The article is about the helicopter crash of famous NBA player, Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and other acquaintances who are in the aircraft as well. The article talks about the investigation of the helicopter incident for the lack of black box in the said helicopter they rode on. The investigators found out that there has been a lack of black box in the aircraft which deters the investigation. The helicopter was said to have hit on a mountain and that the aircraft also lacked a terrain avoidance warning system. Because of this, the pilot was said to have missed the hill by 20 to 30 feet. The National Transportation Safety Board investigators said that the aircraft that collided into a mountain did not have an obstacle awareness warning system, something which has been long suggested by the Transport Safety Authority as a requirement.
The article by Duncan and Lazo (2020) proposed that without the black box and terrain avoidance warning system, the investigation of the Sikorsky S-76B accident that killed the basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others will be delayed. The black box, which contains the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder (Tilley, 2015), is essential in verifying the cause of the crash that occurred on January 26, 2020 at 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. These recorders are mandatory for airplanes, while it is not required for helicopters.
As shown in the article, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it is inefficient to require these instruments as these do not minimize the risk of unpreventable crashes. However, it will still notably aid the search, implied by the head of the investigation, Jennifer Homendy. The lack of specific equipment such as the black box and voice and data recorders hinders the investigation because if the aircraft was equipped with all of these, it is a big help for the investigation.
The theory of the article was supported with evidences and rationality. It is aided by reputable sources. It is consistent in stating its information which assures its audience with facts. But there are a few points in the article wherein the authors of the article and the researchers have different stances. According to an article by Verger (2019), the black box is not the only key in determining the root of aircraft accidents, which the researchers agree with. Professionals are instructed to observe various elements other than the black box that can affect the state of the aircraft which may have hinder its performance and caused the tragedy. Anthony Brickhouse revealed in the same article that there are three components that should be investigated when there are aircraft accidents: the human factor, the machine factor, and the environmental factor. In the human factor, the pilots and its crew are not the only one to be regarded. The history on how the aircraft was maintained are also explored by the experts. The machine factor, however, focuses on the parts and features of the aircraft. While in the environmental factor, the weather when the flight happened was noted.
In an article by Lyons (2020), the helicopter was known to be well-maintained and had a good safety record prior to the collision. But going back to the original article, a few minutes before the flight took off and before the accident happened, there has been a report on heavy fog in the route. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, asked and was approved of clearance to fly despite the foggy weather. But together with the clearance, the pilot should also manually operate the aircraft with the help of the Air Traffic Controller. Moments before the impact, the aircraft swiftly climbed and descended. Because of this, the original article suspected that the pilot was puzzled before the unfortunate error happened. Based on the investigation, it has been stated that the pilot’s decision was to continue the flight despite the weather condition, is one of the factors of the crash. It is later discovered that while the pilot of the last flight of Sikorsky S-76B was certified to fly manually, the owner of the helicopter does not have certification to allow its pilots to fly by sight (Philipps and Mervosh, 2020). The incident is believed to be a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), wherein an aircraft controlled by the pilot unwarily collides into land (SKYbrary, 2019).
With all the information from the article and investigation of the NTSB, the researchers can conclude that the aircraft was not safe to ride on in the first place. Every aircraft to be used must be checked before the day to be used. If the aircraft lacks important parts and functions, it should not be used for safety purposes. Also, if the weather condition is risky, a pilot should not risk the lives of the people along for the ride. Because of the lack of equipment and the risk took by the pilot despite the weather condition, nine lives were lost. The other problem is that, since there is lack of black box and voice and data recorder, it is hard to say what happened for sure. The only information people can rely on is the interview of other employees, what was left from the accident, and reports about the aircraft itself. To avoid future accidents like what happened, the safety of travelers and also the staff to be aboard of the aircraft must be ensured proper safety. Pilots, too, must be cautious in keeping their passengers safe at all times and take them to the destination they paid for.