(WWLP) – Fog is just one of the many weather conditions that can prevent you from flying in a helicopter and it’s being considered a contributing factor in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter, and seven others on Sunday.
Fog reduces visibility, and since helicopters fly a lot lower than planes, they need to be able to see obstacles like other helicopter traffic and power lines.
Wind, rain, snow, and lightning can also have an effect while traveling in the air. Snow, sleet, and rain not only reduce visibility, but it can make the take-off and landing area slick. In a bad wind storm, the wind direction can change rapidly, making it dangerous to fly.
Onshore wind flow developed low clouds and fog that formed the night before and lasted through midday Sunday after the helicopter went down.
How fog forms
The most common type of fog is radiation fog, and it normally forms on a clear night as the earth’s surface cools the relatively warmer and moister air above it. This creates tiny water droplets that are considered fog.
Fog and low clouds are not considered uncommon in the wintertime in southern California. The fog and low cloud deck prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to ground all their helicopters Sunday morning, before the crash. So some people were surprised they flew regardless.
“The local police department had grounded their own helicopters earlier that morning. So, that right there says something. Maybe they shouldn’t have been in the air. But it was his pilot, so he had faith in him.”– Thomas Kirley, a Chicopee resident
“Yeah, I think they should have just canceled it, to be honest…Should’ve just went around or just you know, planned it for later.”– Ray Santiago, Springfield resident
Springfield residents are still mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant.
“He’s a generational athlete and I think his legacy, you know, as a person and as an athlete will always be inspiring and will always go on forever.”-Kevin, Springfield resident
The NTSB said the pilot’s last transmission to air traffic control was that he was attempting to climb higher to avoid the fog and low clouds.
Fog is not the official cause of the crash, as the NTSB is not yet finished with their investigation.