The helicopter which crashed last Sunday and killed legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others belonged to a chartered company which was not certified to fly in times when there is poor visibility, as per reports.
Sikorsky S-76B was owned by Island Express Helicopters was certified only to fly according to the visual flight rules which state that the pilot needs to see the outside clearly during the day, as reported by the New York Times.
The helicopter carrying Kobe crashed in California
The aircraft is equipped for instrument flying, however, the report said. "There is only one way you can be in the clouds, on an IFR flight plan or by accident," Deetz told the newspaper, referring to instrument flight rules. The helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan, was licensed for instrument flying, most likely had little experience in doing so given the company's operating limitations, Deetz told Forbes separately.
The twin-engine helicopter slammed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, amid visibility-limiting clouds and fog. Air traffic controllers had given Zobayan "special visual flight rules," or clearance to fly in the less-than-optimal weather around the Burbank airport. The pilot had reported that visibility was sufficient for visual flight, the Times said, adding that the weather appeared to have worsened as the flight continued.
In a separate statement, Island Express Helicopters said it was suspending all services. "The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers," the charter company said. The death of Bryant, 41, an 18-time NBA all-star and one of the most admired athletes around the globe, sent shockwaves through the sports and entertainment worlds.