Randy Waldman, a helicopter flight instructor who teaches at the nearby Van Nuys airport, said its likely the pilot got disoriented in the fog and the helicopter went into a fatal dive.
"It's a common thing that happens in airplanes and helicopters with people flying with poor visibility," Waldman said. "If you're flying visually, if you get caught in a situation where you can't see out the windshield, the life expectancy of the pilot and the aircraft is maybe 10, 15 seconds, and it happens all the time, and it's really a shame."
Waldman said it was the same thing that happened to John F. Kennedy Jr. when his plane dropped out of the sky near Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1999.
"A lot of times somebody who's doing it for a living is pressured to get their client to where they have to go," Waldman said. "They take chances that maybe they shouldn't take."
David Hoeppner, an expert on helicopter design, said he won't fly on helicopters.
"Part of it is the way they certify and design these things," said Hoeppner, a retired engineering professor at the University of Utah. "But the other part is helicopter pilots often fly in conditions where they shouldn't be flying."
Jerry Kidrick, a retired army colonel who flew helicopters in Iraq and now teaches at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., said the helicopter's rapid climb and fast descent suggest the pilot was disoriented.
When that happens, he said, pilots must instantly switch from visual cues to flying the aircraft using only the machine's instruments.
"It's one of the most dangerous conditions you can be in," Kidrick said. "Oftentimes, your body is telling you something different than what the instruments are telling you. You can feel like you're leaning to the left or the right when you're not. If the pilot isn't trained well enough to believe the instruments, you get in a panic situation."
that's quite interesting. surely these days they could just have a button "level and hold". drones have this function.
Edited by Victoria Watcher, 27 January 2020 - 06:58 PM.