(Topic ID: 260731)

I want to set the record straight about Kobe's death


By tscottn

60 days ago



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  • Latest reply 55 days ago by MD_Pinball_Dude
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There are 198 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 4.
#51 60 days ago
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.

#52 60 days ago
Quoted from cmack750:

Seriously? So the fact that he could afford to take a helicopter put him on a collision course with death and put himself, his family and others at unnecessary risk?
What if he had a driver take him and the driver got into an accident and everyone died? Would that be because he didn't drive himself? What if he did and the same thing happened? Would we question why he'd be driving himself instead of paying a "professional" to get him where he wanted to go?
1.25 million people die every year in road crashes, by the way.... Seems to me like "wealth and celebrity" probably reduce your chances of this happening.
Really unfortunate, especially if it could have been avoided. But putting this on his wealth in any way is pretty dumb.

He was in a helicopter because he was wealthy. To not acknowledge that is pretty dumb.

The loss of life would have been no less tragic, but it wouldn't have been front page news if he'd died in a car accident. Sure it would have been a blurb since he was a celebrity, but the fact that it was a helicopter crash, something most people can't afford/have probably never even been in, is something sensationalistic that the papers and cable news can latch onto, regardless of statistics.

To reiterate again - a great loss.

10
#53 60 days ago
Quoted from pinzrfun:

it wouldn't have been front page news if he'd died in a car accident.

Of all the bunk in this thread, this is the bunkiest.

#54 60 days ago
Quoted from Reality_Studio:

Would it not be possible when disoriented to just make a very slow controlled scent straight down?

No. Not really. Not a pilot, but I think a slow climb to get above the fog/cloud layer is your only real option.

There's all sorts of potential lethal obstruction between you and the ground. Good way to clip a cable / sign / whatever and kill a lot more people than your passengers.

10
#55 60 days ago

I just love some of the comments here by some of you arm chair fighter pilots. We need to wait for the reports, we need the NTSB, we need this , we need that , maybe this, maybe that. The OP has more qualifications to make judgement on this situation better than 99.9% of the population and 99.99% better than the members of this boards, yet some of you are still full of doubt and question his judgement.

Bunch of morons.

#56 60 days ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

Bunch of morons.

LOL
I'm sure you will get more than one downvote for that, but you won't be the only one in here that does!

#57 60 days ago
Quoted from BlueIrocGuy:

I think Kobe enjoyed traveling by helicopter as much as possible.

This is a documented fact. One thing to consider is the hours of his life he "saved" by not sitting in LA traffic over the years. Also, hours not breathing in freeway air.

Quoted from pinzrfun:

I was telling my wife last night that Kobe and his daughter were unfortunately victims of his own wealth and celebrity, because "regular" people like us would have had to drive.
A great loss.

You have to consider how many people die in car accidents though, I have no idea what the relative risks are, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the relative safety of traveling by helicopter vs car is closer than you'd think.

Like most accidents, was entirely preventable in hindsight - or with a bit of luck somewhere along the chain of unfortunate events.

#58 60 days ago

The pilot made several mistakes that lead to this accident. He should have given up sooner and just flown back to an airfield. Then there would be no tragic accident for everyone to be talking about.

People need to remember that he was flying for a company that makes money by providing transportation services. If you cancel flights due to weather, you are not making any money. The company is under pressure to complete flights. The pilot is under pressure to make customers happy by getting them where they want to go. I am by no means making excuses for the pilot. He and his passengers paid the price.

But the end result is that the pilot was responsible to maintain control of the aircraft and the safety of the passengers, to include persons/property on the ground. He was flying around under VFR/SVFR rules and messed up by taking unnecessary risks.

Yes, he could have pulled pitch and just flown back to an airfield. That is what he was trained to do in situations like this. Especially, if he was a certified instrument flight instructor as I thought I had read yesterday in some article. That is what he should be teaching other pilots to do. But the pressure to complete the mission caused him to break some rules and take risks.

#59 60 days ago
Quoted from Blackjacker:

Of all the bunk in this thread, this is the bunkiest.

Speaking of bunky, thank you for donating to Pinside back in 2014.

#60 60 days ago
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#61 60 days ago

enlightening...thank you

#62 60 days ago
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.

