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  1. #1
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    Kobe Bryant Killed

    Just coming through the media that Kobe Bryant has been killed with 4 others in his private helicopter. In California.

    https://www.foxnews.com/sports/calif...ities-reported
    Last edited by Mark1T; 01-26-2020 at 11:58 AM.
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    RIP..

    A shocker indeed
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    Yeah it's all over the news now. Damn RIP.
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    His 13 yr old daughter, Gianna, was also on board. What a tragic loss for the family.
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    Originally Posted by NerdyLady View Post
    His 13 yr old daughter, Gianna, was also on board. What a tragic loss for the family.
    I hadn't heard that... Geesh!!!
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    Not a good day. Kobe Bryant was one of the good ones, someone to be proud of for all of us. Seems like the good ones are always taken too soon. That his daughter was killed too makes it that much worse.
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    S76B model which is a serious metal. Usually a dual pilot IFR rated ship. SUPER safe helicopter. Even the Queen of England has used one for transport.

    Early reports were lots of low fog in the area. Unfortunately, most times it turns out that a perfectly good helicopter was flown into a hillside, or wires trying to fly lower and lower to avoid the lowered ceiling. The absolutely terrible part, is this type of ship has the instrumentation to fly in those conditions. But again, this stuff happens all too frequently. Think of how often you hear of EMS helicopters flying into the ground. At the end of the day, some pilots allow themselves to be pressured into flying when they know the condition are not favorable. Especially when that someone is asking to go and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the company you work for to provide him with a helicopter.

    Helicopters in class G airspace can go down to 0/0 visibility and fly in weather that an airplane could never even take off.


    Any way about it, very tragic. Even worse will be if it was totally preventable.
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    Not a good day. Kobe Bryant was one of the good ones, someone to be proud of for all of us. Seems like the good ones are always taken too soon. That his daughter was killed too makes it that much worse.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    S76B model which is a serious metal. Usually a dual pilot IFR rated ship. SUPER safe helicopter. Even the Queen of England has used one for transport.

    Early reports were lots of low fog in the area. Unfortunately, most times it turns out that a perfectly good helicopter was flown into a hillside, or wires trying to fly lower and lower to avoid the lowered ceiling. The absolutely terrible part, is this type of ship has the instrumentation to fly in those conditions. But again, this stuff happens all too frequently. Think of how often you hear of EMS helicopters flying into the ground. At the end of the day, some pilots allow themselves to be pressured into flying when they know the condition are not favorable. Especially when that someone is asking to go and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the company you work for to provide him with a helicopter.

    Helicopters in class G airspace can go down to 0/0 visibility and fly in weather that an airplane could never even take off.


    Any way about it, very tragic. Even worse will be if it was totally preventable.
    Wow. My initial thought was some kind of catastrophic mechanical failure, but the scenario you outline really makes is so much worse (and I know your experience in the field)........
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  10. #10
    Finally accused of juicin Corbi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    S76B model which is a serious metal. Usually a dual pilot IFR rated ship. SUPER safe helicopter. Even the Queen of England has used one for transport.

    Early reports were lots of low fog in the area. Unfortunately, most times it turns out that a perfectly good helicopter was flown into a hillside, or wires trying to fly lower and lower to avoid the lowered ceiling. The absolutely terrible part, is this type of ship has the instrumentation to fly in those conditions. But again, this stuff happens all too frequently. Think of how often you hear of EMS helicopters flying into the ground. At the end of the day, some pilots allow themselves to be pressured into flying when they know the condition are not favorable. Especially when that someone is asking to go and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the company you work for to provide him with a helicopter.

    Helicopters in class G airspace can go down to 0/0 visibility and fly in weather that an airplane could never even take off.


    Any way about it, very tragic. Even worse will be if it was totally preventable.
    News was saying heavy fog.
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  11. #11
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    It is really sad. I am just going on gut here. This is unfortunately way too common again because helicopters are not required to fly at certain minimum altitudes even over populated areas.


    I ran into this situation a few times crossing mountains on the east cost. Sometimes, you can find a way through and other times you run out of options and have to be smart enough to stop. It is called "scud running".

    Coming back from Washington DC, I was ferrying a helicopter for someone. I hit into TERRIBLE unplanned fog along the way. A "safe" altitude for most helicopters is 500' agl. This is higher than most any towers and safe from power lines...etc.

