the US would not feel sorry for his family and those close to him.   To insert oneself into a discussion that really is of no concern of yours or your country's and to troll the people in that thread is really the lowest of class.   

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 27, 2020, 02:59:12 PM
While I have seen many stupid mistakes as "Pilot Error" in many investigations (including the TV series Air Disasters) as well as in real time at airports, I am reluctant to jump to any conclusions about pilot error in this case until more information is available.

So far I have not seen the pilot identified.  In order to search the FAA database it is necessary to have some personal information to do the search.  To evaluate the pilot qualifications it is necessary to determine his/her type ratings etc. including whether Instrument Rated.  I would speculate that any pilot that Kobe would hire would be highly qualified.

I have also read some blog posts that suggest that the pilot suffered vertigo and was disoriented.  I find this unlikely as the cause of the accident but not impossible.  I am not familiar enough with this model of helicopter to know if it had an autopilot but it is likely.  One of the solutions to disorientation by the pilot is to engage the autopilot in 'wings level' mode.  That would immediately stabilize the helicopter.  Having experienced vertigo in my fixed wing plane, the autopilot (wing leveler) immediately leveled the plane even though the brain fought the menuever. 

As I indicated earlier, I do not find it likely that the pilot simply flew into the mountain while flying in clouds. I would be very interested in seeing factual information about the pilot, inclcuding hours in this model helicopter.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: msmob on January 27, 2020, 03:00:53 PM
Hey,

If the top star of Manchester United were killed in a plane crash, I'm sure all of England would be atwitter.   And there would be no reason that those in the US would not feel sorry for his family and those close to him.   To insert oneself into a discussion that really is of no concern of yours or your country's and to troll the people in that thread is really the lowest of class.   

Jone,

HOW has my pointing out that I'd never heard of a 'legend' . been converted in your mind - to 'disrespect' ?

I was merely responding to Beel's BBC being 'mocked'

As to the deceased - I've now read about him - as a result of the BBC's cock up  - and /beel pointing it out - to understand his loss.





Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 27, 2020, 04:13:25 PM
Thanks to a PM from one of our members (which I could not reply to....so thanks), I received the name of the pilot of the helicopter.

According to the FAA registry the pilot has the following ratings:

Commercial Pilot
     Rotorcraft - Helicopter
     Instrument - Helicopter
Flight instructor
     Rotorcraft - Helicopter
     Instrument - Helicopter
Ground Instructor
     Instrument

If the name given is correct, it is my opinion that the pilot was very qualified to pilot this helicopter.  It also indicates he is Instrument Rated, which answers that question.

In other research, I gathered that the S-76B (as all of them) had an autopilot which minimizes the theory that spatial disorientation was the cause of the accident.


Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: fathertime on January 27, 2020, 08:53:58 PM
Hey,

If the top star of Manchester United were killed in a plane crash, I'm sure all of England would be atwitter.   And there would be no reason that those in the US would not feel sorry for his family and those close to him.   To insert oneself into a discussion that really is of no concern of yours or your country's and to troll the people in that thread is really the lowest of class.

You are intentionally stirring the pot and pretending to be obtuse, when really what you are doing is being deceptive.   Anybody can see that mobers was practically invited on the thread by both tall bill and GQ with their gentle chides at moobs and the comment about the UK news agency.  YOU just want to perpetuate the arguing and brown nose a little bit with those you want to curry favor with.    Transparent, childish, and typical for you.

Fathertime! 
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: Trenchcoat on January 28, 2020, 08:14:01 AM
In my opinion helicopters are a bad idea, an interesting invention but a bad idea all the same. Only if you are real desperate and accepting that you are putting your life on the line should you use one.

I would tend to avoid helicopters myself, in fact I've never been in one. I've been in a small microlight plane once for the experience and even that would be preferable to a helicopter. With a helicopter if anything screws up with the rotar/rotar blades you are nearly always truly screwed, you are essentially left sitting in a heavy ball in the sky which can only plummet downward to the inevitable doom. A plane can often still glide a bit and may still have son landing capability if both engines fail, the fuselage may also offer some protection. Helicopters meanwhile leave you with pretty much no chance of survival just a knowing that one mechanical hitch means that's it.

If it were me I would either head for a plane at the airport or just miss whatever I was going to do than use a helicopter, it's just not worth the risk to use one.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: ML on January 28, 2020, 09:39:37 AM
I had a ride in helicopter . . . once.
It was very scary.

This helicopter took off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines during rough sea.

The helicopter lifted off but seemed to stay not too far above the flight deck.

Then the ship came surging up with a sea swell and I thought for sure the helicopter was going to crash onto the flight deck.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: jone on January 28, 2020, 09:45:12 AM
Saw some more interviews of people on the ground when the helicopter went down.   There seem to be conflicting stories.   One that all agree upon, though, is that the helicopter hesitated, hovering over an intersection for around 20 seconds before it flew off and crashed.   It was extremely low when it was hovering - almost as if the pilot were trying to get his bearings by looking at the topography as if to compare it to a map.   Am beginning to wonder if the pilot brought the helicopter close to the ground to find out where he was and then didn't regain enough altitude to accommodate the hills.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 28, 2020, 10:57:10 AM
TC-

Kobe had been using the same helicopter hundreds of times before. LA is so crowded that trying to get from point 'A' to point 'B' through traffic is a nightmare. Kobe, in one interview, commented on justifying the use of this as a means to get to and from work (as a BBall player), and not compromise 'family time' so he can be back before his kids get off school...then if he has a game that night, he can still fly to the arena in 15 minutes. He lives about 90 miles from where they needed to go Sunday. In LA, from Newport Beach to Camarillo, that can take anywhere from 2.5-3 hours of driving - even on a Sunday.

He and his wife Vanessa also made a pact they will never ever ride the same helicopter together.

Saw some more interviews of people on the ground when the helicopter went down.   There seem to be conflicting stories.   One that all agree upon, though, is that the helicopter hesitated, hovering over an intersection for around 20 seconds before it flew off and crashed.   It was extremely low when it was hovering - almost as if the pilot were trying to get his bearings by looking at the topography as if to compare it to a map.   Am beginning to wonder if the pilot brought the helicopter close to the ground to find out where he was and then didn't regain enough altitude to accommodate the hills.

I tried to look at the topographical map yesterday and the approximate location of the crash. The peaks around the general area rises up to 2000', but mostly in the 1200-1600' elevation.

http://www.yellowmaps.com/usgs/quad/34118b6.htm (http://www.yellowmaps.com/usgs/quad/34118b6.htm)

You can pan your mouse over the map on the right side, and a zoomed location to the right will give you a better topographical contours. the 101 freeway is almost at the bottom of the map page...Look for Las Virgenes/Lost Hills...then look around the rising elevation to the south/southeast.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 28, 2020, 04:02:28 PM
In my opinion helicopters are a bad idea, an interesting invention but a bad idea all the same. Only if you are real desperate and accepting that you are putting your life on the line should you use one.

