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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2020 08:42 PM
rcannon409 Ocl, thank you for taking the time to explain this. I appreciate it.

Rock, theres a story out there where he took the Lakers owner for a ride, in a helicopter. I think that's who it was. Some VIP with the lakers. Anyway, they faked some sort of emergency, and shut the engine off, and scared the shit out of him. Just exactly what any of us would do if we had the opportunity. I thought it was pretty cool. He wasnt afraid to fuck around, and take big risks, and have fun I like that.

It's just like every accident. Change one thing and it becomes a nothing, and that one thing always sounds so easy, so simple, and so obvious. But recognizing it before is damn near impossible.
01-31-2020 08:16 PM
Rock OC they also have been saying that with that particular craft and given that weather that two pilots are required due to distractions, where you may need and extra set of eyes and hands. It seems as if A) the company came in at a lower costs beucase they didn't pay for that instrument certification (I heard it costs more in insurances, reg fees, etc.), B) Kobe saved money by using one pilot, and C) more cost savings still, as it was an older craft without state of the art systems. And short a pilot.

So to me it sounds like the impactof budgetary decisions/constraints. A company I worked for made components for that chopper which I was told was sold mostly to oil companies to fly oil co execs back and forth from land and platforms in the gulf. The pictures that I have seen always had two professional looking pilots in the cockpit, like military types, not solo pilots that looked like surfers. I'm sure those million dollar execs didn't want to take any chances. Kobe shouldn't have either. With zero margin for errror in that weather one distraction would be enough with only one pilot.

RC I do wonder how much bravado was in involved with this on both the side of Kobe and the pilot. But bottom line, it screams of not being properly prepared and not taking the proper precautins. Some reports say the pilot did try to climb quickly so I think he knew he needed to be seen on radar. Maybe if there was a co pilot he would have pulled it off.
01-31-2020 11:12 AM
OCL Interesting that the company has to get certified for IFR. I didn't know that for professional firms like that.

I watched a You Tube video of a Pilot who put together a synopsis of the actual flight, including radio communications by ATC and the pilot of the S76, as well as the route the helo was taking as it unfolded. The pilot was in constant communications with ATC. They were actually guiding him around traffic as they passed Burbank Airport. When Burbank ATC handed the pilot over to SoCal Approach ATC, the pilot requested flight following (for continued guidance). I'm quite sure the pilot requested that due to the marginal visibility conditions at the time. Many pilots use Flight Following as a tool and it adds a greater level of safety. But for FF to work, ATC has to be able to "see" you first. They could not. And this is where it all went wrong. SoCal Approach ATC informed the pilot of the S76 that the Controller could not "see" the S76 on his radar because he was flying too low. ATC asked the pilot 2x if he still wanted FF....in other words, if you want FF, you need to climb up above 2,000 feet where he can be picked up by radar.

Within that span of time, less than 1 minute, the pilot did not answer ATC.

Rock, I believe he was indeed distracted. Because up to that point he was actively speaking to ATC. In addition, the words that the SoCal Approach Controller was using, something to the effect of: ".....S76 are you listening? Do you still want to continue flight guidance?"

That was the second request for response by the Controller to the S76 pilot. I'm thinking the pilot was not distracted by someone in the flight. I believe he was distracted with what he was seeing coming up in front of his aircraft. I'm going to guess he was maneuvering to avoid terrain so was unable to immediately respond to SoCal Approach ATC.

The pilot was professional who made ONE single miscalculation: to begin the flight on VFR knowing visibility was marginal all throughout the area he would be flying in. He is not at all alone in making those decisions. It's done by pilots often, even experienced ones. Most times they make it through. I believe this is similar to how we riders make decisions. We know going fast on a road we know well is risky. But we do it because we are confident in our craft, know the terrain, know our bikes, and 99% of the time we make it through with no issues.
01-31-2020 08:48 AM
rcannon409 I just saw that the company he flew for wasnt certified to fly with Instruments. The pilot was, but apparently the company needs to be as well..$$$$$$. Probably expensive to certify, and that likley has a whole bunch of new rules if they were to do so.

