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Kobe Bryant's helicopter did not have a terrain warning system that could have told pilot he was plummeting towards the hillside, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Tuesday.
Jennifer Homendy confirmed the aircraft was not equipped with the safety feature. She said the NTSB had recommended that all choppers carrying six or more passengers have the system.
Federal - Aviation - Administration - Device - Requirement
But the Federal Aviation Administration 'failed to act' she said and the device was therefore not a legal requirement. The FAA noted the terrain alarm system is compulsory on helicopter air ambulance operations, The LA Times reports.
The Sikorsky S-76 was just 20 to 30 feet below the top of the hillside when it crashed with 'higher hills surrounding it'. It was also not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.
Homendy - Tuesday - Energy - Impact - Crash
Homendy said Tuesday: 'So we know that this was a high energy impact crash, and the helicopter was in a descending left bank.'
The doomed flight's final moments show veteran airman Ara Zobayan likely became disoriented while trying to avoid California's heavy fog before going into a fatal dive, experts believe.
Pilot - Aircraft - Owner - Island - Express
The 50-year-old was a chief pilot for the aircraft's owner, Island Express Helicopters. The company said the pilot had more than 10 years of experience and had logged more than 8,000 flight hours.
He also was a flight instructor who had more than 8,000 hours of flight time and had flown Bryant and other celebrities several times before. Zobayan was instrument-rated, which means he was qualified to fly in fog.
Pilots - Weather - Expert - Investigators - Wreckage
But even experienced pilots may have only seconds to act when they are blinded by weather, an expert said as investigators began scouring the wreckage for clues to Sunday morning's crash.
Randy Waldman, a helicopter flight instructor who lives in Los Angeles, said the radar tracking data he's seen leads...
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