Kobe Bryant dead in helicopter crash

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by jallen0, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. jpskies

    jpskies Pre-Flight

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    Yes, it was a big news in Taiwan as there're lots of eye witnesses and the pilot crashed an almost brand new, very expensive bird (AH-64 E model) from Boeing.
    You can see the AH-64 came out of cloud from 0:02. The pilot said he stopped moving forward and trying to climb to the top of cloud as he entered into IMC and he lost control of it.

    upload_2020-1-28_18-0-57.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  2. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Oh I agree he was out of control. No doubt. My comment was, it doesn't look like SWP or VRS.
     
  3. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    The Kobe Bryant Crash: Three Main Theories Emerge

    Theory One: Loss of Situational Awareness: The pilot flew into clouds, lost his way and crashed while trying to avoid terrain and figure things out.
    This will almost certainly be the top theory of investigators as they sort out the details. The helicopter as a VFR flight should not have been flying in such weather. On an IFR flight plan, things would have been different. The pilot would have been flying higher, he would have gotten specific clearances from ATC that would have kept the aircraft high above obstacles and the flight would have been handled until just before its planned touchdown at Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.

    Theory Two: Loss of Control: The pilot lost spatial awareness then control of the helicopter and crashed into the terrain.
    Based on flight records, this is almost certainly true. But it begs the question, why did he lose control, which is better explained by Theory One.

    Theory Three: Stall: The pilot stalled the helicopter. Realizing he was too low, the pilot could have attempted a climb that was too fast too soon and stalled the helicopter.
    If this is so, it was most likely what’s known as a rotor stall, in which the rotor rpm get too low to support the weight of the helicopter, which then falls to earth with almost certain fatal results to all aboard. An RPM stall is difficult or impossible to recover from.

    The conclusion will very likely be some combination of these three. It’s highly unlikely the cause will be mechanical, as all indications point to pilot aeronautical decision making (ADM) and the subsequent loss of situational awareness and control of the helicopter, regardless of how that control was ultimately lost.

    https://www.planeandpilotmag.com/ar...kobe-bryants-helicopter-crashed/#.XjDq-i3MzOQ
     
  4. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Of course we have. Controlled flight into terrain is STILL the most common fatal accident in aviation, then and now. Instrument rated or not, he couldn't control the helicopter.....and it MOST CERTAINLY applies here.
     
  5. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, that'll do it.

    Do they use Mg for skins or is this used for chunky parts like transmission cases ?
     
  6. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Where ever you earned your rotorcraft certificate, you need to return and demand your money back.
     
  7. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    No on skins. Drive train gearbox/engine gearbox cases and some airframe castings/structure.
     
  8. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Click the link he posted - they’re not his theories.
     
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  9. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Then I would suggest he not post as though they are his theories. I had no interest in reading a link.
     
  10. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    "The Kobe Bryant Crash: Three Main Theories Emerge"

    This is absolute garbage and the publisher should be ashamed for publishing it.

    It is so full of uninformed BS and prejudice, such as "The helicopter as a VFR flight should not have been flying in such weather." Absolute nonsense! The reason people pay millions of Dollars for fully capable helicopters is to get where they are going with the least risk. A helicopter is the ONLY way to get through that LEGAL weather!

    The first two theories are the same thing, written incoherently by someone who has no idea of how IFR flight is conducted.

    Blatantly stating that "This will almost certainly be the top theory of investigators as they sort out the details," is flat out ignorance and hubris.

    And then we get to "stalling" the helicopter. I think there are three or four imaginary laws of physics in the description of whatever the hell that is...

    Then stating the result is "...falls to earth with almost certain fatal results to all aboard" is a horrible example of journalistic malpractice.

    If some average guy had been the victim in this crash, there would not have been such a rush to publish such crap. Since it is a famous person, these disgusting reports are made only to get something in print or on the internet.

    Give me a break saying it's "highly unlikely" the cause will be mechanical. Just blame the pilot!

    The pilot's family should demand that POS article be taken down.

    I've heard some really bad things about Plane and Pilot magazine and now I know why.
     
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  11. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Our check airmen wanted to see a fully developed "stall". Wanted us to go deeper into the maneuver with a more aggressive recovery. Expect 30 deg nose down. In a Jetranger, you might fly out of it after about 1,000'. In the transport catagory A/C, it will be closer to 2,000'.
     
  12. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    How would they be my theories when I posted a link to an article? What would make you think I wrote the article?
     
