CALABASAS, California (KETK) – The helicopter that held Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others was given special air traffic control permission to fly under the foggy weather conditions.
According to audio with the pilot, the helicopter was operating under “special visual flight rules” (SVFR). The auio was captured by the website LiveATC.net.
The controller told the pilot to “Maintain special VFR at or below 2,500.”
The pilot then asked the controller for “flight following”, which is where controllers stay in regular contact with the helicopter. Controllers told him that they were still too low to be seen on radar.
This special permission allowed the pilot to fly around Burbank’s airspace. The investigation is likely to focus on whether the pilot made the right to decision to continue to fly in the heavy fog despite the clearance.
The crash killed the future Hall-of-Famer, his 13-year-old Gianna, and seven others. The FAA has not determined the cause of the crash.