Quoted from goingincirclez:
OP's post was brilliant. But that observation about implied trust and bravado is important. Because if I were in the position of Kobe where my longtime, trusted pilot is now telling me "Sorry, not today..." I would probably be inclined to listen. Have to wonder if Kobe pressured the pilot, or the pilot was not even concerned... and we'll never know for sure.
But it's hard to cast stones in either case. The other analogy about driving in bad or icy weather is an excellent one. I would say that's arguably even more dangerous than flying in fog, yet I'm willing to bet almost everyone reading this has done it at least once, and even with collateral lives at stake (other traffic perhaps if nobody else), and even without the pressure of impressing a client or meeting an "important" deadline. You never know what may happen, or how much luck you have until it runs out.
What's sad to me is the only reason we're talking about this is because of Kobe. Otherwise a chopper crash with 9 aboard makes the news cycle for half a day at best and that's it.
Right right, I mean, we never truly know. Like the limo accident just 30 minutes from me that made national news a little over a year ago because all 20 people died.
We will never truly know what the thought process was or what happened, but we can postulate and reconstruct it the best we can.
Quoted from Reality_Studio:
Would it not be possible when disoriented to just make a very slow controlled scent straight down? Presumably the pilot knew his altitude from instrumentation but was blinded by fog, in which case just go down slowly until you see land. I drive that stretch all the time and indeed drove through that stretch that day, and while fog was heavy the ground would have still been visible once he got closer to it, as evidenced by the fact that we were all still able to drive that day. Eyewitness reports show that he was already hovering very close to the ground prior to the crash so why not just make a very slow decent straight down? I dunno, the whole thing seems so confusing.
I’m not an aviation or physics expert but I believe the OP mentioned climbing at that angle and speed would have stalled the copter out and he didn’t have enough altitude to recover from such a situation.
Quoted from tscottn:
...his first instinct would be to climb and get away from the ground. This is a normal and practiced technique, however because he was surrounded by mountains he most likely panicked and tried to climb very fast. At this point he either got disoriented as to which way was up or he pulled way to much pitch, slowed the helo down way to much during the climb, and due to the drag that would have been placed on the rotor system given the amount of pitch he would have had to pull to climb that fast he stalled the rotor system, which then the only way to recover is to enter a autorotation. At this point hitting the side of a mountain was inevitable.