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N72EX (Kobe Bryant) Crash Update-

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N72EX (Kobe Bryant) Crash Update-

Old 13th Feb 2021, 14:25
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JimEli View Post
Since March 6, 2020 is after the accident, what exactly was he trained and tested on? And the FARs initiated mandatory checking on the maneuvers and procedures in paragraph (c) when taking a competency check after April 22, 2015.
His training records can be reviewed at this link: https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Documen...dacted-Rel.pdf
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 17:00
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The link is the one Wrench 1 has put in his post and the Island Helicopters documents look satisfactory on the face of it since they have weather limits, training procedures for IIMC and unusual attitudes - including a paragraph about use of automation and particularly the use of the go-around button.
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Out of curiosity, on the SPZ-7000 DAFCS, what does the pilot have to do to activate the go-around button? Does the AP1 or AP2 button need to be pushed first? Does the FD2 button and/or CPL button need to be pressed before the go-around button?
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 17:58
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Crab

As ever, very good take on all of this. But did Ara really not have a current IR? And I guess even if he did, an issue would be his IMC currency. Pretty extraordinary to be flying an S76 without surely?

And does anyone know what the weather was like at the intended destination? And how would Ara have known that - was there a nearby airfield with met reporting? How much further did he have to run? One of the biggest risk areas of ops to private sites in poor weather is uncertainty of weather there. Reports from particularly non pilots are to be given little weight in my experience.

But fundamentally I do groan at yet another stupid accident that should never have happened. All the form filling out and box ticking issues are just peripheral - there was just grossly incompetent pilot judgement here I’m afraid. If it was the usual low time PPL in an R44 scenario it wouldn’t have surprised too much, but a charter operator with a celeb in a S76....
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 21:32
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by rotorspeed View Post

As ever, very good take on all of this. But did Ara really not have a current IR? And I guess even if he did, an issue would be his IMC currency. Pretty extraordinary to be flying an S76 without surely?
None of the pilot's proficiency check records published by the NTSB (since 2014) show FAR 135.297 Pilot in command: Instrument proficiency check. https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Documen...dacted-Rel.pdf

Originally Posted by rotorspeed View Post
And does anyone know what the weather was like at the intended destination? And how would Ara have known that - was there a nearby airfield with met reporting? How much further did he have to run? One of the biggest risk areas of ops to private sites in poor weather is uncertainty of weather there. Reports from particularly non pilots are to be given little weight in my experience.
.
Weather reports from airports (CMA destination airport, VNY closest airport to crash site):

At 0851 PST, (prior to departure) VNY reported a calm wind, visibility of two and a half statute miles, haze, ceiling overcast at 1,100 feet agl,
At 0905 PST (just prior to departure), CMA reported a wind from 080° at 7 knots, visibility of 4 statute miles, haze, ceiling overcast at 1,600 feet agl,
At 0951 PST, (about 5 minutes after the crash) VNY reported a calm wind, visibility of two and a half statute miles, haze, ceiling overcast at 1,300 feet agl,
At 0955 PST (about 10 minutes after the crash), CMA reported a wind from 030° at 3 knots, visibility of 4 statute miles, haze, ceiling overcast at 1,700 feet agl,

During the NTSB Board meeting the investigators said that at the time of departure the forecast flight conditions were within company specified limits, but that the visibility less than 3 miles at VNY should have resulted in the pilot consulting with the Director of operations and the SVFR should have required an alternative plan.

I'll add that in looking at the NTSB provided ADS-B data, which includes GEO altitude, I can see that the pilot was squeezed to ~300' AGL going over the U.S. 101 pass near Mureau Rd (this pass is the highest point on his planned route). After the pass, the helicopter maintains ~300' AGL for a few seconds as the road (and the helicopter) descend ~150', then the pilot climbs to "get above the layers". I hypothesize that the pilot's plan was to get over the pass and descend underneath the cloud base to complete the flight scud running, but that conditions on the other side of the pass were not what he expected. A witness told the NTSB: "The cloud that the aircraft entered and disappeared into was a thick wall that extended as low as about ten feet above ground and upward beyond visibility. This low cloud started at about the Juan Bautista de Anza East Trailhead, heading west. This trailhead starts at the end of Calabasas Rd. When I first spotted the aircraft, the clouds were relatively higher than the cloud I watched it disappear into. I couldn't guess the altitude of the higher cloud line but it was lower than a police helicopter would fly when closely circling a person on foot over a residential neighborhood in West Hills, CA. It appeared that the aircraft was flying at a level which had visibility until it entered the cloud wall."

