This is a heartbreaking story that makes it difficult to decide where to begin. First and foremost – we extend our condolences to all the family and friends. Kobe’s loss was a shock to everyone. He was a true icon in the industry and a great person all-around, on and off the court. I will remember all the great moments we were able to enjoy watching his games.
What Can Be Done Better?
As an aviation professional, I wanted to take the time to reflect on the accident to see what we can learn from it and what we can do better.
I don’t want to focus on the accident itself. I would rather talk about safety procedures. The first thing that pops in my mind – why was there only 1 pilot? I guess I have always been trained to ask for two pilots.
It’s important to always request two pilots on any mission. The cost of an additional pilot can range from $500 to $1000 dollars on a helicopter charter. This is one of those scenarios where the additional cost is justified.
I have read a couple of op-eds about the crash, and they mentioned it could have been vertigo. A second op-ed spoke of iffy weather, which highlights the pilot’s judgment. In both scenarios, I believe a second pilot would have been beneficial. If one pilot experiences vertigo, the second pilot takes over. The second pilot is also there to help make judgment calls and make sure procedures are being followed.
Let’s talk about safety a little bit. The FAA issues “airworthy certificates” – aka Part 135 certificates – of companies it deems airworthy. There are also third-party safety audit firms such as Wyvern, Argus, and ISBAO. These audit firms set safety standards, such as flying with only two pilots. They set pilot flying hour minimums, time-in-type minimums, and aircraft insurance minimums. West Palm Jets is a Wyvern-registered member, so we have adopted the Wingman Standard.
Personal Experience and Approvals
West Palm Jets always puts safety first. Now in our sixteenth year of business, we have established a large network of approved vendors that are all approved by either Argus, Wyvern, or ISBAO. Many times, our vendors will hold several of these certificates. Most importantly, they are vendors that we have developed mutual trust with over the years and maintain detailed, personal track records on.
We also keep a long list of vendors that we simply will not use, because they do not meet our personal standards.
Book with Safety as Your Top Priority
When it comes to booking a charter flight, you should always ask for two pilots.
You can also ask questions like:
- Is the captain ATP-rated?
- How many total hours does the pilot have in this type of aircraft?
- How many hours does the SIC have?
We’re always asking these questions on your behalf. When you book with West Palm Jets, you get the expertise of our entire team. You can be assured that we are only choosing the best companies, with the most experienced pilots, at the best price for all your missions.
Disclaimer: All Aircraft And Air Carriers Selected By West Palm Jets are fully Certified by The Federal Aviation Administration and The U.S. Department of Transportation under part 135 regulations. Carriers are Solely Responsible for The Air Transportation Arranged on Behalf Of West Palm Jets’ Clients. West Palm Jets Does not OWN or Operate Any Aircraft. West Palm Jets is not a direct or indirect Air carrier. All flights chartered through West Palm Jets are Operated by Part 135 Air Carriers.