News 9 Pilot Jim Gardner Details Moments Leading Up To Bryant's Helicopter Crash
The world is still reeling from the shocking death of former NBA great Kobe Bryant along with 8 others.
As tributes are being made around the league, and vigils grow in Los Angeles, we are learning more about the ill-fated helicopter flight.
Jim Gardner flew a helicopter in the Los Angeles area for more than a decade before moving back to Oklahoma.
Moments after hearing about Kobe Bryant’s crash, Gardner thought of an old friend.
“The same exact situation,” said Gardner about the helicopter crash that took his friend’s life in 1995.
“He was doing a flight that I told him not to take because the weather was going to be too bad,” said Gardner.
Due to the low ceiling of visibility, Los Angeles Police grounded its helicopters Sunday Mmrning.
Communications between ground control and the pilot of the helicopter carrying Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter along with seven others has been posted online.
In the audio, it appears the pilot is trying to fly to California Highway 101 and visually follow the highway from the sky.
Based on the aircraft’s altitude and the low visibility ceiling, Gardner believes the pilot couldn’t see the highway.
The audio shows the pilot stops communicating with those helping to guide the aircraft on the ground through radar.
Right before the helicopter goes off radar, the aircraft gains around 700 feet of altitude before plummeting.
Gardner believes the helicopter pilot may have pulled up fast after seeing an obstacle and rolled the aircraft, causing it to drop.
“When you are not seeing anything, your inner ear, your mind, will play tricks on you and I have been there. I've been there and you will swear that all those instruments on the dash are telling you wrong,” said Gardner.
Gardner said that's where helicopter pilots can’t see and need help flying on instruments, they need to climb, confess, and communicate.
“They don't want to be that guy, but I’ve been that guy more times than I can tell you as a young pilot,” said Gardner.