(Topic ID: 260731)

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


By tscottn

5 months ago



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#151 5 months ago

A question for the knowledgable people here: The helicopter was originally built in 1991. I assume its the same one Kobe flew in for 17 years? As in, he owned it? I am asking, "Is a 30 year old helicopter an undue risk"?

31
#152 5 months ago

Hi Everyone.

This is the OP of this thread. First I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting. I have been reading along with all of you, however it’s unfortunate I am not a verified pinsider so once the tread went “hot” I couldn’t reply to anyone’s comments.
I think at this point there is not much left to say anyway with regards to what happened, as it has mostly been covered via the media, NTSB/FAA etc. However I would like to make a few points based on reading all the comments above...

First I would like to apologize if I offended anyone with my rant in the first post. It wasn’t my intention at all. I know there are many people here who are passionate about things so if I ruffled any feathers please know it was not intentional. Also I would like to say that I am not an arrogant person and I do not pretend to know everything about aviation and I don’t want to come off as that type. During my time typing the original post, I realize now that I used a few key phrases that made me come off as arrogant. For example, I should have never used the term, “I know for a fact”. Please know that while I was typing my original post there was a lot of emotion running through my mind. Sometimes in the moment we don’t always use the best choice of words for the message we want to convey.

One other thing, with regards to title of my post, some have pointed out that by using the title “I want to set the record straight” I needed to refute another account of what happened. This was obviously a poor choice for a title and after I posted I made numerous attempts to change the tittle to something that would convey my thoughts better, however once the tread went “ hot” as previously mentioned im not sure that this was an option so I just figured I would live with it as is. So once again I apologize for the poor choice of a title.

Now that that’s all out of the way, I want to say that the reason I was so upset when this happened is because it harkens back to five years ago when I lost my crew (that I just worked with a few days before) to the exact same type of accident; CFIT with rolling left turn into the side of a mountain. These were my friends, people that I laughed and worked with and saw outside of work for a beer or two. To know that these people were helpless victims to bad choices made by the very person who was there to keep them safe is infuriating to me. It hurts at the core. And to know that all those people on Koby’s helicopter were victims of the same bad choices just really makes it even worse.

In the helicopter industry many companies train for IIMC (Inadvertent Instrument meteorological Conditions) all the time. I can say that when a perfectly good helicopter (such as the 76b) turns and rolls into terrain while in the “soup” low level clod, fog etc. It is a good indication that the pilot got disoriented during flight. There is a lot that goes into making a good pilot an IFR pilot. It is not an easy skill to learn and can quickly diminish if not used regularly. At my company we are always training for IFR and IIMC. This is because our certificate with the FAA allows for us to fly IFR. Unfortunately this was not the case for the company that owned the helicopter in question. They were a part 135 VFR only certificate. This means that they could not legally fly IFR however they could still train for IIMC. However believing what your instruments are telling you over what your body is telling you is not an easy thing to overcome for a VFR guy.

As pilots, we are put in this position because we are trusted to make safe competent decisions that are always in the best interest of the crew, passengers, etc. Barring any unforeseen mechanical issues, I think we will all find out that this was just a series of bad choices that easily could have been avoided. Unfortunately, this will not be the last time a pilot flying VFR will take off in marginal weather, fly into IIMC conditions and kill him/her and the passengers on board. This part I know to be true, I wish I could change this however I have seen it one to many times over and over in the industry.
Ok I think I finally beat the dead horse even further than I thought I could. Thanks for reading.

#153 5 months ago
Quoted from KozMckPinball:

A question for the knowledgable people here: The helicopter was originally built in 1991. I assume its the same one Kobe flew in for 17 years? As in, he owned it? I am asking, "Is a 30 year old helicopter an undue risk"?

I'd guess a 29-year old helicopter with proper maintenance isn't an undue risk. Probably safer than a 5-year old helicopter with sloppy maintenance.

#154 5 months ago

I don't watch basketball either. I do feel sympathy for anyone who has died in this or any other crash.

Personally, I'm just interested in this type of thing from an aviation perspective. I'm always listening to air traffic control recordings and such (aside from this particular accident). I'm not a pilot so I just find it interesting to try to understand it.

#155 5 months ago
Quoted from KozMckPinball:

As in, he owned it?

I do not believe he owned it. I believe it was a private company that I’m sure is regulated. But so was 737 MAX.

#156 5 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Next time please mention the troops or some other dead people who are more deserving of attention, it adds some color to it.

