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Kobe Bryant’s death causes many to second guess helicopter safety

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2020 | Product Liability

Traveling across town in a chauffeured car or a helicopter to avoid California’s deadlocked traffic is a reality for some of the busiest and wealthiest individuals. While these modes of transportation may make it easier for high profile people to get around town, the crash of the famed basketball player Kobe Bryant’s helicopter on Jan. 26 caused many to question just how safe these types of aircraft are.

The helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other individuals’ lives last weekend is tragic. Helicopter crashes happen more often than other aviation crashes though.

Data published by the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) last year showed that 0.72 fatal accidents occurred per 100,000 flight hours during 2018. While this seems like a very small amount, there’s been a zero crash rate for U.S. commercial airplanes during the past few years.

A USHST spokesperson notes that private or personal helicopter trips only account for 3% of all flights yet result in the most fatalities. Air taxi or corporate flights are the second most dangerous type of trip in this mode of transportation.

USHST data shows that one of the more common causes of fatal crashes is pilots rushing to get to their destination. The organization’s spokesperson notes that customers often put pressure on their pilots to fly in unsafe conditions just so they can make it somewhere on time.

If there’s one thing that many of us often hear repeated, it’s that flying is safer than driving. Safety analysts warn that while this may be true about commercial aircraft, it’s not particularly accurate about helicopters.

Americans, in general, spend 70 billion hours annually on the road. The more time motorists spend on the road, the higher their risk of becoming involved in a crash. Americans spend far less time traveling around in helicopters yet still have as high of a fatality rate as they do. This is what makes this mode of transportation more dangerous than cars.

There are a variety of factors including engine failure, pilot error, weather concerns that cause fatal aviation crashes. A product liability attorney can advise you of your ability to hold a helicopter manufacturer accountable for your loved one’s death. This is especially the case if an equipment failure caused their untimely death here in Redwood City or elsewhere in California.