  13. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They call it the Kevlar Comet. Its Kevlar honey comb back to the MLG. Then its aluminum semi monocoque aft to the tail.
     
  14. jpskies

    jpskies Pre-Flight

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    I remembered that I heard it was due to SWP or VRS. Most likely I was wrong as I am not familiar with SWP and how a helicopter behaves when encount that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  15. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    I didn't click on the link so how would I know it wasn't your theory, as there was no other indication in your post. A simple, "Hey, here's a story I read in..." or something along those lines would have prevented anyone from thinking otherwise.

    I have no idea who wrote the article as I did not click on the link because I had no interest in it.

    No big deal, just a misunderstanding. Feel free to pass my opinion on to whoever wrote that trash.
     
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  16. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    HTAWS wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. It would have been yapping “terrain...terrain” at him long before the altitude plunge when he went thru the gap on 101. The second time she would have been yapping would be his “plunge” just prior to impact. By then it’s too late. Like the RADALT, HTAWS is almost useless for the majority of helicopter flying. Unless your talking over water, desert, snow, they’re telling you what any average pilot should already know. Also, 2,000 fpm isn’t that extreme. That’s probably a normal RoD for a 76 during an auto. The media is sensationalizing anything to stir public opinion.
    https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/kobe-bryants-helicopter-plunged-2000-051736480.html
     
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  17. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I’m confused by one thing because I have 0 helicopter experience. If this helicopter was suffering and engine loss, would it still be able to produce enough power to maintain the same airspeed it had throughout the flight?
     
  18. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's way beyond the PTS standards, and way beyond 135.293 checking standards. The checking maneuver is for onset recognition and recovery.
     
  19. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Doesn’t look line any military or HAA. Started flying at Van Nuys in 1998, got his rotor PPL in 2001 and COM in 2007. Been flying for Island Express for 10 years and was their “chief pilot.”

    I thought the 6 year gap between PPL and COM was a bit odd. Usually those guys go straight through within a year. Perhaps low in funds and took awhile to build hours.
     
  20. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends on what the pilot was pulling (torque) during the earlier part of the flight. Helicopters on OEI don’t have the same torque ability as operating dual engine. In the limits section of the S76, you can see there are TRQ and N1 limit differences between dual and OEI. I don’t see a max OEI airspeed, but they would be limited just by the fact they no longer have the power of two engines producing over 100 + % of torque.
     
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  21. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That's a lot of jargon to basically say "It depends on whether he was using more than half the available power earlier in the flight". Or, "I dunno". ;)
     
  22. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's a reasonable and well founded explanation. Or perhaps you would rather have a non helicopter pilot try to explain it? o_O
     
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  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Although you cited an article you didn't post it as "Plane and Pilot's theories" or something similar. Hence folks who didn't click the link (like yours truly) thought they were your conclusions. A good idea when quoting directly from a source is to be very, very clear you're quoting. Obviously an honest mistake, I don't think you were trying to foster someone else's writing as your own.
     
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  24. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    How do you know he's wrong? Do you have special insight into the crash? Someone crashed what appears to be a perfectly good helicopter into a hillside. It was almost certainly error on the part of that someone, unless you want to start blaming space aliens, or perhaps Elvis.
     
  25. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My in-laws are in the heli business in LA. They knew the pilot. They said he was a good pilot and had respect for him. Sounds like he had 8,000 hours.
     
  26. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for this- so in the most basic terms, the fact that he was able to maintain forward airspeed consistent with earlier stages with of the flight neither confirms, nor eliminates the possibility of an actual engine out or dual engine mechanical failure?
     
  27. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You'd have to have a sense of humor to understand.
     
  28. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well I doubt they could maintain the 140-150 kts gs that they were previously doing if on one engine. Looks like we have a couple S76 guys on POA so I’ll let them comment.

    My basic premise was to explain that a twin helo obviously doesn’t have the power on one engine vs two. That lack of power would naturally mean a lessor airspeed. Example, I don’t have S76 experience but in the Black Hawk, pulling 100 % torque (continues power or Vh) at that altitude will yield around 155 KIAS. With OEI, you can pull like 110 / 135 % continuous torque. That won’t give you the same speed of 100 % dual torque though. You might be able to get to the max SE AS of 130 KIAS though.