I don't care about them either. Really outside of family and few close friends I just couldn't care less.

#157 5 months ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

I don't care about them either. Really outside of family and few close friends I just couldn't care less.

Awesome!

#158 5 months ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

I just couldn't care less.

That’s one way to look at it.

#159 5 months ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

I don't care about them either. Really outside of family and few close friends I just couldn't care less.

Jeez...I thought Canadians were supposed to be friendlier and a little more empathetic Lol. Cold blooded man

#160 5 months ago
Quoted from TomN:

Jeez...I thought Canadians were supposed to be friendlier and a little more empathetic Lol. Cold blooded man

He's entitled to feel however he wants. He's not however entitled to think he's clever or in any way unique with this point of view. Plenty of people love telling everybody else how little celebs' deaths affect them.

#161 5 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

He's entitled to feel however he wants. He's not however entitled to think he's clever or in any way unique with this point of view. Plenty of people love telling everybody else how little celebs' deaths affect them.

Agreed. A lot of other people on the aircraft that weren't famous though. They seem to get glossed over for the big name. Human nature I suppose, but sucks nonetheless.

#162 5 months ago
Quoted from TomN:

Jeez...I thought Canadians were supposed to be friendlier and a little more empathetic Lol. Cold blooded man

Nah I'm just honest. Most people pretend to give a shit and be politically correct and all that but deep down they don't care either. Now I'm not saying its a good thing they are dead but I'm not going to make believe I know any of them and feel sorrow, neither do any of you I'm just willing to say it. Good day to u kind sirs, I said good day.

#163 5 months ago

Every pilot is an expert... until they die in a fiery crash and everyone is "surprised".

Never have I heard "the guy was a real idiot" and I'm surprised he didn't kill himself sooner!

Think about that. It can happen to the best of the best.

#164 5 months ago
Quoted from tscottn:

Hi Everyone.
This is the OP of this thread. First I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting. I have been reading along with all of you, however it’s unfortunate I am not a verified pinsider so once the tread went “hot” I couldn’t reply to anyone’s comments.
I think at this point there is not much left to say anyway with regards to what happened, as it has mostly been covered via the media, NTSB/FAA etc. However I would like to make a few points based on reading all the comments above...
First I would like to apologize if I offended anyone with my rant in the first post. It wasn’t my intention at all. I know there are many people here who are passionate about things so if I ruffled any feathers please know it was not intentional. Also I would like to say that I am not an arrogant person and I do not pretend to know everything about aviation and I don’t want to come off as that type. During my time typing the original post, I realize now that I used a few key phrases that made me come off as arrogant. For example, I should have never used the term, “I know for a fact”. Please know that while I was typing my original post there was a lot of emotion running through my mind. Sometimes in the moment we don’t always use the best choice of words for the message we want to convey.
One other thing, with regards to title of my post, some have pointed out that by using the title “I want to set the record straight” I needed to refute another account of what happened. This was obviously a poor choice for a title and after I posted I made numerous attempts to change the tittle to something that would convey my thoughts better, however once the tread went “ hot” as previously mentioned im not sure that this was an option so I just figured I would live with it as is. So once again I apologize for the poor choice of a title.
Now that that’s all out of the way, I want to say that the reason I was so upset when this happened is because it harkens back to five years ago when I lost my crew (that I just worked with a few days before) to the exact same type of accident; CFIT with rolling left turn into the side of a mountain. These were my friends, people that I laughed and worked with and saw outside of work for a beer or two. To know that these people were helpless victims to bad choices made by the very person who was there to keep them safe is infuriating to me. It hurts at the core. And to know that all those people on Koby’s helicopter were victims of the same bad choices just really makes it even worse.
In the helicopter industry many companies train for IIMC (Inadvertent Instrument meteorological Conditions) all the time. I can say that when a perfectly good helicopter (such as the 76b) turns and rolls into terrain while in the “soup” low level clod, fog etc. It is a good indication that the pilot got disoriented during flight. There is a lot that goes into making a good pilot an IFR pilot. It is not an easy skill to learn and can quickly diminish if not used regularly. At my company we are always training for IFR and IIMC. This is because our certificate with the FAA allows for us to fly IFR. Unfortunately this was not the case for the company that owned the helicopter in question. They were a part 135 VFR only certificate. This means that they could not legally fly IFR however they could still train for IIMC. However believing what your instruments are telling you over what your body is telling you is not an easy thing to overcome for a VFR guy.
As pilots, we are put in this position because we are trusted to make safe competent decisions that are always in the best interest of the crew, passengers, etc. Barring any unforeseen mechanical issues, I think we will all find out that this was just a series of bad choices that easily could have been avoided. Unfortunately, this will not be the last time a pilot flying VFR will take off in marginal weather, fly into IIMC conditions and kill him/her and the passengers on board. This part I know to be true, I wish I could change this however I have seen it one to many times over and over in the industry.
Ok I think I finally beat the dead horse even further than I thought I could. Thanks for reading.

