On the morning of Sunday, January 26, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter flying at about 2,000 feet above the skies of Califonia crashed and killed its eight occupants among them basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
The aircraft, which is marketed by its manufacturer, Sikorsky, as a perfect helicopter, caught fire after ploughing through a hillside at an altitude of about 1,700 feet.
News of the accident sent shock waves across the globe leaving millions wondering how such a sophisticated helicopter could tragically end lives of ambitious people.
Sikorsky S-76 choppers are commonly used by heads of states, VIPs and corporate heavyweights. They are also deployed for medical purposes and carrying crude oil from mines.
Here are the seven features of this top of the range helicopter:
1. Passenger capacity
This aircraft, according to information on ApolloJets website, has a cabin capacity of six passengers.
A Sikorsky S-76 helicopter has a top airspeed of 167mph which is an equivalent of about 268kph.
3. Flying Range
This refers to the longest distance an aircraft can fly from take off to touch down. This particular bird has power to throttle through a haul of 781.5km (422 nautical miles).
4. Retractable landing gear
The landing unit of Sikorsky S-76 can be folded in after take off and deployed as the bird prepares to land.
A retractable landing gear reduces drag on the aircraft and the advantage of this is fuel efficiency and speed.
5. Comfy interior
Sikorsky S-76 that fly VIPs have deluxe interiors that feature comfy chairs, air conditioning, entertainment features and state of the art safety equipment offering five star travel experience.
Some of them are furnished with a lavatory.
This aircraft boasts of a four blade main and tail rotors and twin turboshaft engines that power it through every flight.
Anyone who is interested in acquiring this chopper should be ready to fork out about KSh 1.3 billion for them to enjoy lightning speed and convenience that comes with this machine.
Sikorsky said in a statement that it was saddened by the accident and pledged to provide assistance to investigators.
“We extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by today’s Sikorsky S-76B accident in Calabasas, California. We have been in contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and support to the investigative authorities and our customer.
Safety is our top priority; if there are any actionable findings from the investigation, we will inform our S-76 customers,” the statement read.
We extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by today’s Sikorsky S-76B accident in Calabasas, California. We have been in contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and support to the investigative authorities and our customer.
— Sikorsky (@Sikorsky) January 26, 2020
NTSB launching Go Team to investigate the Jan. 26, 2020 crash of a Sikorsky
S-76B helicopter in Calabasas, CA. The team is expected to arrive in California this evening.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) January 26, 2020