Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Investigation

Over the past few days following basketball legend Kobe Bryant helicopter crash, I continue to see the usual television ‘aviation experts’ share their opinions on what happened.  Over and over again they are repeating the same information gained from FAA and NTSB inside sources.  I sometime wonder how much aviation operational and field experience do they really have. 

image source: abcnews.com

My 35 years of worldwide aviation experience taught me to take a step back and look at the ‘big picture’ before narrowing in on the final 20 seconds of flight.  In doing so, one must understand the planning and preparation a pilot undertakes before starting the aircraft engine. 

kobe bryant

At this time, the NTSB is collecting crash site evidence, weather data and air traffic control data (audio tapes and radar ground tracking recordings) for review.  Interviews are underway and medical records are being secured for review.  I know that time and focus on ‘operational practices and procedures’ must will be untaken. 

As an air traffic controller and mishap investigator, I believe a great amount of time should go into investigating the processes of filing the flight plan, weather, pilot fitness, aircraft maintenance, aircraft performance and air traffic control procedures.  One cannot rule out aircraft gross weight versus control – performance.  Every aircraft mishap is unique with events that lead to a chain of contributing causes and findings. 

Going forward in investigating this terrible helicopter mishap, we all as ‘aviation experts’ should slow down in racing to state unsupported facts.  This is a very troubling time for families and love ones.  We owe Respect!