The major issue in these scenarios is vertigo; although it would seem logical that the pilot knew his altitude via instruments, his perception of what the aircraft was doing based upon the "seat of his pants" might have differed from what the instruments were indicating, leading to a situation where the pilot became disoriented and did not have sufficient time to recognize the confusion promptly enough to avert an accident.

With extremely low visibility conditions, your instruments can tell you one thing but your body (vestibular system) might feel something different, and it is VERY easy to get disoriented and confuse "up" from "down" when this happens. It is difficult to learn to rely on instruments rather than "feel" in these situations, and even experienced pilots can make this mistake (especially when under duress in a crisis situation where a dozen things are happening simultaneously). It is difficult to fully appreciate this phenomenon unless one has some flying experience and has encountered this scenario, but it is most certainly a major factor in many accidents.

The reason he may not have been able to land as you suggest is due to risk of rotor strike. Given the reported conditions, the pilot's visibility may well have been shorter than the radius of the rotor blades, which would have placed him at risk of hitting something unseen during descent.

Also, helicopters must maintain a given altitude for a given speed in order to maximize the ability to autorotate in the event of power loss. These numbers are specific to the helicopter model in question and are provided by the manufacturer in the form of a Height-Velocity curve (AKA "dead man's curve"); a graph of altitude as a function of airspeed is plotted, and the combinations of height+speed which are insufficient to permit a safe autorotation landing are shaded and must be avoided during flight (see below). It is possible that the pilot may have been unable to fly in the clearer conditions closer to the ground for this reason.

Sadly, this flight was probably doomed the instant it took to the air, a situation where the only winning move was to avoid playing the game in the first place. As pointed out by the OP, the pressure to "perform" can be enormous due to a myriad of factors, and (as is human nature) one poor decision tends to beget subsequent poor decisions, which can easily cascade out of control and lead to tragedy.

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#63 60 days ago
Quoted from Thermionic:

The major issue in these scenarios is vertigo; although it would seem logical that the pilot knew his altitude via instruments, his perception of what the aircraft was doing based upon the "seat of his pants" might have differed from what the instruments were indicating, leading to a situation where the pilot became disoriented and did not have sufficient time to recognize the confusion promptly enough to avert an accident.
With extremely low visibility conditions, your instruments can tell you one thing but your body (vestibular system) might feel something different, and it is VERY easy to get disoriented and confuse "up" from "down" when this happens. It is difficult to learn to rely on instruments rather than "feel" in these situations, and even experienced pilots can make this mistake (especially when under duress in a crisis situation where a dozen things are happening simultaneously). It is difficult to fully appreciate this phenomenon unless one has some flying experience and has encountered this scenario, but it is most certainly a major factor in many accidents.
The reason he may not have been able to land as you suggest is due to risk of rotor strike. Given the reported conditions, the pilot's visibility may well have been shorter than the radius of the rotor blades, which would have placed him at risk of hitting something unseen during descent.
Also, helicopters must maintain a given altitude for a given speed in order to maximize the ability to autorotate in the event of power loss. These numbers are specific to the helicopter model in question and are provided by the manufacturer in the form of a Height-Velocity curve (AKA "dead man's curve"); a graph of altitude as a function of airspeed is plotted, and the combinations of height+speed which are insufficient to permit a safe autorotation landing are shaded and must be avoided during flight (see below). It is possible that the pilot may have been unable to fly in the clearer conditions closer to the ground for this reason.
Sadly, this flight was probably doomed the instant it took to the air, a situation where the only winning move was to avoid playing the game in the first place. As pointed out by the OP, the pressure to "perform" can be enormous due to a myriad of factors, and (as is human nature) one poor decision tends to beget subsequent poor decisions, which can easily cascade out of control and lead to tragedy.[quoted image]

Yeah I had assumed enough visibility to handle the rotor coverage based on what I saw in the area as I drove by, but then again who knows at his altitude. Ok cool thanks for the interesting summary.