OP-
Thanks for the insight into helos. I know nothing about helos but once upon a time did some flying in gliders. While I am well familiar with stalling a fixed wing aircraft, I had no idea that one could stall a helicopter. How does that happen exactly? I thought if the pitch was at a certain point and the engine speed was sufficient, the helicopter goes up? How do you stall a helo and how do you recover from it?

On another note, when autorotating in the event of engine failure, do you need forward airspeed to autorotate or just altitude?

Finally, does a helicopter have the type of instrumentation that would show the pilot "which way is up" if he gets into heavy fog and loses sight of the horizon, similar to the instruments fixed wing aircraft would have? Thanks!

#165 5 months ago
Quoted from tscottn:

Hi Everyone.
This is the OP of this thread. .......
................
Ok I think I finally beat the dead horse even further than I thought I could. Thanks for reading.

Once again , thank you for your dedication and time. I have 2 pilots in my family. One flew a helicopter in the military, the other is a private jet pilot. I sent them both your original post and both came back with "He know's his shit". Like I said, you know better than 99.99% of the people here on Pinside.

Once again, all you arm chair play station pilots can go get stuffed

#166 5 months ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

Once again , thank you for your dedication and time. I have 2 pilots in my family. One flew a helicopter in the military, the other is a private jet pilot. I sent them both your original post and both came back with "He know's his shit". Like I said, you know better than 99.99% of the people here on Pinside.
Once again, all you arm chair play station pilots can go get stuffed

I'm an armchair Flight Sim 98 pilot, thank you very freaking much.

God!

#167 5 months ago
Quoted from Frax:

I'm an armchair Flight Sim 98 pilot, thank you very freaking much.
God!

was that a good game?

#168 5 months ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

was that a good game?

I'm the ARMCHAIR pilot, remember? Ask the OP.

I dunno, does flying a DC-10 upside down for hours seem realistic to you? If so, it's an AMAZING game.

#169 5 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

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

Passengers say that. Pilots say “any landing you make and the aircraft is still usable is a great landing”.

#170 5 months ago
Quoted from Cobray:

Every pilot is an expert... until they die in a fiery crash and everyone is "surprised".
Never have I heard "the guy was a real idiot" and I'm surprised he didn't kill himself sooner!
Think about that. It can happen to the best of the best.

Then you’re not part of the aviation community. There are PLENTY of idiots we chastise regularly. Like this guy Jerry W. He’s a fucking clown. Regularly skirts the regulations and puts his passengers in super dangerous positions. We’re all shocked he hasn’t been scraped off some landscape with a spatula yet.

#171 5 months ago

Very rarely a forum can provide spot on information about aviation and this OP did it. I second his comments 100%. I am also a professional helicopter pilot in EMS but can not talk about the IFR structure in SOCAL as the OP does work in it. Very rarely does a person take the time to explain the issue from a well informed background as the OP did. If you really want to understand the crash, reread his posts again....it's better than anything I've read anywhere.

#172 5 months ago
Quoted from Fizz:

I'm usually pretty good at figuring out when people are joking around on the forum, but in this case, I'm not sure. Are you just messing with us or is this real?

I'm guessing if this were true it would have been highlighted in the news reports.

Not joking. One of our cigar members is a pilot and knows that craft. He said there are 2 controls there and because Kobe was taking lessons from that guy chances are he was in the c0 pilot seat. His opinion. Maybe the OP can weigh in....

#173 5 months ago
Quoted from Cobray:

Every pilot is an expert... until they die in a fiery crash and everyone is "surprised".
Never have I heard "the guy was a real idiot" and I'm surprised he didn't kill himself sooner!

Bud Holland

#174 5 months ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

Nah I'm just honest. Most people pretend to give a shit and be politically correct and all that but deep down they don't care either. Now I'm not saying its a good thing they are dead but I'm not going to make believe I know any of them and feel sorrow, neither do any of you I'm just willing to say it. Good day to u kind sirs, I said good day.

