Kobe Bryant helicopter pilot dismissed weather concerns before crash, NTSB documents show
Jun 20 2020
The next morning, on January 26, the pilot, Ara Zobayan of Huntington Beach, assured the broker and Bryant's personal drivers that the weather conditions "should be OK", according to text messages made public on Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. "As such, no conclusions about how or why the crash occurred should be drawn from the information within the docket", the NTSB said.
"Calculated apparent angles at this time show that the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles", one report stated.
Nine people died in the crash, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter.
Ara Zobayan, the pilot of a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that carried Bryant to his Thousand Oaks "Mamba Sports Academy", was reportedly disoriented when communicating with air traffic control.
Federal investigators said Wednesday, June 17, 2020, that the pilot of the helicopter that crashed in thick fog, killing Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers, reported he was climbing when he actually was descending. A final report is expected to be released later.
Despite the fact that the new documents contain 1,700 pages and compile factual reports, there is still no conclusive data on what exactly caused the crash.
The NTSB said there was no sign of engine failure.
A recent autopsy report on Zobayan said the helicopter was travelling at 184 miles per hour (kmh) when it crashed into the hillside.
In adverse weather conditions, when a pilot is unable to use external visual cues and with insufficient attention to the helicopter's instruments, he or she may become disoriented in a condition knows as "somatogravic illusion".
According to reports, the late National Basketball Association legend's wife is pushing for politicians to get behind the "Kobe and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act", which aims to make new safety measures she claims will "save many lives".
Previous disclosures from investigators have revealed the helicopter plunged several hundred feet before the crash, when Zobayan had been attempting to climb out of the heavy fog.