    So yeah, in a nutshell the reduced power won’t give the same continuous torque airspeed that dual engine provides. The great thing about helos vs airplanes though is an engine failure at cruise is usually a non event. There’s no asymmetrical thrust issues, no increased drag. If you’re within your min / max SE envelope, you just keep trucking along like nothing happened. Climb rate would obviously be reduced. Most likely won’t be able to hover at your destination but a roll / run on above ETL (16-24 kts ish) can easily be done.
     
  29. Tarheelpilot

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    I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dual engine failure earlier in the flight.
     
  30. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So this may well be 8000x the same hour of socal fair-weather flying from airport to helipad and back.

    While he was instrument rated, I'll be looking forward to the report to see whether he had any current instrument experience in a helicopter. Some years back, one of the Maryland state troopers flew an AS365 into the trees short of Andrews when he had to fly an unexpected ILS. He was also highly experienced, instrument rated and 'paper current'.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  31. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    2nd NTSB brief with a few choice public words for the FAA which was interesting. It was a Part 135 ops with possibly a VFR restriction???
     
  32. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One thing I noticed in the S76B operating limits, is 2 pilots for IFR. Was wondering if the B is VFR only and the C SPIFR???
     
  33. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    The A,B, and C models all require 2 pilots for IFR with option for 1 pilot IFR if properly equipped (see below). The D model is certified for 1 pilot IFR out the factory. However, if as stated in the brief is true, that the IE 135 cert was limited to VFR, then it's a moot point regardless if aircraft/pilot IFR capable for the flight.
    upload_2020-1-29_9-28-25.png

    upload_2020-1-29_9-29-8.png
     
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  34. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Cleared for Takeoff

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    I do. And I didn’t find your reply humorous.
     
  35. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The discussion about engine failures in the context of this crash reminds me of the threads where someone spins in from a base to final turn and we have pilots who are convinced that 'it must have been medical incapacitation'.





    Those engines did fail....


    ...after a massive impact with a hillside.
     
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  36. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Right and that's my point. If the helicopter was producing correct thrust at prior stages of the flight with 2 engines working than we can logically conclude that if one engine or both engines failed than the airspeed would not be the same and would reduce( but that's why I asked because as someone who flys single engine props we all know we would see a reduction in airspeed to as achieve best possible glide ratio.) I have no idea if the same assumption can be made with a helicopter so I asked. Based on the reply, it seems like you would expect some reduction in forward airspeed but not nearly what would occur in a single engine prop.

    If an investigator is trying to rule out engine failure one of the ways to do that is to compare airspeed at various parts of the flight. If the speed remains relatively constant during straight and level flight we can likely conclude that the helicopter was flying with working engines. If we can logically conclude that the helicopter was producing full thrust at the earlier stages of the flight, than a logical conclusion based on the radar tracking info we have is that the helicopter was still producing the same amount of thrust right before the crash. This makes an engine failure less likely-- but clearly I'm in no position to make a conclusion. I'm simply trying to learn a thing or two about how helicopters operate and engine out characteristics.
     
  37. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I totally agree but it needs to be ruled out. Therefore, you got to use factual based evidence to make such a conclusion not just say "CFIT is a more likely reasons because most evidence points to this." As was pointed out by someone earlier in this thread, the NTSB operates by ruling out what it was not first( and anyone whose watched the Air Crash Investigation shows can confirm this is how they operate.) I was curious if the airspeed would fall if the engines failed and it looks like the airspeed may fall but not very much.)
     
  38. 3393RP

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    Your premise fails because it's possible to reduce airspeed quickly while maintaining altitude in a helicopter. An investigation would require inspection of the engines to determine a failure, but crash and fire damage could make that difficult.
     
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  39. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If both engines were to fail in that left turn, obviously the aircraft would be coming out of the clouds doing an auto. An auto speed for a helo will vary by type and if you’re going for max glide or min RoD. Basically around 80 kts or so and 2,000 FPM. What was the last known speed? Like 153 kts GS? To me that means his engines were most likely producing power and he just impacted the ground at high speed.

    I couldn’t find a vid of the NYC A109 crash on YT but remember the phone footage of him diving down out of the clouds? In my opinion, that’s most likely what happened in this scenario. An 800 ft long trail of debris, that’s way more than either an auto or VRS would create.
     
  40. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I am sure the NTSB will look at that and us spitballing here won't preclude them from doing so.

    I would be suprised if they don't find the telltale signs of both engines running at full power on the rotating hardware they pick from the debris field.
     
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