LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Following the deaths of Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash this past weekend in Calabasas, a San Fernando Valley congressman is introducing a bill which would require all helicopters to have terrain warning systems.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) announced Thursday that he will introduce the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act, which would direct the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board to place Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) in all helicopters.
The systems would cost between $25,000 and $40,000 per helicopter, Sherman estimates.
At around 9:45 a.m. on Jan. 26, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter carrying Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, two other teen girls, four parents and the pilot crashed in Calabasas amid foggy conditions.
The helicopter had departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and was bound for Camarillo, with the passengers on board heading to Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was set to coach Gianna in a tournament game.
"Had this system been on the helicopter, it is likely the tragic crash could have been avoided," Sherman wrote in a news release.
On Tuesday, an NTSB official criticized the FAA for not requiring either black boxes or TAWS systems on helicopters.
NTSB official Jennifer Homendy noted that the FAA had failed to implement a pair of recommendations made by the NTSB in response to past helicopter crashes. Those included requiring that helicopters include cockpit voice recorders and data recorders – informally known as black boxes.
There was no black box on Kobe's helicopter. It's unclear if Sherman's bill would also require all choppers to carry black boxes.
On "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" Tuesday, the comedian also discussed the black box issue. In September of 1974, a 10-year-old Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash in North Carolina.
"I think it's crazy that helicopters don't have black box recorders," Colbert said..."When a helicopter goes down we don't know how to improve the helicopter. We don't know how to improve the flying of the pilots so this won't happen again in the future."
Under FAA regulations, almost all planes are required to have black boxes, but not helicopters.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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