#64 60 days ago
Quoted from Thermionic:

The major issue in these scenarios is vertigo; although it would seem logical that the pilot knew his altitude via instruments, his perception of what the aircraft was doing based upon the "seat of his pants" might have differed from what the instruments were indicating, leading to a situation where the pilot became disoriented and did not have sufficient time to recognize the confusion promptly enough to avert an accident.
With extremely low visibility conditions, your instruments can tell you one thing but your body (vestibular system) might feel something different, and it is VERY easy to get disoriented and confuse "up" from "down" when this happens. It is difficult to learn to rely on instruments rather than "feel" in these situations, and even experienced pilots can make this mistake (especially when under duress in a crisis situation where a dozen things are happening simultaneously). It is difficult to fully appreciate this phenomenon unless one has some flying experience and has encountered this scenario, but it is most certainly a major factor in many accidents.
The reason he may not have been able to land as you suggest is due to risk of rotor strike. Given the reported conditions, the pilot's visibility may well have been shorter than the radius of the rotor blades, which would have placed him at risk of hitting something unseen during descent.
Also, helicopters must maintain a given altitude for a given speed in order to maximize the ability to autorotate in the event of power loss. These numbers are specific to the helicopter model in question and are provided by the manufacturer in the form of a Height-Velocity curve (AKA "dead man's curve"); a graph of altitude as a function of airspeed is plotted, and the combinations of height+speed which are insufficient to permit a safe autorotation landing are shaded and must be avoided during flight (see below). It is possible that the pilot may have been unable to fly in the clearer conditions closer to the ground for this reason.
Sadly, this flight was probably doomed the instant it took to the air, a situation where the only winning move was to avoid playing the game in the first place. As pointed out by the OP, the pressure to "perform" can be enormous due to a myriad of factors, and (as is human nature) one poor decision tends to beget subsequent poor decisions, which can easily cascade out of control and lead to tragedy.[quoted image]

134F0201-6A16-420E-B829-D936403449E8 (resized).jpeg
#65 60 days ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

LOL
I'm sure you will get more than one downvote for that, but you won't be the only one in here that does!

Well there goes the neighborhood.

#66 60 days ago
Quoted from pinzrfun:

I was telling my wife last night that Kobe and his daughter were unfortunately victims of his own wealth and celebrity, because "regular" people like us would have had to drive.
A great loss.

He could have died driving, we all could die driving it has nothing to do with wealth. Car is still the most dangerous transportation method, a helicopter is far safer.

The only difference is that our death would have added one digit to an obscure statistics not a full day of headlines. That of course unless our car accident involves a celebrity !

-2
#67 60 days ago
Quoted from adol75:

He could have died driving, we all could die driving it has nothing to do with wealth. Car is still the most dangerous transportation method, a helicopter is far safer.

Until it isn't.

And no, helos are not safer than car travel.

#68 60 days ago
Quoted from guitarded:

Until it isn't.
And no, helos are not safer than car travel.

Actual numbers seem to disagree with you
https://thepointsguy.com/news/are-helicopters-safe-how-they-stack-up-against-planes-cars-and-trains/

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#69 60 days ago

"The answer, based on a TPG analysis of a decade of safety data: Like almost every other mode of transportation, flying in a helicopter is considerably more dangerous than airline travel. But it’s far safer than riding in a car."

#70 60 days ago

I learned a long time ago, it was a lot safer to take a monorail.

RIP Kobe. Thanks for the memories.

http://www.disneyhistoryinstitute.com/2012/02/greatest-disneyland-tragedy.html

#71 60 days ago

Interesting, I was reading the opposite earlier after I wondered about the same thing:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2011/06/are-helicopters-safer-than-cars.html

#72 60 days ago
Quoted from adol75:

Actual numbers seem to disagree with you

Haha -

Go ahead and outline how they are accounting for your numbers and we can talk. There is no way in hell travel by helocopter is safer than travel by car.

#73 60 days ago

There’s a hella lot more car accidents than helo accidents but do those numbers take into account there is way more cars driving around than helo’s flying? Idk hope they calculated the probabilities correctly. Thing is crashing in a car is not good but you may live. Crashing in a helo not likely

#75 60 days ago

Question for the OP, or any other pilots on this thread. Why do helicopters seem to often (or maybe always?) fly with just one pilot?

I'm not a pilot, but in my industry, EVERYTHING has redundancy to avoid a single point of failure taking the system down.

It would seem to me that in a helicopter, the single most important element requiring redundancy would be the pilot.

Everyone seems to be assuming that pilot error caused this crash. Maybe that's true. But what if the pilot suddenly had a stroke/heart attack/whatever? Or even if it was pilot error, if there was a second pilot, maybe that pilot would have said, hey man it's too foggy today.

I know the same argument could be made for cars, buses, etc. But for air travel it just seems weird that the pilot is non redundant in helicopters.

