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Pilot In Kobe Bryant Crash Had Violated Flight Standards By Flying Through Clouds, Says NTSB

Credit: NBA

Credit: NBA

It's been a year and a couple of weeks since Kobe Bryant was killed in a fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to attend a basketball game with his daughter Gianna and six other passengers. Pilot Ara Zobayan also was killed in the accident, but all the investigations have been about his involvement in the situation, trying to find out if he could do more to save himself and the eight passengers in the helicopter.

More details have come to light in recent hours, revealing that Zobayan actually violated some standards for pilots, which ultimately led to the crash.

Per AP (via KSLA):

The pilot of the helicopter that crashed last year in South California, killing Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers, made a key error by flying through thick clouds that ended up disorienting him, U.S. safety officials said Tuesday during a hearing aimed at pinpointing probable causes of the crash.

Pilot Ara Zobayan violated federal standards that required him to be able to see where he was going before the helicopter crashed during a roughly 40-minute flight, said members of the National Transportation Safety Board. Zobayan was among the nine people killed, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The pilot went against his training by becoming spatially disoriented in thick clouds, a condition that can happen to pilots in low visibility, when they cannot tell up from down or discern which way an aircraft is banking, board members said.

Just before the Jan. 26, 2020 crash, Zobayan told flight controllers he was climbing in the helicopter and had nearly broken through the clouds.

But NTSB investigators said that the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter was in fact banking and beginning to descend at increasing magnitude, investigators said.

There were 184 aircraft crashes between 2010-2019 involving spatial disorientation, including 20 fatal helicopter crashes, the NTSB said.

This was definitely an unfortunate situation for everybody. Kobe and Gianna lost their lives, as well as the rest of the people in the helicopter, and nothing can bring them back. Still, people are trying to shed light on this whole situation to know what really went down that tragic day when the NBA and the world lost one of the most important icons in recent history.