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Author Topic: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash  (Read 2491 times)

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Online calmissile

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Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« 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

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #1 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #2 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
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Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 10:33:34 AM »
BBC mocked for airing LeBron James footage in segment about Kobe Bryant’s 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
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 11:35:24 AM »
BBC mocked for airing LeBron James footage in segment about Kobe Bryant’s 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'.
Quote from: msmob
1. Because of 'man', global warming is causing desert and arid areas to suffer long, dry spell.
2. The 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey California wildfires are forests burning because of global warming.
3. N95 mask will choke you dead after 30 min. of use.

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 11:51:58 AM »
….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.



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.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 11:54:53 AM by GQBlues »
Quote from: msmob
1. Because of 'man', global warming is causing desert and arid areas to suffer long, dry spell.
2. The 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey California wildfires are forests burning because of global warming.
3. N95 mask will choke you dead after 30 min. of use.

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 12:07:39 PM »

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




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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #7 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)..
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 12:41:54 PM by GQBlues »
Quote from: msmob
1. Because of 'man', global warming is causing desert and arid areas to suffer long, dry spell.
2. The 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey California wildfires are forests burning because of global warming.
3. N95 mask will choke you dead after 30 min. of use.

Online calmissile

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #8 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #9 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 ...
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #10 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

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/

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
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:18:42 PM by GQBlues »
Quote from: msmob
1. Because of 'man', global warming is causing desert and arid areas to suffer long, dry spell.
2. The 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey California wildfires are forests burning because of global warming.
3. N95 mask will choke you dead after 30 min. of use.

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #11 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.   

« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 03:06:16 PM by AnonMod »
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #12 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #13 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.





« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 03:08:20 PM by AnonMod »
We'll be back, EU ..and as a certain 'gentleman' couldn't accept my offer to 'bury the hatchet' .. Don't trust a clueless Californian 'business owner' who cannot even quote me, honestly ..

Online calmissile

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #14 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.


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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #15 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.

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #16 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #17 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #18 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.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #19 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

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.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 10:59:08 AM by GQBlues »
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2. The 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey California wildfires are forests burning because of global warming.
3. N95 mask will choke you dead after 30 min. of use.

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #20 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.  :)
Doug (Calmissile)

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #21 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!


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 :(.
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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2020, 07:58:19 PM »
I’m blown away the tribute being given to Kobe beyond the NBA, beyond LA, and now beyond the US. Asia to So America to Europe! I’ve never seen or heard of any athlete being given this much love...

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

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #23 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?

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Re: Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash
« Reply #24 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.
Doug (Calmissile)

 

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