I would tend to avoid helicopters myself, in fact I've never been in one. I've been in a small microlight plane once for the experience and even that would be preferable to a helicopter. With a helicopter if anything screws up with the rotar/rotar blades you are nearly always truly screwed, you are essentially left sitting in a heavy ball in the sky which can only plummet downward to the inevitable doom. A plane can often still glide a bit and may still have son landing capability if both engines fail, the fuselage may also offer some protection. Helicopters meanwhile leave you with pretty much no chance of survival just a knowing that one mechanical hitch means that's it.

If it were me I would either head for a plane at the airport or just miss whatever I was going to do than use a helicopter, it's just not worth the risk to use one.

Trench,

I am a little amused with your comments and I fully understand your position.  I was a fixed wing pilot for probably 15 years before my first ride in a helicopter (rides given at an airshow).  The first flights do generally give people an uneasy feeling.  A helicopter is aerodynamically unstable to begin with.  It is part of physics of why they fly in the first place.  Nevertheless, once you get used to it, you don't notice.  Same thing on my boats.  Every year when salmon and tuna fishing started, the first few times at sea created some unsettled feelings.  After a few trips you adjust and it no longer bothers you.

Your assessment of the risks are not valid in my opinion.  Being the owner of both a fixed wing airplane and a helicopter I can tell you that I had many more "pucker moments" in my plane than the chopper.  One incident included an emergency landing at Portland, Ore. due to induction icing at altitude.  I flew many times between Southern California and Seattle in the 70's and 80's.  Many of the flights were at night.  Imagine being in a single engine airplane, at night, over forested lands.  Having an engine failure at night is probably the worse situation that was always in my mind yet people fly fixed wing aircraft at night all the time.

A helicopter has a huge advantage over a fixed wing aircraft in the event of an engine failure.  A helicopter can autorotate and land without any power from the engine.  Even at night, I would prefer to autorotate in a helicopter to a landing (or crash) as opposed to flying a fixed wing aircraft at 75 MPH into unknown terrain especially at night. Autorotations are practiced during flight training as well as practiced by pilots to remain proficient.

You are correct about the complexity of the rotor system.  For that reason, there is extensive engineering in the design, manufacture, and maintenance on the rotor system.  Although it may be of interest to only a few members I will relate a short story about my experience with the rotor system on my Brantley B2 helicopter...

First of all, I needed a helicopter about as bad as I needed hemorrhoids.  I was already strapped with the costs of maintaining and hangaring my airplane.  I had a habit of going to the local bar and having a drink after finishing work in my Avioncs Shop about midnight each night.  At the bar was the local crop duster and we chatted it up.  After a couple drinks the crop duster owner approached me with the idea that I should buy a helicopter he had that he wanted to get rid of.  I expressed that I had no interest in another toy and my plane and boats were already a sink hole for what I could pull out of the business.

After buying me a couple more drinks, he kept selling me on the idea and offered it at a ridiculous price.  I finally asked about the details, history, and why he was selling it.  He stated that he had it flown down from Salinas and it had an engine oil leak.  His mechanic was a skilled helicopter mechanic and they pulled the rotor system and engine to repair the leak.  He had planned to use the helicopter for 'spotting' the fields prior to sending out his 'dusters' for spraying.  As it turned out, his mechanic left for a better job and he was left with the machine spread out over his hangar and needed to get rid of it.

A couple drinks later, he guaranteed that all the parts were still intact, that he would deliver it on a flatbed to my shop, and that the price was as agreed.  Well, so much for drinking while doing business.  :)  The flatbed arrived the next day and with my employees shaking their heads, we unloaded all the parts in my corporate hangar.  Fortunately I had a A&P working for me so the maintenance seemed to be doable.  We ordered all the maintenance manuals and drawings and began by reviewing all the FAA Advisory Directives (mandatory maintenance and inspections).  They were all signed off in the log books so all looked well and good.

As a curiosity impulse, I decided to remove the 'Jesus Nut' that holds the rotor system together and take a look.  We found that the main rotor bearings were rusted and filthy with dirt, etc.   This was a shocker!  One of the FAA AD's that was signed off was the inspection and replacement of the main rotor bearings.  Clearly a mechanic had signed the logs without performing the inspection.  As a result of this discovery, I decided to completely disassemble every nut and bolt throughout the whole helicopter.  We overhauled both the main rotor and tail rotor transmission as well as the Lycoming engine.  We also stripped and painted the fuselage with Imron poly paint. 

The whole project turned out to be quite a rewarding experience.  Knowing how all the mechanical parts worked together and doing it yourself made me very proud of the result.   Learning to fly a helicopter was quite a challenge.  The closest analogy I have heard is that it is like standing on a basketball.  That is true and takes a lot of practice and patience keep it right side up.  :)   Fortunately, due to some unusual circumstances I was able to get all the dual instruction from an FAA employee at no cost.

So Trench, I would recommend that if you ever get a chance to take a ride in a chopper.... go for it!  It's no worse than your first roller coaster ride.  :)
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: SANDRO43 on January 28, 2020, 04:30:26 PM
So Trench, I would recommend that if you ever get a chance to take a ride in a chopper...
But beware that FATE IS THE HUNTER ;D!

(http://static.theworks.co.uk/images/9781908059024_Z.jpg)

The title of a 1961 book by Ernest K. Gann, a US airline pilot in the 1930-50s when planes were equipped with 2 or more piston engines. Every couple of pages, reports of crashes and deaths due either pilot error, bad maintenance or faulty design :(.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 28, 2020, 07:58:19 PM
Iím blown away the tribute being given to Kobe beyond the NBA, beyond LA, and now beyond the US. Asia to So America to Europe! Iíve never seen or heard of any athlete being given this much love...

This one is from Italy, where he lived as a child.

http://youtu.be/aC74xuYlrmo
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: Gator on January 28, 2020, 08:06:38 PM

In other research, I gathered that the S-76B (as all of them) had an autopilot which minimizes the theory that spatial disorientation was the cause of the accident.


One of my long time golfing friends is a retired Army colonel.  Respected gentleman of my club.
Throughout  his military career he was either flying Hueys and Chinooks or teaching new pilots how to fly.  He was highly decorated and served three tours in Vietnam (that's three years).  Shot down twice, losing his entire crew once,  his co-pilot in the second, and spent months convalescing from his injuries. 

I spoke to him today about Kobe's crash.  His "guess" is that the pilot got vision-induced vertigo.  He flew in fog several times without incident, yet once he got vertigo and did not realize it (no dizziness).  Fortunately his co-pilot realized what was happening and took over. 