Last edited by airplanecrazy; 13th Feb 2021 at 22:24.
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 22:14
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by airplanecrazy View Post
None of the pilot's proficiency check records published by the NTSB (since 2014) show FAR 135.297 Pilot in command: Instrument proficiency check.
This check is only completed if the aircraft/pilot are flying on a 135 IFR program which they were not. The company was Part 135 VFR only. The inadvertent IMC portion of the 135.293 and .299 was completed each year.
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 22:37
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
This check is only completed if the aircraft/pilot are flying on a 135 IFR program which they were not. The company was Part 135 VFR only. The inadvertent IMC portion of the 135.293 and .299 was completed each year.
Sorry, I can see how my response could be misleading. I did not mean to imply that he didn't meet all the regs, just meant to answer rotorspeed's question "But did Ara really not have a current IR?"
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 23:31
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
His training records can be reviewed at this link: https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Documen...dacted-Rel.pdf
Trust me, I am very familiar with all of the NTSB docket information (see this long-winded post for background: N72EX (Kobe Bryant) Crash Reconstruction with new ATC Audio).

However, the point is, IEH added the tasks for unusual attitude recovery, and inadvertent entry to IMC to their training manual AFTER the accident, an egregious oversight by both IEH and the FAA POI, a violation of FAA policy and possibly FAR.

So, how did they train/evaluate these tasks in the S-76? Did the procedure address airspeed management, autopilot, diversion, abort, landing or emergency IFR? Because of the oversight, we don’t know. At best, they used a generic procedure, and at worst the instructors/evaluators did whatever they pleased. Or, did they even didn’t do it, absent published tasks?

Without a specific delineated procedure, maybe the accident pilot was attempting to perform exactly what his GOM (at the time) instructed him to do, “pilots will never take an aircraft into IMC…” As best he could.

All we know is the forms have a checked box on them.

Last edited by JimEli; 14th Feb 2021 at 00:22.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 00:30
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JimEli View Post
...Without a specific delineated procedure, maybe the accident pilot was attempting to perform exactly what his GOM (at the time) instructed him to do, “pilots will never take an aircraft into IMC…” As best he could.
As "best he could"..." “pilots will never take an aircraft into IMC" we know he did make a decision to enter a climb in IMC to find VMC on top. So the "best he could" part of that theory probably doesn't apply when there was a “pilots will never take an aircraft into IMC" option to land or turn around.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 00:39
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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All of this speculation is pretty moot. There are things we cannot know about this accident, and things that we will *never* know. We do know that Ara was Instrument-rated and took annual 135 checkrides which most likely included some hood work. *EVERY* VFR 135 ride I've ever taken (and I've taken a bunch) included a UA recovery. So he was - at very least - qualified to fly under IFR even if he was not current and legal (approved) to do so. How many people on internet boards like this one claim that a pilot is not a pilot with an Instrument Rating, as if that imbues one with some magical skill set that just might come in handy in a situation like this? (Obviously, that's bogus.)

But keying on that... We can surmise that Ara had a somewhat "casual" relationship with weather. If it is true that he flew over the Pacific, over a cloud deck to get offshore and then descended (probably IMC) to get under the marine layer and come back into the beach VFR, then we can also surmise that he was able to maintain some semblance of control over a helicopter by reference to the instruments only. But that's just a guess.

