Improved N72EX Kobe Bryant Animated Crash Reconstruction

Improved N72EX Kobe Bryant Animated Crash Reconstruction


welcome to the fifth installment in my effort to reconstruct the crash of November 7 2 echo x-ray. In this version I have improved the cloud visualization, the crash site scenery, and have tweaked the reconstructed flight path. I refer you to my previous videos for the description of the tools I’m using in this reconstruction. We are approaching a mountain pass where the helicopter was low due to the clouds. Near the bridge you see below is a camera that caught a picture of the helicopter that went over. I have placed a virtual camera at the same location so we can watch the helicopter as it passes. Here is a comparison of my reconstruction with the actual photo. I tried selecting the next lower altitude for the cloud layer in the simulator but then I couldn’t see the helicopter. The top window is my representation of the weather conditions during the time of the flight, the other windows give you reference to the helicopter location while we are in the clouds. Here is a comparison of the clouds between my version 5 and 4 reconstructions. In this reconstruction the clouds are lower and gives better insight as to why the pilot didn’t try to Scud run underneath them. About this time the pilot notifies air-traffic control that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to avoid a cloud layer. I don’t know when the aircraft became surrounded by clouds, but this is my guess about the view from the cockpit. As you can see we have no visibility in any direction. The aircraft continues to climb to get out of the cloud layer. In this reconstruction the aircraft climbs to a maximum altitude of 2,300 feet. Looking at this NTSB picture you can see that the cloud layer is about 2400 feet high. In other words if the pilot had gone up only another 100 feet they would have been out of the clouds. The helicopter begins a left turn. My friend Brad, who himself is a helicopter pilot, wonders if the pilot was attempting to configure the Honeywell flight management system to his left. It supports his theory that the pilot made inadvertent control inputs, following his head left and down, taking his eyes even farther away from the attitude indicator he should have been scanning. No matter the cause, the helicopter continues the left-hand turn, is descending at over 4,000 feet per minute and the pilot doesn’t see the ground until moments before impact. Here is a view of the crafts as seen from near the impact point. I’m using this vantage point to compare my impact point to that provided by the NTSB. This picture compares my reconstructed intact point to that provided by the NTSB… I think I got it pretty close. We end with simulations of how the crash might have looked to two witnesses. I’ve not been able to determine their exact locations, so this is just a representation. The first witness said they saw the crash from about 200 feet away. The NTSB said there was a witness on a mountain bike trail about 50 feet above the crash site and that they glimpsed the belly of the helicopter before the crash. Lastly, this is a comparison of the crash between my version four and version five reconstructions. A big thanks to Oscar Pilote and the ortho4xp software that allowed me to generate higher resolution scenery of the crash site.

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  1. Great work. I was in the airline business for 35 years, lost several friends in crashes, and my dad was a private pilot almost all of his life. These details always interest me. Thanks for sharing your private investigations.

  2. This indicates to me that there's a better chance that they only suffered a few seconds if at all. I hope they never saw the ground coming since it was so quick.

  3. Not a pilot here. So the pilot would have no sense that he is going down? when in an airplane is clear when the pilot climbs and goes down. Why wouldn’t such a sudden drop be noticed by his or their bodies? i understand spatial disorientation but what about g force and gravity we feel while flying an airplane? would the TAWS system help him at all if installed? how far into that descent is the the point of no return past which the pilot could not have possibly recovered?

  4. Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s two-year endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines has sparked protest among Armenian Americans in Los Angeles and nationwide..this brought anger to the armenian people..pilot was armenian…what better place then here what better place then now

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