No doubt, the world is in shock and agony because of the sudden demise of Kobe Bryant. The life of the NBA legend came to an end after he got involved in a helicopter crash on Saturday night. The player was flying on his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter model. While the cause of the crash has not been established yet, there are new details about the helicopter that are worth knowing.
During his time as a player with the Lakers, Kobe flew on the same helicopter several times. Apart from avoiding the jam, he loved flying on the aircraft because his long legs could not let him comfortably sit in a car. This happened mostly when he had a game.
At the moment, the cause of the crash is thought to be a possible mechanical problem or it could be because of bad weather. According to sources, there was a lot of fog during the time of the crash. Thus, most people allege that the fog might have affected the visibility of the pilot, leading to the accident. Even so, what is there to know about the Sikorsky S-76 model?
About Sikorsky S-76 helicopters
The reputation and specifications of the aircraft might have triggered him to get one for his personal use. Below are some of the features that make it stand out.
It has long safe flight hours
As per the company’s website, the helicopter has the capability of flying more than 7.4 million safe hours. Precisely, his unit was built in 1991. In other words, it was still safe to fly in the helicopter. Besides, reports have it that he had used it during the week.
It is equipped with 2S2 aerial engines
The specification alone makes it convenient for transportation purposes. As per the developer, the engines boost their readiness and performance whenever in use. Also, the effectiveness of the engines reduces maintenance costs.
It is medium-sized
The helicopter could only accommodate twelve passengers, including the pilots. Perhaps, this explains why it is majorly used for rescue and transportation purposes. However, according to reports from the crash site, the helicopter had nine people on board, including his daughter, Gianna Maria Onore Bryant.
It has a luxurious and quiet cabin
Apart from having sophisticated mechanical features, the helicopter has a quiet cabin, even when it is in motion. Unlike when flying on the common ones, you do not need headsets in the S-76. Plus, you can work while on the flight with little to no disturbance as if you are on a business jet.
Retractable landing gear
The feature enables it to take off and land smoothly, reducing possible damages to other parts, especially the engines. A hydraulic system operates the gear. However, the S-76 is fitted with the new electrical system to facilitate this process, amongst others.
Other specifications include:
- It has a length of 52 ft 6 in.
- It boasts of a width of 10 ft at the horizontal stabilizer.
- It weighs 5,306 kg.
- It has a fuel capacity of 281 US gallons (1,064 liters).
- It can fly at a maximum speed of up to 155 knots (287km/hr).
- It contains a four-axi fully coupled autopilot.
- A has a powerful rotor brake.
- It has a Honeywell Primus weather radardeck and a BendixKing Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)
- It has a Honeywell Primus weather radar.
- It is fitted with air data computers.
- It is equipped with a classic cockpit voice recorder.
Before the crash
Black Mamba, Gi Gi (daughter), and seven others were full of life at the Mamba Sports Academy during the day. He had accompanied Mambacita to train with others at his academy. Like him, the 13-year-old daughter was hoping to become the best in the WNBA.
CNN has obtained a conversation between the pilot of the S-76 and air control. The conversation, which was captured by LiveATC.net website, is a follows:
Maintain special VFR at or below 2,500
2 echo X-ray, you're still too low level for flight following at this time
Events that lead to the crash
According to an article on TMZ, the pilot might have had a difficult time controlling the helicopter because the weather was extremely foggy. At 9:00 AM PT, the pilot contacted Burbank to inform them that they were about to take off. In fact, the pilot of the S-76 is said to have made circles for about 15 minutes because he was flying under “special visual flight rules.”
After a long struggle controlling the helicopter, the pilot was seen heading north along the 118 freeway. Later, the aircraft turned west around Woodland Hills, CA. At around 9: 40 AM, the flight headed south, indicating the difficulties the pilot had with the foggy weather.
Even after changing the direction, the helicopter had to rise higher by an extra 800 feet, perhaps to avoid obstructions. Again, the pilot flew a little lower at a speed of 161 knots. Unfortunately, the helicopter was untraceable. Minutes later, it became clear that it crashed at Calabasas, California.
Who else died in the Bryant Kobe crash?
Apart from Bryant and Gigi, the following are the names of the people that were on board:
- Ara Zobayan
- Christina Mauser
- Sarah Chester
- Payton Chester
- Alyssa Altobelli
- Keri Altobelli
- John Altobelli
Other incidents associated with S-76
Kobe, Giana, and seven others are not the first to crash on the S-76 helicopter. The helicopter has been previously involved in four other major accidents. The crashes are as follows:
- Bristow Helicopters Sikorsky S-76A crash: It occurred in 2002. It claimed the lives of two crew members and nine Shell workers.
- Copterline Flight 103: It occurred on the 10th of August, claiming the lives of 14 members, including two crew members.
- Ornge air ambulance Moosonee crash: It occurred on 8th February 2013. Fortunately, no one died.
- Swan Aviation Sikorsky S-76 crash: It occurred on 10th March. Unfortunately, the crash was so tragic that it claimed all the seven members that were on board. The crash was a result of heavy fog similar to that one of the LA Lakers crash.
Sikorsky S-76 is a medium-sized helicopter that is mainly used for executive transportation and medical and rescue missions. Despite its outstanding reputation, it has previously recorded a few crashes before the Sunday night’s fatal crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others.