Kobe Bryant’s pilot ‘would have felt pressure’ to fly superstar on day so foggy most other helicopters were grounded – The Sun
KOBE Bryant’s pilot would have felt enormous pressure to fly the superstar despite bad weather on the day of the fatal crash, other airmen said yesterday.
The NBA legend, 42, died alongside his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others when his chopper slammed into a Los Angeles mountain in heavy fog on Sunday.
Visibility was so poor that many other aircraft – including all police choppers in the city – were grounded over safety fears.
But Bryant’s pilot Ara Zobayan requested special permission to fly through the fog on that fateful day.
The ultimate decision on whether to take to the skies would have rested with him, according to the FAA.
Investigators have not faulted his decision or determined why he made it.
But fellow pilots have suggested he would have felt huge pressure to get his important passengers to their destination on time.
The perceived pressure is, ‘Man, if I don’t go, they’re going to find somebody who will fly this thing’.”
LA helicopter instructor Randy Waldman said: “Somebody who’s a wealthy celebrity who can afford a helicopter to go places, the reason they take the helicopter is so they can get from A to B quickly with no hassle.
“Anybody that flies for a living there’s sort of an inherent pressure to get the job done because if too many times they go, ‘No, I don’t think I can fly, the weather’s getting bad or it’s too windy,’ … they’re going to lose their job.”
He said the feeling is very common and is referred to as “got-to-get-there-itis” or “get-home-itis”.
And Jerry Kidrick, a retired Army colonel who flew helicopters in Iraq, said he experienced similar pressure when flying military brass.
He said: “The perceived pressure is, ‘Man, if I don’t go, they’re going to find somebody who will fly this thing’.”
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