#76 60 days ago
Quoted from bonzo442:

There’s a hella lot more car accidents than helo accidents but do those numbers take into account there is way more cars driving around than helo’s flying?

I'd imagine there are a lot more car accidents that are only minor. Not sure what a minor helicopter accident would be.

#77 60 days ago
Quoted from Fizz:

Question for the OP, or any other pilots on this thread. Why do helicopters seem to often (or maybe always?) fly with just one pilot?
I'm not a pilot, but in my industry, EVERYTHING has redundancy to avoid a single point of failure taking the system down.
It would seem to me that in a helicopter, the single most important element requiring redundancy would be the pilot.
Everyone seems to be assuming that pilot error caused this crash. Maybe that's true. But what if the pilot suddenly had a stroke/heart attack/whatever? Or even if it was pilot error, if there was a second pilot, maybe that pilot would have said, hey man it's too foggy today.
I know the same argument could be made for cars, buses, etc. But for air travel it just seems weird that the pilot is non redundant in helicopters.

I think the big this with helicopters is weight. They are expensive to fly and take a lot of power & fuel so adding a couple hundred pounds cost extra money. Also you are paying two pilots instead of one. Smaller planes typically fly with just one pilot also so it isn't just a helicopter thing.

What should be "learned" from accidents like this is just because you "need to get somewhere" it isn't worth taking unnecessary risk when weather is involved. In a car, on a plane, in a helicopter, or any other way you might have to travel - think twice before doing it when weather is against you!

Also live everyday to the fullest - you just never know what day might be your last!

#78 60 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'd imagine there are a lot more car accidents that are only minor. Not sure what a minor helicopter accident would be.

Hard Landing?

#79 60 days ago

What goes up must come down. Sometimes harder than others I guess .

You're talking to guy that hasn't flown in 25 years since that 747 I was in almost crashed halfway across the Pacific. One warning is all I needed. Thankfully it was a well built plane with an Ausi pilot who knew what to do and did not hesitate to do it.

#80 60 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'd imagine there are a lot more car accidents that are only minor. Not sure what a minor helicopter accident would be.

A minor helicopter accident would be a remote control toy !

#81 60 days ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

I think the big this with helicopters is weight. They are expensive to fly and take a lot of power & fuel so adding a couple hundred pounds cost extra money. Also you are paying two pilots instead of one. Smaller planes typically fly with just one pilot also so it isn't just a helicopter thing.
What should be "learned" from accidents like this is just because you "need to get somewhere" it isn't worth taking unnecessary risk when weather is involved. In a car, on a plane, in a helicopter, or any other way you might have to travel - think twice before doing it when weather is against you!
Also live everyday to the fullest - you just never know what day might be your last!

Smaller planes may fly with one pilot but I'm pretty sure those are not commercial flights.

I realize it would be more expensive to have 2 pilots. I'm just surprised it's not required on commercial helicopter flights, with paying passengers.

#82 60 days ago

As they say, any landing you can walk away from is a good one!

#83 60 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

What goes up must come down. Sometimes harder than others I guess .
You're talking to guy that hasn't flown in 25 years since that 747 I was in almost crashed halfway across the Pacific. One warning is all I needed. Thankfully it was a well built plane with an Ausi pilot who knew what to do and did not hesitate to do it.

I’d love to hear more details on this one.

Was there a gremlin on the wing?!

#84 60 days ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I’d love to hear more details on this one.
Was there a gremlin on the wing?!

It was a lovely flight about 6 hours in until the fist of god came down and dropped the plane about 1000 feet. It was the second one that sent the tail down and almost put the plane into a stall. It was wobbling and got real slow. People flew out of their seats in the back of the plane.

I'm looking for a way to bend over and kiss my ass goodbye, when that ballsy Ausi hit the gas full throttle and sent us into a dive and pulled us out of it. He said in 25 years of flying for Qantas, that was as close as he ever got. Qantas, great airline. Highly recommend it.

#85 60 days ago
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#86 60 days ago
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#87 60 days ago

OP- thanks for sharing. Wasn't expecting to find this on pinside but appreciated the info.