New Canadian motto...I only care about hockey and like three other people.

-5
#175 5 months ago
Quoted from tscottn:

Hey Guys and Gals,
I want to share some info with you guys about what happened with regards to the heli crash that killed Kobe and others. Just for a little background, I am employed by a very large aero-medical provider here in California as a Medivac Pilot in the Central Valley. I fly medical helicopters with a crew consisting of a nurse, flight medic, etc. I am a SPIFR ( single pilot instrument flight rules ) pilot and have flown about 8k hours total time in helos, and around 3000 in the medical field with about 1500 of that 3k being in Cali, so I feel I know the wx patterns pretty good. .
On the morning in question I rolled into work at around 0530 to start my 12 hour duty day shift. First thing I do when I come in is log into our systems and obtain and/or sign the necessary paperwork for me to be legal to fly that day. The next thing I do is check weather. I do this right away because I don’t want to be caught off guard if an early flight comes my way. After that I do a preflight on the helo. By this time my crew and I have had our coffee and are ready to sit for our morning briefing. During my brief I will start off with weather for the day since this is the most important thing for them to hear.
After briefing weather for the local area, next up was weather for the flights to LA and SF. When looking at LA area wx for the day I noted to my crew that we would only be flying IFR to anywhere around that area since weather was foggy and getting over the grapevine and transitioning down into the Las Angeles area would take us through low cloud layers. I also noted to the crew that the low ceilings were probably going to be around that area most of the day so it’s an IFR or no go situation. This meant that while it was possible to transition to get a Special VFR clearance to transition to a hospital heli pad after we made our approach to the airport and broke out of the clouds, it probably wouldn't be something I would do since the cloud layer was below the mountain tops and below by personal minimums for something like this. Given this fact, the crew understood that if we were to take a IFR flight from the valley into LA area, I would most likely be stopping at Burbank or Van Nuys airport and they would have to ground the patient the rest of the way in an ambulance. This sucks for them because I know how much longer these calls can take when you have to do ground legs and you can’t just fly pad to pad between hospitals. However this is common practice this time of year in California for us since fog and low ceilings usually get the best of us and we have to come up with alternatives to make the fight a safe one. The other possibility is we just don’t go at all. I’m ok with this as well as I always tell my crew that MY job is not to care about the patient, it is to make sure myself and my crew are safe and come home to our family's each and every day. The patient is their issue and if I can make the flight happen and keep everyone safe, then OK. But if there is an inkling that things can go wrong, then I’m going to sit my arse at the base and watch a movie. That’s just the way it is.
So given all this information with everything I just said, after reviewing the accident and what happened, and all the flight data as well as the ATC recordings between the pilot and the control towers right before the crash, I have no doubt in my mind that this happened due to inclement weather, as well as the pilots inability to land at the airport and let Kobe and the rest of his passengers get a ground transport to the place they were going. This part really infuriates me to no end. When you listen to the ATC recordings I know exactly what is going on in the pilots head. I know that he doesn't want to look bad in the eyes of his high profile passengers and have to tell them he can’t make it all the way to their destination. They are counting on him to get them there and he’s going to make this flight happen no matter what. He also doesn't want to admit that he should have never accepted the flight in the first place. And I am sure that if he did turn it down there would be another pilot right behind him willing to fly Kobe to his destination and save the day!
I also know that if he did just that and turned the flight down and someone else stepped up and made the flight happen (maybe because they were just lucky, left a few minutes later or earlier, flew a little slower or faster or for some other reason that we will never know) and the flight did arrive at the intended destination safely, this pilot that turned it down would look bad in the eyes of his employer and himself, and that’s just something he is not willing to accept.
I can tell you that I know for a fact, ego, macho attitude and a "it won’t happen to me" way of thinking is what got this pilot in over his head. It was most likely very low visibility at his altitude and before he knew it was inside a cloud layer of dense fog. Once that happened 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.
This is probably very heavy stuff for this forum and probably too heavy for most people who do not fly to understand, and I dont want anyone to think that I feel I know more or better than anyone else, I've had my share of shit happening to me as well but somehow was lucky enough to live through them and learn from those moments. But to be candid here, I have seen this accident happen many times over. I lost my own crew to a helicopter accident about five years ago. Same thing. CFIT (controlled flight into terrain) in foggy weather in a VFR only aircraft. Before that I lost two other coworkers to heli accidents in the medical field about ten years prior. I’m sick to my stomach at the moment over these accidents. Maybe I just needed to vent and I appreciate if you have read this far.
By the way, helicopters such as a S76B (which is a proven helicopter and a good IFR platform) just don’t fall out of the sky for mechanical reasons. It’s perfectly capable of flying on one engine sustained flight to get to an airport. We train for emergencies like that all the time. Obviously we all must wait for the NTSB to do their thing along with the FAA and Sikorsky. However this was weather related coupled with the pilot’s inability to land the damn helo and walk away with a bruised ego. It just is! I’ve seen it before and probably will again unfortunately. And one more thing, the greatest thing about a helicopter verses a fixed wing aircraft is its ability to land anywhere at any time. We don’t need runways or roads or any long straight areas that will give us enough room to come to a stop. All we need is just a small open field, parking lot, schoolyard, or any other suitable area. Unfortunately human error will always rear its ugly head given the right conditions.
Thanks for listening to this guy’s rant. I just needed to vent a bit. Now back to our regularly scheduled pinball topics...