Rock, if he had flown that route so many times, asking for help would have been embarrassing, if he even had that option.
01-30-2020 11:15 PM
Rock this guy flew that route 1000 times. Do you think he was distracted?
01-30-2020 02:55 PM
OCL Terrain Avoidance Warning. It was an older helicopter so it didn't have it. But yeah there are rules to avoid the terrain, you don't "need" something to tell you to avoid terrain you shouldn't have been that close to in the first place.

Many pilots agree (but not always follow), if the weather is marginal fly on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). If you don't have IFR certification, just don't fly until the weather clears up.

IFR flying keeps you VERY busy. Especially in congested airspace like SoCal. There's almost no idle time for chit-chat. You're paying 100% attention to your instruments AND listening and talking to ATC. Then you also have to fly the aircraft.
01-30-2020 01:36 PM
rcannon409 I heard them talk about a crash avoidance system....

Now, the rules may be different, but whenever we try to upgrade things, within govt guidelines, it almost impossible to do.

Everytime ive tried, you cant do a few things. Its either comply with 2020 standards, 100%, or say fuck it and leave things alone and be grandfathered in and stay with the old rules. I cant help but wonder if this is similar, and might explain why it was not upgraded.
01-30-2020 11:41 AM
OCL I found a much more detailed information about the flight.

The pilot requested SoCal Approach for Flight Following. FF is when ATC guides your flight as you go, informs you of traffic, etc. It's used on VFR flights. ATC told the pilot he was too low for his radar to pick up his helicopter. ATC asked about 2x requesting the pilot to climb higher so radar can pick up his signal. Pilot did not answer...this within a 1 minute timespan. Then the helicopter stopped transmitting. It was flying around 1,000 feet above Sea level.

Also at the time of the crash, at the area the helicopter was flying in, the Weather Advisory was "Marginal". And the Helicopter pilot requested a "Special VFR" permission, which is where an aircraft is allowed to fly on Visual at a low enough altitude to navigate using land markers (like freeways/highways). The argument by pilots is, if the pilot had climbed to minimum altitude for SoCal Approach to pick up his helicopter on radar, which was above 2,000 feet, he would be in fog and would lose his "Special VFR" permission and would then have to file for Instrument Flight Rules flight plan.

So it appears, like many other accidents, a series of miscalculations from the beginning of the flight to where it ended abruptly. If the above are facts, the correct decision at the beginning of the flight was for the pilot to have filed an Instrument Flight Rules plan from the moment they took off. This would have avoided the pilot having to navigate by visual on a marginal weather day.
01-29-2020 07:16 PM
rcannon409 I saw a report that said he was within 30 feet of missing the hill...that's like us edging up to the centerline, or crossing over. Usually, it's all ok and no one is on the other side.

I think we all have that pressure we put on ourselves, too. I've had it with cranes and high winds. You've done these lifts often, and you know it's all ok...really, the wind is just slightly stronger than you would be happy with. That's all. No big deal, probably... At that point, saying stop or wait feels damn near impossible. Money would be lost, truck drivers schedules will be screwed up, the crane bill just keeps increasing like a taxi cab meter, and you still have to do the work. I cant even imagine delaying someone like Kobe.
01-29-2020 06:54 PM
OCL RC, there aren't any imaginary lanes.

But the air space is divided up into layers, they call them "Class A Airspace", Class B Airspace...etc.". And each one have their own rules. Helicopters usually occupy the lower layer, usually around 1,500-2,000 feet above ground level. They are allowed to maneuver around there using visual. But if visual navigation is not possible, pilots need to file for instrument flight plan with ATC, and ATC will then direct the pilot to fly at a certain altitude, speed, and heading in the general direction of the pilot's destination to ensure nothing like this happens.

You know, flying light airplanes/helicopters, is a lot like riding your bike. Most times you obey the rules. Other times you bend it a little. Take a few risks as long as you mitigate the risks given the conditions. But pilots, just like riders, make mistakes. Sometimes they get distracted by other riders, or passengers.
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