Pilot in Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Crash Was Disciplined By The FAA For Reduced Visibility Violation In 2015

written by @kaylabrantley

The pilot of the helicopter that crashed into a California hillside last month, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, himself, and six others, had previously violated FAA rules by flying into airspace against air traffic control’s orders.

In May 2015, Ara Zobayan was piloting a chopper when he was denied clearance near LAX because of reduced visibility and weather conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He contacted air traffic control for permission to fly through the airspace under special VFR clearance – the same clearance he was granted during last month’s fateful flight. When the tower denied his request and told him to go around the area, Zobayan backtracked and flew in the restricted airspace.

“Had Mr. Zobayan properly planned and reviewed current weather at LAX, he would have been able to anticipate the required action to transit … resulting in proper coordination,” the FAA report said. “There are no indications that this is a repeated incident, and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan.”

Zobayan took responsibility for his mistake and was counseled by an FAA investigation.

The cause of last month’s crash is still under investigation.

Ara Zobayan

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2 comments

  1. What is the point of posting this article?
    Unless he committed the same error in the most recent accident, which resulted in many losing their lives, there is no point. He took responsibility, was reprimanded by the FAA and from what we know, completed future task according the rules. He is known as a professional in the field and was trusted by many.
    This article comes off as distasteful, tarnishing the legacy of a man who is unable to speak up for himself as he is no longer with us. I cannot imagine his family’s feelings, knowing thousands of people will discuss their loved ones past errors while dealing with their grief.
    It would be better for you all to withhold from posting negative articles of the deceased unless we later learn he added to the fateful events of that day.

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