The op is wrong.

The conditions were nowhere near as bad as they ended up when the flight was being originated in OC.

Unless the OP has the actual weather report as presented to the pilot prior to flight, he should acknowledge his thoughts are simply speculation with no facts to back them up.

#176 5 months ago
Quoted from Freakyguy666:

The op is wrong

Hey, my favorite troll is back, yippie

#177 5 months ago
Quoted from TomN:

New Canadian motto...I only care about hockey and like three other people.

I don't watch Hockey, really any sports at all. But that motto is accurate for most of us. Canadians are polite on the outside, inside? rotten bastards.

#178 5 months ago
Quoted from tscottn:

Hi Everyone.
This is the OP of this thread. First I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting. I have been reading along with all of you, however it’s unfortunate I am not a verified pinsider so once the tread went “hot” I couldn’t reply to anyone’s comments.
I think at this point there is not much left to say anyway with regards to what happened, as it has mostly been covered via the media, NTSB/FAA etc. However I would like to make a few points based on reading all the comments above...
First I would like to apologize if I offended anyone with my rant in the first post. It wasn’t my intention at all. I know there are many people here who are passionate about things so if I ruffled any feathers please know it was not intentional. Also I would like to say that I am not an arrogant person and I do not pretend to know everything about aviation and I don’t want to come off as that type. During my time typing the original post, I realize now that I used a few key phrases that made me come off as arrogant. For example, I should have never used the term, “I know for a fact”. Please know that while I was typing my original post there was a lot of emotion running through my mind. Sometimes in the moment we don’t always use the best choice of words for the message we want to convey.
One other thing, with regards to title of my post, some have pointed out that by using the title “I want to set the record straight” I needed to refute another account of what happened. This was obviously a poor choice for a title and after I posted I made numerous attempts to change the tittle to something that would convey my thoughts better, however once the tread went “ hot” as previously mentioned im not sure that this was an option so I just figured I would live with it as is. So once again I apologize for the poor choice of a title.
Now that that’s all out of the way, I want to say that the reason I was so upset when this happened is because it harkens back to five years ago when I lost my crew (that I just worked with a few days before) to the exact same type of accident; CFIT with rolling left turn into the side of a mountain. These were my friends, people that I laughed and worked with and saw outside of work for a beer or two. To know that these people were helpless victims to bad choices made by the very person who was there to keep them safe is infuriating to me. It hurts at the core. And to know that all those people on Koby’s helicopter were victims of the same bad choices just really makes it even worse.
In the helicopter industry many companies train for IIMC (Inadvertent Instrument meteorological Conditions) all the time. I can say that when a perfectly good helicopter (such as the 76b) turns and rolls into terrain while in the “soup” low level clod, fog etc. It is a good indication that the pilot got disoriented during flight. There is a lot that goes into making a good pilot an IFR pilot. It is not an easy skill to learn and can quickly diminish if not used regularly. At my company we are always training for IFR and IIMC. This is because our certificate with the FAA allows for us to fly IFR. Unfortunately this was not the case for the company that owned the helicopter in question. They were a part 135 VFR only certificate. This means that they could not legally fly IFR however they could still train for IIMC. However believing what your instruments are telling you over what your body is telling you is not an easy thing to overcome for a VFR guy.
As pilots, we are put in this position because we are trusted to make safe competent decisions that are always in the best interest of the crew, passengers, etc. Barring any unforeseen mechanical issues, I think we will all find out that this was just a series of bad choices that easily could have been avoided. Unfortunately, this will not be the last time a pilot flying VFR will take off in marginal weather, fly into IIMC conditions and kill him/her and the passengers on board. This part I know to be true, I wish I could change this however I have seen it one to many times over and over in the industry.
Ok I think I finally beat the dead horse even further than I thought I could. Thanks for reading.