    The fog got worse and worse and pretty soon I was about 200' agl and slowing WAY down. Was very sketchy. Approaching the foothills the moist air being lifted up the mountains pretty much formed an impenetrable wall. I was in the middle of NOWHERE but remember flying over a large mine a few miles back. I circled back and found the mine. Did a low recon for poles (poles often have wires) and made an approach to a large open area where there was a group of trailers.

    Shut down and asked the guys who ran the mine if I could leave it there overnight and explained it was no longer safe for me to continue my flight. (no safer place than a mine behind barbwire gates to park for the night.) I made their day and I am sure they all had a fun story to tell when they went home. I called a cab and got a hotel for the night.

    The LAST thing I wanted to do was stay in some ratty motel and not make it home when I promised my wife I would be there and back in a day.

    The scary part, was the guys in the mine told me 3 of the biggest broadcast towers in the area were less than a mile from the mine on the mountain side. 1500 feet tall. Towers that tall have massive cables that spread out in all directions to support the truss sections. It was "hard" for me to not press on but I heard my instructor in my ear telling me know when to just stop.

    Imagine if you have a multi millionaire who is spending $100,000's telling you he wants to go. You probably would not feel comfortable saying ...we have to set down here in the middle of nowhere and get a cab since it is not safe to go on......
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    Originally Posted by Corbi View Post
    News was saying heavy fog.
    Yeah and it wasn't lifting. That's why the pilot kept circling.

    Just a long sad day for everyone. Was headed to a youth basketball game with his daughter. The guy was so much more than a basketball player. I was watching the Celtics and Pelicans tribute and I got all teary eyed. It was beautiful.
    Last edited by kimm4; 01-26-2020 at 05:48 PM.
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    Here is a real video. (Dont watch if you dont want to be disturbed!).

    Bride and Groom leaving their wedding. Pilot should have never took off. (But who wants to disappoint a new bride and her plans to fly away from her wedding)

    The pilot actually did a good job, but only lasted about 2 minutes flying into the soup.

    This is a real vid.....and very sad



    Helicopters are inheritatly unstable and very few people last more than a minute flying into zero vis in a helicopter not equipped to fly IFR with proper instruments. They are flying a Robinson R44 in this vid. (I have about 1000hours experience in one). It does have a artificial horiz (which is why he made it as far as he did), but he never stood a chance.


    The "bad" thing is the helicopter Kobe went down in, CAN (generally speaking) fly in these conditions. That being full IFR rated. BUT it takes very skilled and practiced pilots to maintain the skills to fly IFR in a helo. You are allowed to fly VFR (visual flight rules) into almost any condition if the pilot deems it OK in a helo. Again, helos take off in conditions where planes can not even leave the ground. This is super tough, and this is not the first and wont be the last.


    DO NOT WATCH if you dont want to have to remember a terrible waste of life. As a pilot, these types of incidents serve as cautionary tales that we intentionally expose ourselves to so that we DO stop when that voice in our heads questions the safety of the flight.

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    Unhappy

    Sad day for the game, tragic day for the families.
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    Last helicopter we were in was a Robinson 44, rode it around Table Mountain in S. Africa. Tiny little thing and noisy as hell plus it vibrated quite a bit, I thought it would smooth out some as we climbed up and sped up a bit but it never really did.
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    Originally Posted by Corbi View Post
    2003 Colorado.
    Maybe an insult to true "good guys"? He knew him well, his whole life obviously.

    Horrible stuff though, those youngsters didn't get their chance yet, truly, truly sad for them.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    Here is a real video. (Dont watch if you dont want to be disturbed!).

    Bride and Groom leaving their wedding. Pilot should have never took off. (But who wants to disappoint a new bride and her plans to fly away from her wedding)

    The pilot actually did a good job, but only lasted about 2 minutes flying into the soup.

    This is a real vid.....and very sad



    Helicopters are inheritatly unstable and very few people last more than a minute flying into zero vis in a helicopter not equipped to fly IFR with proper instruments. They are flying a Robinson R44 in this vid. (I have about 1000hours experience in one). It does have a artificial horiz (which is why he made it as far as he did), but he never stood a chance.


    The "bad" thing is the helicopter Kobe went down in, CAN (generally speaking) fly in these conditions. That being full IFR rated. BUT it takes very skilled and practiced pilots to maintain the skills to fly IFR in a helo. You are allowed to fly VFR (visual flight rules) into almost any condition if the pilot deems it OK in a helo. Again, helos take off in conditions where planes can not even leave the ground. This is super tough, and this is not the first and wont be the last.