Would the Sikorsky's autopilot recognize this and takeover?
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 28, 2020, 09:51:14 PM
One of my long time golfing friends is a retired Army colonel.  Respected gentleman of my club.
Throughout  his military career he was either flying Hueys and Chinooks or teaching new pilots how to fly.  He was highly decorated and served three tours in Vietnam (that's three years).  Shot down twice, losing his entire crew once,  his co-pilot in the second, and spent months convalescing from his injuries. 

I spoke to him today about Kobe's crash.  His "guess" is that the pilot got vision-induced vertigo.  He flew in fog several times without incident, yet once he got vertigo and did not realize it (no dizziness).  Fortunately his co-pilot realized what was happening and took over. 

Would the Sikorsky's autopilot recognize this and takeover?

If the autopilot was engaged, the helicopter would have never got into an out of envelope condition.  One of the easiest (and in my opinion) best ways to fly IFR is with the autopilot engaged.  When engaged it stabilizes the aircraft in basically level flight.

It uses the Attitude Indicator (Artificial Horizon) for a reference.  You then can command turns, follow the VOR or ILS radio beacon, etc.  When calibrating autopilots for Piper Aerostar we could fly an ILS approach down to the runway threshold before disengaging it.

What still makes no sense to me is why he maintained a forward velocity of 175 MPH in these conditions.  The descent rate is also way steeper than an autorotation.  I really can't make any conclusions without more data.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: Gator on January 28, 2020, 10:25:45 PM
[quote author=calmissile link=topic=24118.msg525939#msg525939 date=1580273474

What still makes no sense to me is why he maintained a forward velocity of 175 MPH in these conditions.  The descent rate is also way steeper than an autorotation.  I really can't make any conclusions without more data.

[/quote]

The Colonel said the pilot, even though flying in fog,  likely felt he was on course to the planned destination, not realizing he was disoriented by vertigo induced by the visual conditions. 

I am just passing this alone;  I don't know a thing about flying helicopters.  I rode in Hueys a few times in Vietnam, and some flights were frightening, especially single craft missions flown by an 18-yo Warrant Officer.    The only time I came under fire in Vietnam was flying in a Huey (one feels very vulnerable).   
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 29, 2020, 01:43:33 AM
Your friend could be right, there just isn't enough evidence/data for me to draw any conclusions. 

I still find it troubling that he was descending at a rate up to 4800 FPM (and increasing) for the last 13 seconds BEFORE the crash.  If he was in the clouds, why would someone plunge toward the earth at that rate when he has the ability to slow and even hover under those kind of visibility conditions.  Perhaps the NTSB will come up with a scenario that makes sense sometime in the future.

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: ML on January 29, 2020, 09:01:29 AM
Iím blown away the tribute being given to Kobe beyond the NBA, beyond LA, and now beyond the US. Asia to So America to Europe! Iíve never seen or heard of any athlete being given this much love...

This one is from Italy, where he lived as a child.

http://youtu.be/aC74xuYlrmo

Have you forgotten Ali ?
Title: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: 2tallbill on January 29, 2020, 09:28:03 AM
MSNBC anchor apologizes after appearing to use N-word describing death of Kobe Bryant
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/msnbc-anchor-apologizes-after-appearing-to-use-n-word-describing-death-of-kobe-bryant
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 29, 2020, 09:39:33 AM
Have you forgotten Ali ?

Good point! True.

I've been hearing/reading a lot of pilots and 'experts' use the two words - definition of which that I, and those that surfs, is very familiar with - *Spatial Disorientation* (http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Spatial_Disorientation). They seem to think this is what may have happened with Ara Zobayan. Spatial disorientation is what happens when one is so disoriented you can't tell what/where is up from down.

In this accident, the likelier of the two is Somatogravic Ė experiencing linear acceleration/deceleration as climbing/descending. As opposed to: Somatogyral Ė not detecting movement or perceiving movement in a different (mostly opposite) direction to reality. The report indicated the helicopter abruptly climbed up then rapidly descended.

From WIKI: "Spatial-D" is the inability to determine one's position, location, and motion relative to their environment. This phenomenon most commonly affects pilots and underwater divers but also can be induced in normal conditionsóor reproduced in the lab with instruments such as the Barany Chair. In aviation, the term means the inability to correctly interpret aircraft attitude, altitude or airspeed, in relation to the ground or point of reference. This most commonly occurs after a reference point (e.g., the horizon) has been lost. Spatial disorientation, often referred to as 'Spatial-D' by aviators occurs when aircrew's sensory interpretation of their position or motion conflicts with reality..."

Any surfers know when you get caught in a white wash, and as you fight to get a breathe of air as the wave trashes you underneath, you sometimes begin to swim thinking you're heading towards the surface, when you're in fact about to hit bottom.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 29, 2020, 01:09:51 PM
GQ, you have provided a very good explanation of Spatial Disorientation as related to what happens when a pilot experiences this condition.

There are a couple points I would like to add about this discussion.  These explanations all refer to how the brain reacts when there is a loss of visual reference to the horizon..  This is an important  distinction.  Vertigo is easily experienced when a pilot is in clouds or no visible reference to the horizon.

This condition and its ramifications are so well known that all pilot training, even the most fundamental private pilot training includes simulated (or real) flying without reference to the horizon.  This is accomplished in both flight simulators and in actual flight 'under the hood'.  In real flight, the student wears a hood that prevents him from seeing outside the cockpit.

This leads to the question 'How does the pilot keep the airplane level and on course when he has lost the visual horizon?  There are a couple answers.  The most crude method is the "needle, ball, and airspeed" method.  Rather than give a complicated answer, let me simply state that this was the oldest method and it relies on the rate of turn instrument and the altimeter.  When the pointer in the rate of turn indicator is centered, the aircraft is not turning.  In other words using the rudder and/or ailerons you can stop a turn and fly straight with this one simple albeit somewhat crude instrument that is a basic flight instrument in all aircraft.  This will allow a disoriented pilot to straighten the course of the plane but does not address the climb/dive condition.  In this case, the pilot uses the altimeter and the rate of climb instruments to adjust the attitude (with elevator control) to place the plane in a level state with respect to ascending or descending.  These are also fundamental instruments in any airplane.  All pilots are trained to use these primary instruments in the event of disorientation or failure of a more sophisticated instrument which I will discuss below.  I heard and read many stories of pilots saving their lives and planes falling back to 'needle ball and airspeed' during zero visibility emergencies.

Prior to World War II, there was a marvelous invention called the "Artificial Horizon'.  Later versions are commonly referred to as a Horizontal Situation Indicator.  Many of you have seen it in photos of cockpits without realizing what it is or what it does.  Generally, it is a larger instrument directly in front of the pilot.  Although there are many versions of how the data is displayed, they all have the common characteristic of providing instantaneous visual reference to the pilot about the roll and pitch angles of the aircraft in reference to the ground.  It is the primary instrument for the pilot to obtain spatial orientation without reference to seeing outside the cockpit.  Artificial Horizon instruments are gyro driven (either air or electrical) and are very reliable instruments.  It should also be noted that autopilots also use this instrument (or a duplicate) for basic autopilot pitch and roll reference.

