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Pilot disorientation questioned by the NTSB

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Kobe Bryant was a legend in the world, but for his daughter Gianna Bryant, he was so much more.

USA TODAY

The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant is descended steeply and crashed, killing all nine passengers on board, even if its driver has told us in his last radio transmission as he was climbing to 4,000 feet, the documents released Wednesday by federal investigators show.

The driver never told air traffic controllers over plans to turn it in and get off after they asked him about his intentions once he was in the new, high-altitude, which raises new questions about whether he could have been disoriented as a fog layer hanging over the valley near Calabasas, California, the quiet Sunday mornings of January.

The details are part of the approximately 1,700 pages of documents, maps, interview and text message transcripts published by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB, however, has not offered any analysis or conclusions, which he later said.

Taken together, however, the documents shed more light on the accident that killed retired NBA superstar Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, six friends, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The tragedy has led to a wave of grief around the nation with memorials, flowers and a ceremony attended by thousands at the Staples Center, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The papers show that there is little to indicate the difficulty was to the front.

More: Lakers’ Rob Pelinka ‘broken’ Kobe Bryant can not receive hall of Fame honor in person

After lifting with Kobe and his party to Santa Ana, California, the helicopter went without incident, except for when he was commanded to briefly stand next to the north of Los Angeles, because of other air traffic. Then he went on.

In the final exchange of radio transmissions, Zobayan has obtained permission from controllers to fly visually, hugging the ground to avoid a layer of fog above him, and with the help of a highway of navigation below. About four minutes later, just before the communication was lost at 9: 45 a.m. PST on Jan. 26, a controller asked Zobayan, using the call sign N72EX, what he planned to do.

“Uh, we go up to 4,000,” was the reply. Then, the controller asked Zobayan intentions when it reaches this altitude. No response came back.

In this document photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigators work at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo: NTSB)

A graph of the large Sikorsky S-76B final minutes of the shows of the rock climbing because it swings to the left, away from the highway, and flew to the top of the valley. But then, he inexplicably came down in another left turn, which would prove to be fatal. The helicopter crashed into the top of a hill with such force that some of the wreckage was thrown over the ridge, the investigators of the NTSB, said at the time.

The events that led to the flights were simple, the documents show. Zobayan, 50, has 8,577 total number of hours of flight time, including 1,250 hours in the S-76. It has a mark on its balance sheet, after having been dinged for flight in controlled airspace without obtaining permission in 2015, for which he received counseling and additional training. He had stolen the same group to the same destination, an airport in Camarillo, California, the day before the accident, without incident.

Autopsy: Driver in a January crash that killed Kobe Bryant, eight other people had no alcohol, drugs in her system

At least, weather, Zobayan wait until the next day to be an improvement. In a text sent to him, the night before the crash asking him about the weather, Zobayan replied that he had just checked, and it was ” Not the best day tomorrow, but it is not as bad as today. “In the morning, he sent a text message that the time” should be OK. “

The controllers have said they had the helicopter in sight when it was ordered to be close to the airport, but he lost sight as it headed towards its destination. Later, the rumor spread among them that the incident had taken place.

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