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.