Now that we have some understanding of the tools the pilots have to avoid or correct spatial disorientation, lets add some perspective that may apply to this accident.
1.  It should be noted that spatial disorientation is a serious condition that face pilots when it happens.  Your inner ear and brain tries very hard to convince you that your aircraft attitude is different than it really is.  It is a physically strenuous task to ignore your senses and force yourself to correct the aircraft attitude based upon the instruments.  I can attest to this personally from training exercises.
2.  It would appear that the helicopter in this case had all of the primary flight instruments.  At least there is no evidence so far that any were defective or inoperable.
3.  The pilot was Instrument Rated.  He was licensed to fly in zero visibility conditions entirely on instruments.
4.  The pilot was rated as a Commercial Pilot which involves even more training and tests than a private pilot or even a private pilot with an instrument rating.
5.  If the pilot became spatially disoriented he presumably had the primary and secondary instruments to rely on to stabilize the aircraft.  In addition, he may have had the autopilot which in 'Attitude' mode would have immediately leveled the helicopter.

With all of these tools available to the pilot and considering his ratings as a Commercial Pilot, Instrument Pilot, and instructor it is hard to fit the medias claims that he simply flew into a mountain due to being in a rush to get to the destination.

While I cannot rule out pilot error, neither can I fit the data into the sequence of events.  There are also many mechanical failures that could have contributed but have not been suggested or any evidence to support.  There are also possibilities that are outside the box that we don't even think about.

I watched a recent investigation on the TV show Air Disasters which showed a good example of a crash cause that was outside the box of normal causes.  In fact it was a fatal helicopter crash and if I remember correctly involved some celebrity or athletes.  As I recall, the helicopter crashed because a girls strap on her backpack managed to turn the fuel selector lever to the "Off" position.

Until there are more details and a full forensic investigation, it is senseless to speculate on the cause of this accident.  The TV pundits and some of their guests are about the least qualified people to address this issue.

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 29, 2020, 02:00:13 PM
With all of these tools available to the pilot and considering his ratings as a Commercial Pilot, Instrument Pilot, and instructor it is hard to fit the medias claims that he simply flew into a mountain due to being in a rush to get to the destination.

While I cannot rule out pilot error, neither can I fit the data into the sequence of events.  There are also many mechanical failures that could have contributed but have not been suggested or any evidence to support.  There are also possibilities that are outside the box that we don't even think about.


The helicopter had two engines and there was no mayday call so I'm leaning towards pilot error. I heard the pilot had permission to fly at a higher level but he descended quickly. How did he not know he was falling? I understand he could've lost his whereabouts in fog but he had to have know he is descending while travelling at 150 mph. Better to go than down when one can't see.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: Gator on January 29, 2020, 03:32:44 PM
Calmissile,

Good explanation of  vertigo and disorientation. 

So why didn't the pilot correct his flight based on his instruments, especially after ATC warned him?  My friend (The "Colonel")  said in his one and only experience with vertigo in 20+ years of military flying, he thought he was flying straight when in fact he was banking and about to dive in a roll over before his co-pilot intervened. 

Heard that NTSB reported Kobe's pilot missed clearing the mountain by a mere 20-30 feet.  This is literally a split-second  miss considering the copter was dropping 4,000 FPM at 150 KTS.       
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: fathertime on January 29, 2020, 03:41:53 PM


While I cannot rule out pilot error, neither can I fit the data into the sequence of events.  There are also many mechanical failures that could have contributed but have not been suggested or any evidence to support.  There are also possibilities that are outside the box that we don't even think about.

I watched a recent investigation on the TV show Air Disasters which showed a good example of a crash cause that was outside the box of normal causes.  In fact it was a fatal helicopter crash and if I remember correctly involved some celebrity or athletes.  As I recall, the helicopter crashed because a girls strap on her backpack managed to turn the fuel selector lever to the "Off" position.
 
I haven't seen anything yet explain why the helicopter was going 170mph.  Isn't that the oddest factor so far?  The pilot could have flipped out for some reason or the accelerator got stuck.   I'd like to hear a reasonable explanation as to why he would be going so fast in those conditions.

Fathertime! 
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 29, 2020, 04:03:57 PM
Calmissile,

Good explanation of  vertigo and disorientation. 

So why didn't the pilot correct his flight based on his instruments, especially after ATC warned him?

One of my remaining questions as well.  Also, the pilot should not have needed any ATC warnings about the weather or terrain.  If he is under VFR conditions as he reported, he can see the terrain.  He cannot go into IFR conditions with no visibility without an IFR clearance which he could not have gotten at that altitude and without radar coverage.

 My friend (The "Colonel")  said in his one and only experience with vertigo in 20+ years of military flying, he thought he was flying straight when in fact he was banking and about to dive in a roll over before his co-pilot intervened.

I am a little surprised that he only experienced vertigo once in 20+ years of flying.  Perhaps it was the only time he experienced it unexpectedly during flight.  I was not a military pilot but I would think the military would periodically INDUCE vertigo as part of recurrent training.  I also suspect that military pilot training is so regimented that pilots are comfortable with continuous flight during instrument conditions.  I really admire the quality of the US military pilots that are depicted in wartime documentaries, etc. 

Heard that NTSB reported Kobe's pilot missed clearing the mountain by a mere 20-30 feet.  This is literally a split-second  miss considering the copter was dropping 4,000 FPM at 150 KTS.

I saw some NTSB 'desk jockeys' making some ridiculous statements on TV today.  For the most part I ignore them.
     
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 29, 2020, 04:31:41 PM
Cal-

I don't know if you've been to Universal lately and had actually ridden in their latest 'rides'. It seems to me that most of these rides they have are quasi-simulators. Remember the Back to the Future ride? It assault your senses until you lose/abandon any point of reference and begin relying on 'gut feeling'.

I used the two types of 'spatial disorientation' above which are Somatogravic & Somatogyral.

For somatogravic, you get this 'false perspective' in the ride that you are experiencing an acceleration/deceleration when what is actually happening is the platform is slightly tilting downwards/upwards - and aiding that with an appropriate visual imagery. They get you locked into the 'visual' as it takes over your sense of motion and whereabouts. This is so effective you actually feel it in your gut every time you think you're losing elevation.

Somatogyral is portrayed in this youtube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe6q8rcXhVI

Which is "not detecting movement or perceiving movement in a different (mostly opposite) direction to reality".

Between the two, my guess of what may have happen was the first one, somatogravic.

