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Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash

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Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash

Old 25th Feb 2020, 14:24
  #721 (permalink)  
 
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The other thing to remember....the Operator' Lawyer represents the Operator...not the Pilot.
Yes - I used to fly with a pilot who had stuck an aircraft into the North Sea sadly with one pax fatality (actually single pilot loss of control trying to turn away from deteriorating conditions). He recounted the story of how at the opening of the Fatal Accident Inquiry the Sheriff (Scotland) asked him where his lawyer was and he pointed to his employer's lawyer, only to be told "no, I'm representing *******" !
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 15:17
  #722 (permalink)  
 
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No matter how good or lucky you think you are, always allow a margin for error - otherwise the error takes you to to the edge of (or beyond) your skill/luck envelope and such cliff-edges are often fatal.

Helicopter pilots are, by nature and necessity, managers of risk due to the environments we work in and the conditions we work under - I'm sure there's not one here who hasn't pushed their luck to get the job done and then sat and thought about it later pondering the what-ifs.

Doubtless Ara would have done the same if he had got through and delivered his pax and maybe learned a lesson from it - close calls are what make you stop and take stock. Not to be in this case sadly.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 17:46
  #723 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
In related news: a wrongful death suit has been filed.
(Predictable outcome of an accident with fatalities)
Typical kitchen sink approach.


The suit also alleges the craft was unsafe, though it does not provide specifics relating to that matter.
So will SAC have to defend the AC design too?


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Old 25th Feb 2020, 19:01
  #724 (permalink)  
 
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Who has the deepest pockets...Sikorsky, the Operator, the Pilot.....?

Which one would you hope the Jury to find liable?
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 20:00
  #725 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Who has the deepest pockets...Sikorsky, the Operator, the Pilot.....?

Which one would you hope the Jury to find liable?
The operator is generally going to be liable for anything the pilot did anyway. Suing both would be quite standard, but I would hope that the pilot's estate would not be tapped. In this case, however, the liability may exceed the pockets of the operator and their insurance policy. I would hope, ideally, that the operator would be paying.

Sikorsky by far will have the deepest pockets and unfortunately for them, today is their day to be wearing milk-bone underwear. They're going to be looking to settle out as quickly as possible, even if their liability is doubtful.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 20:38
  #726 (permalink)  
 
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Net Worth

Open source on the web indicates that Mr. Bryant at the time of his death had a net worth of $600 million. I wonder what the net worth of the pilot and the operator total, including insurance? Plaintiffs' lawyers may have a difficult challenge in making the argument that Mr. Bryant's family have suffered a terrible loss and need compensation. Terrible loss yes, compensation....hmmmm,
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 23:28
  #727 (permalink)  
 
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What was his earning potential over the years until his youngest child reaches Legal Age?
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 00:57
  #728 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think the legal action would be much about money. It would be about recognition of accountability.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 01:00
  #729 (permalink)  
 
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Gulli....wake the heck up!

An NBA Superstar....lots of earning potential from endorsements....Los Angeles....and the Celebrity Lawyers looking for a very big fat paycheck......you can bet your breeches it will be about money based upon pinning the tail on some donkey!
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 03:05
  #730 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
I don't think the legal action would be much about money. It would be about recognition of accountability.
I guess wed all burn in hell then. Ive never seen any court case that captured the intricacies of helicopter flying and the second to second decision making involved.

Im guilty of flying through a cloud, without an IFR clearance, on my way to or from a rig. Maybe a thousand times. Questioned by the copilot I said it was Canadian VFR. Truthfully, in Canada, or elsewhere with my company, popping up through a cloud layer was not considered IFR. Even descending back down through it. S76 (the old phase II without an FD that would wear a permanent indentation into your thumb from the coolie hat), AW139, 212/412, even did some IMC 180s in 407/206 when Id got too low enough over water that Id climb 500 then wait 10 minutes or so after the 180 before letting back down. I even recall some pilots asking for a ceiling check before theyd auto back down through a layer. Seemed normal at the time, and all the other pilots I flew with were comfortably competent doing the same.

