Kobe Bryant did NOT pressure his helicopter pilot to take any dangerous risks to complete his doomed flight on Jan. 26, investigators say … but the pilot may have put pressure on himself to forge ahead through dangerous conditions to please his famous client.
Pressure from an important client CAN lead pilots to make bad decisions, experts say … but that wasn’t the case with Kobe.
“There was no evidence that Island Express, the air charter broker or the client [Kobe Bryant] placed pressure on the pilot to accept the charter flight request or complete the flight and adverse weather.”
So far, NTSB investigators believe the pilot experienced a condition called Spatial Disorientation in the moments before the crash, which made him think the aircraft was climbing when in fact it was descending. As one investigator put it, “The pilot doesn’t know which way is up.”
In fact, investigators say spatial disorientation is obviously a very dangerous condition — and they want more aircraft operators to implement programs to help identify and prevent pilots from experiencing it during flight.
During the presentation, Vice Chairman Landsberg seemed to point the finger at the pilot — saying he should have recognized the danger the weather presented that day and turned around and landed at Van Nuys airport, which was just a short distance from the crash site.
Investigators noted Kobe and the pilot had a long professional relationship and Kobe trusted him to fly his children even when the NBA star wasn’t present.