Kobe Bryant, his family members and traveling companions died in a helicopter flown by a pilot who flew into clouds, then flew into a mountain, instead of turning around and remaining clear of clouds and safely above terrain.
The first set of questions that come to the forefront are these:
- Was the pilot instrument rated by the FAA?
- Was the helo equipped for instrument flying and certified by the FAA?
- Was the flight operations company certified by the FAA to conduct instrument flight ops in instrument weather?
- If not, why was the pilot permitted by the FAA to operate commercial flights?
- Was there actually any FAA oversight of this company?
- For that matter, how well does the FAA conduct regulatory oversight of any VIP or celebrity air transport company?
- Are Kobe Bryant and family companions dead because someone at this company and / or the FAA did not do their job?
- What are the set of safety hazards here that these questions reveal?
The second set of questions that come up are these:
- Have these safety hazards been corrected?
- Are there other VIP and celebrity air transport flight services operating in the US outside of FAA instrument regulations?
- Is this a mishap waiting to be repeated?
- How can VIPs and celebrities ensure that their transportation services companies are operating safely, with trained and instrument qualified flight crew members, with FAA instrument certified aircraft, and are receiving regular and current oversight by the FAA?
These are the questions VIPs and celebrities need to ask before they charter air transportation services.
Safe transportation is dependent on well trained, qualified and certified flight crew members, a properly certificated flight operations company and FAA currently certified aircraft and rotary craft equipment.
For more information, contact Safety Forecast Director of Safety Policy, Captain Paul Miller