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 29, 2020, 04:47:09 PM
Here's an awesome video of spatial disorientation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-sl95NDRmk[/video]
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: Gator on January 29, 2020, 05:04:34 PM

I am a little surprised that he only experienced vertigo once in 20+ years of flying.  Perhaps it was the only time he experienced it unexpectedly during flight. 

I will ask him.  He's much older than me,  the oldest competitive golfer at the club.    We tease him about flying biplanes in WWI.   

BTW, two others in my golf group flew over North Vietnam.  One a pilot for B-52 bombing raids  and also SAM radar jamming craft.  The other was a language specialist who flew off the coast and listened to live chatter of NVA fighter pilots.  His team would use the info in a variety of ways, mostly to identify location of downed American pilots.  He served other roles such as detecting MIGs having mechanical or fuel problems and were returning to base - in such case my friend would dispatch a pair of circling F-4s to intercept them  knowing the MIGs had reduced  capability to evade an attack.   

Many Americans served in the military in those days. 


Quote
I was not a military pilot but I would think the military would periodically INDUCE vertigo as part of recurrent training.  I also suspect that military pilot training is so regimented that pilots are comfortable with continuous flight during instrument conditions.

In contrast, I suspect the Colonel was a seat of the pants pilot who rarely looked at his instruments.  He flew a large number of gunship missions.  Firing rockets, machine guns and grenade launchers from the pilot's seat while receiving ground fire does not involve the precise use of scientific aiming instruments.    If pushed he will admit to being among the "best" with rockets.    In golf, he rarely measures the distance to the pin, relying on his feel. 
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 29, 2020, 08:00:52 PM
Here's an awesome video of spatial disorientation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-sl95NDRmk[/video]
GQ, thanks for posting this video.  It is the best description and demonstration I have seen.  Far better than me trying to explain it to non-pilots.  In fact, the presentation is far more scientific and detailed than the training I received.  I only was in one of those simulators once to induce disorientation.  It was an eye opener and drilled home the message that fly the instruments regardless of your senses.

One of the most difficult parts of instrument training and instrument flying was the fact that without an autopilot you are faced with continually referencing a chart on your lap or yoke, operating the radios and calculating navigation position, time to next fix, etc.  This involves head movement and the video does a great job of explaining why this causes disorientation.

One of the reasons I am not willing to jump on the media bandwagon of disorientation being the cause is because at least for most of the time he was in VFR conditions.  As I recall he reported 1 1/2 mile visibility.  Of course I can't rule it out either, but it is not on the top of my list for possible causes.

Great post and great video.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 29, 2020, 08:56:16 PM
Weíre on a ride-along in NXS78 on that fateful day.

http://youtu.be/T6Tiq-y8ZmU

May they all Rest In Peace
.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 29, 2020, 11:36:33 PM

GQ, I watched your video in post #5 again. The pilot was talking fine, having a normal conversation with air traffic control and seemed to know his bearing. He reported his altitude at least 3 times from 1400' to 1500'.  After staying hovering in one spot, he was given permission to proceed to which he responded to, 5 seconds later air traffic control tried to talk to him again but he didn't respond. 25 seconds later the crash happened. 30 seconds total from his last words to his last breath. Even if the pilot didn't know which direction he was flying in and at what elevation, he should've responded. I'm wondering if the pilot had another medical issue that prevented him from responding. Heart attack?
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 30, 2020, 10:34:12 AM
Billy, of course this is all guesses as no official report had surfaced from NTSB. Itís still an active investigation, so Iíll Ďguessí for the sake of dialogue.

You have a point regarding the last audio transmittal prior to the crash. But this is my guessÖ

The chopper departed from SNA (John Wayne - Irvine) at around 9 AM heading to Camarillo (90 miles out). Maybe Cal know the reason why, but I donít understand why the chopperís flight path didnít go over ocean instead of flying through inland (If you look at the map, youíll see what I mean). Itís obviously a much more direct path than the route that was taken. Anyway, with that route, itíll cross 7 airportís flight path - 7!
-Long Beach, Torrance, Hawthorne, LAX, Sta Monica, Burbank and Van Nuys before hitting Camarillo airport. On a Sunday morning at that time, itís peak hours for small private planes, much less commercial. When it arrived around Burbank airport, the traffic was heavy enough that they got held up on a holding pattern for 15 minutes. This, I believe, is when imminent trouble started mounting. Because of the delay, the weather began to get progressively worst. Fog started to hop over the coast to move in valleys and inlands.

Ara had to fly in circle during the holding pattern for at least 15 minutes. Likely a spatial disorientation scenario. Try circling in your car for 15 minutes even in slow speed, your vestibular (roll, pitch, yaw) & proprioceptive (lean , angular, gravitational) senses will start getting affected. Not as much, the visual follows. The auditory not affected (his communication ability was coherent). When Burbank cleared, he was told to navigate along 5 freeway, then left along 118 freeway. This means itíll involve head movements to make sure heís not only following a path on the ground, he would also need to look at his instrument, the sky as he hovers over two airportís flight paths. A lot of head movement. In the video above, it tells you how heavy head movements affects your sense of lean, angulation and gravitational. Itíll start causing illusionary perception. Again, somatogravic disorientation.

The audio exchange went from Burbankís ATC to Van Nuys, then was transferred to SoCal. By the time it was switched to SoCal, the chopper was already in what is termed Ďthe soupí, which apparently is a condition Cal and pilots call ĎIMCí Instrumental Meteorological Conditioní, but by then, Ara was already subjected to enough spatial disorientation triggers, but is also very likely under what pilots refer to as *get-there-litis*. Ara probably still struggled to get his bearings by trying to establish ground reference, despite being in IFR, by trying to look for the 101 freeway below. Which would explain why he started flying low. From Woodland Hills to 1000 Oaks, the 101 freeway is bounded by Sta Monica mountains to the south, and Simi Hills to the north. The relief varies on both sides, with the southside being the worst of the two sides. Along Valley Parkway to Calabasas to the Las Virgenes Road, the mountain side is fairly variable. Some mountainsides are literally against the freeway.

Low flight path, virtually zero visibility, spatial disorientation, and *get-there-litis* likely caused him to accelerate when he thought he was climbing in that heavy fog. He then tried to pull right in the very last second..

Cal, obviously, is much more of an authority in this and he already said that based on Araís experience and qualification, while he will not rule it out, pilot error is not likely. But the above is simply my laymanís opinion based on what Iíve been reading and trying to understand.

Heart attack, at this time, is still a viable 'guess' although it won't explain the high speed the chopper had maintained before it crashed. It was apparently an intense high speed crash with debris scattered up to 500-600 feet apart, and the fuselage, rotor and tail are scattered in hundreds of yards.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: jone on January 30, 2020, 10:47:51 AM
Holy Smoke!

Did you write all of that or are you quoting?   
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 30, 2020, 10:57:09 AM
Holy Smoke!

Did you write all of that or are you quoting?

