Officer Don Evans shares experience in Kobe Bryant helicopter, training with pilot

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – The world is remembering legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others died when their helicopter crashed into a hillside outside Los Angeles Sunday.

Investigators with the NTSB and FAA are at the crash site today are combing through the wreckage and looking for any evidence on what caused the helicopter to crash.

Now, we are beginning to see some local ties. Officer Don Evans flew in that same helicopter with the pilot.

“Always makes us stop and think because you are looking at an experienced pilot that something went bad wrong,” Officer Don said.

Officer Don has spent a career in the air, including hours and hours of training.

That included a training in Los Angeles in 2018 where Don rode inside the Sikorsky S-76– a helicopter that would later be leased and redesigned for Kobe Bryant. Flying the helicopter for Don and Kobe’s deadly crash was pilot Ara Zobayan.

Don says there is a lot to consider when flying, with the weather being one of the top concerns.

Air traffic control warned Zobayan that he needed to get out of the heavy fog minutes before the crash.

All details that make the tragedy hit home with the entire aviation community.

“It really hits home when you see whatever happened or whatever went wrong, you see someone with experience involved in it it makes everyone stop and think,” Officer Don said.

This is a tragic situation, and Don says this is a small aviation community. Although the crash was hundreds of miles away, he says it hits home hard even here in Kentucky.

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