    DO NOT WATCH if you dont want to have to remember a terrible waste of life. As a pilot, these types of incidents serve as cautionary tales that we intentionally expose ourselves to so that we DO stop when that voice in our heads questions the safety of the flight.

    that video + the context, damn

    sometimes you gotta learn to say no...
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    S76B model which is a serious metal. Usually a dual pilot IFR rated ship. SUPER safe helicopter. Even the Queen of England has used one for transport.

    Early reports were lots of low fog in the area. Unfortunately, most times it turns out that a perfectly good helicopter was flown into a hillside, or wires trying to fly lower and lower to avoid the lowered ceiling. The absolutely terrible part, is this type of ship has the instrumentation to fly in those conditions. But again, this stuff happens all too frequently. Think of how often you hear of EMS helicopters flying into the ground. At the end of the day, some pilots allow themselves to be pressured into flying when they know the condition are not favorable. Especially when that someone is asking to go and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the company you work for to provide him with a helicopter.

    Helicopters in class G airspace can go down to 0/0 visibility and fly in weather that an airplane could never even take off.


    Any way about it, very tragic. Even worse will be if it was totally preventable.
    There's another helicopter pilot weighing in with similar sentiments ITT:

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    ID is correct. The helicopter was functioning fine. The pilot flew it into a mountain. Should not have been out there in that dense fog.

    More tragic that it could have been prevented.
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    I haven't followed basketball except here and there since the 92 dream team. But I knew Bryant. He was something really special. The Dr. J, Majic Johnson, McHale, Bird, Spud Webb, or Jordan for the new generation if you will. The story of the Roberto Clemente or Ritchie Valenz of our parents time. The world of sports has lost a legend. I was impressed with the reporting a few years ago that Bryant had "Dressed down" his team mates for being soft. I thought, "He's in Los Angeles he must be friends with some old school Marines".

    But to be sure, the worst tragedy were the young ones. They had a full life ahead of them, their potential had not been even began to be realized. Their life had been taken way to soon.

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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post


    DO NOT WATCH if you dont want to have to remember a terrible waste of life. As a pilot, these types of incidents serve as cautionary tales that we intentionally expose ourselves to so that we DO stop when that voice in our heads questions the safety of the flight.

    Wow...Looking out the windows of that thing, you can't see anything through the fog.
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    This breakdown pretty much supports everything that ID theorizes. Pilot did not switch to IFR, where his instrumentation and ATC points could have guided him.

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    If you ever want to know how well trained our controllers are, this is a great sound clip.

    It shows the pure terror of a pilot inadvertently flying into IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) .


    Remember he is in an airplane. Airplanes are inherently stable. Which means if you were in trimmed flight and flew into IMC, you can actually just let go of the controls and the plane will fly straight and level. A helicopter is NOT like this. It is unstable by nature and the pilot provides stability.

    With no visual reference, your inner ear will fool your brain into thinking you moving at attitudes which are not correct. Most pilots just fly a death spiral into the ground. (Think JFK junior...another inadvertent IMC accident)


    This vid shows a great job of how terrifying it is BUT it has a happy ending. They saved this guys life.




    a GREAT example of how our senses can be fooled by the inner ear when there is no visual reference. One of the all time great pilots Bob Hoover tells the story of how he rolled an aircraft filled with generals drinking coffee in the back AND THEY NEVER KNEW IT! This is a super cool 45sec vid worth the watch of what a very skilled pilot can do maintaining perfect 1g roll.

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    Question for ID: I know it's speculation, but that helicopter is a $13 million top of the line aircraft. My question is, why would Kobe allow a pilot who doesn't utilize the full safety benefits of that helicopter, fly it? I am not insinuating that it is Kobe's fault. Kobe may have assumed that the pilot was using all the safety benefits, i.e. instruments.

    Also, when they took off, it might not have been foggy where they were, but got caught up in the fog in that valley?
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    Originally Posted by Mark1T View Post
    .

    Also, when they took off, it might not have been foggy where they were, but got caught up in the fog in that valley?
    I imagine that they would check the weather conditions for the entire route as opposed to just their current location...at least I would hope so.
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    Originally Posted by Mark1T View Post
    Question for ID: I know it's speculation, but that helicopter is a $13 million top of the line aircraft. My question is, why would Kobe allow a pilot who doesn't utilize the full safety benefits of that helicopter, fly it? I am not insinuating that it is Kobe's fault. Kobe may have assumed that the pilot was using all the safety benefits, i.e. instruments.
    As more information is coming out, it sounds like the pilot DID attempt to use his instrumentation and obtain waypoints from ATC--but was flying too low to show up on radar. He then ascended to a much higher altitude (in order to either show up on radar OR just because he knew of the upcoming elevation change) which is when he lost all visibility in the fog/clouds.