LMAO! I took interest in all this 'spatial disorientation' stuff from watching a whole bunch of videos about it last night. Then started to 'envision' and equate it to what happened. Dunno why it occupied my mind so much.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 30, 2020, 10:57:58 AM
No black box. No communication before the end. Crash was so bad and on fire, it'll be difficult to discover if there was a mechanical issue or do a proper autopsy on the pilot to see if he died healthy or had a medical issue. I suspect this is going to end up an unsolved mystery.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 30, 2020, 02:09:53 PM
Billy, of course this is all guesses as no official report had surfaced from NTSB. Itís still an active investigation, so Iíll Ďguessí for the sake of dialogue.

You have a point regarding the last audio transmittal prior to the crash. But this is my guessÖ

The chopper departed from SNA (John Wayne - Irvine) at around 9 AM heading to Camarillo (90 miles out). Maybe Cal know the reason why, but I donít understand why the chopperís flight path didnít go over ocean instead of flying through inland (If you look at the map, youíll see what I mean). Itís obviously a much more direct path than the route that was taken. Anyway, with that route, itíll cross 7 airportís flight path - 7!
-Long Beach, Torrance, Hawthorne, LAX, Sta Monica, Burbank and Van Nuys before hitting Camarillo airport. On a Sunday morning at that time, itís peak hours for small private planes, much less commercial. When it arrived around Burbank airport, the traffic was heavy enough that they got held up on a holding pattern for 15 minutes. This, I believe, is when imminent trouble started mounting. Because of the delay, the weather began to get progressively worst. Fog started to hop over the coast to move in valleys and inlands.

Ara had to fly in circle during the holding pattern for at least 15 minutes. Likely a spatial disorientation scenario. Try circling in your car for 15 minutes even in slow speed, your vestibular (roll, pitch, yaw) & proprioceptive (lean , angular, gravitational) senses will start getting affected. Not as much, the visual follows. The auditory not affected (his communication ability was coherent). When Burbank cleared, he was told to navigate along 5 freeway, then left along 118 freeway. This means itíll involve head movements to make sure heís not only following a path on the ground, he would also need to look at his instrument, the sky as he hovers over two airportís flight paths. A lot of head movement. In the video above, it tells you how heavy head movements affects your sense of lean, angulation and gravitational. Itíll start causing illusionary perception. Again, somatogravic disorientation.

The audio exchange went from Burbankís ATC to Van Nuys, then was transferred to SoCal. By the time it was switched to SoCal, the chopper was already in what is termed Ďthe soupí, which apparently is a condition Cal and pilots call ĎIMCí Instrumental Meteorological Conditioní, but by then, Ara was already subjected to enough spatial disorientation triggers, but is also very likely under what pilots refer to as *get-there-litis*. Ara probably still struggled to get his bearings by trying to establish ground reference, despite being in IFR, by trying to look for the 101 freeway below. Which would explain why he started flying low. From Woodland Hills to 1000 Oaks, the 101 freeway is bounded by Sta Monica mountains to the south, and Simi Hills to the north. The relief varies on both sides, with the southside being the worst of the two sides. Along Valley Parkway to Calabasas to the Las Virgenes Road, the mountain side is fairly variable. Some mountainsides are literally against the freeway.

Low flight path, virtually zero visibility, spatial disorientation, and *get-there-litis* likely caused him to accelerate when he thought he was climbing in that heavy fog. He then tried to pull right in the very last second..

Cal, obviously, is much more of an authority in this and he already said that based on Araís experience and qualification, while he will not rule it out, pilot error is not likely. But the above is simply my laymanís opinion based on what Iíve been reading and trying to understand.

Heart attack, at this time, is still a viable 'guess' although it won't explain the high speed the chopper had maintained before it crashed. It was apparently an intense high speed crash with debris scattered up to 500-600 feet apart, and the fuselage, rotor and tail are scattered in hundreds of yards.

GQ, I have to admire your effort to investigate and learn about disorientation in great detail.  You have provided the audience a detailed scientific explanation of the phenomenon.  You seem to have the mindset of an engineer.  :)

With regards to your theory that disorientation of the pilot may have been the root cause of the accident, I agree that it has been the cause of many accidents.  In accepting this theory in this case I would also have to accept.....

1.  The pilot ignored all the IFR training with respect to recovery from disorientation.
2.  The pilot did not use or could not use the autopilot to recover.
3.  The pilot did not benefit from the extensive experience and flight hours in flying helicopters.

While I cannot rule out disorientation as the cause, the pilots training and IFR experience would not suggest this would be at the top of my list for looking for what caused this tragedy.

Clearly, the weather was a likely contribution to the accident including an impediment to reaching the destination in a more direct flight.  I did spend an hour or so researching the weather conditions along the route.  For one thing, I wanted to learn whether the pilot was flying on top of the cloud/fog bank (common) or was scud running below the layer.  Clearly, the flight was conducted below the cloud/fog layer.  Some of the data supporting this conclusion follows:

In Post #5 the opening screen of the video clip shows the current METAR data for Van Nuys (KVNY).  Weather stations reporting into the METAR network provide hourly observations from that site.  Unfortunately, there does not appear to have any weather reporting stations at the destination.  The closest and most relevant weather stations for this flight were Van Nuys (KVNY), Burbank (KBUR), Camarillo (KCMA).  Reviewing the METAR data for these stations for the relevant time period suggests that there was a cloud ceiling (bottom) at:

Burbank (KBUR) at 1753Z (9:53 PST)  2 1/2 Statute Miles Visibility,  Overcast Bottom 1100 Ft (AGL) - 1900 Ft (MSL)

Van Nuys (KVNY) at 1751Z (9:51 PST)  2 1/2 Statute Miles Visibility, Overcast Bottom 1300 Ft (AGL) - 2100 Ft (MSL)

Camarillo (KCMA) at 1755Z ((9:55 PST)  4 Statute Miles Visibility, Overcast Bottom 1700 Ft (AGL) - 1800 Ft (MSL)

Notes:
All cloud ceilings are reported in height above ground level.  Add field elevation to change to Mean Sea Level (MSL)
All altitude references for flight are referenced to MSL and corrected to local barometric pressure.
All 3 METAR reports indicated Haze at the time of observation.

The pilot reported several times that his altitude was around 1400 - 1500 Ft (MSL).  Using the data above, it appears that he was flying around 400 - 500 ft below the cloud layer.

The data suggests that there was a fairly uniform cloud base covering the San Fernando Valley and the pilot should have had no problem flying below it.  Unfortunately there does not appear to be any METAR data near the crash site or the hills/mountains in the vicinity.  This is probably the reason the FAA has requested the public provide photos of the weather/clouds and terrain near the crash site.

