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Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash

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Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash

Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:32
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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A wrong turn down Las Virgenes Road instead of maintianing the 101 is a possibility. In that low weather very plausible, IMO.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:44
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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operator wasn't 135 IFR certified
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:47
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FIRESYSOK View Post
A wrong turn down Las Virgenes Road instead of maintianing the 101 is a possibility. In that low weather very plausible, IMO.
I doubt that. The 101 goes west, Las Virgenes Rd goes south and through a built-up area, also the 101 is the much wider roadway. I don't think even in fog in a helo you could confuse the two. The pilot seems to have been Kobe Bryant's personal pilot (or at least flown him repeatedly), so he likely was familiar with the location of the Mamba Academy they were going to. What I could imagine happened is that fog rolled over the Santa Monica Mountains and down the Las Virgenes valley and while scud running they flew into a fog bank with near zero viz. In fact, someone further up the thread who lives in the area alluded to some scenario like that.

I live in L.A. and fly (small fixed wing) in that area. For those unfamiliar: radio workload was normal for the area, the numbers used are freeways which everyone who flies here is familiar with and ATC cannot hear you and/or provide radar service in that area below about 2000 / 2500 ft. The 'too low' comment refers to that.

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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:49
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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If this is any more than yet another IIMC at low level, an atttempted turnback/180 and resultant CFIT, I will be very surprised.
Agree 100% with the first bit, but the 180 idea doesn't fit in with the crazy high descent rate. Could be that he started a 180 then got disorientated. If he had done a 180 and carried on climbing, or even levelled off at 2000, he would have cleared the terrain.

There has been mention that if they'd gone IFR, they would have had to land at an airport. In the US at least (maybe not in Europe, no idea) it's perfectly legal to fly an approach to an airport then once you're in VMC, break it off and fly under the clouds to wherever you're going. Standard practice even FW if you're going to an airport that doesn't have an approach and the ceiling is reasonable.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:51
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by medod View Post
Regards making the flight IFR, presumably to KMCA, would have breaking off the approach to Camarillo once in VMC and flying direct to the Academy been an option?
The wx being what it was, the option would have been to fly to KCMA and take a car from there. KCMA sits on a coastal plain, the academy is much higher up and would have been in the crud.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:57
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
The helicopter was 2/3/3 seating configuration, right? Which is 8 seats. However there were 9 POB. I wonder how that worked.
I'm pretty sure the 76B can be fitted with an STC that allows a 12-person seating configuration that would not be out of place in a VIP interior.

The 76C and D have seating configurations for up to 8 individual crash-worthy seats plus the four-person bench on top of the fuel cell. These are not plush cushioned leather armchairs, but the latest seats would pass in a VIP/airliner interior. Removing one seat nearest the door allows for much easier loading/unloading without having to tilt any seats. I doubt improper seating was allowed here.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:02
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GrayHorizonsHeli View Post
just a question regarding the flashy black helicopter, and I am sorry I didn't browse through 6 pages to see if anyone else made note.

what paint scheme was this in? we have all seen the black one adorned with nike etc, and the blue and white we all assumed was the original scheme. it definatly looked like a dated corporate scheme.

I see blue and white in the crash scene video. Was the black a temporary wrap for a promotion??
Originally Posted by barti01 View Post
GrayHorizonsHeli, seems it used to go black when Bryant owned it, then he allegedly sold it to an operator and I assume they re-painted it into white/blue
Here is a recent photo of the helo from social media. An LA Times article says that Bryant sold the helicopter to Island Express after his retirement and rented it from IEX on frequent occasions. However, it appears that the helicopter was registered to Island Express after the sale at auction in 2015. Maybe it was one of those leaseback deals or something.



It appears that the S-76 was in the same livery when it was sold at auction in 2015 by the state of Illinois as N761LL.




From the crash site:




It does look like the helo was in the black Nike paint scheme for a while.