    From CNN:

    The helicopter was operating under "special visual flight rules," according to an air traffic control conversation with the pilot, captured by website LiveATC.net.
    An SVFR clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard visual flight rules (VFR).
    The Burbank Airport control tower allowed the helicopter to proceed northeast, following the Interstate 5 highway, using the SVFR clearance.

    "Maintain special VFR at or below 2,500" the pilot confirmed to the controller.
    Later in the flight, the pilot apparently asked for "flight following," a service in which controllers are in regular contract with an aircraft.
    The controller was recorded telling the pilot "2 echo X-ray, you're still too low level for flight following at this time." That could mean the helicopter was too low to be seen on air traffic control radar.
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    Originally Posted by Mark1T View Post
    Question for ID: I know it's speculation, but that helicopter is a $13 million top of the line aircraft. My question is, why would Kobe allow a pilot who doesn't utilize the full safety benefits of that helicopter, fly it? I am not insinuating that it is Kobe's fault. Kobe may have assumed that the pilot was using all the safety benefits, i.e. instruments.

    Also, when they took off, it might not have been foggy where they were, but got caught up in the fog in that valley?
    Great question. The failure of human ego and pride have killed MANY people. In the end, the pilot must not be afraid to say "no". When you are working for a company that makes a living providing the types of service, I am sure there is pressure to do whatever the client asks.

    It is for this reason that EMS helo pilots are NEVER told why they are being called to a scene. No patient info or ages or extent of the injury. They make the go/no go call without the additional outside pressure. Imagine being told that a 2yo needs and airlift to save their life. You might be tempted to go when otherwise you know it is too risky.

    Also, this flight sound like it went from "Marginal" conditions to really bad along the way. The pilot was likely under pressure from all sides. IF, IF he was IFR rate, and current, AND the ship was up to spec AND their 135 charter allowed it. 135 is the part of air regulations in which they were operating which allows you to operate "air taxi". It is much more stringent over part 91 operations.

    If they were not OK to operate IFR, requesting to do so could have brought some heat down on the operator and pilot. Even getting their 135 pulled for a time which might shut down their 135 operations. The FAA is brutally stringent on enforcement and there are no hand slaps.

    To try to eliminate these things, the FAA allows pilots a "get out of jail free" card. IF, you file a NASA report and basically tell on yourself for having to break a regulation, they can not punish you for it. This overall system is justified with creating an environment where pilots tell on themselves to help improve overall safety. The guy may not have wanted the attention that might come with that.


    All it would have taken, is saying "Mayday, mayday, mayday", and ATC would have cleared a path to safety for the pilot. Vectored him and gave him guidance to safely fly back out of the soup. The ship was equipped with proper instruments that you can fly it in zero ceiling zero vis. They would have given him a heading and told him to climb to a safe altitude. They would route all traffic around him and likely brought him to the nearest safe airport. Kobe would not have made his arrival, and he probably would have got his butt chewed.

    The pilot chose to keep going, running lower and lower until ATC could not see him on the radar as he was flying down to where he had rising terrain on both sides, following a road. He tried to turn back, but by that time was so funneled in, his turn flew him into a hillside.


    Here is the really really bad part of all of this. Even most handheld aviation GPS have terrain awareness. (while this is not certified to fly by, it is an extra measure of safety). I cant imagine that helo would not have TAwS. (terrain awareness and warning system) . The pilot just got too overloaded and boxed himself in too far.

    That ship was equipped as a two-pilot ship IFR (something pretty rare in the helo world except in getting into VERY high dollar ships). Flying with two pilots helps tremendously with the work load, but costs more. I dont know if two pilots were on board, but hard to believe that two guys would go so far down that path without one exercising better judgment.

    Pressure, ego......This is WAY too common an occurrence.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    He tried to turn back, but by that time was so funneled in, his turn flew him into a hillside.
    They said that his 180 degree turn attempt coincided with a very rapid descent (4,000 feet per minute or 45 mph). Do you have any theory as to why he would descend like that during the turn or is that just what happens whenever you try and turn around quickly in a helicopter?

