Over the last few days, helicopter safety has become a pressing issue. Following the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, and seven of their close friends, the investigation has caused many to question if the helicopter accident could have been prevented. Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), shared in a press conference on Tuesday (January 28) that the helicopter carrying the nine victims of the Calabasas crash didn’t have a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) which reportedly lets pilots know when the aircraft gets too close to the terrain.
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She wouldn’t go so far as to say whether or not a TAWS system would have prevented an accident in this specific circumstance, but she stated, “Certainly, TAWS could have helped.” According to a report made by TMZ, Sikorsky, the manufacturer of the helicopter involved in Bryant’s crash, is urging owners of the older S-76 models to add the terrain system. Kobe’s helicopter was made in 1991 and TAWS was an optional feature until 2005.
It was also reported that the basketball icon’s helicopter didn’t have a “black box” flight data recorder, as well, because it wasn’t a standard feature with that older model. TMZ shares that Sikorsky has stated they are “actively supporting the NTSB investigation” and that “Safety is our top priority. If there are any actionable findings from the investigation, we will immediately inform our S-76 customers.”