Last edited by Airbubba; 27th Jan 2020 at 17:48.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:02
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Are we certain Mamba Academy was the destination?
It's slightly to the right of 101, which makes a perfect visual ILS (if you see what I mean).
KCMA sits on a coastal plain, the academy is much higher up
It's at 692 feet (according to caltopo), so IF the ceilings being given were correct, it would have worked. But your suggestion of hitting a fog bank seems highly probable, so the ceiling info would be wrong in that case.
As for taking a car from KCMA - it's only 3 miles or so but if they were already hitting a deadline... we all know that "just taking a car" easily adds half an hour to the journey time.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:04
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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..could it be that the pilot had decided the wx was too bad, he knew where he were, that The Sheriff's Agoura Rd. HeliPad was close, and due to the bad visibility he turned a few seconds too early, thinking he just had to cross Agoura Rd. and then he would be at the HeliPad - then realising that he turned the wrong place, and due to limited visuals he was ending up in a non-normal which he couldn't get out of..? It only takes a few seconds to lose control due to vertigo and such, close to ground.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:20
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Any helo drivers care to advise why it would be- barring major airport airspace complications- not common practice to file an IFR flight plan and cruise at say, 5000í or so, well clear of terrain? Then cancel the IFR and land visually at the destination? I never understood running scuds if it werenít entirely, positively necessary.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:24
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by n5296s View Post
It's slightly to the right of 101, which makes a perfect visual ILS (if you see what I mean).

It's at 692 feet (according to caltopo), so IF the ceilings being given were correct, it would have worked. But your suggestion of hitting a fog bank seems highly probable, so the ceiling info would be wrong in that case.
As for taking a car from KCMA - it's only 3 miles or so but if they were already hitting a deadline... we all know that "just taking a car" easily adds half an hour to the journey time.
Sure. But if they had done an IFR flight (I don't have time to look up the TEC routes now) say SLI - LAX - SMO - CMA they would have had ample time to check IF they could get visual with the academy or get a car out of KCMA. Hell, they could even have ordered a car or two and canceled if they got in. I know, I know, this is all Monday morning quarterbacking.....
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:38
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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Surely itís the norm when thereís any question weather wise to have a backup plan like a car? The pilot being hailed elsewhere as exceptional and experienced, but exceptional IFR decision maker etc? How long and how many hours single pilot S76 in actual IFR has he I wonder. As above itís Monday morning quarterbacking. Nothing personal and donít know the individual.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:45
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FIRESYSOK View Post
Any helo drivers care to advise why it would be- barring major airport airspace complications- not common practice to file an IFR flight plan and cruise at say, 5000í or so, well clear of terrain? Then cancel the IFR and land visually at the destination? I never understood running scuds if it werenít entirely, positively necessary.
Helicopter pilots don't think like airline pilots.

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Old 27th Jan 2020, 18:01
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sir Korsky View Post
operator wasn't 135 IFR certified
Would this be a part 135 operation? Or is there some part 91 'cost sharing' scheme that may have been used to skirt the regs? This seems to be a recurring theme in these small aircraft charter crashes.

Originally Posted by Robbiee View Post
Helicopter pilots don't think like airline pilots.
I think the accident statistics would tend to support that claim.

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Old 27th Jan 2020, 18:05
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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S-76 is certified for 2/4/4/4 and flown with that seating in utility configuration, such as offshore oil transport.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 18:29
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Robbiee View Post
Helicopter pilots don't think like airline pilots.
I donít know what avionics this aircraft was equipped with, but even ForeFlight for $200 per year would provide moving terrain maps, which probably would have helped more than distractions of numerous radio frequencies, while getting caught ďspecial VFRĒ in the soup, near terrain. Tragic.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 19:00
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FIRESYSOK View Post
Any helo drivers care to advise why it would be- barring major airport airspace complications- not common practice to file an IFR flight plan and cruise at say, 5000í or so, well clear of terrain? Then cancel the IFR and land visually at the destination? I never understood running scuds if it werenít entirely, positively necessary.