Very articulate. It’s great to have such expertise on a forum not dedicated to the topic at hand. Learned something from your posts. Thanks

#179 5 months ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

I don't watch Hockey, really any sports at all. But that motto is accurate for most of us. Canadians are polite on the outside, inside? rotten bastards.

Too funny

#180 5 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

He's not however entitled to think he's clever or in any way unique with this point of view.

When was that implied? Its a fact that I'm clever and unique, sure but I didn't think I was breaking new ground Einstein.

#181 5 months ago
Quoted from sbmania:

OP-
Thanks for the insight into helos. I know nothing about helos but once upon a time did some flying in gliders. While I am well familiar with stalling a fixed wing aircraft, I had no idea that one could stall a helicopter. How does that happen exactly? I thought if the pitch was at a certain point and the engine speed was sufficient, the helicopter goes up? How do you stall a helo and how do you recover from it?
On another note, when autorotating in the event of engine failure, do you need forward airspeed to autorotate or just altitude?
Finally, does a helicopter have the type of instrumentation that would show the pilot "which way is up" if he gets into heavy fog and loses sight of the horizon, similar to the instruments fixed wing aircraft would have? Thanks!

Since you are familiar with stalling a wing then this may be easier to grasp. There's low speed stall and high speed stall in airplanes. A helicopter stall (Vortex ring state/settling with power) is the equivalent of a high speed stall. Too much blade pitch even though you still have airflow over the blade(wing). The blade stops flying(no more lift generated). The descent rate would likely be much higher than 2000'/min however. This may have happened but it usually only happens in low speed/high rate of descent conditions which helicopter pilots are trained to avoid. You can also stall a helicopter by flying too fast but that would cause the nose to rise sharply and reduce your airspeed thereby negating the condition that caused that stall in the first place.

You can autorotate with zero or near-zero speed and you can auto-rotate with airspeed. Depends on what you are trying to do (max glide distance, min glide distance, min rate of descent, etc). Zero speed autorotation is less forgiving for pilot mistakes and you have to pick up some speed for the flare/landing otherwise it would be impossible or nearly impossible to stop the rate of descent.

A large helicopter like the S-76 most likely have instruments and be IFR certified (certified to fly on instruments). The OP mentioned they are a VFR only operation so I'm not sure on how much instrumentation it would have but at a minimum it would most definitely have an artificial horizon (the black/white ball) and other basic instruments. The biggest issue isn't the instrumentation but having the pilot recognize that he is disoriented and switching to instruments. It's much harder than anyone thinks. Your body/brain is telling you something different than what is really happening. It's a crazy feeling that can't be well reproduced in simulators or explained in a forum...

For the record I'm a military helicopter pilot (Bell 212/412) that had an extreme vertigo episode in a low vis situation in the early days of my career. I was able to maintain control with great difficulty and concentration but I advised my crew of what I was going through so that the PIC could keep an eye on my handling just in case. Worst experience of my life that ended up being the best lesson learned in my life.

#182 5 months ago

That last paragraph scared the crap out of me just reading about it. Glad you are still here!

#183 5 months ago
Quoted from Freakyguy666:

The op is wrong.
The conditions were nowhere near as bad as they ended up when the flight was being originated in OC.
Unless the OP has the actual weather report as presented to the pilot prior to flight, he should acknowledge his thoughts are simply speculation with no facts to back them up.

You do realize those reports are widely available the weather and vis were below minimums for vfr regs which is why he asked for special.

ForeFlight has all the info for the surrounding area at the time and it was low ifr in areas died to fog.

#184 5 months ago

Give yourself about 25 minutes to watch this from beginning to end - It's Juan Browne's YouTube Channel.

Two aviation guys (one fixed-wing the other rotary) just talking plainly about this crash.

-4
#185 5 months ago
Quoted from MD_Pinball_Dude:

Give yourself about 25 minutes to watch this from beginning to end - It's Juan Browne's YouTube Channel.
Two aviation guys (one fixed-wing the other rotary) just talking plainly about this crash.