So what happened here? What went wrong so quickly? Was there a distraction or two just as the view outside went completely white? We're pretty sure that right after he punched-in, he called up ATC to report that he was climbing to 4,000', figuring that the guy he was talking to was familiar with who and where he was. Not so! They'd had a controller change and now the guy he was talking to didn't know Ara from Adam. This new controller had to go through the whole process of getting him radar identified, something the other controller presumably wouldn't have had to do. So now Ara has got to look down and put in a squawk. And while he was down there, he probably re-centered the GPS to Camarillo. I would *guess* that right then, Kobe keyed the intercom and said something like, "Hey, uhhh, Ara? Are we okay here, buddy? All I see outside is...nothing." And while those things were happening, the helicopter was banking over to the left, undetected because "someone" took his eyes off the attitude indicator and the helicopter did what helicopters do when you're not paying attention.

Unusual Attitude recovery practice is great. We all should get some. Trouble is, when it happens for real, when you're already down to just a couple of hundred feet above the rising terrain when you punch-in, your chances of getting the wings level, stopping the descent and getting a climb going before smashing into something are pretty...how shall we say...zero. So Ara maybe didn't have any "real world" UA practice lately. Big deal, what would it have helped in that case? Once he got into the UA, it was game-over.

Some of us seem to think that flying a helicopter and not crashing is SOOOO EASY! Any idiot can do it. The truth is that sometimes circumstances conspire and combine against us and a bunch of crap happens at exactly the wrong time, and maybe we're not operating at 100% that day for whatever reason.. Maybe on any other day, Ara would've initiated the straight-ahead climb to get above the layer and he would've popped out on top, perhaps as he'd done once or twice before. No harm, no foul, no one would have to know...and he'd continue on with the flight like nothing happened.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 01:39
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FH1100 Pilot View Post
..So Ara maybe didn't have any "real world" UA practice lately. Big deal, what would it have helped in that case?
Pressing HDG mode on the flight director was all that was required to keep wings level and redirect some attention to other tasks. Doing so would have helped enormously.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 03:13
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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My take is that this is simpler than people are making out. " Circumstances conspire and combine" is not reality. Conditions only exist. They have no consicousness or means of combining against you. We allow them to " conspire" by ignoring them individually and forgetting what the one job of a pilot is. That is to fly the aircraft to the point of a safe landing. Ignore Kobe if he calls on the ics when you're busy. In fact isolate the passengers if you like, if they are chatty when you are sweating. No need to dial in that squawk code if you are busy actually flying. It can all wait, it isn't going to save your butt. If you've ever lapsed from your task of driving a car due to a phone call, text or something that just draws your eye off the road then you must know this is no different. He obviously had the training and ability to revert to basic instrument flight ( had the rating and had UA recovery training) but chose not to focus on that. What he apparently did not have was the judgement to see that in a little while all would be forgiven if he landed short, in a vacant parking lot and called cabs for the passengers. I suspect that his thoughts during the flight, until g forces were not computing, was " I can get through this" , not " I need to be on the ground right now, if not a few minutes ago".