Way more culpable than what Ara did. It does give pause to consider the personal financial disaster I was exposing my family to.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 09:58
  #731 (permalink)  
 
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Well, of course the celebrity lawyers want their legal fees. But for the family, I suspect, given their existing wealth, wouldn't be needing to be any more wealthy. Not to the limited extent of what any insurance payout might be (operators carry about $20M liability insurance, right?). Surely the family would be more concerned with attributing responsibility?
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 10:23
  #732 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
Well, of course the celebrity lawyers want their legal fees. But for the family, I suspect, given their existing wealth, wouldn't be needing to be any more wealthy. Not to the limited extent of what any insurance payout might be (operators carry about $20M liability insurance, right?). Surely the family would be more concerned with attributing responsibility?
There's no way that between the pilot's estate and the operator's assets and insurance that any judgement would make a financial difference to the family.
This will be about accountability and encouraging others to avoid such accidents in the future.
Litigators will no doubt have a field day painting a grim picture of operator culture and pilot history to a layman jury which will come to an inevitable conclusion.

If there ever was an incentative to be risk averse, it would be to avoid having to defend yourself (or your family defending your estate) from litigation.
If you are fortunate enough to exit the experience successfully, the costs can ruin you, something that has been shown to happen time and again.
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Old 26th Feb 2020, 13:06
  #733 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
(operators carry about $20M liability insurance, right?).
According to my math ($300,000 X 6 pax seats) IEX needed only $1.8M to meet the legal minimum. Which seems paltry.



https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...leForm6410.pdf
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 06:09
  #734 (permalink)  
 
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While the NTSB will be out for a long time determining the probable cause of this unfortunate crash, factors, IMHO, do point to continued VFR into IMC.

I say this with respect to the victim's families, including the pilot's family.

More information will be forthcoming of course. But a number of rotorcraft instructors in this forum have been very informative about VFR into IMC in a training scenario, which is something, as a fixed wing pilot, I was unaware of. Especially given the experience of the pilot. Inadvertent VFR into IMC is not good. But even more challenging for the rotorcraft pilot.

For anyone who's ever wondered about continued VFR into IMC accidents under Part 135, read the Capstone Project. A 17 year study of every air taxi accident in Alaska. The FAA chose Alaskan Part 135 operations for good reason. There was a lot of data. Alaskan Part 135 operations altered the national average.

https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs...dy_15APR04.pdf

Some excerpts:

"controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) crashes, as they have termed those events, account for 50 percent of the total commercial accidents and are responsible for 79 percent of the commercial fatalities."

"the majority of VFR into IMC crashes occurred within 25 miles of the departure airport during the first leg of flight, during daylight hours on flat, snow-covered terrain. The majority of the pilots in these events had weather reporting capabilities and instrument approach facilities available. More startling is that the majority of these pilots were aware of the weather conditions at the time of departure. The report shows that a large number of these pilots were operating aircraft that were equipped for instrument flight but not certified."

"only 5 percent of the pilots involved in crashes for the active certificates were not certificated to operate in instrument meteorological conditions"
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 06:35
  #735 (permalink)  
 
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Simon, I wonder if some of the 'IFR avoidance' was due to lack of icing clearance on most helicopters. Also judging height and terrain over snow covered ground can be very tricky without a radalt and even then rising ground may not be obvious.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 06:53
  #736 (permalink)  
 
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I am entirely unqualified to comment on rotorcraft and icing or snow.

Your point on judging height and terrain over snow covered ground does remind me of the 1979 Air New Zealand DC-10 Mount Erebus crash. The pilots were in VMC but still flew straight into the snow covered mountain. All souls on lost on the tourist flight. It was a really big deal for Air New Zealand. A national carrier. All charter flights to Antarctica ceased and did not resume again for another 34 years.

