The pilot of a helicopter who crashed into a foggy slope of Calabasas a year ago, killing NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others on board, shouldn’t have flown in cloudy conditions where he became disoriented and lost control, federal investigators said on Tuesday

The National Transportation Safety Board did the cause for Jan 26, 2020, crash was Ara Zobayan’s decision to fly under visual flight rules in cloudy conditions, resulting in his spatial disorientation and loss of control of the aircraft. The Board added that Zobayan’s “more likely” self-induced pressure to get Bryant to his destination and the inadequate review of safety management procedures by the helicopter operator Island Express contributed to the crash

Flying under visual flight rules through the cloud cover was “prohibited by law,” but Zobayan “continued his flight into the clouds,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB

Zobayan, according to the NTSB, made a “bad decision” to fly at excessive speed in inclement weather, and the helicopter was not in a controlled flight pattern when it passed near Las Virgenes Road and the Las Virgenes Road at 9am Willow Glen Street tumbled into the hillside: 45 am

NTSB member Michael Graham said Zobayan ignored his training, adding that a certain percentage will not come out alive as long as helicopters continue to fly in clouds using visual flight rules ”

Despite previous recommendations by the NTSB to equip helicopters with crash-proof flight data and voice recorders, the Sikorsky that Bryant flew did not have such equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration did not require such functions for the helicopter, nor did it have a safety management system / p>

NTSB investigator Bill English informed the board that Zobayan had informed air traffic control that he was “on 4″000 feet climb” to get above the clouds According to English, however, the pilot was spatially disoriented because the helicopter turned left off Freeway 101 and communicated with the controller that it had dismounted

Zobayan misperceived altitude and acceleration and suffered a so-called somatogravic illusion, according to Dr Dujuan Sevillian He said the helicopter’s acceleration could cause a pilot to feel the plane climbing when it doesn’t

“Our inner ear can give us a false sense of orientation,” said Sevillian, noting that a lack of visual cues while surrounded by clouds exacerbates the problem and the pilot suffers from what are known as “leans” / P>

Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as well as some of their teammates, some parents and coaches, took off shortly after 9 a.m. from John Wayne Airport in Orange County for the second day of a weekend tournament at Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks for Camarillo Airport in the crash Christina Mauser was also killed; Payton and Sarah Chester; John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli; and Zobayan

A witness found on a mountain bike trail in Calabasas told investigators that the area was surrounded by fog and that he heard the sound of a helicopter and saw a blue and white helicopter emerge from the clouds, according to NTSB investigators That videos and photos from the public showed fog and deep clouds covering the hills, investigator English said the weather did not creep on the pilot and board members noted that he was an easy alternative to landing at Van Nuys Airport have

In the days following the crash, NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said a Terrain Awareness System (TAWS) had provided Zobayan with more information, but she didn’t say whether it could have prevented the fatal crash

However, Sumwalt said Tuesday that the helicopter was not in controlled flight and because the pilot was disoriented, a terrain awareness system would not have helped

The NTSB board identified 13 facts including the pilot losing visual references in the clouds, making a poor decision to fly at excessive speed, and experiencing spatial disorientation

It has also been suggested that the pilot’s decision to fly that morning was likely influenced by internal pressures felt over his relationship with Bryant, Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said there was a long history of pilots trying to be a star’s requirement, referring to previous crashes that killed music artists Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, Aaliyah, and Stevie Ray Vaughan

The board found no evidence that Bryant ever pressured the pilot, but the relationship of trust likely made Zobayan feel the need to keep going

In its findings on Tuesday, the board also said that a fully implemented safety management system from Island Express would have helped and that flight data recorders could have provided critical information

Investigators said air traffic controllers’ actions did not result in the crash and rejected Island Express proposals to this effect. Island Express has sued the FAA, claiming its air traffic controllers were responsible for the crash

The NTSB on Tuesday made recommendations to the FAA on improving helicopter safety, including implementing scenario-based training on changing weather conditions for helicopter pilots and convening a panel of experts to “evaluate spatial disorientation simulation technologies to determine which applications are most likely to be used are best suited for effectively training pilots ”

It was also recommended that Island Express install flight data recorders on every helicopter in its fleet

The NTSB also reiterated a previous recommendation for helicopter manufacturers to install systems that record audio and video data in the cockpit with a view of the cockpit environment, in order to capture as much of the outside view as possible

“The recommendations we have issued today, if followed, will strengthen aviation decision-making power about weather and would lead to research on training equipment to simulate spatial disorientation,” concluded Sumwalt

The FAA said Tuesday it takes the NTSB recommendations very seriously and will tentatively respond to them within 90 days ”

The agency stated in a statement that safety management systems are required for scheduled airlines and is in the process of expanding them to “on-demand / charter operators, air travel operators and companies that design and manufacture aircraft engines or propellers,” it stated that flight data monitoring systems are required for helicopters used in air ambulance operations and is examining the feasibility of the mandatory installation of such devices in other passenger aircraft

The FAA noted that it has conducted extensive spatial disorientation studies and is running a one-day flight stressor physiological training course that includes spatial disorientation, the agency added that Zobayan “said the.” during a tour with an FAA inspector in May 2019 Proven ability to recover from accidental flying under meteorological instrument conditions “

Peter Goelz, former executive director of the NTSB, said the cause of the crash would be clear once mechanical issues were fixed.He said a key lesson from the hearing was that the way to save lives is so much to know about a plane crash as much as possible and that flight recorders were installed

“With miniaturization and lower costs, there is no excuse for not having one form or another in every aircraft. It would be the greatest advancement in safety,” he said

Upon completion of the hearing, Homendy tweeted that the board’s flight data monitoring recommendations were first published in 2009 and the recorders’ recommendations were first published in 1999. She urged the FAA to work with the NTSB to “move forward change ”and“ save lives ”

“Since 26 January 2020 I thought every day of the 9 lives lost in Calabasas, as well as the many other tragedies, “she said in another tweet.” To the families: your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will continue to fight for them & will make the changes necessary to prevent another crash ”

Richard Winton is a crime writer for the Los Angeles Times and part of the team that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Known as @lacrimes on Twitter, he was also part of Breaking News for The Times for 25 years -Teams that Pulitzers won in 1998, 2004 and 2016

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World News – USA – Kobe Bryant helicopter crashes due to poor decision-making and pilot disorientation, says NTSB

Source: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-09/pilot-in-kobe-bryant-helicopter-crash-disoriented-ntsb-says