4-Feb-2021 Source: Brad Sherman
Congressman Sherman moved to first introduce this legislation in the wake of the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others one year ago in Calabasas, California.
The legislation is supported by members of the Bryant family, and Vanessa Bryant issued a statement of support last year:
“I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” said Vanessa Bryant. “I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation. Having Kobe’s and Gianna’s names associated with this federal law that has the potential to save countless lives would be a fitting tribute to their memory.”
In crafting this legislation, Congressman Sherman worked with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is charged with investigating tragedies like the one that occurred in Calabasas. The National Transportation Safety Board formally recommended in 2004 that passenger helicopters be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) and two years later they also recommended that helicopters be equipped with a flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Unfortunately, the FAA refused to act on these safety recommendations.
“In 2004, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended to the FAA that all helicopters be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System. Unfortunately, the FAA refused to follow this recommendation to require the safety system” said Congressman Sherman. “The Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act will finally direct the FAA to require these safety features for passenger helicopters in order to avoid tragedies like the one that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.”
“Mandatory terrain awareness equipment on all helicopters has been recommended by the NTSB for 15 years, but the FAA has failed to require it on any helicopter save air ambulances,” Senator Feinstein said. “It’s clear the simple addition of this equipment will help keep passengers safe and prevent crashes due to poor visibility. Last January we saw just how deadly flying in low visibility without this equipment can be when a helicopter carrying nine individuals, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, crashed. The accident may very well have been avoided if terrain awareness equipment were mandatory as this bill will ensure it is.”
The Kobe and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act will finally direct the FAA to require that these safety features be required for passenger helicopters, as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.