GQ asked a question of why the pilot did not fly direct over the ocean to Camarillo.  I don't have an immediate answer to this question but would consider the following:
1.  This is controlled airspace and subject to the rules of that airspace requiring clearances.  There is also a lot of air traffic at LAX for arrivals and departures in this airspace.
2.  I believe that the FAA has specific rules about flying over large water bodies.  There are requirements for approved life preserver equipment for all passengers.  I don't recall the specifics at the moment.
3.  Common Sense - Do you want to be over the ocean if an emergency occurs or would you prefer to fly over land and potentially autorotate to a safe landing.

Will be anxiously awaiting further NTSB investigation results to shed some more light on the cause of the accident.



Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 30, 2020, 02:33:06 PM
The pilot reported several times that his altitude was around 1400 - 1500 Ft (MSL).  Using the data above, it appears that he was flying around 400 - 500 ft below the cloud layer.


You are correct. Video below shows the chopper was in clear skies in it's holding pattern below the cloud layer. Later  the chopper climbed to 2300 ft though the clouds following recommendations of air traffic control. 12 seconds before the crash, the helicopter went into an extreme dive travelling at 184 mph. Cal, if a helicopter pilot passes out and falls forward onto his control stick, does the helicopter travel forward and into a dive?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfJS8s7-hW4
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 30, 2020, 03:00:45 PM
Billy,

There is no sense in me speculating further on this accident with such limited data.  I have looked at the data that is available and it does not result in forming a conclusion as to the cause of the accident.

I viewed the clip you provided and it, along with your question raised even more questions.  Even if we accept the statements that the pilot pulled up "into the clouds", it raises the fundamental question in my mind.......  An instrument rated pilot would immediately change his spatial reference to his Artificial Horizon and stabilize the aircraft attitude (Roll, Pitch, Yaw).  Also, the new question...........Why did the pilot pitch over into a dive after reaching the higher altitude.  I don't have any answers to these questions.  There are a lot of possibilities.  If this accident was due to pilot error it certainly was a very stupid series of errors in judgment.  His training and experience does not suggest to me that this is the most likely case.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on January 30, 2020, 03:23:08 PM
GQ, I have to admire your effort to investigate and learn about disorientation in great detail.  You have provided the audience a detailed scientific explanation of the phenomenon.  You seem to have the mindset of an engineer.  :)

With regards to your theory that disorientation of the pilot may have been the root cause of the accident, I agree that it has been the cause of many accidents.  In accepting this theory in this case I would also have to accept.....

1.  The pilot ignored all the IFR training with respect to recovery from disorientation.
2.  The pilot did not use or could not use the autopilot to recover.
3.  The pilot did not benefit from the extensive experience and flight hours in flying helicopters.

While I cannot rule out disorientation as the cause, the pilots training and IFR experience would not suggest this would be at the top of my list for looking for what caused this tragedy.

Clearly, the weather was a likely contribution to the accident including an impediment to reaching the destination in a more direct flight.  I did spend an hour or so researching the weather conditions along the route.  For one thing, I wanted to learn whether the pilot was flying on top of the cloud/fog bank (common) or was scud running below the layer.  Clearly, the flight was conducted below the cloud/fog layer.  Some of the data supporting this conclusion follows:

In Post #5 the opening screen of the video clip shows the current METAR data for Van Nuys (KVNY).  Weather stations reporting into the METAR network provide hourly observations from that site.  Unfortunately, there does not appear to have any weather reporting stations at the destination.  The closest and most relevant weather stations for this flight were Van Nuys (KVNY), Burbank (KBUR), Camarillo (KCMA).  Reviewing the METAR data for these stations for the relevant time period suggests that there was a cloud ceiling (bottom) at:

Burbank (KBUR) at 1753Z (9:53 PST)  2 1/2 Statute Miles Visibility,  Overcast Bottom 1100 Ft (AGL) - 1900 Ft (MSL)

Van Nuys (KVNY) at 1751Z (9:51 PST)  2 1/2 Statute Miles Visibility, Overcast Bottom 1300 Ft (AGL) - 2100 Ft (MSL)

Camarillo (KCMA) at 1755Z ((9:55 PST)  4 Statute Miles Visibility, Overcast Bottom 1700 Ft (AGL) - 1800 Ft (MSL)
1

Notes:
All cloud ceilings are reported in height above ground level.  Add field elevation to change to Mean Sea Level (MSL)
All altitude references for flight are referenced to MSL and corrected to local barometric pressure.
All 3 METAR reports indicated Haze at the time of observation.

The pilot reported several times that his altitude was around 1400 - 1500 Ft (MSL).  Using the data above, it appears that he was flying around 400 - 500 ft below the cloud layer.

The data suggests that there was a fairly uniform cloud base covering the San Fernando Valley and the pilot should have had no problem flying below it.  Unfortunately there does not appear to be any METAR data near the crash site or the hills/mountains in the vicinity.  This is probably the reason the FAA has requested the public provide photos of the weather/clouds and terrain near the crash site.

GQ asked a question of why the pilot did not fly direct over the ocean to Camarillo.  I don't have an immediate answer to this question but would consider the following:
1.  This is controlled airspace and subject to the rules of that airspace requiring clearances.  There is also a lot of air traffic at LAX for arrivals and departures in this airspace.
2.  I believe that the FAA has specific rules about flying over large water bodies.  There are requirements for approved life preserver equipment for all passengers.  I don't recall the specifics at the moment.
3.  Common Sense - Do you want to be over the ocean if an emergency occurs or would you prefer to fly over land and potentially autorotate to a safe landing.
2

Will be anxiously awaiting further NTSB investigation results to shed some more light on the cause of the accident.

Thanks Cal.

1- Those were every interesting information that I may need to go back to see if it'll have any logical application to reinforce my theory. The video below happened to a Canadian pilot and it exemplified this instance as the subject pilot was flying through an IMC. In the video, the ATC was supposedly telling him 'visibility' distance information in an area he was flying through. I forgot the term used but the pilot actually flying in the zone disagree with the report. He said the reported visibility distance is wrong. It was actually a lot less and getting worst (skip directly to the 7:45 min mark). He then validated this by giving supporting data. I just have a nasty suspicion the visibility Ara had when he entered the soup was far worst than what was reported.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B56DoPDd6BM&list=LLG1-ToLdS-jsEogs_mqHC1A&index=1094

Could it be the towers were all using the same information for lack of a better more updated information? The fog, for all intent and purposes, is not static. It was moving from coastal to inland and getting thicker. I say this only because the NTSD folks are asking for public videos in the crash area (not in Burbank) as though implying the 2.5 mile visibility may not be admissible/reliable (?).

2. Those are very good response. Makes sense. Outside of those small planes pulling commercial banners during the summer, and even an occasional police chopper hovering quickly over the beaches...I don't remember ever seeing any other aircraft or chopper flying along the coastlines from OC to Malibu.

