Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls for helicopter warning system requirement after Kobe Bryant crash

The FAA currently doesn't require helicopters to have a Terrain Awareness and Warning System. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A second United States congressional member has called for a change in federal rules regarding helicopter travel in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death last month. 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called for new federal rules that would require commercial helicopters to have increased crash-warning systems — something Bryant’s helicopter didn’t have.

Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, were killed when his helicopter crashed outside of Los Angeles early on Jan. 26. 

“In order to ensure such a tragedy never happens again, I ask that the FAA commence a rulemaking process to require all commercial helicopters operating in the U.S. to have terrain awareness and warning systems,” Feinstein wrote in a letter on Tuesday, via the Associated Press.

Officials said that the helicopter carrying Bryant and the eight others was not equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, which could have warned pilot Ara Zobayan as he approached the hillside in the fog that morning.

One official even said that the National Transportation Safety Board recommended 16 years ago that the Federal Aviation Administration make the system mandatory for all helicopters that carry six or more people, however the FAA “failed to act.” The FAA reportedly disputed that claim.

The FAA currently only requires the system for air ambulances.

Feinstein is the second member of Congress to call for a law in the wake of the accident, joining Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who introduced a bill last week calling for the FAA to mandate the warning system in its new safety standards, per the Associated Press.

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