#88 59 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

It was a lovely flight about 6 hours in until the fist of god came down and dropped the plane about 1000 feet. It was the second one that sent the tail down and almost put the plane into a stall. It was wobbling and got real slow. People flew out of their seats in the back of the plane.
I'm looking for a way to bend over and kiss my ass goodbye, when that ballsy Ausi hit the gas full throttle and sent us into a dive and pulled us out of it. He said in 25 years of flying for Qantas, that was as close as he ever got. Qantas, great airline. Highly recommend it.

Was it a storm or turbulence or the plane just dropped for no apparent reason?

#90 59 days ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Was it a storm or turbulence or the plane just dropped for no apparent reason?

Something in the atmosphere. It was night and it was smooth sailing and as far as I could tell clear as could be. Just happened real fast. I have a feeling another pilot may not have reacted so decisively and quickly. There was no time to spare from what I could tell. That dive towards Earth was just as thrilling. Qantas, no jet airliner has ever gone down. Perfect safety record since 1952.

#91 59 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Something in the atmosphere. It was night and it was smooth sailing and as far as I could tell clear as could be. Just happened real fast. I have a feeling another pilot may not have reacted so decisively and quickly. There was no time to spare from what I could tell. That dive towards Earth was just as thrilling. Qantas, no jet airliner has ever gone down. Perfect safety record since 1952.

Most likely some extreme turbulence. The nose dive saved you from stalling. Good thing the pilot had some 30,000 feet to work with.

#92 59 days ago

I can identify with that fear, O-din

I have been invited, and ultimately pestered and egged on, to go with friends TWICE, on small plane trips.
In both cases, the planes crashed, and the likely position in the back would have led to my death twice.

I dont go near small planes or helicopters.

#93 59 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Something in the atmosphere. It was night and it was smooth sailing and as far as I could tell clear as could be. Just happened real fast. I have a feeling another pilot may not have reacted so decisively and quickly. There was no time to spare from what I could tell. That dive towards Earth was just as thrilling. Qantas, no jet airliner has ever gone down. Perfect safety record since 1952.

ha ok so during the dive are you thinking "This is thrilling and the pilot is taking the correct course of action!" or were you thinking "OH SHIT WE GOIN DOWN WE GOWN DOWN!!!"

Besides yourself do you remember anybody shitting themselves or completely losing it?

-9
#94 59 days ago

the guy played sports for a living. when a guy finds a cure for cancer and dies tragically, I will be sympathetic. SORRY

#95 59 days ago
Quoted from TheHueManatee:

Most likely some extreme turbulence. The nose dive saved you from a stalling. Good thing the pilot had some 30,000 feet to work with.

Exactly. The tail of the plane was down and the nose was up and we had definitely lost airspeed to the point of nearly stalling. Took a lot of engine to get us over the hump to get the nose of the plane pointed down.

Quoted from CrazyLevi:

ha ok so during the dive are you thinking "This is thrilling and the pilot is taking the correct course of action!" or were you thinking "OH SHIT WE GOIN DOWN WE GOWN DOWN!!!"
Besides yourself do you remember anybody shitting themselves or completely losing it?

No, it was the plane feeling like it was going to stall. It was seriously wobbling. Felt a lot better going into the dive, but still where I was sitting I had no idea how this would end. Happened too fast to see what others on the plane were doing or thinking except I know several got thrown out of their seats. The captain came on and said he was shaken up too. Once on the ground, I never felt the overwhelming desire to fly again.

#96 59 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

You're talking to guy that hasn't flown in 25 years since that 747 I was in almost crashed halfway across the Pacific.

Did you ever hear Jason Lee's crazy plane story...

His cousin Walter was on a plane to New Mexico when all of a sudden the hydraulics went out. The plane started spinning around, going out of control, so he decides it's all over, and he whips it out and starts beating it right there.

So all the other passengers take a cue from him and they start whipping it out, beating like mad. So all the passengers are beating off, plummeting to their certain doom, when all of a sudden... the hydraulics kick back in and the plane rights itself.

It lands safely, and everyone puts their pieces, or whatever you know away, and de-board. Nobody mentions the phenomenon to anyone else...

True story.

jasonlee (resized).JPG

#97 59 days ago

Well, did he come or what?!?!

#98 59 days ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

Well, did he come or what?!?!

Jesus Christ man, there are just some things you don't talk about in public!!

#99 59 days ago

Come to think of it, the worst part of that trip was going the other way, when they showed the movie Groundhog Day three times! Still to this day, I can't watch that movie again.

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