The words I rember most clearly from my ( airplane) instrument instructor were " Quit fu*king with the radio and just fly".
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 03:41
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Indeed, Roscoe and gulliBell, all of those things are what Ara *should* have done. Sadly, apparently he did not do any of them. We are left to forever wonder why.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 03:52
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Airplane Crazy
Out of curiosity, on the SPZ-7000 DAFCS, what does the pilot have to do to activate the go-around button? Does the AP1 or AP2 button need to be pushed first? Does the FD2 button and/or CPL button need to be pressed before the go-around button?
I am a bit rusty on the SPZ 7000 but if my memory works, the GA button was on the collective around your thumb area. To initiate a GA, the aircraft had to be already coupled and the collective was not coupled so an increase in power had to be initiated by a pull on the lever, the GA function would essentially manage speed.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 04:10
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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But did Ara really not have a current IR? And I guess even if he did, an issue would be his IMC currency. Pretty extraordinary to be flying an S76 without surely?
It was a VFR only operation, so no need for him to have an instrument rating, even though it was a fully equipped 76 he was driving. The only thing I can find in the docket is mention of 75 hours instrument on a document dated 3rd July 2019 (a little over six months prior to the accident) He had received his instrument rating in October 2007 with simulated instrument listed at 68.2 hours in a R-44, a number of check flights in the 76 record instrument elements checked including ILS & VOR approaches. On the face of it then he had done 6.8 hours, probably simulated and likely in the 76, so when he found himself in actual condition on the accident flight it is likely it was the first time ever. Little wonder then that he came to grief given lack of both currency and exposure to real IMC. Never found simulated IMC in the 76 realistic, you always had a view of the outside somewhere.
We are left to forever wonder why
Not in my mind, given what I've written above the result is about what I'd expect.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 07:19
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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If he'd done 6.8 hours IF training in a 76 he should have worked out that you should not be hands flying it in IMC, and certainly not hands flying it in SAS mode with the force trim off. For the life of me I can't see how you can get in a UA in a 76 unless you were flying in SAS and totally not paying attention. Teaching UA's in the 76 on annual recurrent training was never done in SAS, always in ATT with the force trim on. I'd like to know what mode he was flying in to have lost control.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 07:49
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by industry insider View Post
...I am a bit rusty on the SPZ 7000 but if my memory works...
An S76B has a SPZ 7000?
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 08:04
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by industry insider View Post
...the GA function would essentially manage speed.
Umm, not quite. The GA button cancels all other modes, maintains wings level, and commands a rate of climb of 750 fpm. The key point about this behavior is, if you don't have the power required to climb at 750 fpm, in trying to maintain that ROC the autopilot will slowly increase nose up pitch. As the nose is slowly pitched up the airspeed deceases slowly. If you fail to notice this, eventually the aircraft will get your attention with a sudden nose up pitch just before it falls out of the sky with zero airspeed. I've seen this happen during recurrent training, far too many times.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 11:24
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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Whilst Ara certainly does seem to have been 'current' in terms of his 135 checkrides and UA/IIMC training - I am left wondering how demanding those UA/IIMC manoeuvres were that he had to pass.

The IEH Ops manual defines a UA as +/- 10 kts of intended IAS or +/- 10% of normal cruise power (unless I am reading it all wrong) so very little adjustment required to correct either of those.

By comparison, the 2 standard UAs for Brit Mil IRTs are 'Low speed autorotative turn at not more than 30 deg AoB and High speed descending turn at not more than 30 deg AoB' - both of these should be recovered with minimum height loss and with a specified minimum base height and recovery height to simulate being below safety alt.

My point is that if you don't train properly for a hazardous situation, you are far less likely to recover from it if it does present itself.

Do the part 135 UAs and IIMC checks come even close to replicating real disorientation? If not, is it because the checkers don't have any more actual IMC time than the check airmen and have no idea what it is really like?

Real disorientation is f***ing scary - as Robbiee has discovered - and only good, realistic training or a very big handful of luck will save you.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 11:47
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
An S76B has a SPZ 7000?
what were you thinking it has? I thought it was standard and some even gave 7600.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 12:19
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Ara got his A model 135 rating on 12th September 2014 and B rating 12th August 2017. What IF time he had in either model i don't know, but with no IF time since completion of training in October 2007 that means he had between seven and ten years between drinks, whatever you had learnt about IF in training would be long forgotten, assuming the 6.8 hours were in the B over the period of 31 months is not going to get you one tenth of the way up to speed.
If he'd done 6.8 hours IF training in a 76 he should have worked out that you should not be hands flying it in IMC, and certainly not hands flying it in SAS mode with the force trim off. For the life of me I can't see how you can get in a UA in a 76 unless you were flying in SAS and totally not paying attention.
Being special VFR winding his way along a freeway at low level my bet he would be in SAS and force trim off, when confronted with IMC he likely lost it maybe searching for the requisite buttons as you describe would be needed Gulli, muscle memory would have him floundering, and understandably so, use it or lose it.

An insight to the company ethos may be gained in the docket with interview with one of the pilots.

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?NTSBNumber=DCA20MA059

Down load "3 OPERATIONAL FACTORS AND HUMAN PERFORMANCE GROUP INTERVIEW OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS" and open the "Deetz" PDF file.
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