Not commenting on the cause of the accident, just the above query:


Significantly difficult if you're above cloud and your min descent altitude is above the cloud base - often the case in hilly/mountainous areas where the tops are in clouds but the valleys are clear. In that case decent chance you wouldn't be able to descend without an instrument approach, which is often far enough away that you'll end up " scud-running " underneath anyway.
To be honest, flying underneath is perfectly safe so long as you're aware of the limits (of yourself and your machine). The killer historically (and I am specifically not talking about this accident) has been press-on-itus, due to whatever pressure. This gives often gives an accident sequence either inadvertantly entering IMC, or a last ditch mvr/CFIT trying to avoid it, when often the slow down/turn around option much earlier would have been perfectly safe.

I'd agree, it's a different mindset to airline flying. However, most corporate rotary flying is much closer to BizJet flying, which holds a very different set of pressures to airlines. You see similar "press on" accidents in that world. No way you can compare directly to airlines.

​​
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 19:09
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Paul Cantrell View Post
And yet, in 35 years Iíve never had anyone question my landing except the police ( who in these days of cell phones always seem to get called ) and nothing has ever happened as a result of talking to the police. I tell them I landed because of the weather, they ask a couple ( sometimes silly ) questions. They drive away and I never hear anything else about it.
Absolutely spot on. Putting it down on a suitable spot and call a taxi would have been the wiser option after things got hairy. Even if you have to file a report or whatever paperwork B*S* exist in EASA land or elsewhere: it's your and your clients life. Nobody can p*ss on you for acting in the interest of safety.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 19:51
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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NTSB media briefing in a few hours at midnight Z (0000 UTC). I'm sure that several of the local news outlets will have a live feed.


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Old 27th Jan 2020, 20:05
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aa5bpilot View Post
I'm a fixed wing pilot. First some data, then some questions for the helo pilots here...

METARs and PIREPs around the time of the crash show the marine layer bases were around 1500' and tops around 2500', with marginal visibility:



According to the USGS Topo maps I have of the area, the highway elevation along the 101 tops out around 1100' just to the east of Las Virgines Rd, with hills up to 2000' to the north and south. Approaching Las Virgines, the highway dips into a valley and is at about 760' elevation. Two private helipads in the area are charted at 850' and 888'. Further west, the highway rises back to around 900' before descending through the Conejo Grade towards Camarillo.

Tracks posted upthread show N72EX was following US-101, at an altitude around 1200'. This suggests they were flying in hazy conditions just below the cloud deck. While the conditions were certainly marginal, they appear to have done just fine following the 101, and had already passed the highest portion of the highway along their route. (The south/east-bound turn started west of Las Virgines)

Assuming the FR24 and FA data are to be believed, N72EX then turned to the south/east, and possibly started a climb before the crash. My questions:
1) Are inadvertent IMC procedures the same for helos as fixed wing - that is, doing a 180? I'd imagine there are more options including trying to slow, hover, or try to set down short of a cloud bank if one sees it looming, or is that not practical?
2) What is the maximum climb capability of the S-76? (i.e. how long to get on top of a 1000' foot cloud layer, if required)
Putting it differently:
3) Are there any circumstances where a helo pilot would choose to turn and climb like that, knowing it would put them into a cloud especially if they weren't already?
The weather as you drop down to the west of Calabasas can change dramatically. I was on the freeway heading west from the Valley shortly after the accident and the weather deteriorated quite badly as I passed Calabasas towards Las Virgenes Rd. The marine layer funnels up Malibu Canyon and can settle on the 101 from Calabasas all the way to the Conejo Grade and down into the Camarillo Plain.
Ladyface Mountain in Agoura (3 miles W of the crash site) is right alongside the South side of the 101 and rises to 2031 feet.
The 101 in that 13 mile stretch is not the place for scud running.

The 2 helipads - one is at the LACFD Fire Station on Las Virgenes Rd and the other is LACSD Lost Hill Station.

On that morning all Police and Sheriff's Department helicopters were grounded due to viz...
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