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Kobe Bryant Crash: New Reports Claim Pilot 'Violated Federal Standards' During Flight

Kobe Bryant crash: According to new reports pertaining to the Los Angeles Lakers icon's helicopter crash, pilot Ara Zobayan had 'violated federal standards'.

kobe bryant crash

For almost a year, authorities were investigating Kobe Bryant's crash on January 26, 2020. The helicopter tragedy claimed the lives of nine people, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Now, reports have concluded that the pilot Ara Zobayan was responsible for the incident, as he apparently grew disoriented because of the fog. While these observations were made earlier, this reports comes from federal safety officials. 

Also read | Vanessa Bryant pleads media to not show Kobe's crash photos: 'We do NOT want to see it'

Kobe Bryant crash reason updated almost a year after his death

As per the reports by federal safety investigators, the pilot violated federal flight standards, which ultimately led to the crash. Robert Sumwalt, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, reported that Zobayan most likely flew through the thick fog and became disoriented. Sumwalt added that he was flying under 'visual flight rules', which meant he needed to see where he was going during the flight. 

The group of nine were travelling from Orange County to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County for a basketball game. They came across a fog on their way, something which was expected. While Zobayan tried to fly above the clouds, the helicopter apparently plunged downwards and slammed into the Calabasas hills, which claimed everyone's lives instantly. 

Also read | US Kobe Bryant Crash Findings Update: Kobe Bryant death

Following Bryant's highly documented death, attention has been drawn towards installing warning systems in aircrafts – mainly those which carry six or more passengers. The investigation board is also reportedly going to make certain recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes installing a warning system in the aircraft. The system will warn the pilot of danger, possibly preventing the crash. 

These systems are required in air ambulances, which is why Bryant's helicopter did not have one. Vanessa Bryant (along with others) has been pushing for a sponsored Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act – which will pertain new safety standards for all helicopters. 

Also read | Kobe Bryant helicopter pilot family wants to move wrongful death lawsuit out of LA: Report

Who was Ara Zobayan?

Zobayan, 50, had a commercial helicopter licence as per the FAA records (via New York Times). He was also a flight instructor. As per KTLA reporter Christina Pascucci, Zobayan taught aspiring helicopter pilots to fly and was loved in their aviation community. He got his commercial license in 2007, and had 8,200 flight hours (as of July 2019). He was reportedly up to date on all FAA's annual medical exams. 

Also read | Kobe Bryant crash: Text messages before crash revealed, construct day leading to disaster

(Image credits: Kobe Bryant Instagram)

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