Now, I know it does no good to speculate. This, for whatever reason, just piqued my interest. I didn't realize there's a whole other interesting 'world' (the world of flight challenges) that is this interesting. Likely a world I will never experience as I developed a pretty good case of acrophobia.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: calmissile on January 30, 2020, 04:56:15 PM
GQ,

Funny you referenced this video.  I had watched it last night while researching weather for the fatal flight.  The video does depict what can happen to VFR pilots.  I should point out that even private pilots get training in IFR conditions.  It is so that a VFR pilot can recover from inadvertently flying into IMC (IFR) weather conditions.

Yes, it is common for PIREPS (Pilot Reports) to contradict what ATC reports for weather forecasts and conditions. ATC and the aviation community can only report and advise on the data that is reported to them.  The weather bureau and METAR observations are the source of most data.  ATC cannot know what conditions exist beyond what is measurable by ground stations and pilot observations.

Case in point.........  Part of my research last night, I wanted to determine what the "tops" of the marine layer (cloud layer) was and further was curious why the pilot did not choose to fly "VFR on top" (above the cloud layer). This is very common and have done it many, many times.  Getting to your destination above a cloud layer in sunny clear air and then descending through a 'hole' or making an IFR approach through the cloud layer is a very common flight scenario.

I was unable to find any meteorological data or reports that indicated what the 'tops' were.  In most cases of marine layer clouds/fog, they are fairly thin.  Perhaps 500 - 1000 ft thick.  Flying out of Santa Maria for over 25 years, we experienced fog down to ground level and still made IFR departures and arrivals. It was routine.  The tops of the fog/clouds were typically 300 - 800 Ft AGL.  The METAR data for the Kobe flight indicates  only one layer of clouds. I suspect it was not over 500 - 1000 feet thick.

This brings into question as to why the pilot did not file for an IFR clearance to get from below the clouds, through the clouds, to VFR conditions 'on top'.  This is a good question.  Assuming that the aircraft avionics and autopilot were in flight worthy condition, it would have been a piece of cake (assuming the pilot was comfortable with his skills).

There are a couple considerations to look at.

1.  According to the METAR data Camarillo also had an overcast layer and the pilot would have to make an IFR approach through the clouds to land.   This of course is more time and trouble with getting clearances, etc.

2.  There is another consideration to look at.  Human Factors!  As if helicopter flight is not scary enough for some passengers, the thought of flying with zero visibility and no outside references is unsettling as a minimum.  During commercial flights, I have been amused by observing passengers response when the aircraft enters clouds on either departure or arrival.  They clearly tense up and sometimes even grip the armrest.  I suspect that the pilot may have not wanted to expose the passengers to this environment.  Needless to say, this could have been a fatal decision.

Back to work for now....have to pay the mortgage.   :)
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 30, 2020, 05:42:59 PM
2.  There is another consideration to look at.  Human Factors!  As if helicopter flight is not scary enough for some passengers, the thought of flying with zero visibility and no outside references is unsettling as a minimum.  During commercial flights, I have been amused by observing passengers response when the aircraft enters clouds on either departure or arrival.  They clearly tense up and sometimes even grip the armrest.  I suspect that the pilot may have not wanted to expose the passengers to this environment.  Needless to say, this could have been a fatal decision.



Kobe flew often, even more so before retirement. He doesn't like driving in LA traffic and he rents that multi passenger chopper on a regular basis according to the company that rents the chopper to him. It's safe to assume all the passengers on that chopper is used to flying in one.


 If the chopper was at 2300 feet before the dive that lasted 12 seconds, it's descending at 192 feet a second. That's as fast as skydivers free fall. At that fast of a descent, everybody would be screaming their heads off unless they are having medical issues that prevents them from doing so.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on January 31, 2020, 02:11:19 PM



Inaccurate media reports are adding to the Byrant family's pain. Now they know what Trump deals with on an hourly basis. Media has been reporting the news with blind quotes and anonymous sources. I remember hearing a report saying all 4 of Kobe's kids died when in fact only one died. It seems the journalist pulled that story out of his ass because it didn't come from a credible source. The breaking and shocking news is shocking enough. I don't know why they need to add to it and outdo the other news organizations. Also some news reports say if the helicopter was 20-30 higher, it would've cleared the ridge and not crashed but truth is, at the rate of fall the chopper was in, they would've hit earth after clearing the ridge.




http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/kobe-bryants-family-says-inaccurate-reports-are-adding-to-the-pain-newspaper-says/ar-BBZvPq2?ocid=spartanntp (http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/kobe-bryants-family-says-inaccurate-reports-are-adding-to-the-pain-newspaper-says/ar-BBZvPq2?ocid=spartanntp)

Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on February 24, 2020, 11:24:04 AM
Ok, I fail to understand this. While it's tragic Kobe and the rest of the victims died in this awful accident, but this is taking this a little too much IMHO.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/liveblog/kobe-bryant-memorial-live-updates

They are actually charging $200-500.00/ticket to attend this. We are offered thousands for our suite by thrid party ticket agencies for this memorial.

This is ridiculous. Enough already.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on February 24, 2020, 11:37:02 AM

Kobeí wife has kids to feed. I wonder if theyíre charging LeBron James and other friends of Kobe to attend or is it only the fans that are  getting shafted.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: jone on February 24, 2020, 01:29:49 PM
LOL!

Have you seen downtown LA with all the purple and yellow lights shining on the tops of the skyscrapers?   Some have the number 8, some have the number 24 emblazoned on them.
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: GQBlues on February 24, 2020, 03:54:07 PM
Kobeí wife has kids to feed. I wonder if theyíre charging LeBron James and other friends of Kobe to attend or is it only the fans that are  getting shafted.

Kobe was worth well over 600 million, and that's before counting the return he was due to receive from his investment on UFC when it got its boost for the changed in ownership. Like the way he played BBall, Kobe was gifted with an acute sense and passion in what he did inside and outside of a basketball court, business included.

So I don't think making 'more' money was the impetus for this memorial, or whatever you want to call today's festivities.

Which make it even more confusing to find out literally after the memorial was done - a wrongful death suit was filed by Bryant's family against the helicopter company, Island Express, AND the surviving family members of Ara Zobayan - the helicopter pilot! What the hey??


Couldn't they at least wait until after the investigation was concluded top see if there were negligence on the part of the pilot? Ara's family are in mourning, too I would think..
Title: Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
Post by: BillyB on February 24, 2020, 04:08:01 PM
a wrongful death suit was filed by Bryant's family against the helicopter company, Island Express, AND the surviving family members of Ara Zobayan - the helicopter pilot! What the hey??


Suing the surviving family members of the pilot is pretty low IMO. Kobe's family has more than enough money. Don't need to punish people who aren't involved in the crash. There's no way the family of the pilot can afford high powered attorneys to counter the high powered attorneys of Kobe's family. Even if the pilot's family wins in court, they will be bankrupt when it's all said and done.