**Save yourself 25mins of your life and skip this nonsense**

#186 5 months ago
Quoted from boscokid:

**Save yourself 25mins of your life and skip this nonsense**

WTF? Did you even watch one minute of the video? I did not say it was the voice of God and the undisputed truth, just that a helicopter guy and a fixed-wing pilot talk about the crash and offer their opinions. Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning?

#187 5 months ago
Quoted from MD_Pinball_Dude:

WTF? Did you even watch one minute of the video? I did not say it was the voice of God and the undisputed truth, just that a helicopter guy and a fixed-wing pilot talk about the crash and offer their opinions. Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning?

That's just what they serve on pinside. Pissy cornflakes! Welcome!

#188 5 months ago
Quoted from Dee-Bow:

That's just what they serve on pinside. Pissy cornflakes! Welcome!

Seems to be the same food served in every social platform's commissary.

#189 5 months ago
Quoted from drizzt76:

Very rarely a forum can provide spot on information about aviation and this OP did it. I second his comments 100%. I am also a professional helicopter pilot in EMS but can not talk about the IFR structure in SOCAL as the OP does work in it. Very rarely does a person take the time to explain the issue from a well informed background as the OP did. If you really want to understand the crash, reread his posts again....it's better than anything I've read anywhere.

I agree with you 100% , but it doesn't matter. You have a few chest pounders and soap box barkers that will tell you they know better because they talked it over with someone who flies model airplanes and owns a telescope.

And yes, that comment is 100% directed to the naysayers on this thread.

#190 5 months ago
Quoted from boscokid:

**Save yourself 25mins of your life and skip this nonsense**

It cracks me up when someone that probably works at McDonalds thinks he knows more than a commercial helicopter pilot.

#191 5 months ago
Quoted from jhanley:

It cracks me up when someone that probably works at McDonalds thinks he knows more than a commercial helicopter pilot.

wow, i used to work in mcdonalds and worked my way to upper management and i was able to buy 3 franchises and do very well for myself........just kidding worked there and learned nothing.

#192 5 months ago
Quoted from robotron:

wow, i used to work in mcdonalds and worked my way to upper management and i was able to buy 3 franchises and do very well for myself........just kidding worked there and learned nothing.

I started as a vending machine operator at an airfield, working for someone else and earned my commercial pilot’s license, by playing microsoft flight simulator on breaks and weekends. I went on to earn my instrumentation certification by watching youtube videos. Today I own my own fleet of a dozen rescue helicopters and three fighter jets . ... just kidding but my resume sounds way more impressive than robotron’s.

btw - I have enjoyed learning about helicopters here and just how quickly they can turn deadly. Do helicopters require a black box and why wasn’t there one on Kobe’s flight?

-1
#193 5 months ago
Quoted from Drenden:

You do realize those reports are widely available the weather and vis were below minimums for vfr regs which is why he asked for special.
ForeFlight has all the info for the surrounding area at the time and it was low ifr in areas died to fog.

Actually, the visibility/conditions WORSENED between the time the flight was being originated and when the accident occurred.

Facts. Available for anyone with access to Foreflight.

Again, OP is wrong and should acknowledge it.

-4
#194 5 months ago

Great post thank you. You touched on something at the end of your post about being able to land anywhere. That was my main question is WHY in the hell didn't the pilot just descend and land if he was lost, bewildered, couldn't see or whatever!? Even if landing was in the middle of a mountain field 50 miles from the intended destination?! At least they were safe on the ground.

To fly a helicopter into a f*ing mountain because you can't see or are lost is pretty f*ing stupid. If you can't see then just hover, descend & LAND the helicopter! Hello? Let the passengers (who would all still be very much ALIVE) get an uber or a taxi or even walk to their destination. That beats being dead.

The pilot sucked. plain and simple. asshole pilot. There's no excuse for flying into the side of a mountain in a helicopter ...that can land anywhere. Fog, clouds, can't see...? Nope not excuses. Land the f*ing helicopter if you can't see. Wait for the clouds to go away and then fly again. Even a couple hours late to a basketball game is better than being dead forever.

The news stories say the copter dropped like 2-3k feet in a matter of seconds and plowed into the mountain. Why would he go down (with rapid forward motion) not knowing the terrain? OP mentioned the pilot may have been disoriented not knowing which way was up or down... don't these things have altimeters or something to show the pilot his altitude??

#195 5 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Have you ever been to LA?!
“Some traffic” is about 40 percent of your daily life. Kobe Rich is how you avoid it.

and how'd that work out? I'm sure he'd rather be sitting in traffic eh?

