Federal investigators say pilot may dim in Cobb Bryant helicopter crash



According to federal investigators released Wednesday, a helicopter pilot crashed near Los Angeles in January, killing basketball veteran Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers.


Pilot Ara Zobayan told Air Traffic Controllers that he was flying over 4,000 feet when the helicopter was landing on a hill near Calabasas, California, where it crashed, according to National Transportation Board documents.

The details of more than 1,700 technical documents, text messages, and interviews conducted by NTSB researchers correspond to the general picture of the tragic final moments of the plane carrying Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others. Sunday morning, January 26th.

The NTSB has not determined the cause of the crash, but the documents released Wednesday provide new details, with many focusing on the role of bad weather in the tragedy.

After months of investigation, the NTSB has not been able to ascertain whether the 50-year-old Joban received proper weather information prior to the crash and flew into dense clouds.

Investigators were trying to determine how bad the scene was and whether Zobayan could get information about the weather before the flight.

The NTSB said a weather provider for the pilots stated that the aircraft had no contact with the company or its vendors on the day of the accident or on the first day. The executive of another company that produces the weather app used by Zobian said the pilot "never actually used an app".

According to the NTSB, "Prior to the crash flight, no information was available to determine whether the accident pilot received weather information from other sources."

Text messages between Zobayan and the people coordinating the flight have been debated over the weather, but there are no concerns about the flight stop for the pilot.

Whitney Badge, Vice President of Helicopter Operator Island Express, told investigators that people who have visited Bryant, their drivers, pilots, and company representatives who operate their flights regularly contact them via text messages. He said there was no difference in Sunday's flight.

Saturday night's weather before the flight was the subject of a text exchange, documents show.

"Copy. I advise the weather on Sunday morning," Zobayan texted. The next morning, he wrote: "The morning weather is fine."

Using the company's risk assessment form, Zobian described the flight as "low risk", meaning that it did not require additional approval from company managers, according to NTSB files.

Garrett Dalton, director of operations at Island Express, wrote in an email to an NTSB researcher that the company was previously ready to cancel celebrity flights when the weather was bad, eight flights to comedian and rapper David Bird. Lil Dickie as NBA star poet Leonard and socialite Kylie Jenner. "I believe this is a clear indication of the safety culture in the organization," Dalton wrote.

The previous owner, Zobayan, was "very trustworthy, very considerate, and his fellow employees respected him as a patron, according to NTSB documents." The FAA security inspector told investigators that Island Express had found "FAA standards." The company also has a special security officer. "Not every operator does that," the inspector told the NTSB.

NTSB cited seven helicopter investigations between 2011 and 2017, including the lack of access to recorded data that hindered the ability to identify and resolve security issues.

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