"Passenger photographs taken seconds before the collision removed all doubt of a "flying in cloud" theory, showing perfectly clear visibility well beneath the cloud base, with landmarks 13 miles (21 km) to the left and 10 miles (16 km) to the right of the aircraft visible"
- Royal Commission Report, para 28
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 08:56
  #737 (permalink)  
 
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Getting back to the crash scene, if I may. Does anyone have footage of any other helicopter crash where the smoke is white and not black? I cannot find any.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 09:49
  #738 (permalink)  
 
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Magnesium alloy burning.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 16:54
  #739 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by EPHD75 View Post
Open source on the web indicates that Mr. Bryant at the time of his death had a net worth of $600 million. I wonder what the net worth of the pilot and the operator total, including insurance? Plaintiffs' lawyers may have a difficult challenge in making the argument that Mr. Bryant's family have suffered a terrible loss and need compensation. Terrible loss yes, compensation....hmmmm,
The size of the damages claim is not informed by the neediness of the dependents. But by the benefits that the dependents would have received had their breadwinner not been taken away. The dependents here include all surviving minor children (up to the age or 21) and possibly also the spouse.

Like when you dent somebody's Ferrari: The damage claim is high because of the high cost to repair a Ferrari. Not low because arguably, a person who can afford a Ferrari can also afford to get it fixed.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 18:22
  #740 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Great video Sandblaster

Back to Kobe Bryant's crash and ISTR the only reason the aircraft went North and was offered SVFR was because of the volume of traffic departing South from the airport - this seems to have been the controller trying to be helpful because the alternative was a long hold before crossing South under the departure lane.

Faced with a ,long hold and the inevitable desire to get his pax to their destination on time, I'm sure most pilots would have taken this option.

Trouble is, once clear of the controlled airspace, he can't be SVFR and must declare he is in VFR weather limits to legally continue flight. This seems to have coincided with the weather actually being worse - and now he has painted himself into a bit of a corner and convinces himself the best option is to carry on since the weather MUST get better as he gets down towards the highway.

So when it doesn't, he is royally screwed - then leaves one of his options too late (turn round or climb) and then as he hits the marine layer, tries to do both at once - the rest is sadly history.

If you go back to an earlier time in the flight, there were plenty of opportunities to take a safer (if more time consuming) option (hold, land, return to base etc) but once committed to the North routing, SVFR into VFR, worsening weather and tricky terrain, the holes in the swiss cheese really started to line up.

Until he entered cloud, he always had the option of slowdown, go down turn round or land and this is the message that still fails to be understood by pilots.
I am sure Crab didn't mean it, but I am afraid that some will misunderstand his post of saying that the actual conditions when given a Special VFR clearance are neccessarily worse than the VFR limits for helicopters operating outside of a control zone (CTR). Or to rephrase, that once exited the control zone in which you were operating under SVFR, in order to continue under VFR the visibility needs to have improved, else you can't proceed.

I believe that wouldn't be true. At least not universally.

In South Africa for example
  • In a control zone (CTR) a helicopter cannot operate under VFR if the viz is < 2,500m or the ceiling is < 600ft.
  • If granted SVFR clearance, a helicopter can continue to operate down to a viz > 800m (and no ceiling requirements, just clear of clouds and ground in sight).
Once "CTR out" the min viz requirements for helicopters is 1,500m, and no restriction on ceiling.

If we now look at a scenario [viz=2,000m;ceiling=500ft], while in a CTR you'd need SVFR clearance. Come "CTR out", the same conditions put you well above VFR minima applicable outside controlled airspace. Actually, you are good down to viz 1,500m, with reduced ceiling as long as clear of clouds and ground in sight.

The layman (read "press") might think that SVFR allows you to fly in the worst possible conditions, as ATC 'is vectoring you through". And once outside CTR, that is once you are on your own, you'd need better visibility to fly .

The opposite is true: Because of the presence of IFR flights within a control zone, and the priority that is given to those IFR flights, ATC keeps an eye on you the moment the ceiling drops below 600 ft. Once outside the CTR, with no potential conflict with IFR flights, the helicopter pilot can subject him or herself to much lower minima.
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