11
#196 5 months ago
Quoted from d0n:

Great post thank you. You touched on something at the end of your post about being able to land anywhere. That was my main question is WHY in the hell didn't the pilot just descend and land if he was lost, bewildered or whatever!? Even if landing was in the middle of a mountain field 50 miles from the intended destination?! At least they were safe on the ground.
To fly a helicopter into a f*ing mountain because you can't see or are lost is pretty f*ing stupid. If you can't see then just hover, descend & LAND the helicopter! Hello? Let the passengers (who would all still be very much ALIVE) get an uber or a taxi or even walk to their destination. That beats being dead.
The pilot sucked. plain and simple. asshole pilot. There's no excuse for flying into the side of a mountain. Fog, clouds, can't see...? Nope not excuses. Land the f*ing helicopter if you can't see. Wait for the clouds to go away and then fly again. Even a couple hours late to a basketball game is better than being dead forever.
The news stories say the copter dropped like 2-3k feet in a matter of seconds and plowed into the mountain. Why would he go down (with rapid forward motion) not knowing the terrain? OP mentioned the pilot may have been disoriented not knowing which way was up or down... don't these things have altimeters or something to show the pilot his altitude??

Hi, Those are all great questions. Let me try to explain. The helicopter most likely had a vertical decent of 2k/min because the pilot was disoriented and the helicopter was in a "unusual attitude". This is a industry term to define the loss of control of the helicopter due to the pilots inability to orient the helicopter to a normal flying attitude.. (i.e wings level, altitude and airspeed stabilized ) This happens when all visual reference is lost and the pilot does not rely on his instruments to keep him in a normal flying attitude but rather, he or she rely's on cues from his or her body. Pilots train for this all the time and I can tell you that even the most experienced pilots will get into a unusual attitude if they are not relying and flying by instruments once all visual reference is gone. This is why we have things like, altimeters, attitude indicators, vertical speed indicators, etc..

Once visual is lost a pilot must be able to quickly focus and fly by instruments only. This is all well and good but as a instructor pilot as well as being in this situation myself I can tell you that unless you are prepared for encountering IIMC or are on a IFR flight, knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. This pilot quickly became disoriented once in the clouds and before he was able to focus on instruments his VFR skills were fighting to stay dominant which made things even worse. Once this happens , just descending to land is really not even an option. Your just fighting to "right the helicopter" into a normal attitude, but you really have no idea which way is up or down, left or right. The real question is, why didn't he land before he encountered the IIMC, well that is a good question. I think the best answer I could give is that up until the point he encounter it, he believed he could safely complete the flight, until he couldn't. . Its a simplistic answer but one that I believe fits best.

Also, auto rotation from a IIMC condition is not really a possibility, ( some people suggested this) . Even if you are on a stabilized attitude, you have no idea what is underneath you as you cannot see the ground below.

So just to reiterate, having a IFR equip helicopter is one thing, but having the ability to use the information you as a pilot are presented with is another thing. This operation that owned the helicopter was a VFR only operator. They were not legal to fly IFR as I mentioned in a above post. This pilot had very little (if any) real world IFR experience. My feeling is that if he had real world IFR experience he would have not been out in the clouds on a day like that day with weather as it was because he would have known better.

Also, just as a FYI, I have been watching the reports of this crash closely with many other industry insiders and every day this looks more and more like a basic IIMC to a CFIT accident. So Just to clarify for the posters above who are trying to call me out for not knowing what I am talking about or who say I am wrong, I have nothing to prove to anyone, I only posted here just to vent and maybe help some people understand what had happened, because I had seen a few posts with some misinformation. Please feel free to call me out as you will, im not interested in debating how wrong I am.

Thanks.

PS. If the weather was not as bad as I had said it was in my original post, please note that the LAPD grounded their Air Support Division the morning in question? The LAPD ASD weather minimums are 800 ft ceilings and 2 miles visibility. I personally wouldn't be out flying VFR in less than those weather minimums either. For me anything less than basic VFR weather (1000 ft ceiling and 3 miles visibility ) is sketchy for me, day or night and I have been known to turn the helicopter around and return to base with weather even better than this.

There is a old industry saying " there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old and bold pilots"

Thanks for reading

#197 5 months ago
Quoted from tscottn:

There is a old industry saying " there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old and bold pilots"

Truer words were never spoken!

#198 5 months ago

Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.

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