Kobe Bryant helicopter pilot had ‘spatial disorientation’ before crash: NTSB

Article Link: https://nypost.com/2021/02/09/ntsb-says-kobe-bryant-chopper-pilot-experienced-spatial-disorientation/

Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter crash was likely caused by the pilot’s decision to fly through thick clouds in violation of federal regulations, leading him to become disoriented, safety regulators announced Tuesday. Just before the Jan. 26 2020 crash in Calabasas, California that killed the Lakers star and eight others, pilot Ara Zobayan climbed to 4,000 feet in a tightening left turn and then descended rapidly in a left turn — a maneuver consistent with “spatial disorientation” in limited visibility, they said at a meeting of the board to present results of its investigation into the tragedy. Zobayan had told air traffic control he was climbing and about to break through the clouds — but he was actually beginning to descend at increasing magnitude, the NTSB concluded. “The pilot doesn’t know which way is up,” investigator-in-charge Bill English said of the phenomenon, also known as a “somatogravic illusion.”