    Maybe he thought it smarter to turn around at a lower altitude to avoid other potential air traffic at higher altitudes?
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    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    I imagine that they would check the weather conditions for the entire route as opposed to just their current location...at least I would hope so.
    Originally Posted by ajdahlheimer View Post
    As more information is coming out, it sounds like the pilot DID attempt to use his instrumentation and obtain waypoints from ATC--but was flying too low to show up on radar. He then ascended to a much higher altitude (in order to either show up on radar OR just because he knew of the upcoming elevation change) which is when he lost all visibility in the fog/clouds.

    From CNN:

    The helicopter was operating under "special visual flight rules," according to an air traffic control conversation with the pilot, captured by website LiveATC.net.
    An SVFR clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard visual flight rules (VFR).
    The Burbank Airport control tower allowed the helicopter to proceed northeast, following the Interstate 5 highway, using the SVFR clearance.

    "Maintain special VFR at or below 2,500" the pilot confirmed to the controller.
    Later in the flight, the pilot apparently asked for "flight following," a service in which controllers are in regular contract with an aircraft.
    The controller was recorded telling the pilot "2 echo X-ray, you're still too low level for flight following at this time." That could mean the helicopter was too low to be seen on air traffic control radar.
    Interesting and makes sense. Thanks.

    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    Great question. The failure of human ego and pride have killed MANY people. In the end, the pilot must not be afraid to say "no". When you are working for a company that makes a living providing the types of service, I am sure there is pressure to do whatever the client asks.

    It is for this reason that EMS helo pilots are NEVER told why they are being called to a scene. No patient info or ages or extent of the injury. They make the go/no go call without the additional outside pressure. Imagine being told that a 2yo needs and airlift to save their life. You might be tempted to go when otherwise you know it is too risky.

    Also, this flight sound like it went from "Marginal" conditions to really bad along the way. The pilot was likely under pressure from all sides. IF, IF he was IFR rate, and current, AND the ship was up to spec AND their 135 charter allowed it. 135 is the part of air regulations in which they were operating which allows you to operate "air taxi". It is much more stringent over part 91 operations.

    If they were not OK to operate IFR, requesting to do so could have brought some heat down on the operator and pilot. Even getting their 135 pulled for a time which might shut down their 135 operations. The FAA is brutally stringent on enforcement and there are no hand slaps.

    To try to eliminate these things, the FAA allows pilots a "get out of jail free" card. IF, you file a NASA report and basically tell on yourself for having to break a regulation, they can not punish you for it. This overall system is justified with creating an environment where pilots tell on themselves to help improve overall safety. The guy may not have wanted the attention that might come with that.


    All it would have taken, is saying "Mayday, mayday, mayday", and ATC would have cleared a path to safety for the pilot. Vectored him and gave him guidance to safely fly back out of the soup. The ship was equipped with proper instruments that you can fly it in zero ceiling zero vis. They would have given him a heading and told him to climb to a safe altitude. They would route all traffic around him and likely brought him to the nearest safe airport. Kobe would not have made his arrival, and he probably would have got his butt chewed.

    The pilot chose to keep going, running lower and lower until ATC could not see him on the radar as he was flying down to where he had rising terrain on both sides, following a road. He tried to turn back, but by that time was so funneled in, his turn flew him into a hillside.


    Here is the really really bad part of all of this. Even most handheld aviation GPS have terrain awareness. (while this is not certified to fly by, it is an extra measure of safety). I cant imagine that helo would not have TAwS. (terrain awareness and warning system) . The pilot just got too overloaded and boxed himself in too far.

    That ship was equipped as a two-pilot ship IFR (something pretty rare in the helo world except in getting into VERY high dollar ships). Flying with two pilots helps tremendously with the work load, but costs more. I dont know if two pilots were on board, but hard to believe that two guys would go so far down that path without one exercising better judgment.

    Pressure, ego......This is WAY too common an occurrence.
    Thanks, ID. That's a lot information to unpack, but makes perfect sense. I was not aware of the EMS aren't told why they are called to a scene and that makes sense, too.
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    Originally Posted by ajdahlheimer View Post
    They said that his 180 degree turn attempt coincided with a very rapid descent (4,000 feet per minute or 45 mph). Do you have any theory as to why he would descend like that during the turn or is that just what happens whenever you try and turn around quickly in a helicopter?

    Maybe he thought it smarter to turn around at a lower altitude to avoid other potential air traffic at higher altitudes?
    Likely he experienced debilitating spatial disorientation (probably in the clouds already) and turned the helicopter on its side. 4000 FPM is too great a decent for even dumping out a bunch of collective and trying to turn around.
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