Death of Kobe Bryant: the pilot probably disoriented by the weather conditions

This was estimated Tuesday by experts from the transport safety authority, the NTSB, a year after the helicopter crash with the NBA star on board.

They delivered their conclusions. The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in January 2020 near Los Angeles with NBA star Kobe Bryant on board was probably disoriented while flying in thick fog, experts estimated on Tuesday (February 9). transport safety authority. Ara Zobayan, a 50-year-old pilot considered experienced, may have “put pressure” on himself to continue flying despite the poor conditions due to his “long-standing friendship” with the former Los Lakers star Angeles, according to this authority, the NTSB.

Kobe Bryant was traveling with his daughter Gianna, 13, and six other passengers aboard the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter which crashed on January 26, 2020 on a hill in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles. There were no survivors.

“A disorientation in space”

According to the NTSB, the weather conditions were poor that morning, but sufficient to allow the pilot to fly on sight while maintaining contact with the ground. Shortly before the accident, Ara Zobayan had indicated in a radio exchange that he was going to climb to 4000 feet (1200 meters) to fly above the fog. But the aircraft had started a left turn and a fatal descent on the hill.

“This maneuver is consistent with a pilot experiencing disorientation in space in conditions of limited visibility ,  said Robert Sumwalt, president of the NTSB responsible for officially determining the cause of the accident. “He would have had the incorrect perception that the helicopter was climbing as it descended,” he added, his inner ear no longer knowing how to position it in space. 

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